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Monthly Archives: August 2006

X-Ray Sound Recordings

X-Ray Sound Recordings (Images courtesy Kevin Kelly)
By Andrew Liszewski

Here’s an interesting story. In the 1950s there was very little access to western music in the USSR so people had to rely on records coming into the country from eastern Europe where limitations were less strict. As a result the influx of records coming in from beyond the iron curtain was very small and of course made the records themselves very expensive.

To compensate for this a group of enterprising and technically inclined people learned to make copies of these recordings with a converted phonograph. The cheapest and most available material to make these copies on turned out to be discarded x-ray plates and in only a few years millions of duplications were created and distributed throughout the country. These copies would only last about five months but were also only about one-fifth the price of an actual record so became very popular.

The process became known as ‘Roentgenizdat’ and was unfortunately shut down and made illegal in the late 1950s but thankfully many of these old recordings still exist today in private collections all over the world like the two pictured above.

[X-Ray Sound Recordings] VIA [New Scientist Technology Blog]

Camoplast Giant ATV Track System

Camoplast Giant ATV Track System
By Andrew Liszewski

I know it’s technically still summer but September is just around the corner which in turn leads to that inevitable slope towards winter so why fight it? As a result I declare this the first official OhGizmo post of the pre-2006 fall/winter season.

Living in the downtown core of a big city doesn’t present a lot of opportunities to go off-roading sadly, but if I lived in the country I would make sure to have an ATV at my disposal and I would definitely retrofit it with a set of these things. The Camoplast Giant ATV Track System replaces the boring wheels on your ATV with four tank-like tracks.

Besides making you look like the guy who spends more money on his ATV than his car the Camoplast system does provide higher ground clearance and a larger ground surface making them well suited to all four seasons, especially snow. Installation of the tracks will take about two to four hours depending on your skillset and apparently allows the original wheels to be easily put back on when needed.

[Camoplast Giant ATV Track System] VIA [Travelizmo]

The Monocopter, A Jet-Powered Personal Flying Craft

monocopter project

By David Ponce

More jet-powered goodness. Remember the scooter? Or the go-kart? Well, now you can add the jet-powered monocopter. Or, in other words, a turbine based personal flying machine, which sort of makes the Gen H-4 personal helicopter look like it was meant for kids.

It’s a project by one Andreas Petzoldt, which has been in the works for more than ten years. The turbine would strap to the back of the apparatus, and route massive flows of hot air through four nozzles. Unlike other personal flying machines, which use liquid fueled rocket engines to propel themselves and allow for perhaps 30 seconds flying time, the Monocopter would let you rip through the skies for perhaps as much as 20 minutes on a full tank of gas.

At this point, Andreas is looking for sponsors to continue with his project, as the costs are mounting. There are a few years left before this craft takes to the skies, which means it’ll be even longer until it becomes commercially available. But it’s good to know people keep coming up with ever more exciting ways of getting ourselves splattered on the ground.

[Jet-Powered Monocopter] VIA [MAKE

Hawking Technology Hi-Gain Wireless-G Adapter

Hawking Technology Hi-Gain Wireless-G Adapter (Image courtesy Hawking Technology)By Andrew Liszewski

Wireless internet is one of those things that can be a great convenience but at the same time a massive headache. Sure it’s nice to be untethered from that network cable but if your wireless signal is barely in range of your laptop and is causing you to lose your connection every few minutes it can really make you miss that reliable wired connection.

As a possible solution you might want to try the Hawking Technology Hi-Gain USB Wireless-G Dish Adapter (HWU8DD) which claims to extend wireless connection distances up to 300%. Just plug the dish into your system via USB and then use the built-in LED signal-strength indicators on the dish to pinpoint the strongest wifi signal available in your area. The design of the dish is not that portable limiting the places you can use it which is unfortunate because something like this would be great in an airport or other public wifi location. Hopefully a more portable version is secretly in the works.

The HWU8DD Wireless-G Dish Adapter is currently available from the Hawking Technology online store for $74.99.

[Hawking Technology Hi-Gain Wireless-G Adapter] VIA [The Red Ferret Journal]

The Cell Zone Phone Booth

Cell Zone (Image courtesy Salemi Industries)By Andrew Liszewski

I’m pretty sure half the time using my cellphone is spent seeking out someplace quiet in order to actually hear the person I’m talking to. And to be honest I can usually never find a quiet place when I need one and have to settle for ‘less-loud’ instead.

The people at Salemi Industries have no doubt experienced the same thing but instead of complaining about it they’ve gone and developed the Cell Zone. It’s basically like a regular phone booth but without the payphone and an improved overall design making them much more sound-resistant. The idea is to have the Cell Zone placed in nightclubs, restaurants and even libraries where people can then make and receive phone calls without disturbing other people.

The Cell Zone would be completely free for anyone to use and would be supported and paid for via extensive advertising and corporate sponsorship.

[The Cell Zone] VIA [Coolest-gadgets]

Toilet Themed Dog Bowl

Refilling Toilet Dog Bowl (Image courtesy Collections Etc.)By Andrew Liszewski

I’m not really sure if encouraging your dog to drink out of a toilet shaped bowl is a good idea. In fact most people I know go to great lengths to discourage this behavior from their pets, but usually fail miserably.

I guess you can at least feel safe knowing that this toilet has never been ‘used’ and since it relies on a refillable two-liter plastic bottle you can guarantee your pooch only has the finest of bottled waters to drink. Oh and like a real toilet this one will also automatically refill itself, until the plastic bottle is empty of course.

The ceramic toilet themed dog bowl is available from Collections Etc. for $14.99.

[Auto-Refilling Toilet Dog Bowl] VIA [Cribcandy]

Hipster – Personal Trailer

Hipster I & II (Images courtesy Elseware)
By Andrew Liszewski

When the backpack is a bit too grade-schoolish for your tastes and the shoulder bag just doesn’t haul enough gear for your liking you now have the option of pulling around your own personal trailer.

Designed by Joel Hoag the Hipster was inspired by his father’s wish to walk across the United States and he hopes his personal trailer will launch a new sport of ‘adventure walking’ some day. It comes in two varieties at the moment, the Hipster I which uses a single wheel to keep the trailer light, maneuverable and compact and the Hipster II which uses two wheels making it stronger and capable of carrying heavier loads.

The Elseware Design’s website currently lists the Hipster as being available on a made-to-order basis but pricing info is not available.

[Elseware Design’s Hipster I & II]

Villain Chair

Villain Chair (Image courtesy Suck UK Design)By Andrew Liszewski

The appropriately named Villain Chair will make even the lowliest of office drones feel like they can take over the world and probably cause the CEO to cross that line between everyday villainy and cartoonish super-villainy.

Made from leather, chrome, steel and aluminum the Villain Chair is currently available from Suck UK ‘Design’ for about $6,800 so if anyone knows of an actual company where even the lowliest of office drones gets a chair like this please let me know.

[Villain Chair] VIA [Uncrate]

Black & Decker Auto Wrench

Black & Decker Auto Wrench (Image courtesy Black & Decker)
By Andrew Liszewski

I could comment that this new Black & Decker wrench is the perfect addition to the lazy handyman’s toolbox but in reality the design could probably be quite useful when working in tight places.

The Auto Wrench uses two AAA batteries to apply up to 190 lb.-ft of torque and can work with nuts and bolts up to 1-1/4 inches wide. And if you find yourself without any batteries the wrench can still be manually adjusted.

The Black & Decker Auto Wrench is currently available at your local Home Depot for about $30.

[Black & Decker Auto Wrench] VIA [Popular Mechanics]