DARPA Invents Victorian Inspired Chip

It appears that US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), has taken a page out of Victorian tech to recreate a type of logic gate in the style of Victorian inventor Charles Babbage because the device works at temperatures too high for conventional transistors. Because of the chip’s ability to withstand high levels of heat, it could theoretically be used in jet and rocket engines.

The concept that we are reusing Babbage’s ideas for today’s high-tech systems is really neat. I be some Steampunk working at DARPA is behind this, and to you, lady or gentleman, I give my since thanks for resurrecting the ideas of Babbage for today’s world.

You can read all about the research here from an article on New Scientist, where all the geeks cool people hang out and read their news.

Steampunk Wristwatch

Pocket watches tend to be the typical time keeping fare for Steampunks, but a new wristwatch recently surfaced that’s rather unique and perfectly fitting for the Steampunk looking for something a little different.

This watch uses an LED wristwatch board to display the time. The watch is constructed from a small piece of oak and pieces of brass sheet and tubing. The maker, Eric, used hand tools, a Dremel tool and a cordless drill to shape and form each of the pieces of the watch’s face plate, backing, and wrist band.

Unfortunately, I was unable to find schematics for all of you interested in creating your own wristwatch like this one, but I hope that the pictures combined with the previous post of the LED board itself will inspire some ideas!

iRetrofone

For all you wielding an iPhone I have a special treat for you tonight. As usual, I was perusing the limitless halls of handmade goodness on Etsy, and I happened to come across this iPhone dock: the iRetrophone.

This phone dock by Scott Freeland is a fully-functional, stationary iPhone dock with working handset and complete compatibility with USB cable, which is rather cool. It’s USB cable hookups allows for charging and syncing to your computer while it is resting in the iRetrophone dock. It comes in three different colors, bronze, copper, and nickel. It is compatible with all iPhones including the iPhone 4, but for all the negative press I’ve been hearing about it, I can’t help but wonder why you’d buy one at all.

The only downside to this phone dock, aside from the price, is that it is unlikely to fit some of the Steampunk modified iPhones, as it appears the nesting area for the phone is rather snug.

Steampunk Nintendo DS Mod

Today, I’m following up on a request by one of my readers to help him in his quest to mod his Nintendo DS. This request comes on the heels of a number topics he has asked for help in preparing for SteamCon II, and while I was going to refer him to The Antiquarian Guild of Inventors and Engineers to peruse their knowledge database, I sadly discovered their site is down.

So! A modded DS… Yes, let me see here… *rummages around the internets*

Ahah! Observe!

But perhaps you are thinking to yourself, “No, no, my dear Audelia. That’s a cigar box, not a Nintendo DS. Look! It even has the Republic of Cuba stamp.”

But then, I open it up and…

It’s perfect! This DS was modded bysteampunk10. You can check out the post that announces the DS’s completion here on his blog, but I think modders will find his Destructoid.com post far more interesting and useful with regards to creating your own modifications. There, you can find a bit more information about the materials used to construct the modded DS.

So, I hope this helps! I’ll be looking into resources for my reader’s other requests as I come upon them. And for all the rest of you, if you ever need help trying to find Steampunk info, just let me know. I’d be happy to help you in your search.

USB Typewriter

I’ve highlighted a lot of Steampunk computers and keyboards in the months that I’ve been working on this blog. Computers play an incredibly important role in the Steampunk community. There’s no single tool that so simply and instantaneously connects us to each other. And, if you have the ability, funds, and the workspace there’s no better tool to Steampunk than the computer.

I’ve seen a lot of mods in my time, but this one just blew me away.

That’s a modified typewriter plugged into an iPad and functions just like today’s modern keyboard. Why mod a modern keyboard (ergonomics, portability, and num-pads aside… trifles!) when you can plug and actual typewriter into your computer?

USB Typewriter is run by Jack Zylkin over at Etsy (where else?). There you can buy fully refurbished typewriters to suit your computing needs, or in the true spirit of Steampunk, Do it Yourself kits to make your own USB typewriter. I like that someone has found a use for all those antique typewriters we have sitting about that hardly anyone knows how to repair anymore. Perhaps this will (relatively) preserve some of the antique typewriters and prevent their keys being pried off and employed for Steampunk keyboard mods!

Old Time Computer

Computers are an important part of our modern lives. They make it so much simpler to do work, play, and to socialize. They are, however, hardly works of art. The average computer is not a work of art. It is simply utilitarian, made of various plastics to keep productions costs down. The Steampunk computer, as you all are well aware, is one that is concerned equally with function and fashion. In Steampunk utility does not mean a lack of beauty.

Old Time Computer is a small, independent operation by “woodguy32” who specializes in the modification of Mac computers, keyboards, mice, and iPhone and iPad docking stations.  Needless to say, if you have any needs for a Steampunk Mac, this is a great place to purchase it.

He’s even got laptops among his repertoire of modified computers which is excellent for Steampunks on the go.

If you would like to explore the many products offered by Old Time Computer, you can visit there main website or their Etsy Store for examples of the excellent work by woodguy32.

Backlash 1.0

In what seems to be a growing population, another Steampunk I-Phone app has appeared on my radar, Backlash 1.0, by Sinecure Industries. I’ve seen a lot of games that assume that shading their game in brown and gold and throwing some gears in the background will make it sufficiently Steampunk to boost sales. I don’t review that garbage, and I don’t waste all of your time with it. This game stands out and seems intriguing because it is heavily based in physics and yet still succeeds at being amusing.

If you want to learn more about the game, you can read about it on Sinecure’s website. I think the music is only meh… it has absolutely no Steampunk aspects to it whatsoever, but thankfully, the music is one thing that is easily enough muted on an iPhone game. But for 40 levels of Physics based gameplay, at 99 cents, it’s not a bad deal.

If this suits your fancy, you can buy the game here via the iTunes Store.