Move Over, Dr. Dre: Sennheiser’s $25,000 Headphones

Via Wired:

The Sennheiser Orpheus originally debuted back in 1991. It was designed and sold as a complete system: a table-top stereo tube amplifier, the power supply, an internal DAC, all the cabling, and of course the headphones themselves. The engineers in Germany used exotic materials to give the Orpheus sort of a timeless, Art-Deco-meets-steampunk vibe. It’s an electrostatic system — instead of traditional speaker cones inside the earcups, you’ll find thin pieces of film that vibrate when stimulated by electrical currents. The sound is amazing: lively, super-nuanced, and intimate.

Only 300 units were produced, and each one sold for $12,500 — a very large sum of money for a headphone rig, even by today’s standards. Twenty years later, a complete Orpheus system can fetch upward of $25,000 if it’s in really good condition. Given less than half that money, you could construct a modern electrostatic headphone rig that sounds pretty close.

Amazing Immersive Video Concept

I’m blind in one eye so all that 3D stuff you binocular freaks talk about all the time does nothing for me. Please, many of y’all complain about headaches.

But this concept from MIT Media Lab’s Object Based Media Project is wicked cool. Blurry side screens that are intelligently rendered in real time provide a more immersive experience by giving your peripheral video something to so.

And did someone say GAMING? Yes, it’s the monotoned narrator, towards the end. He said it.

Watch this video.

Communism vs. Capitalism : See The Difference

You can argue until you’re blue in the face but sometimes a picture is worth much more than a thousand words. These photos are a stunning punch-in-the-gut example to people on the left attacking consumerism and capitalism; THIS is the difference that economic systems make.

The work is by photographer Stefan Koppelkamm and were featured in an article in Der Speigel called A Massive Facelift for Eastern Germany. The before pictures show the scenery from the communist days and were taken in the early 1990s. The after pictures are today after unification.

As the article says:

Although fascinated by his time travelling, Koppelkamm realized in the early 1990s that no one but him was interested in the sights of the unspoilt East. Looked at in the cold light of day, his photos depict buildings with gray facades, broken windows, tattered blinds and bricked-up entrances. In front, temporary scaffolding protects pedestrians and parked cars from falling bricks and bits of masonry.

The widespread decay of East German buildings in the 1980s was clearly visible. Hardly anyone wanted to live in the gray buildings with moldy entranceways, where when it rained the water would pour out of the broken drain pipes and pummel against the outside wall. No one wanted apartments without a functioning bathroom, with coal heating and damp in the walls. People preferred the large residential complexes, which despite being rather bleak and cramped, were at least solid and came equipped with “full comfort,” as it was known in the GDR — central heating and a hot water supply.

Go look at the whole stunning gallery.

All photos copyright Stefan Koppelkamm

The Solo R.V. | Check Out This Amazing One Person Camper

Here’s a design concept for the self contained digital nomad — roam around in a personal recreational vehicle that’s easy on gas but lets you cook, sleep, do laundry, work and store your stuff.

Designboom says:

‘Bufalino’ by german industrial designer Cornelius Comanns is a small camper
which is equipped to meet the basic needs of one person. the concept behind the project
is to offer absolute flexibility during periods of travel.

h/t my wife!

The Solar Powered Wifi GPS Tent Of The Future

People often talk about the innovation created by project like NASA. Well, here’s some serious innovation created by people who get high at concerts.

Telecom giant Orange unveiled a concept solar tent in conjunction with the opening of this year’s Glastonbury music festival in the U.K. Inspired by the new flexible photovoltaics in development, the tent–if produced for consumers–would be covered in a semi-photovoltaic fabric woven with both coated solar threads and conventional threads to form a solar shell that could be adjusted to face optimum sun throughout the day.

The solar energy would then be channeled into four main power uses: heating, lighting, communications, and recharging.

and…

And how many times have you been to a field festival only to spend an eternity trying to find your way back to your camp? The development team for the tent noticed that this wandering was a common problem at Glastonbury each year.

For that reason, the tent would be equipped with “Glo-cation” technology that would allow users to find their tents by sending an SMS message or using an automatic RFID tag similar to the ones used in London’s Underground Oyster subway cards. The tent would then glow in response.

The tent would also serve to broadcast a Wi-Fi signal, though it’s unclear whether it would have a Wi-Fi booster for a central area hub or act as an independent Wi-Fi router.