Early radiosonde. Laboratory measuring cylinder. Probe?
January 18, 2021 6:10 PM   Subscribe

The UK's Science Museum Group, which includes the Science and Industry Museum, the National Science Museum, the National Railway Museum, and Locomotion, have digitized a quarter of their collection and made some cool digital tools to explore it, including a traditional search engine, the Random Object Generator and a random object described by machine learning, What the machine saw. Now, you can also be the first person to digitally see an object that's never been seen.
posted by ChuraChura (15 comments total) 21 users marked this as a favorite
Gigantic history of medicine specimen collection got me. Shackleton expedition med kit? A lot of stuff pulled from market in their cheery 1970s packages? Sketchy sachets of herbal vigor with unchanged mimeographed labels? I needed to go to sleep.

...Oh look some tablets for that...
posted by cobaltnine at 7:32 PM on January 18

Oh dear, I somehow thought the "never been seen" link would be like AI created "museum objects"... but no. I got served a silver-plated catheter from the 19th Century. The photo itself is sort of horrifying, I don't know if I'm happy or sad they don't include measurements.
posted by hippybear at 8:52 PM on January 18 [1 favorite]

My ‘never been seen’ object was a thread of phallic pendants from 400-800 BC. All I can say is, phalluses have certainly evolved over the last few thousand years.
posted by andraste at 10:16 PM on January 18 [2 favorites]

I got an "Unitas calculating machine", but first it shown me a pixellated view that looked remarkably like something out of Minecraft. I also thought it was something the AI created at first. But the mechanical calculator it turned out to be was also very cool.
posted by Harald74 at 12:34 AM on January 19

Hippybear's catheter made me wince, though.
posted by Harald74 at 12:35 AM on January 19

I got composition punches for Gill Sans, which is pretty on-brand. I would love if I could get little prints of these inside cereal boxes.
posted by phooky at 5:08 AM on January 19 [1 favorite]

bottle of unknown drugs. and a ' bone elevator.'
This is deeply satisfying. Thank you
posted by From Bklyn at 5:24 AM on January 19

Aw, I got two examples of metal foundry fractures (one brass, one just 'alloy'); those are cooler.

Andraste, 'possibly phallic', which is obviously a cool band name, is definitely a little lazy there, but can be compared to any other museum full of 'ritual objects', binary sorted into torus and stick shaped.
posted by cobaltnine at 6:39 AM on January 19

A mostly blank piece of paper, ruled, with teeny tiny pencil writing of Charles Babbage about P times Q. Not quite as exciting as seeing his brain in a jar at the Hunterian Museum though.
posted by njohnson23 at 8:52 AM on January 19

@andraste And yet, sadly, in many ways they haven't.
posted by GallonOfAlan at 9:43 AM on January 19

Thank you, I was at long health appointments with my father today and we both enjoyed this.
posted by paduasoy at 2:42 PM on January 19 [1 favorite]

This is very neat!
posted by mixedmetaphors at 5:16 PM on January 19

Rectal dilator, size 24
posted by neuron at 9:30 PM on January 19

Rectal dilator, size 24

Out of how many sizes... and isn't diameter a more important measure?
posted by hippybear at 9:42 PM on January 19

I've just posted the vaginal speculum for applying leeches, made 1801-1830 in France on the leech post which is also on the front page at the moment.
posted by paduasoy at 3:18 AM on January 22

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