Array Of Useless Machines Is Useless

What’s the collective noun for a group of useless machines? A passel of useless machines? A failure? A waste? A 404?  Whatever you want to call it, [Martin Raynsford] has produced one here with this collection of 24 useless machines arranged into a 5 by 6 array. He produced it for an event at a hackerspace to amuse visitors, and it certainly seems to do the job in the video after the break.

[Martin] built the case by modifying the design of his Useless Machine kit, stretching out the case to hold multiple mechanisms. The original plan was to use a 6 by 6 matrix, but that wouldn’t fit into the laser cutter, so it ended up with 24 mechanisms in a 5 by 6 array. All of those are driven by 2 AAA batteries, and the mechanisms are efficient enough that it survived a full day of button flipping before it began to run out of juice.

It’s a neat design and build, from the living edge to the neat design of the cover hinge that stops the cover falling into the inside of the case.

38 thoughts on “Array Of Useless Machines Is Useless

  1. Wouldn’t it be fun to disguise a few things that harvest energy as a useless machines and put them somewhere in the wild? For example, in a public library or at a bus stop?

    OTOH: We all still mourn Hitchbot. An environment with horror sapiens infection is really tough!

    I’ll need to ॐ a long long about this!

    1. I read is as 2 batteries shared by all machines.
      “All of these are driven by 2 batteries” = 2 batteries total
      “Each of these is driven by 2 batteries” = 24 batteries total.

      But English is imprecise in its current usage, and I am now pondering the are/is dichotomy in those sentences which I feel to be correct, but can not describe why.

  2. I would make this into an array of 2×12 since it’s obvious the kids (and some adults would, too) had a hard time reaching the back switches without touching the front popping lids. Would make it easier to play the switches like a keyboard, too!

  3. Set it up to start acting chaotically after a certain number of activations.

    They start opening randomly. If you flip a switch all of the doors except that one instantly open and stay open as if staring at you for a few seconds before the one you flipped slowly opens and turns of the switch. One section of doors opens and closes rhythmically as if chanting. They stop responding all together for 30 seconds no matter how many switches you flip, then they activate one by one going down the line regardless of if their switches are flipped or not.

    All interspersed with stretches of time where they behave normally.

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