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Monthly Archives: June 2009

The Soyuz Chair Simulates Space Tourism

The Soyuz Chair (Images courtesy Nelly Ben Hayoun)
By Andrew Liszewski

I’m sure one day space tourism will be affordable for almost anyone, but at the moment it’s still a privilege reserved for those with millions of dollars to burn. But if you’ve ever wondered what it’s like to take a trip on the Soyuz rocket, this Soyuz Chair is probably as close as you’re going to get. The chair accurately simulates the 3 stages of a Soyuz rocket launch as it reclines you into launch position, and presumably shakes and rumbles while you don a pair of headphones and a blindfold to help you forget you’re really just sitting in a modified recliner.

The Soyuz Chair was created by Nelly Ben Hayoun as part of the Royal College of Art’s Design Interactions Thesis Show which is currently running until July 5th.

[ Design Interactions – The Soyuz Chair ] VIA [ Core77 ]

VPI ScoutMaster II Turntable

VPI ScoutMaster II (Image courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

So what does $2,600 worth of turntable buy you these days? Well if you’ve chosen the ScoutMaster II from VPI you’ll be getting a deck that attempts to minimize vibrations through sheer brute force. The belt driven platter is machined from a single block of aluminum and weighs about 20 pounds, with the whole turntable coming in at around 52 pounds. So in laymen’s terms it takes the ‘heavy things are hard to move’ approach to vibration dampening.

It also comes with the updated JMW-9T Standard tonearm which features a unipivot design which results in less friction, a tapered arm which reduces resonance and standing waves and it’s filled with a special dampening fluid to further reduce vibrations. And while $2,600 might seem like a lot to pay for a record player to most of us, if you’re an analog audiophile, it probably seems like a steal.

[ VPI ScoutMaster II ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

Vacuum Tube Chess Set

Chess Set for Tesla (Images courtesy All Visual Arts)
By Andrew Liszewski

The easy route here would have been to find 32 old vacuum tubes and simply dress them up like standard chess pieces, but artist Paul Fryer opted to take the difficult route instead. His ‘Chess Set for Tesla’ still features 32 vacuum tubes, but they actually connect to each square on the chess board and when plugged in they show an icon on top representing what piece they are. According to the All Visual Arts site there were actually 7 of these produced, but since it was created last year I have my doubts any of them are still available.

[ Chess Set for Tesla ] VIA [ MAKE: Blog ]

Family Constructs Potato Gatling Gun

By Chris Scott Barr

Some people in this world have awesome parents. I’m not talking about the rich ones that buy their kids everything, but rather the kind that teach their kids to build potato guns. My mom and dad didn’t approve of such contraptions, however, the DeRose family is much cooler. Last December they decided that the potato gun they had previously built just wasn’t enough fun, so they would instead try to create a Gatling gun version.

As you can see from the video above, they did in fact reach their goal. It’s a somewhat complicated device, but will definitely turn heads at the next block party.

(Fun Monday drinking game: Take a shot whenever someone says the word “ah” or “um” in the video. Make it a double if both are used in one sentence!)


Microsoft Considers Shipping Windows 7 On USB Flash Drives

By Chris Scott Barr

Lets say that you purchased yourself a new netbook not long ago, and come this fall you decide to upgrade to Windows 7. How exactly are you planning on doing that without an optical drive? Sure, with you being the tech-savvy customer, you won’t have too much trouble doing this. Of course not every person is going to have such an easy time, which is why Microsoft is considering releasing the next version of Windows on a USB flash drive.

I’m glad to hear that Microsoft is considering this alternative installation method. Granted, users can  download their copy of Windows, but not everyone wants to mess with it. The USB drive would be simple and straight-forward. My biggest question is whether or not Microsoft would charge more for a flash drive, since they do cost a few bucks more than a disc.

