brainwagon "There is much pleasure in useless knowledge." — Bertrand Russell


Brainwagon Radio: Aiptek DV4500, Halo2 and other gadgets

Aiptek DV4500Where your host describes a number of interesting gadgets and gizmos, and then plays some Halloween sounding music:

Links from the show:

  • The Aiptek DV4500, pictures, video and sound files coming soon.
  • Grayson: a film trailer created by amateurs, telling the story of Dick Grayson, aka Robin
  • Jeri Ellsworth designed the Commodore One, a clone of the old Commodore 64 using programmable logic devices. She's also designed the C64 Direct TV, a joystick with a C64 embedded in it, available this Christmas season from QVC. Cool!
  • I got a chance to play some Halo 2. Short story: If you liked the original, you'll like the new one.
  • Cool product of the day: a plastic which you can melt in hot water and easily sculpt. When heated to 150 degrees F, it turns clear and is easily moldable, and yet when cools becomes tough and stiff like nylon. Can be remelted again and again. Neat stuff.
  • Music of the Day: Frank Ho's The Merry Prank of Mr. J, kind of Halloweeny sounding, from

Cool Optical Illusion

A classic illusion is the hollow face illusion, where a concave casting of the face appears convex. This is demonstrated neatly here, with a simple cardboard cutout whose head appears to track you as you move around. Very neat. There are lots of other cool illusions on the parent website, check them out too.


Screw the X Prize, Work on the L Prize!

Bad Lego ModelOver the weekend, Julian Gomez informed me of a project that he thought (correctly) that I might be interested in: The L Prize. What is that, you say? Best answer from their website:

The L PRIZE is a new and exciting open competition that will be officially launched fall 2004 by an independent team led by Tim Courtney. The purpose of the L PRIZE is to reach both the established LDraw community and the broader 3D software developer and user communities, and to draw on this greatly expanded pool of resources to build a unique convergence of interests and abilities that will result in significant advances to LEGO CAD technologies.

Contestants will apply their knowledge and skills with the goal of furthering the State-of-the-Art of LEGO CAD software and support tools. Casual Users, Hobbyists, Educators, and Students will all reap the benefits of these advances. The open competition model of the L PRIZE will also encourage grass-roots level innovations in 3D software technologies and software interfaces that may benefit the software industry at large.

A couple of years back I worked on some simple filters to convert ldraw models into a format palateable to my toy raytracer, and generated the somewhat disappointing picture at the right. Still, fun stuff.

If you are interested, you should get in touch with these guys.

Addendum: Hey Julian, I know you've worked a bit on this stuff before, why not try and extract some of their money in your copious spare time?

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