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The latest, swankiest flashlight design is inspired by a royal scepter

Brendan Keim was walking through the National Portrait Gallery in London last September when he stumbled upon a painting of a man with a long thin scepter. Intrigued, he snapped a photo and quickly sketched the object in his sketchbook, along with a note that it could make a pretty interesting light. “I didn’t think about it for a long time afterward, because I wasn’t sure how it would all work,” Keim says. It wasn’t until the New York–based designer revisited his sketchbook in January that he thought of a way to actually build the device. “I was like, ‘Oh—I can…

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The Forced Finger Project: Can A Machine Help You Sketch Like a Pro?

If the early days of your time at design school were anything like mine, you probably look back fondly (maybe a bit too rose-tintedly) on simpler days of ‘getting back to basics’ with hour after hour of practice drawing free-hand straight lines, ellipses, and cuboids in perspective (kids still do this these days, right?)—developing all the basic building blocks for the sketching skills you now wield so expertly.  the radical impact robotics could have on human life and culture  As AI, algorithms and robotics continue their seemingly inevitable march towards human usurpation, could this nobel tradition be next in line for…

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Here’s what happens when you click this sportscar into "Insane Mode"

As my Auto Shop teacher explained to us in high school, cars from the 1950s had powerful motors for two reasons: Highways and people socializing. A 1955 Chevy Bel Air might hold three couples on an outing, six adults—three across the bench in the front, three in the back—and when merging onto a highway, had to be able to quickly get all that weight up to 55 miles per hour. To a 1950s engineer, that kind of torque required lots of iron: V-8 engines, four-barrel carburetors and tons of gas. And back then a 13-second 0-60 time was reckoned respectable.…

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Höme Improvisåtion: if IKEA made videogames

No no, it’s not official, but it does look like a group of game designers may have managed to capture the infernally infuriating experience of putting together IKEA flatpack furniture in virtual reality. Höme Improvisåtion as the game is called (complete with appropriate Scandinavian accents) is apparently one creation to come out of last week’s Global Game Jam, a 48-hour event challenging developers to create the best games in a presumably messy weekend of pizza and coding. Declaring itself “the world’s most fun and accurate cooperative furniture assembly experience”, the below video gives an amusing introduction to the objective and gameplay. Apparently, the game…

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A website dedicated to "knobfeel" has released its greatest review ever

I loved KnobFeel from the moment we first covered the site. To refresh your memory, it’s a guy in the UK who provides succinct, non-verbal video reviews of knobs, like so: Tells you all you need to know in just a few seconds. And while knobs are fairly straightforward, the most recent KnobFeel review tackles something a good deal more complex: Saitek’s X52 Control System, a pair of sprung joysticks bristling with multiple knobs, dials, lights and switches. Ex-videogame-tester and video editor Drew Scanlon provides the special guest review in the proper style, though with a rather KnobFeel-atypical ending: This post was originally written by hipstomp / Rain…

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Red alert: there are now robotic cheetahs

After seeing the “design features” that enable the cheetah to run so fast, I wanted to circle back to Boston Dynamics’ robo-cheetah, which we looked at a few years ago. Their creation isn’t faster than a Ferrari, but with a top speed of 28 miles per hour, it’s faster than Usain Bolt. The concept rendering is a good deal more optimistic-looking than the actually built version, which is headless, tailless and needs to be connected to an external power supply: However, more recently another Boston-based team has been working on a cheetah-bot of their own, and this one runs under its own…