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Space Replay is an obsidian nightmare from the future

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What if a nightmare could follow you? Space Replay, by Royal College of Art student Francesco Tacchini, along with Julinka Ebhardt and Will Yates-Johnson from Design Products, appears to be just that: it's an uncanny black orb that hovers around making eerie noises. According to its designer, the object "explores and manipulates transitional public spaces with particular acoustic properties," and then records and replays them, producing "a delayed echo of human activity." It also happens to look just like the malevolent orb of death from the Commodore 64's enigmatic video game, Impossible Mission.

It would be easy to think Space Replay was created with some computer graphics trickery, but its real-life design is deceivingly simple. The orb consists of a black latex balloon filled with helium, a battery-powered Arduino board, a speaker, and an Adafruit Wave Shield that's been modified to record and play back ambient sounds on the fly. And although it appears to contain some kind of coarse consciousness, the balloon is simply governed by its surroundings; its creator says the orb's neutral buoyancy makes it sensitive to local air currents. Good luck sleeping tonight.