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11 posts tagged with invention and technology. (View popular tags)
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350-year-old photographs

Tim Jenison had a theory that Joseph Vermeer had made used of particular lens technology to make his paintings almost photo-realistic. To test this, he recreated the setting of The Music Lesson from scratch, harpsichord and all, and even recreated the theorised lenses using 17th century tools. For someone who doesn't know how to paint, he sure did a good job.
posted by divabat on Jun 15, 2014 - 86 comments

Sølar-pøwered flashlights? But wait, there's møre!

The Nordic Society for Invention & Discovery has brought never-before-seen and totally exclusive technologies into the world, such as the Aaltopuck (an ice hockey puck modeled after Alvar Aalto's Savoy Vase), the Flower Shell (a shotgun shell that shoots seeds into the ground), the Wall of Sound (an 8000-watt iPod dock) and No More Woof (a device that wraps around your dog's head and translates his or her brain waves to computerized speech).
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Apr 15, 2014 - 11 comments

My First Prototype Post

Prototypes are usually the missing links in the evolution of human technology, the dead-ends of ideas that give way to the refinement of the final physical product. Prototypes aren't just for Darth Vader. While the legal back and forth between Apple and Samsung continues, a treasure trove of prototype designs for Apple devices has been released to the public, showing insights into various design approaches and feature enhancements, including larger form-factor iPads with and without kickstands and landscape ports and iPhones that parody the Sony logo, show a different layout for camera elements, and look remarkably like fourth-generation models, as far back as 2005. On the other hand, some have made prototypes into the end goal itself, such as the folks at Dangerous Prototypes, a site which features a new open-source electronic hardware project each month. Some are just gratuitous fun, while others are a bit more practical, such as one project that recycles old Nokia displays and another that provides access to infrared signal, useful for hacking together remote controls for all sorts of IR-based devices. Other prototypes of tomorrow's technology are less concerned with shrinking down the guts of the invention itself, to make it disappear, but rather on how we interact with and integrate physical representations of these ideas into our daily lives. Above all else, prototypes are always forward-looking and are therefore inherently optimistic expressions of human creativity: Even children are getting into imagining the world of tomorrow.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Aug 1, 2012 - 14 comments

Advance Market Commitments

Inducement Prizes -- Best known for the Ansari X Prize, the DARPA Grand Challenge and the Clay Mathematics Millennium Problems, inducement prizes have a long history, but their recent successes have led to increased government interest, viz. challenge.gov, and resulted in the development of vaccines, thanks in large part to the work of Michael Kremer.* [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Jan 6, 2011 - 8 comments

I. WAS. PROMISED. FLYING. CARS!

PopSci: Archive Gallery: From Chicago to Shanghai, 138 Visionary Years of World's Fairs [more inside]
posted by zarq on Sep 21, 2010 - 5 comments

Britain Can Make It!

Making the Modern World presents a set of twisty little passages through the history of science and invention, from the eighteenth century to the contemporary era, brought to you by the UK's Science Museum.
posted by Miko on Nov 4, 2009 - 4 comments

"When I push on the ball of my foot, it rotates the wrist."

Dean Kamen's Artificial "Luke" Arm - Segway inventor reinvents the prosthetic arm: "I've been able to do stuff with this that I haven't, seriously haven't, done in 26 years... uh, pick up a banana, peel a banana and eat it without it squishening... I can't wait to get one of these in a real environment, a home environment, and actually my wife can't either. She's going, oh yeah, I got lots of stuff for you to do."
posted by kliuless on Feb 19, 2008 - 59 comments

Vintage androids

Karakuri automata are representative of the highest technology in the Edo period (1603 to 1867). Automata were also crafted hundreds of years ago in Europe: The Dulcimer Player by Pierre Kintzing , made in 1772; The Singing Lesson, created by Robert-Houdin; three androids by Jaquet-Droz; the Pooping Duck by Vaucanson (the first link at the top). Ancient robots. The first automaton was created by Al-Jazari: video of his clock. The history of automata [pdf]. Contemporary toy automata. [more inside]
posted by nickyskye on Jan 14, 2007 - 18 comments

Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years

Miracles You’ll See In The Next Fifty Years (Feb, 1950)
Some more up-to-date predictions: science, invention, space travel, colonisation, immortality, water shortage, flooding, nanotech, techno-apocalypse, extinction, mental health, smart machines, robots, mind uploading, AI, Asia, economics, demographics, goverance, cities. What is your prediction?
posted by MetaMonkey on Oct 5, 2006 - 54 comments

Portable and off the grid

Necessity Is the Mother of Invention. (NY Times, reg. req.) Amy Smith teaches MIT students about the politics of delivering technology to poor nations and the nitty-gritty of mechanical engineering and helped start the IDEAS competition; she herself designed (among other things) a screenless hammer mill suited to third-world conditions and using "materials available to a blacksmith in Senegal."
Smith's entire life is like one of her inventions, portable and off the grid. At 41, she has no kids, no car, no retirement plan and no desire for a Ph.D. Her official title: instructor. ''I'm doing exactly what I want to be doing. Why would I spend six years to get a Ph.D. to be in the position I'm in now, but with a title after my name? M.I.T. loves that I'm doing this work. The support is there. So I don't worry.''...
Likewise, the inventors who most inspire her will never strike it rich. ''There are geniuses in Africa, but they're not getting the press,'' she says. She gushes about Mohammed Bah Abba, a Nigerian teacher who came up with the pot-within-a-pot system. With nothing more than a big terra-cotta bowl, a little pot, some sand and water, Abba created a refrigerator -- the rig uses evaporation rather than electricity to keep vegetables cool. Innovations that target the poorest of the poor don't have to be complicated to make a big difference. The best solution is sometimes the most obvious.
A rare optimistic story for these downbeat times.
posted by languagehat on Dec 3, 2003 - 18 comments

Dean Kamen Mania

Present day Thomas Edison strikes again. More fine stuff from the guy who brought you the Segway HT. Dean Kamen, and his fine folks at DekaResearch, appear to have invented a device which promises to save countless lives across the globe, power villages, and runs on water. What's next? The perpetual motion machine?
posted by IndigoSkye on Nov 17, 2002 - 55 comments

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