The Harris-Griffiths Dendro-Optical Interpretation Engine

A few years ago I was contacted via a friend by the folks that make Hendricks Gin. They had at the time a thing called the Horseless Carriage of Curiosities, which was a vintage railway carriage that contained all manner of weird and wonderful items that would be shipped to various events and festivals around the country, as a sort of advertising item for their (rather tasty) gin. They were doing a sort of project where they would show unusual items to people and get them to make up the story of the item in question. That's where I came in.

They asked me for two quirky items and one of the things I came up with was this:

The concept behind it was a logical development of the Polaroid camera. In the Polaroid, you point the camera at a subject and it produces a near instant photograph of it. With the Harris-Griffiths Dendro-Optical Interpretation Engine, you point it at a subject and it near instantly carves a small wooden bust of it. What could be more simple?

The mechanism is composed of brass and steel, with a pair of organic input sensors carefully painted by my friend, Lesley-Anne Harris (because she is good at that sort of thing). The whole thing is encased in a glass dome, and mounted on a sturdy wooden tripod so it can get a good view of its subject matter.

Rumours that it can move independantly and likes to watch it's owners as they sleep are 98% false.