Most useless machine: building elevator edition

[Niklas Roy] calls it his Perpetual Energy Wasting Machine, but we know it for what it truly is: a building-sized most useless machine. You’ll remember that a most useless machine is a bobble that uses clever design to turn itself off once you have turned it on. This does the same thing with the elevator of the WRO Art Center in Wroclaw, Poland. The one difference is that it continually turns itself on and off.

He rigged up a pulley system that travels through the stairwell of the building. Whenever the elevator door on the top floor opens it causes the call button on the bottom floor to be pressed. The same thing happens when the elevator reaches the ground floor. But he didn’t stop there. Since the device is just wasting electricity whenever the elevator moves without passengers in it, he added a meter to track the loss. It’s the guts of a printing calculator strapped to the inside of the car. Every time the doors open it adds to the total.

You can see the installation in the video clip after the jump.

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EFiX dongle still not available


Well, it’s June 23rd, and still no dongle from EFiX. Despite a new product page on the company’s site, the OS X installing dongle is still not available for purchase. The USB dongle is supposed to facilitate the installation of Mac OS X by booting the Leopard install DVD on PCs, but so far no one has been able to verify this claim as no one has one of these in their hands yet. We’ve been covering this story since the beginning, and we’ll be sure to let you know when you can actually buy one of these.

[via Engadget]

MIT Mobile Cloud


The MIT Mobile Experience lab has just developed this ambitious interactive installation called The Cloud. Located in Firenze, Italy, The Cloud is a sort of sculpture with over 15,000 LEDs and several miles of fiber optics. The tips of the fibers glow, but they also change colors in response to human interaction, including touching it or standing near it. The Cloud uses a combination of proximity and touch sensors to achieve this. It also has two cameras and a microphone, which allows it draw input from various sources and output a much richer, more organic response.

[via Cool Hunting]

Playing the Building with David Byrne


Do you remember the solenoid concert that used a sequencer to control several solenoids striking different surfaces? Musician David Byrne has taken the concept and executed it on a much larger scale with his “Playing the Building” installation in an old municipal ferry terminal in New York. Devices that bang the girders, rattle the rafters, and blow through the pipes of the building are attached to the only object inside, a weathered pipeorgan. Every key is wired to different device in the building, each producing a unique sound. Attendees are invited to fiddle with keys of the organ to produce sounds from the building’s various materials, thus playing the building like an instrument. Here’s a video from the installation.

[via Today and Tomorrow]