"Purposeful objects that solve their own problems"

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/06/16/tensegrity-under-glass.html


what exactly is an object that solves its own problem?

Like - a rock that is made of a special type of nanomolecule that softens when kinetic energy is applied to it - allowing Dr. Johnson to refute things with it painlessly.


Isn’t this pretty much what a suspension bridge does? Or a building truss?


These are neat, I really like this one.

I find those tiny pulleys cute. It’s a shame that the rocks are so boring.

I’m torn, is his webpage refreshed with it’s simplicity. Or does it need page transition animations.
At the very least, why are all of the images gifs?!

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I prefer David Robinson’s approach:


No, because a suspension bridge solves the problem of getting from this side of the river to that side of the river. The means it uses to solve that problem are superficially similar, but the base problem is very different.

That said … you could argue that the base problem being solved here is ‘how to suspend this rock while only touching the glass’. In which case, yeah; suspension bridge.

These are actually pretty nifty bits of engineering.

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Or how to extract cash from people who have too much.

Turn one of those bell jar thingamajigs over, and it will cease to solve its own problem and start becoming its own problem.

Well, that’s the problem we want the bridge to solve, but applying the same anthropomorphic rationality that we do to the rocks, the bridge’s problem is survival, i.e. avoiding collapse. I mean, the “problem” these art pieces solved for us is also different from the problem they solve for the rock. For us, it solves the problem of needing something interesting to look at. For the artist it solves the problem that modern sculpture has to have a clever engineering hook to go viral…:slight_smile:

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