Category Archives: Design

“Ghost Box”: An audio/sculptural mashup

Steve Parker’s brass audio sculptures are a delightfully weird melange:

Activated by touch, “Ghost Box” plays randomized audio segments on a loop, including the ticks of Morse Code, the chorus of spirituals, and the blows of the shofar and Iron Age Celtic carnyx. Each time someone makes contact with a part of the wall sculpture, a new noise emits.

The artists writes,

The Ghost Army was an Allied Army tactical deception unit during World War II. Their mission was to impersonate other Allied Army units to deceive the enemy. From a few weeks before D-Day, when they landed in France, until the end of the war, they put on a “traveling road show” utilizing inflatable tanks, sound trucks, fake radio transmissions, scripts, and sound projections. The unit was an incubator for many young artists who went on to have a major impact on the post-war US, including Ellsworth Kelly, Bill Blass, and Arthur Singer.

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Design: Two space-loving sisters win Halloween forever 🚀

I can’t really imagine the lunar lander surviving trick-or-treating beyond the end of the driveway, but man do I love these costumes:

Per CNET,

“Charlie enters the costume by crawling underneath, and there is a pair of shoulder straps that she uses to lift the entire costume,” their parent who uses the screen name Brandoj23 wrote on Imgur this week. “The costume looks heavier than it is. It’s almost entirely made of foam and foam board.”

The antennae are made from coat hangers and bamboo dowels. The attitude thrusters are made from disposable wine flutes. The gold foil is made from a gold space blanket material. 

“The front hatch magnetically closes and magnetically stays open, and doubles as a candy sample input port,” Brandoj23 added. “The ascent stage (top part) separates from the descent stage (bottom part with landing pads).”

[YouTube]

A surprisingly terrific podcast: “The Great Bitter Lake Association”

Two things I should know by now:

  • Some 99% Invisible podcast is going to seem worthy but so arcane that I just won’t really make time to listen to it.
  • If eventually I do, I’ll be really rewarded for it.

The recent episode about The Great Bitter Lake Association—covering the camaraderie that emerged among sailors in the “Yellow Fleet” that became trapped by the Six-Day War & then stuck in the Suez for years—is totally fascinating. I hope you listen & enjoy. If nothing else, enjoy the homemade postage they created amongst themselves (which eventually became recognized by Egypt & thus usable for sending mail), the discovery of which sets the whole recounting in motion.

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Action Movie Dad vs. Boston Dynamics: Post-apocalyptic fun 💀

Scrappy VFX gangsta Daniel Hashimoto riffed on the latest Boston Dynamics robot launch vid to fun effect:

Amazingly, he gave himself just six hours to do the job, mixing in the new After Effects Content-Aware Fill & a volumetric capture of my teammate Manuel:

[YouTube]

Sky flash: Kitty Hawk’s electric VTOL aircraft

“When—not if—I die in a fiery crash on Highway 101,” I’ve long told people, “you’ll remember that I called it that I’d be rubbernecking at some awesome aircraft buzzing overhead.” I’ve always figured it’d be a Blue Angel or An-124 or something, but now I can imagine it being Uncle Larry (who helps fund electric-plane startup Kitty Hawk), softly zipping by in one of these chariots of future:

Sign me up for the last bit in particular:

Project Heaviside is Kitty Hawk’s latest high-performance electric VTOL vehicle. It is designed to be fast, small and exceedingly quiet, taking advantage of new possibilities to free people from traffic.

The Heaviside vehicle is roughly 100 times quieter than a regular helicopter. Once in the air, the vehicle blends into the background noise of a city or suburb, barely discernible to the human ear. Heaviside can travel from San Jose to San Francisco in 15 minutes and uses less than half the energy of a car.

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[YouTube]