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Chuck Messer of Tackle Design and The Open Prosthetics Project on Smash Lab Answered

I finally got a chance to watch the sneak preview of Discovery's new Smash Lab* last night, and imagine my surprise to see someone I know hosting! Chuck Messer, one of the four Smash Lab hosts, is a partner at Tackle Design the people behind the The Open Prosthetics Project, which also has an Open Prosthetics group on Instructables. Tackle Design and my own Squid Labs shared many similarities, so Chuck and I would share stories about how we each ran the companies; he even managed to visit Squid Labs when we were still located in Emeryville (pre-control tower).

It's great to see good people getting wider recognition, and I wish Chuck and Smash Lab success!

  • disclosure - Discovery is an advertiser on Instructables, and has been advertising for Smash Lab. This is not part of their advertising.



10 years ago

As I said in this blog postthis blog post Smash Lab is a sham. The whole sneak peek episode was an hour long commercial for Rhino Lining. As I said in the post the hosts appear to be qualified (backgrounds in engineering, etc) but it's a shame that they compromise themselves and loose any credibility and trust those qualifications afford them, to peddle wares for the Discovery Channel. It's really disappointing.

I have not seen any other episodes besides the sneak peek, I plan to watch some more episodes. But if the sneak peek was an indication of what's to come...

I agree with your concern about commercialism and a conflict of interest. Perhaps they would have been better to say "a polyethylene-based truck lining" rather than call it by the brand name, or give a disclosure as to whether Rhino contributed anything to the episode. As to the rest of your points in the blog post, the hosts, or at least someone from the technical team, should spend some time answering questions from viewers on a web-based forum. A TV show like this is highly edited, so there's probably straightforward answers that just didn't make the cut.

My concern isn't that they used a specific product name. I think it's a great idea, to put everyday, name brand products to the test to see if they can be used in other ways or stand up to manufacture clams, etc. As long as the testing methods are not skewed in favor of the product as they seemed to be in this case. I agree that our view of the tests as in the case of Smash Lab are themselves a bit skewed, due to editing and time constraints. However, the burden of proof is on the shoulders of the show and Smash Lab (at least in this episode) failed to provide that proof. I do not think that providing this proof, even given the constraints is too much to ask. I really like the concept of Smash Lab and am looking froward to watching other episodes, in the hope that the "Rhino" episode was an isolated incident.

I saw the preview, it was awesome.

I cannot wait to start watching SmashLab. I will definitely be sure to look out for Chuck!