Tag Archives: Technology

The evolution of the electric-powered babysitter

If you’ve actually owned all three of these technological evolutions of television as depicted by Didier Burtin then you deserve an accolade! And maybe some help blowing out all the candles on your next birthday cake. The flat screen TV may be the last of its kind, as the only thing that’s growing are its huge cinema-like dimensions, and they make it easier than ever to “cut the cord” and move away from cable or broadcast services. I took the plunge two years ago – technically the only way I consume my media now is via streaming onto my flat screen. I’m willing to bet the next step are your tablet or mobile devices, with the ubiquitous TV set slowly going the way of the dodo. There’s no going back!

TV Evolution

Let’s party like it’s 1984! [Instructions]

Those were the days, back when you had rewind the tape to play your favourite song again or when ‘shuffle’ meant spending hours making up a mix-tape. Hudson Rippetoe, otherwise known as Brick Classics, has found a way to capture some of those sweet musical memories with his LEGO version of the cassette tape. He has kindly provided us with these instructions so you can make your own LEGO cassette tape. Giving a mix-tape was a way to impress the ladies (or guys for that matter) and I bet presenting someone with a LEGO mix-tape will have an even better effect.

Cassette Micro Building Guide

Classic Cassette

Remember, you don’t need a pencil to fix this LEGO cassette tape if it gets stuck in the player.

Keep your memories safe and permanent

No, this is not a Microsoft Word “Save” button, and no, this not an iPhone protective case. These three elegantly simple builds by French builder Jimmy Fortel show the evolution of memory devices over the end of the previous century. This iconic trio — a floppy disk, a VHS videotape, and an audio cassette — reminds us how important it is to keep our memories safe and sound. Each of these works was inspired by well-known Indonesian builder Kosmas Santosa, and it’s totally worth checking both builders’ photo streams to compare their building styles and search for inspiration.

Abandoned Formats

The Birth of Apple

Ohio-based builder JD Keller has built this great minifigure scale vignette that depicts Steve Jobs in Steve ‘Woz’ Wozniak’s garage back in the mid 1970s. Amazingly, the billion dollar company Apple Computing started out as Woz’s garage-based hobby so we are witnessing the ‘Birth of Apple’. I love the panelled garage walls and the various electronic bits and pieces on the shelves. Don’t miss the classic large red toolbox with sliding drawers, the Apple colours on the shelves, and the original wooden Apple I computer in the background.

Birth of Apple - Jobs and Woz

Back when a press photographer needed a camera, not a smartphone

It’s time to put your smartphone camera back into your pocket and embrace the wonder of the Graflex Speed Graphic camera. Back in the 1960s, Graflex cameras were the standard camera used by press photographers (before some were renamed paparazzi). Milan CMadge has built a LEGO version of this famous camera that is remarkably accurate compared to the real thing.

Graflex Speed Graphic

The method of building the flash housing is particularly clever, as Milan has used 3mm flexible hose to shape the reflector and a couple of curved cockpits for the bulb. Interesting bit of trivia now: the 3-cell Graflex flashgun was modified and used as the prop for Luke Skywalker’s lightsaber in Star Wars: A New Hope and The Empire Strikes Back.

Painfully transparent

As my two teens head off to high school today for the start of another school year, I’m pretty certain one of the things they won’t see in their laptop / smart board / PowerPoint saturated academic environment is an “overhead projector”. And in case any of you are scratching your heads wondering what that is, how it worked, or what “transparencies” might be, Jeffrey Kong of Artisan Bricks has kindly created a miniature version of one using LEGO to give you a rough idea…

Presented without comment or explanation and leaving Chris McVeigh wishing he’d thought of this first!

SpaceX Falcon 9 Landing in LEGO

Space is dangerous. Getting there maybe even more so, what with riding a controlled explosion to overcome gravity and all. In the United States, the majority of the space flight innovations came from NASA with a significant amount of help early on from the Air Force and German aerospace engineer Wernher von Braun.

Max Schellenberg gives us an intro to modern space travel with this brilliant microscale version of a Falcon 9 landing in the Atlantic Ocean. This is adorable and I love it.

Lego Spacex Falcon 9 Landing

Now, there are a number of private companies developing new technology: Boeing and Lockheed Martin regularly launch the Delta IV rockets under United Launch Alliance; Boeing is developing their CST-100 crew capsule. Sierra Nevada has their Dreamchaser. Jeff Bezos has Blue Origin, for tourist space flight, launching out of Texas.

And Elon Musk has SpaceX.

Off all of these, I get the most giddy about SpaceX. Because the first foray into reusable equipment with the Shuttle program still required going and fishing the boosters out of the Atlantic, along with the orbiter returning safely to earth. SpaceX has developed their Falcon 9, capable of launching a payload into space, and having the booster return to a fixed point. Namely, their “autonomous spaceport drone ships,” the Just Read the Instructions and Of Course I Still Love You. They’ve recently leased one of the former launch complexes on Cape Canaveral Air Force Base and converted into a landing facility as well.

That is amazing.

You have arrived at your destination

Every new Apple product has it’s (well publicized) teething problems. While my older iPhone has remained un-bent, no matter how many times I put it in my industrial jaw vice, it still to this day enjoys sending me either 1 mile North or South of my intended destination. And Brick Vader clearly knows what I’m talking about, as evidenced by this beautifully put together vignette:

Insane in the mainframe

Regular readers may have concluded long ago that The Brothers Brick are just a bunch of old farts who are obsessed with Miami Vice, Ataris, and Hammer pants. And you’d be right. So I’m gonna worsen that stereotype and take you back to an even older, fartier era when men were men and computers were, well, absolutely enormous:

LegoJalex‘s recreation of a vintage NCR Century Series mainframe reminds us of an era when computers had to be kept in specially cooled rooms, and one IBM executive famously predicted “there is a world market for maybe five computers”. Extra points (and a tube of Prep H) to anyone that can correctly identify any of the components represented in the scene above!

And to round off our little 70’s nostalgia trip, here’s a BONUS ITEM from the same builder: an adorable microscale version of the classic LEGO set 381 Police Headquarters. Ah, it’s like my 5th birthday all over again!

 

…can you dig it?