Product designer Oscar Lhermitte has collaborated with design studio Kudu to produce a topographically accurate lunar globe that turns along with the phases of the moon. MOON exists at a 1:20 million scale and was created with data from NASA to reveal all of the moon’s craters in precise detail. As the round light or “sun,” rotates around the globe, dramatic shadows are cast across its surface.
With three settings, you can manually twist the moon to the position you desire, place it on demo mode to let you see all phases in 30 seconds, or switch it to live mode to have the piece synchronize with the current position of the moon itself. In addition to a physical similarity to the moon, the globe also has an intrinsic connection to it. MOON’s computer system has the exact same memory as the Apollo 11 computers that landed the first men on the earth-orbiting giant.
Two longtime porch activities are now combined into one simple contraption thanks to designers Damien Ludi and Colin Peillex, creators of the Rocking Knit. The wooden rocking chair is rigged to knit as you sway back and forth, producing a cap from minimal energy output. The invention was produced as a part of Ecole cantonale d’art de Lausanne‘s Low-Tech Factory, a workshop that encourages students from the industrial design program to invent simple machines that at once create an experience and a material good. Ludi and Peillex premiered their contraption at Designer’s Saturday in Langenthal, Switzerland and produced a video that demonstrates their invention below. (via My Modern Met)
Swedish musician Martin Molin has long had experience with esoteric instruments like the glockenspiel, traktofon, or Theremin, but he may have topped his musical prowess with the invention of his own new instrument: the Wintergatan Marble Machine, a hand-cranked music box loaded with instruments including a circuit of 2,000 cascading steel marbles. As the devices cycles it activates a vibraphone, bass, kick drum, cymbal and other instruments that play a score programmed into a 32 bar loop comprised of LEGO technic parts. The marbles are moved internally through the machine using funnels, pulleys, and tubes.
Molin began work on the marble machine in August 2014 and hoped to spend about two months on the project. Its complexity soon spiraled out of control as all 3,000 internal parts had to be designed and fabricated by hand, a time-consuming process that eventually took 14 months. An early version was designed using 3D software, but it was easier for Molin to create parts on the fly leading to it’s Frankenstein appearance. The musician shared much of his progress in regular video updates that he shared on YouTube.
Despite the extreme interest an oddity like the Wintergatan Marble Machine is bound to generate—especially on the internet—don’t expect to see it on tour anytime soon, as the contraption has to be completely disassembled to move it. Molin hopes to build additional music devices, some smaller, or perhaps more suited for transport. You can read a bit more about it on Wired UK.
Despite the visual beauty and life-giving nature of plants, there’s always been one main problem with our vegetative friends: plants can’t fly. A small company called Hoshinchu based out of Kyushu, Japan, recently set out to fix the problem that evolution forgot by inventing the Air Bonsai, a system for magnetically levitating small bonsai trees several inches above a small electrified pedestal. The system allows you to create your own miniature Avatar-like worlds with tiny trees or shrubs planted in balls of moss, but is also powerful enough to suspend special ceramic dishes of fragments of lava rock.
Air Bonsai is currently funding like crazy on Kickstarter and is availble in a number of configurations starting with a base DIY kit for $200 that requires you to use your own plants up to more elaborate designs that may only ship in Japan. (via Spoon & Tamago)
Way back in 2000 I downloaded a screensaver designed by Yugo Nakamura called DropClock that tied in with your systems’ internal time to create a functional clock face depicting Helvetica numbers dropping into water in slow motion. It was mesmerizing to watch and I kept it running for years. Designer Zelf Koelman took the idea of merging time and liquid a step further by creating Ferrolic, a self-contained clock that literally displays time with liquid. It’s almost exactly what would happen if a digital clock and a lava lamp had a baby.
Ferrolic utilizes ferrofluid—a liquid that becomes strongly magnetized in the presence of a magnetic field—to display recognizable shapes in response to magnets embedded inside the clock’s aluminum frame. The moving blobs look almost alive, a fact not lost on Koelman who refers to them as “creatures.” He shares:
Ferrolic was designed from a strong fascination for the magical material Ferro Fluid. The natural dynamics of this fluid makes that this display bridges the gap between everyday digital screens and tangible reality.
Because the fluid behaves in a unpredictable way, it is possible to give the bodies perceived in the Ferrolic display a strong reference to living creatures. It is this lively hood that enables Ferrolic to show a meaningful narrative like for instance having the creatures play tag. In addition the natural flow of the material, it can be used to form recognisable shapes and characters. Ferrolic uses these both layers in parallel in order to display scenes and transitions in an poetic, almost dance like, choreographed way.
The clocks are a bit of a prototype so far, only 24 of the devices are available at a price of about $8,000 each, making it much more of a limited edition art piece than a consumer-grade alarm clock. You can learn more here. (via Boing Boing, Fast Company)
At 42x the size of a traditional ‘Light-Brite’ toy, the Everbright by San Francisco-based Hero Design is a huge grid of adjustable LEDs for drawing with light. But instead of only a limited selection of individual colors, the Everbright relies on 464 dials that change in hue as you twist them, offering almost unlimited color possibilities when creating designs. When you’re done drawing, the entire board resets to a blank canvas with the press of a single button. While fully interactive, it also comes pre-programmed with several animations that can play when not in use.
You can learn more about Everbright here, and it looks like this has already moved beyond a concept and the devices are now available for sale. (via Designboom, Neatorama)