Tag Archives | Inventions

The Personal Flight Vehicles That Never Became Popular

Did you know that hovercrafts could be this adorable — why did the U.S. military the kibosh on them? In a parallel, tidily retro-futuristic universe, we are all riding our X-Jets and WASPs to work. Via Retronaut:

Nicknamed “The Flying Pulpit”, the Williams X-Jet It could move in any direction, accelerate rapidly, hover, and rotate on its axis, staying aloft for up to 45 minutes and traveling at speeds up to 60 miles per hour. It was evaluated by the U.S. Army in the 1980s, and was deemed inferior to the capabilities of helicopters and small unmanned aircraft.

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Fork Theremin Expresses Your Eating As Musical Sounds

Created in Japan, an eerie musical instrument that creates synesthesia -- the blurring of the line between senses. Different categories such as fried foods, dairy, and vegetables produce different sorts of sounds:
EaTheremine (Eat + Theremin) is a fork-type instrumen that enables users to play various sounds by eating foods. These sounds are changed, according to resistance values of foods attached on the fork.
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Dynasphere, Forgotten Vehicle Of The Future

Could the Dynasphere have replaced the car? Probably not, but it’s still fun to dream of an alternate world in which it did. Via the Museum of RetroTechnology:

The Dynasphere was invented Dr. J. H. Purves. In the picture below, the son of the inventor is at the controls, and apparently having some difficulties in steering; leaning this monowheel to one side is clearly not going to be easy. The Dynosphere was reported to have reached 30 mph on this run…[and] was said to have weighed 1000 pounds. One eye-witness states: “As a lad one day in the 1930s I went to the beach and saw a man trying to drive a huge wheel across the sands. It wasn’t very successful and wobbled about … I have always wondered what it was or whether I imagined it.”

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The Therapeutic Singing House

To be unveiled in New Orleans -- a home equipped with a drone synthesizer that produces pleasing tones reflecting the surroundings. I hope this architectural innovation catches on everywhere:
Demonstration of latest Quintron invention called THE SINGING HOUSE. This is an analog "drone synth" can be installed into any building in order to provide its inhabitants with a pleasing chord that is constantly changed by the weather. Preliminary studies have show that these soothing sounds can bring mental relaxation and healing to the modern home or institution. The music is actually played by the skies above. No two days sound the same.
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Plotto: The 1462 Plots Of Every Possible Story

plottooldWe often describe films or books as “formulaic”, but has anyone truly deduced the formula? Via Brain Pickings, William Wallace Cook wrote a novel per week and in 1928 created Plotto, a coded system of mechanized storytelling. Is the endless bounty of Law & Order Plotto’s modern incarnation?

You are about write a story. How shall it begin? Perhaps there is a single conflict that needs to be resolved. Will my story have a happy ending or a sad ending? Perhaps the conflict has one of several distinct oppositions: man vs nature, man vs. technology, man vs. god or man vs. self.

In 1894, French critic Georges Polti recognized thirty-six possible plots, which included conflicts such as Supplication, Pursuit, Self-sacrifice, Adultery, Revolt, the Enigma, Abduction, and Disaster. In 1928, dime novelist William Wallace Cook, author of Plotto: The Master Book of All Plots, did him one better, cataloging every narrative he could think of through a method that bordered on madness.

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How To Deal With Slow Walkers

If you live in New York or another major city, you know all too well the frustration caused by slow walkers clogging thoroughfares. This highlights how a simple bicycle bell can be put to use in daily situations to alter people's behaviors for the better and improve life for everyone.
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Scientists Develop Device To See Inside Dreams

valerie-and-her-week-of-wonders-1970-3Suspect that your spouse is enamored with another? For a fee, you’ll be able to get a recording of their dreams to playback and double check. The Telegraph reports:

The secret world of dreams has been unlocked with the invention of technology capable of illustrating images taken directly from human brains during sleep.

A team of Japanese scientists have created a device that enables the processing and imaging of thoughts and dreams as experienced in the brain to appear on a computer screen.

While researchers have so far only created technology that can reproduce simple images from the brain, the discovery paves the way for the ability to unlock people’s dreams and other brain processes.

A spokesman at ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories said: “It was the first time in the world that it was possible to visualise what people see directly from the brain activity.

“By applying this technology, it may become possible to record and replay subjective images that people perceive like dreams.” The scientists, lead by chief researcher Yukiyaso Kamitani, focused on the image recognition procedures in the retina of the human eye.

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The World’s First Mobile Phone / Music Player — In 1922

From the vault of British Pathe, a 1922 newsreel on the portable calling and music device which was that year's hot accessory for the savvy urban woman on the street. The brave new technological advances of the past few years are maybe not as novel as one might believe, and I think these could be a popular niche item if sold today, even:
World's First Mobile Phone (1922). Found by a researcher in the Pathe vaults, this clip from 1922 shows that 90 years ago, mobile phone technology and music on the move was not only being thought of but being trialled.
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A Machine To Let You Taste Words

A nonsensical waste of time? Goofy conceptual art? Or a magical cross-sensory experiment? A device that converts any word that you type into a cocktail, via Morskoiboy:

My piece has buttons working as pumps and has pipes instead of wires. It also has a display like any other electronic panel board, but as opposed to using liquid crystals as in electronic displays, my machine’s display functions via multicoloured syrups. My machine converts words into cocktails. And, yes, it does work. Now I can literally taste the flavor of my words.

Pressing the buttons on the keyboard injects the corresponding ingredients into the display, which tints different segments of the display and thus produces letters. You can try to imagine that each letter can have a taste (L-Lime, A-Apple), a color (R-Red, G-Green), or a name (K-Kahlua, J-Jagermeister).

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