Few people have heard of it, yet many consider John Blankenbaker's KENBAK-1 to be the first commercial personal computer.

Koss introduced these headphones over 40 years ago, and they remain affordable favorites to this day.

Darth Vader's Disembodied Head

Darth

It struck me this afternoon: Star Wars now qualifies as Retro sci-fi.

Oddly enough, this came as a complete surprise because the film was - for better or worse - one of the defining moments of my childhood: I couldn't believe the stunning special effects or the otherworldy sets and creatures. I was awed by the medieval romance of lightsabers and tempted by both sides of the force. I was overwhelmed by the sheer number of Star Wars action figures. The film made the cheesy special effects in Doctor Who harder to watch than ever. Heck, I wasn't even old enough to realize that the dialog was exquisitely hokey (especially Luke's wamprat-like whining).

All of this is a rather roundabout attempt to justify this post. It's a hot air balloon shaped like Darth Vader's helmet, designed by a team headed by Belgian Star Wars fan Benoît Lambert. It was inflated for the first time on March 8, 2007 -- although a few tweaks were required to make it look just right. It measures 26 m (86 ft) high, weighs around 260 kg (640 lb) and accommodates two passengers and a pilot. Let's hope he doesn't follow up with a gigantic Jabba the Hutt dirigible.

The 'official' Darth Vader Balloon Site

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