Plus: The Self-Making “Smart” Bed, the Museum of Antique Sounds and Astronomical Measurements Explained.
An Automated Bed that Makes Itself
Some of us simply aren’t morning people, and there’s nothing more tedious than waking up tired and having to make our beds. Now, technology can make arranging our pillows, blankets and sheets a breeze, thanks to the all-new automated bed.
Designed by Spanish furniture-maker OHEA, the “smart bed” features a duvet cover attached to the base of the bed and has robot arms that grab both sides and straighten it. The pillows are stretched by internal cords and lifted over the duvet. The automated bed can make itself in just 50 seconds.
The bed is equipped with pressure sensors to ensure it doesn’t start making itself if someone is on top of it, and can operate in a manual and an automatic setting, in which it begins making itself after the bed has been unoccupied for more than 3 seconds:
The Museum of Endangered Sounds
Are you worried that your children or grandchildren will never hear a dial-up modem accessing the Internet, or the distinctive whir of a rotary phone being dialed? Well, they may have the opportunity to experience these and other evocative hallmarks of obsolete technology thanks to an effort to preserve antique and endangered sounds.
Founded by “Brendan Chilcutt,” an online persona created by three graduate students, the Museum of Obsolete Sounds is intended to capture and preserve the mechanical, industrial and electronic sounds that defined technological life in earlier generations, such as the “textured rattle and hum of a VHS tape being sucked into the womb of a 1983 JVC HR-7100 VCR.”
“Today’s personal devices, which receive regular software updates from the powers that be and sport as few moving pieces as possible, have little in common with their clankily physical forebears,” Discover Magazine’s Discoblog notes. “And to Chilchutt, a world populated by such quiet objects is, if not dystopian, at least at a far remove from the world of his youth.”
Although the museum’s collection is relatively limited today, the staff is following a 10-year plan that entails completing the collection by 2015 and then spending the next seven years developing a markup language to encode the sounds as a binary composition. The current collection can be heard HERE.
“It’s so easy now to get caught up in an attempt to keep up with new technology. As soon as new gadgets or even new versions of old gadgets are introduced people line up to buy them…” Phil Hadad, one of the museum’s founders, told Wired.com. “But for us, when we hear something like the old dial-up modem, or the sound of a pay phone, it takes us back to a time when our lives were simpler.”
Measuring the Universe
Astronomers estimate the universe to be trillions of miles wide, but how exactly do they arrive at these measurements from the limited confines of our own planet? While the mathematics involved may seem obscure, scientists actually rely on techniques similar to those used for measuring distant objects on Earth.
An animated video from the Royal Observatory at Greenwich provides a helpful explanation of how scientists gauge the size of the universe using the parallax phenomenon:
What Dads Really Want on Father’s Day
If you’re thinking about sticking with the old Father’s Day standard of buying your dad a necktie, think again: most fathers would actually prefer not to get any gift at all than receive a tie.
According to data compiled by deals website TechBargains.com, the majority of dads would also prefer an iPad over golf, dinner with the family over spending time in a “man cave” and a high-tech TV over seats to the NBA finals.
Although Father’s Day, which occurs this Sunday, is a great opportunity for honoring dads across the country, it’s still outstripped by Mother’s Day: TechBargains found that average gift spending for Father’s Day is expected to be $43, compared to $76 for Mother’s Day.
Have a great weekend, folks, and happy Father’s Day!