What’s on the Other Side of Will Wright’s Spore?

Next Generation has piece on Will Wright and his talk at South by Southwest Interactive. In it, he talks about the nature of storytelling in games and where he sees it going:

“Wright went on to describe his vision of a simulation that could actually execute dramatic aspects of a game. In other words, a computer that could learn what kind of story a player is creating (a teen slasher, a drama) in an open world, and then figure out the ultimate epic struggle of the player’s storyline as he or she plays.

“In simpler terms, the computer would be like the in-movie director of The Truman Show, Wright said. Stories stemming from such an interactive experience, he believes, would be truly powerful.”


Jules Verne-Inspired Timepiece

TokyoFlash may have the corner on the high-tech watch market, but HD3, a group of Swiss designers, are gunning for the growing retro-futures market, at least steam-powered moguls. Their Vulcania watch was directly inspired by the fantastic machines of Jules Verne. The hours are found on a wheel displayed through a lateral porthole, while the minutes are shown on a disk, like a ship’s “Chadburn telegraph.” The power indicator is fashioned like a sextant and its winding mechanism can be seen underneath. On the back of the watch there’s even a glass map of “Vulcania Island” with it’s X and Y coordinates shown (as well as the visible watch-works beneath).

Only Dukes, Lords, and Marquis need apply, though. The site doesn’t even mention the price and only eleven watches will be made. Check out HD3’s other chronographs, which are equally high-end and old school.


The Article That Didn’t MAKE It

There was supposed to be an article in the latest MAKE (Fringe, Vol. 9) that Editorial decided to pull at the last minute. It was on building a “Lifter”, a lightweight “craft” that floats through the air using high-voltage to create a lifting/propelling force. After talking to the Advisory Board (on which I sit), it was decided that, even with stern disclaimers, there was just too much risk, of both injury and litigation. But the email discussion about it became so interesting that Mark decided to publish it (the discussion, not the Lifter how-to) as on issue Extra. Here it is on the Makezine website.

BTW: I have several pieces in this issue, a profile of Jake von Slatt and a piece on TokyoFlash.


“Pocket” Gramophones from the ’20s

Looking at these amazing portable gramophones from the 1920s, you can’t help but think Swiss Army Knife, especially the Mikiphone (below) which folded out from a case the “size of a large pocket watch or a small cheese case.” The website has a couple of other crazy-cool portables, more pics of these two, even sound-samples of the Mikiphone in action. The Mikiphone is especially innovative because of its use of a resonator mounted on the tone-arm, instead of a sound horn. Speaking of horns, check out the four-sided leather jobby on the “Gipsy” (above) and the stirrup that holds it in place.

[Via we make money not art]


How-To: Build an A/V Switch

Ben Heckendorn has a how-to on Engadget today about building your own Audio/Video Switch for your home media center. As you’re likely painfully aware, many of today’s TVs don’t have nearly enough A/V inputs for all of the devices we have (game systems, DVRs, DVD, VHS, etc.). A/V switches allow you to use one TV input to connect multiple devices that you can switch between. You won’t really save much money by DIY, and it involves soldering onto IC pins (although you could get 20-pin sockets and solder onto those and then plug in your Bus chips). Besides this being a fun project to work your newfound soldering chops, where this get truly useful is in customizing the Switch by adding component and S-video inputs/outputs (Ben’s switch only does composite, but you can add component and S-Video I/O too). Ben says in the Comments that you could also add infrared control and make it a remote control A/V Switch. *Now* we’re getting somewhere.


BEAM “Trooper” 4-Motor Robot Walker

Our BEAM-builder friend Harold Ilano sent us details about his latest project, a palm-sized bot called the Trooper. It utilizes four mini servos, six 74AC240 chips, five LDRs (Light-Dependent Resistors), two touch whiskers, a cellphone Li-ion battery pack, some perf board, and lots of paper clips, shrink tubing, and wire to create a light-seeking, random-wander robot with a low-voltage monitor and plenty of LBLs (Little Blinking Lights). Great job, Harold! Can’t wait to see the video clips.


Das Blinkenrack

Like many a geek, I become strangely enthused around rack-mounted gear festooned with lots of lights, toggle switches, buttons, and displays. Make those displays analog, needle gauges and… I need some time alone. So I was thrilled to discover the Flickr Control Panel Pool, and to see my old pal Todd Lappin right there in the middle of things. His Living Room Media Rack is awesome. Love his incorporation of the ThinkGeek TIX LED Clock (Top Right).

After his Control Panel set, check out his Project Precita set chronicling his house renovation/re-decoration using lots of recycled laboratory, industrial, and safety materials. Very inspiring. I wish I had the time, money, and energy to make my house into such a unique and cool piece of livable art.

[Via Boing Boing]