DIY Dad Recreates Star Trek’s Enterprise As a Playset

Set phasers to fun! David Weiberg wanted to do something special for his 8-year-old son, who recently became a Star Trek fan after discovering the beloved sci-fi series and his father’s old action figures from the early 1990s. So the DIY designer built his son an amazing replica of the bridge of the Enterprise from the original series as a playset.

“Inspired by the clean wooden design of some of his other toys, I set out to design and create a modular playset that he could use to assemble various rooms aboard the U.S.S. Enterprise,” Weiberg explained. “I wanted a set that could break down and store easily. I tried to use scrap materials where I could. The bridge was the biggest challenge so I started there.”

The mostly wooden structure was created using a variety of easy-to-find materials, including pine, PVC sheet, filler putty, RTV silicone, and Flexstone spray (which gave the floor texture and mimicked the carpeting from the original TV set). Weiberg even built several crew chairs plus railings that resemble the ones found on the Enterprise, along with a master captain’s chair that he made from polystyrene and Apoxie putty.

For the bridge’s visual components, including its computer displays, Weiberg used Photoshop and printed the images out on glossy photo paper to make them shine like glass panels. When he was finished, Weiberg sprayed the playset with clear Polyacrylic to give it a glossier and more “toy-like” finish.

Weiberg’s son is thrilled with the finished product, which he’ll no doubt be using to boldly go where no kid has gone before.

If you want to build the Enterprise’s bridge yourself, Weiberg has posted step-by-step instructions, and a materials list, at

[h/t Make]

Scientists Have Launched an Earthquake Emoji Design Competition

There’s no denying that emojis have changed the way we communicate. As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words—and sometimes a thumbs up or crying face emoji will suffice. But could an earthquake emoji help save lives?

A group of scientists thinks it certainly couldn’t hurt. As The Seattle Times reports, a self-proclaimed #emojiquake steering committee is hosting an open competition for emoji earthquake designs that could be used to swiftly spread news of an imminent earthquake to diverse populations.

“We need an emoji so we can communicate quickly with much larger groups of people,” Dr. Sara McBride, a disaster researcher who works with the U.S. Geological Survey, told The Seattle Times. “People can process pictures faster than words, and not everybody is fluent in English.”

As McBride pointed out on Twitter, there are existing emojis to represent other weather events—like tornados and cyclones—but none to depict an earthquake.

Social media has proven instrumental in alerting large populations about impending natural disasters, giving them time to seek shelter or take proper precautions. According to the BBC, Japan and Mexico both rely on earthquake alerts sent to their digital devices via early warning technology.

The winning design will be chosen by popular vote on Twitter, and the steering committee will work with Unicode Consortium—essentially the world’s emoji gatekeepers—to get the earthquake emoji approved for widespread use on phones, computers, and social media.

You don’t have to be a scientist or graphic designer to enter the contest. The committee has already received more than 40 submissions, but entries will be accepted until July 14. Designs can be emailed to, but be sure to check out the guidelines and size specifications on the #emojiquake website.

[h/t The Seattle Times]

Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
New 'Eye Language' Lets Paralyzed People Communicate More Easily
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // ;CC BY-SA 4.0

The invention of sign language proved you don't need to vocalize to use complex language face to face. Now, a group of designers has shown that you don't even need control of your hands: Their new type of language for paralyzed people relies entirely on the eyes.

As AdAge reports, "Blink to Speak" was created by the design agency TBWA/India for the NeuroGen Brain & Spine Institute and the Asha Ek Hope Foundation. The language takes advantage of one of the few motor functions many paralyzed people have at their disposal: eye movement. Designers had a limited number of moves to work with—looking up, down, left, or right; closing one or both eyes—but they figured out how to use these building blocks to create a sophisticated way to get information across. The final product consists of eight alphabets and messages like "get doctor" and "entertainment" meant to facilitate communication between patients and caregivers.

Inside of a language book.
Sagar.jadhav01, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 4.0

This isn't the only tool that allows paralyzed people to "speak" through facial movements, but unlike most other options currently available, Blink to Speak doesn't require any expensive technology. The project's potential impact on the lives of people with paralysis earned it the Health Grand Prix for Good at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity earlier in June.

The groups behind Blink to Speak have produced thousands of print copies of the language guide and have made it available online as an ebook. To learn the language yourself or share it with someone you know, you can download it for free here.

[h/t AdAge]


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