Candles are low tech by definition. We've been using them for thousands of years. But designer Zelf Koelman put a more modern spin on them by whipping up an auto-lighting candle rig that even has a dimmer switch. It's as neat as it is totally absurd.

As a practical gadget, it's both ridiculously over-engineered and super low-tech at the same time. But as a weird conversation piece and experiment in lighting, it's pretty damn cool nonetheless. For a device that does something as simple as lighting candles, it's impressively complex, like a good Rube Goldberg machine. Koelman, a student of the Industrial Design program at Eindhoven University of Technology, explains the inner workings of his gadget this way:

Candles are lit and extinguished in random. The lamp will automatically ignite new candles if the candles run out of wax and if they are available. The lamp checks if it needs to ignite a new candles by measuring the weight of each candle. In case the lamp runs out of full candles it will sense when the user puts a new candle in one of its sockets, and will immediately ignite the new candles to the amount set by the knob.

It's not the most insanely flamboyant piece of candle tech we've ever seen, but as a contender for most useless machine (but with fire), it's a fun little experiment. Candles that don't light themselves will never look quite the same. [Core77]