The Kinetic Sculptures of Arthur Ganson

Arthur Ganson is a kinetic sculptor, making elaborate moving works of art that perform a function. Above is a piece called 23 Scraps of Paper, where Ganson emulates the movement of a flock of birds with paper. I can remember seeing this exact sculpture at the Museum of American History in Washington DC when I was very young and it was by far the most interesting thing I saw there. I loved the accuracy of the movement of the pieces of paper and the mechanical ingenuity that went into it. When I got home that day I tried to recreate it with Legos but was ultimately unsuccessful. It wasn’t until this year that I finally found out the name of the artist behind it.

All of Arthur Ganson’s sculptures are incredibly interesting to watch. Most of the machines perform a simple task but do it so elegantly that you can’t stop watching.

The motion of Cory’s Yellow Chair is incredible. The chair explodes at high speed and the pieces pause to the far reaches of the machine. Then the pieces accelerate until they’re back together then an instant later the chair explodes again.

Check out the rest of Arthur Ganson’s kinetic sculptures on his website!

A Mechanical Rover Built to Survive Venus

At 864 degrees F, Venus has the hottest surface temperature of any planet in the Solar System. Combined with it’s incredibly dense atmosphere composed of toxic chemicals and its rocky terrain, Venus is incredibly inhospitable to humans and robots alike. In the early 1980s, the Soviet Union’s Venera probes landed on Venus and returned photographs and other data. The probes only lasted a couple hours before they succumbed to the incredible temperature and pressure of 89 Earth atmospheres.

Panorama of the surface of Venus taken by Venera 13.

Today, NASA engineers are designing a rover that will be able to survive Venus for months and the approach they’re taking is pretty counter intuitive. The team behind the concept rover AREE (Automation Rover for Extreme Environments) are working backwards and designing it to be almost completely free of electronics. To traverse the rocky terrain, the rover would use treads or Jansen legs powered by a wind turbine which stores energy from the wind in springs. To transmit data to an orbiting satellite, the rover may use an optical reflector to flash signals in a manner similar to morse code. Another idea is to inscribe data on phonograph style records that could then be floated up to be captured by a passing probe. A rover like this could detect basic data like temperature, wind speed, and seismic events.

NASA Concept of AREE rover

This idea is super interesting to me because I have always been interested in automata; self actuating machines powered by wind up mechanisms. The history of automata goes back to the ancient Greeks and continues today in art and engineering. I really hope this concept comes to fruition because I think it would be an incredible work on engineering ingenuity.

Another concept of the rover.

For more information, check out this Wired article.

Also check out the official NASA description of the project.

Has The DSLR Met its Match?

That’s the question people are asking after the release of the new L16 camera from camera startup Light. The L16 has 16 camera modules packed into a device about the size of a thick smartphone. It combines images from these modules to create an up to 81-megapixel photo. You are even able to adjust the depth of field after the photo has been taken. I think this camera is a pretty smart idea, but I don’t think it’s ready to replace the DSLR just yet.

L16 Camera from Light

The camera is selling for $1,699 and is currently sold out.

Check out this post to learn more about it and see some example photos taken by the L16.

The Uncomfortable


“Chain Fork”

The Uncomfortable is a project by Athens artist Katerina Kamprani which aims to make objects that are “deliberately inconvenient.” These items, like the ridiculous fork above, are usually hilariously unusable and most look incredibly odd.

“Engagement Mugs”

These mugs look like they would be very annoying to use. The placement of the handles makes me wonder how they made the mugs link together. I think they probably cast the handles and cups separately and then adhered them together before glazing them.

“Thick Cutlery Set”

This is one of my favorites. The idea is pretty simple, just extrude the shape of silverware until its a half inch thick, but the result is fantastically useless!

“The Uncomfortable Broom”

You’d have to stoop pretty low to use this broom!

You can obviously tell that a lot of thought went into these. Just as it’s hard to design a great product, it’s also probably difficult to make completely awful products like these!

Check out The Uncomfortable website for more images!