[ Cnet ] VIA [ EverythingUSB ]

Japan Is Slowly But Surely Being Taken Over By Giant Robot Statues

Tetsuin 28-go at Kobe's Wakamatsu Park (Images courtesy
By Andrew Liszewski

By now you’re probably well aware of the 1/1 scale Gundam statue that currently towers over Tokyo, Japan, but it seems the whole country is making a concerted effort to get its citizens used to the presence of giant robot overlords. Kobe’s Wakamatsu Park is next in line and will soon have their very own 60-foot tall, 50-ton statue of Tetsujin 28-go, aka Iron Man #28. But unlike the Gundam in Tokyo, Kobe’s statue won’t move or anything, but will remain stalwart in a ready-to-defend-the-country-against-Godzilla pose.

I’ve also included a video of the statue under construction after the jump.

[ Kobe Project ] VIA [ TOYSREVILs I LIKE TOYS ]

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Mili Pro Is A Pocket Projector For Your iPhone


By Chris Scott Barr

iPhones and iPods can be great for watching videos, but only if a single person is trying to view them. However, if you’re wanting to show something to a group of people, you’re not going to want them to crowd around your tiny screen are you? Well later this year you’ll be able to pull out a small accessory that will make your videos large enough to be viewed by all.

The Mili Pro LED projector is a cool little dock for your iPhone or iPod Touch. Just slide your iPhone into place and it will project an image roughly equivalent to a 40-inch TV. The picture will be displayed at 640 x 480, which isn’t going blow your mind with its clarity, but it will get the job done. Having something this small that hooks up to your iPhone/iPod Touch (or any other device using VGA or RGA connectors) would certainly be appealing for the business types giving presentations, or anyone else just wanting to show off video on a bigger scale. Look for this in September for around $300.

[ PhoneSuit ] VIA [ Dvice ]

Warn PullzAll Is The Closest Thing You’ll Get To A Grappling Hook Without Wayne Enterprises

Warn PullzAll (Images courtesy Warn)
By Andrew Liszewski

I don’t know about you, but I don’t have a multi-billion dollar company at my disposal to cook up awesome crime fighting gadgets like Batman (warning! spoiler ahead!) aka Bruce Wayne does. So I have to rely on the tools available at my local Home Depot, which quite frankly, just aren’t as awesome. Take Batman’s grappling hook for example. His version is small, lightweight and easy to carry on his utility belt. But the best solution you’ll find at your local hardware store is the PullzAll from Warn.

It’s no where near as compact and subtle as Batman’s device, but it seems just as capable, if not more so. There are two versions available, an AC powered model and a DC powered model, and I suggest the latter with its rechargeable 24V battery if you’re looking to become a vigilante. At 18lbs you’ll want to make sure you’re wearing a reinforced belt if you intend to carry it that way, but the device is capable of pulling or lifting up to 1,000lbs with its variable speed motor, so you should easily be able to hoist yourself up to the rafters of a warehouse for a dramatic escape.

$479.99 from the Warn website for the DC model, and $279.99 for the AC model.

[ Warn PullzAll ] VIA [ The Red Ferret Journal ]

Silverlit Heli-Mission RC SWAT Truck Hides An RC Helicopter In The Back

Heli-Mission SWAT Truck/Chopper (Image courtesy Silverlit)
By Andrew Liszewski

Since the dawn of time man has had to make the difficult and agonizing choice of playing with an RC car or an RC helicopter. And while many great minds from philosophers to engineers have racked their brains trying to find a resolution to this problem, it was a toy company that seems to have come up with a happy medium allowing us to finally enjoy both at the same time.

The Silverlit Heli-Mission SWAT Truck is a fully functional RC car that includes sirens and flashing lights, but the real star of the show is the cargo bay which opens to reveal one of the company’s micro helicopters hidden inside. The launch platform even rises allowing the whirlybird to take off so you can continue your imaginary police pursuit from the air.

The Heli-Mission SWAT Truck should be available sometime in July for about $100, and I have to assume the included remote does double-duty for controlling both the helicopter and the truck.

[ Silverlit Heli-Mission SWAT Truck ] VIA [ Toyology ]