October 31, 2003

Metal Art, Robotics, and Fashion

Brooks Coleman is an interesting fellow. I'm inspired by his designs, not for their technical elegance, but for their artistic flavor. Take his robotic arms for example....not only functional, but beautiful and handmade - not for the corporate world.

My personal favorite are his very cool art bras, which is how he makes most of his money these days - selling them to celebrities.

Remember, inspired people make for entertaining company.

Posted by answerguru at 02:29 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 30, 2003

Creatures in My Head

the Creatures in my Head. / Daily illustrations by Andrew Bell

I made a note to myself quite a few months ago to review this website - and I'm so glad I did. Andrew Bell has an amazing imagination and a great ability to put those thoughts into little monster drawings. He also has a nice set of wallpaper and icons. It's great when someone grows a business out of the bizarre thoughts in trapped in the head.....

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October 28, 2003

Puppet Terrors

Puppet Terrors - Puppets With Problems

I came across this site from a Toy Inventors group I read - this guy just launched his own company and is selling these great "Pupper Terrors". Basically a bunch of scary, psychotic, not-for-kids puppets.....including:

Bunky the Clown: Some people are afraid of clowns. Some people are scared of puppets. Just THINK of the psychological damage you could do with this bad boy!!

Death Row Joe: His last appeal was rejected, and Joe is on his way out, but that doesn't mean you can't still take him home! Just don't write us about your conjugal visits.

Hack: Your run of the mill corpse cutter replete with organs and body parts hanging from his smock.

Klaus: 'Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house. Not a puppet or a person could be found, thanks to Klaus. It doesn't matter if you've been naughty or nice when Klaus comes to town. He'll take over your Christmas and shut it right down. "Sant-Heil!" (definitely politically incorrect)

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October 24, 2003

Invention Contest: Staples

Staples Invention Quest

Staples (yes, the office warehouse) is running an Invention Quest for new office products. Grand Prize: $25,000 plus a trip for 2 to the finals in NY plus an option for royalties from selling the idea as a Staples exclusive. (for 1 year) 11 Finalists also receive $5,000 and a trip for 2 to the finals.

Entries must be postmarked by 11/21/03 and received by 11/28/03. All faxed entries must be received by 11:59:59 PM ET on 11/21/03.


We welcome ideas in the following categories:
- Adhesives, clamps/clips, staplers
- Binders, clipboards
- Computer accessories
- Cutting instruments (scissors, punches, etc.)
- Day planners, calendars
- Desktop accessories
- Envelopes, packaging, shippers
- File folders, pockets
- Labels, label makers
- Paper, note & message pads, cards
- Presentation & planning boards
- Storage & organization
- Telephone accessories
- Writing & drawing instruments and accessories

For the purposes of this contest, Staples is NOT interested in books, business machines (faxes, photocopiers, shredders, etc.), calculators, computers (except accessories), electronic media (videos, DVDs, CDs, etc.), food items, furniture (desks, chairs, file cabinets, shelves, etc.), janitorial products, heating and cooling products, PDAs, software, and telephones (except accessories). Inventions that fall into these categories will be disqualified. Invention ideas that fall into other office supply categories not specifically included or excluded above will be considered at the sole discretion of the judges.

Posted by answerguru at 01:31 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

Rules of the Lab


1. When you don't know what you're doing, do it neatly.
2. Experiments must be reproduceable, they should fail the same way
each time.
3. First draw your curves, then plot your data.
4. Experience is directly proportional to equipment ruined.
5. A record of data is essential, it shows you were working.
6. To study a subject best, understand it thoroughly before you start.
7. To do a lab really well, have your report done well in advance.
8. If you can't get the answer in the usual manner, start at the answer and derive the question.
9. If that doesn't work, start at both ends and try to find a common middle.
10. In case of doubt, make it sound convincing.
11. Do not believe in miracles---rely on them.
12. Team work is essential. It allows you to blame someone else.
13. All unmarked beakers contain fast-acting, extremely toxic poisons.
14. Any delicate and expensive piece of glassware will break before any use can be made of it. (Law of Spontaneous Fission)

Thanks to the Denver Mad Scientists mailing list for this one.

Posted by answerguru at 12:24 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Robotics and Controllers

I've been thinking about robotics quite a bit recently, no thanks to Flesh and Machines by MITs Rodney Brooks and a link about BEAM robots sent to me from Audoen.

Now I've found lots of other interesting stuff including:

Single Board Computers & Peripherals These look like terrific, prebuilt controllers with some specialized software on them. They have the option of running IsoMAX a high level, concurrent process OS and a version of FORTH which has been used in robotics for some time.

In particular, check out the CANipede which uses 6 of their modules. Unfortunately, the modules aren't cheap but they very well could save you a large amount of development time (and we all know tha Time is Money).

Finally the HOAP-2 from Fujitsu Automation does some pretty amazing things. Check out the movie clips they have.

Posted by answerguru at 11:56 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 23, 2003

Igby Goes Down

Ok, if you want to watch rich people with a lot of problems, then this would be a movie for you. If having too much money would feel like a pressure pushing you down; this is a movie for you. If you like to watch people suffer when they can buy anything they want; this is the movie for you. If you like to see women using their bodies to pay the rent and pretend to be wealthy; this is the movie for you. This movie brings out some of the lesser qualities in human beings that we have all seen and experienced to some extent, but probably not with as much money. Could see.

Posted by jjess at 05:39 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

DraganFlyer Update

Well the guys at RCToys have updated the specs on the Draganflyer - it's now the Draganflyer IV. The flight time is up to 15-20 minutes which they achieved by using lithium-polymer batteries and some optimized rotors.

There was some research done with version III to demonstrate automated flight patterns.

Also a mention of a robotics guy who built a handmade prototype for a Draganflyer (November 2002 - Dallas Personal Robotics Group)

Posted by answerguru at 04:17 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

October 18, 2003


Following is a black and white film by the director of Memento. The camera angles and disjointed plot create an interesting picture of voyeurism. We follow the world of a sensitive, jobless, struggling writer (as he wishes to be called) and his battle with loneliness. He "follows" people to fend off his longing for human contact, but this backfires when a group of ne'er-do-wells notice his habit and use it for their evil plans. This movie suggests that following people and breaking into their houses can offer you an escape from the banal for a couple of hours. A nice glass of Chianti and some old CD's could change your perspective. Worth watching.

Posted by jjess at 12:09 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

October 17, 2003

Nixie Clocks - Retro-Cool-Fun

Nixie Clock gallery

Great link to a gallery of "Nixie Clocks". What's a Nixie you ask? They are neon-filled numeric displays, also known as 'numicators', with 10 cathodes shaped like numbers. Think of it like an old transistor tube with number-shaped neon lights inside. They were popular in equipment in the late 60s and early 70s.

I'll put this project in burner for a future build. They would make a great gift....

Great source for nixie tubes

Posted by answerguru at 12:57 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack