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Devices of Wonder

Tuesday, November 9th, 2004 by | Filed Under: Cool Sites

Devices of Wonder

This site has two versions, high speed and low speed. The high speed is definitely worth it. Even if you have to wait due to load times. It is fully animated and will walk you through everything you need to know. Once it loads you choose a device to play with and the fun begins. My favorites were Antonio Diavolo the Acrobat, Magic Lantern Slide, and UniBug.

The low speed version will show you the device and give you lots of information about the item you art looking at. Things that were really cool in this section is the Sorceress’s Mirror, UniBug, and Compound Microscope. I personally thought the information in this section was more in-depth and interesting than some in the high speed version.

Here’s a description of the UniBug:

“UniBug 3.1
Mark W. Tilden
English, born 1961
Twenty transistors and fifty mechanical parts
3 x 8 x 12 in.
Lent by the Los Alamos National Laboratory, Research Laboratory,
Los Alamos, New Mexico

Although digital devices dominate today’s technological landscape, physicist Mark W. Tilden has built hundreds of analog devices that can mimic natural behaviors. These “BIObots,” as he calls them, have nothing to do with computers, resembling instead “the 98 percent of living species that manage fine without a brain.” According to Tilden, “Unlike digital technology, analog devices may or may not do the same thing twice because they aren’t programmed. You can influence them, but you don’t have absolute control. In cases where their survival is threatened, they have the advantage of instinct.” The Unibug 3.1 is an example of a BIObot that senses light and then moves toward the light source.”

This site is very neat, so take your time and explore all its nooks and crannies.

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