Category Archives: Design

Flying cars (er, pontoon boats?) take a step forward

Someday soon, I really want to come around a corner & see Larry Page (who evidently backs this company) tooling around over a nearby reservoir:

The Verge writes,

The Flyer weighs 250 pounds and sports 10 battery-powered propellors and two joysticks. It looks sort of like bobsled mounted on a couple of pontoons surrounded by a bunch of drone rotors — so, you know, totally safe I’m sure. Its not intended for soaring through the clouds like you’re George Jetson, with a maximum elevation is 10 feet and a top speed (limited by the flight control system) of 20 mph. Kitty Hawk has kept the pontoons for water landings, but gotten rid of the protective netting from the original prototype.

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[YouTube]

Microsoft drops 800+ computers to the bottom of the ocean

…and not just for Teh Lulz. This effort is actually quite fascinating:

The Verge writes,

Today’s underwater data center will be deployed for five years, and includes 12 racks with 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage. That’s enough storage for around 5 million movies, and the data center is as powerful as thousands of high-end desktop PCs. The data center will be powered by an undersea cable and renewable energy from the Orkney Islands. The cable will also connect the servers back to the internet.

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[YouTube]

World’s Largest LEGO Cherry Blossom Tree

7,000 lbs? 881,000 pieces? 6,500 hours of construction time? I am there for this.

A record-breaking LEGO tree has taken shape at LEGOLAND Japan, a theme park in Nagoya dedicated to the beloved plastic bricks. The cherry tree’s construction marks the theme park’s first anniversary, and has been registered as the “largest LEGO brick cherry blossom tree” in the Guinness Book of World Records. It was made with 881,470 bricks which took over 6,500 hours to assemble.

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[YouTube] [Via]

Your watch can now control your bike helmet

Having biked every day through Times Square, I’m pretty sure I burned through roughly 8.5 of my 9 lives. Now being an old breadwinner, I’m trying to keep my noggin intact while keeping my arteries at least moderately pliable, so the Lumos Helmet ($180) seems pretty dope:

The Verge writes,

After installing Lumos’ Apple Watch app, the Watch will record how its wearer makes their left and right turn gestures. When they make them in the future while the app is running, it’ll activate the corresponding signal on the helmet. The Watch will vibrate to remind wearers that it’s still blinking, and they’ll have to shake their hand to turn it off. The helmet is supposed to automatically detect when you’re braking, so there doesn’t appear to be a gesture for that.

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[YouTube]

Design: SNL nails the real use of “athletic wear”

Heh—it’s often fun to see the gap between what products are designed (or at least marketed) to do, and how they’re actually used. Saturday Night Live delightfully skewered yoga pants in this pitch for “Pro-Chiller Leggings,” which can be worn as “pants, pajamas, and a napkin” (reminding me of “a floor wax and a dessert topping!”). Now “just sit the hell down and chill”:

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[YouTube]

The Bionic(le) Man: Kids literally arms himself via Lego

Weak side: Complaining about doing push-ups.
Strong side: Being born with a partial arm, saying F it, Imma build myself a Lego arm & do push-ups on that

Ever since he was a kid, David Aguilar was obsessed with Lego. He spent his childhood building cars, planes, helicopters, and eventually, his own prosthetic. Born with a deformed arm, the self-named “Hand Solo” decided to take his Lego-building skills to the next level. At age 18, he perfected his designs with the MK2, a prosthetic arm with the ability to bend and pick up objects with a pincer-like grip. Now, he’s the coolest kid on the block.

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[Vimeo] [Via Maria Brenny]

1,760 LED screens dance in Coke’s epic 3D billboard

A new drink awaits you in the off-world colonies! A chance to imbibe again…

Atlanta Inno writes,

Coca-Cola unveiled the six-story digital advertisement in August, winning two Guinness World Records titles: “The Largest 3D Robotic Billboard” and “The First 3D Robotic Billboard.” The company has featured an advertisement in Times Square for more than 97 years and the latest sign features 1,760 independently moving LED screens, creating a multisensory experience for the audience, according to a news release.

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[Vimeo]

Google visualizes thousands of bird sounds via AI

This thing is pretty cool! Cornell researchers worked with Googlers to use machine learning in order to fingerprint the songs of various birds, then lay them out in an interactive visualization:

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Built by Kyle McDonald, Manny Tan, Yotam Mann, and friends at Google Creative Lab. Thanks to Cornell Lab of Ornithology for their support. The Essential Set for North America sounds are provided by the Macaulay Library. The open-source code is available here. Check out more at A.I. Experiments.

[YouTube]