We're big fans of useless machines around here: those boxes with one or more switches, that, when toggled, trigger some kind of arm that pops out and puts the switch back in the off position, before retreating to the inside of the box. Read the rest
Coffeeman 500's Useless Box - Multi Switch project is an open-source hardware project that's an ambitious variant on the beloved "Useless Machine" -- 2010, 2010 (Lego)), 2010 Political edition), 2011 (HOWTO), 2012 (politics), 2013 (fancy), 2013 (advanced) (vs human), 2016 (most useless), 2017 (vs twisty vase).
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Coffeeman 500's Useless Box - Multi Switch project is an open-source hardware project that's an ambitious variant on the beloved "Useless Machine" -- 2010, 2010 (Lego)), 2010 Political edition), 2011 (HOWTO), 2012 (politics), 2013 (fancy), 2013 (advanced) (vs human), 2016 (most useless), 2017 (vs twisty vase). Read the rest
Move over Flowbee, inventor Joseph Herscher of Joseph's Machines has figured out a fresh new way to cut one's hair at home using a swinging chandelier and a large kitchen knife. He calls it the "Terrifying Automatic Hair Cutter."
Wouldn't it be nice to get a haircut in the comfort of your own home, for free? I've made a machine for that. Don’t try this at home folks, it may not look like it but I am a professional!
Joseph Herscher of Joseph's Machines has outdone himself with his latest machine. It's an incredibly complex Rube Goldberg machine that took him three months to make called "The Cake Server" and it does just that... serve cake. The "cherry on top" is literally a cherry on top. Watch!
Now watch the behind-the-scenes video:
It's not a good machine or a precise machine, but it is still a machine that will wrap gifts (and sandwiches and ankles) in 10 seconds.
But the best part of this video isn't the present wrapping, it's when inventor Joseph Herscher of Joseph's Machines shows his many attempts at automating the Christmas-tree-decorating process. Read the rest
In Even good bots fight, a paper written by Oxford Internet Institute researchers and published in PLOS One, the authors survey the edits and reverts made by Wikipedia's diverse community of bots, uncovering some curious corners where bots -- rate-limited by Wikipedia's rules for bots -- slowly and remorseless follow one another around, reverting each other. Read the rest
I could watch this all day. Read the rest
"A vintage intervened mouse that browse internet randomly, without control. A special user who does not attend UX strategies, CTAs, quality content ... This small desktop experiment explores the identity on the Internet theories and the "Google Analytics" world."
Earlier this week, Mark posted a fancy Useless Machine that had all sorts of exciting behaviors when you turned it on. But I think I prefer the Useless machine advanced edition, with its many switches and prodding metal fingers, built from organs harvested from a donor printer. Looking back into the archives, I see we've made quite a habit of posting about the amazing Useless Machine phenomenon.
Useless machines are home-built devices that turn themselves off as soon as you turn them on — and that's it. That's all the they do. The more elaborate and gimmicky the method by which they accomplish this job, the better. As a hobby, useless machines have been around since the 1950s, but Abigail Pesta of the Wall Street Journal says they're making a comeback. Read the rest
[Video Link] I feel cheated because this Useless Machine video runs out after only 11 minutes and five seconds.
Alex's Almost Useless Machine is a solar-powered desktop amusement that slowly saws through dowels whenever the light is bright enough to power its motor. It's mesmerizing.
This little machine uses a so called solar engine to drive the motor. This solar engine is able to collect tiny amounts of energy over time and stores it in large capacitors. When the voltage reaches a certain level, it opens up and uses all the stored energy at once to drive a motor. These engines were used to drive tiny BEAM-bots and were quite popular a while ago. A lot of information can be found at beam-wiki.org on how to build them and how they work.
A couple of years ago I was on The Colbert Report showing some fun projects from MAKE, and Stephen fell in love with a project called "The Most Useless Machine." (Watch the episode here.) The Most Useless Machine is a box that shuts itself off when you turn it on. (After the show Stephen hinted that he wanted to keep it, so I gave it to him and he was really happy.)
Make:Projects just posted complete instructions for making your own Most Useless Machine. It's the simplest version yet, and is sure to bring a smile to the face of anyone who tries it.
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Last year I saw a video of the "Leave Me Alone Box" built by Michael Seedman. Flip its switch on, and an arm reaches out of a door to turn the switch back off. To paraphrase The Terminator, that's what it does, that's all it does, and it will not stop until its circuit is dead.
I had to have one of my own, so I made one. Seedman's design uses a microcontroller to run two servomotors: one to open the lid, and another to push the switch. This makes for an impressive performance, but seemed too complicated, and actually, his circuit remains powered even when the box is idle.
For existential purity, I wanted a super-simple machine that really turned itself off. So I came up with a single-motor design controlled by a 555 timer chip, with a curved arm that both lifts the lid and flips off the switch.