[Welcome to the Sci-Fi Lunch Break, where (mostly) every day we'll be supplying you with a cool bit of audio/visual goodness to break up the monotony of the work day. You bring the turkey on rye, we'll bring you something out of this world to watch while you eat it.]
Rube Goldberg may have been an early 19th Century author, sculptor and cartoonist, but his name will forever be associated with meticulously engineered cause-and-effect machines. Even if you don't recognize the name, you'll surely know the devices; a ball rolls down a track, flips a lever igniting a match which pops a balloon that startles a chicken into laying an egg and on and on until maximum zaniness is obtained. Goldbergian contraptions have been used in all manner of movies, from Wallace and Gromit to The Goonies to the Saw franchise, but they've always required physical contact.
Now a London design firm has removed touch from the classic Goldberg contraption in a short film called Nearness, "One of the essential properties of Near Field Communication is nearness, but this is set against one of the paradoxes of touch-based interaction where, in fact, nothing needs to touch. In a very short film made with BERG, we explore nearness in interactive technologies."
The minute long short was accomplished with a series of RFID enabled devices that play off each other in a charming evolution of an age old tradition.