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Let’s get this TED Talk out of the way first: Juan Enriquez: Will our kids be a different species?
Next, as we remind ourselves, anything that can be done to a rat…
The new study, which appears in Science today, takes a different approach. Instead of trying to repair the main information superhighway from the brain to the body, Grégoire Courtine, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne, and colleagues focused on alternative routes. Most spinal injuries in people do not sever the spinal cord completely, explains Courtine. To approximate this situation in rats, his team made two surgical cuts in the spinal cord, severing all of the direct connections from the brain, but leaving some tissue intact in between the cuts. Then they had the rodents begin a rehab regime intended to bypass the fractured freeway, as it were, by pushing more traffic onto neural back roads and building more of them.
This regime, which began about a week after the rats were injured, lasted about 30 minutes a day. During each session, the researchers injected the animals with a cocktail of drugs to improve the function of rats’ neural circuits in the part of the spinal cord involved in leg movements, and they stimulated this area with electrodes. With its spinal cord thus primed for action, a rat was fitted into a harness attached to a robotic device that supported its weight and allowed it to walk forward on its hind legs to the extent that it was able. At first, the rats could not move their legs at all, let alone walk.
But after 2 or 3 weeks, the rodents began taking steps toward a piece of food after a gentle nudge from the robot. By 5 or 6 weeks, they were able to initiate movement on their own and walk to get the food. And after a few additional weeks of intensified rehab, they were able to walk up rat-sized stairs and climb over a small barrier placed in their path. Rats that did not undergo rehab, in contrast, showed no improvement at all. Rats suspended over a moving treadmill that elicited reflex-like stepping movement, did not improve either, suggesting that full recovery depends on making intentional movements, not just any movement.
What does every Mutant teen want? Mutant kicks:
Rayfish, a custom footwear company, is marketing leather sneakers that come in every color from shimmering gold to neon green, in patterns that mimick giraffes, zebras, leopard, and lady bugs. And they claim that these designs are grown directly on the hides of custom-engineered stingrays.
And again via our good, good acquaintances at io9:
Susan Dominus has penned a remarkable piece for the New York Times about Krista and Tatiana Hogan, the 4-year old conjoined twin girls from British Columbia who are attached at the head. Scans show that the two girls have brains that are interconnected by a never-seen-before “thalamic bridge,” an indication that they might share conscious thoughts. And if their early behavior is any indication, this may very likely be the case.
Finally, our friend Chris Arkenberg tells us to ‘ware the body net hackers. That’s right, #transhumanproblems:
Security concerns for the nascent field of wireless implants are certainly welcomed but the event stands more broadly as a glowing sign of the times. The relentless ubiquitizing of computation is working its way into our bodies. As has been noted elsewhere [pdf] the path of finance and innovation for these waves of emerging technology typically follows the military-medical-consumer pipeline, walking down the line of survivability from being blown up by an Afghani IED, past spastic hearts and hungry cells, into urban navigation and caffeine acquisition. And maybe transdermal metabolic sleeves for networked jogging or ward implants for not-so-bad convicts squeezed out of overcrowded prison farms and remotely monitored for geofencing violations or the odd spike in muscular adrenergics. The military has the money to develop the tech and treat its soldiers, who are summarily discharged into hospitals that facilitate the transfer of technology into the private sector. Point being, if you’re starting to save up for that cybernetic occipital mat implant, you’d be most well-served to enlist the ready hand of McAfee Security to guard your mind meats from the shady legions of digital malcontents. Standard fees, of course, do apply.
Recently, retail clothing chain H&M has caught a great deal of flack for using computer generated bodies in their online catalog. And while there is something to be said for looking critically at the introduction of computer-generated “perfection” into an industry already psychotically obsessed with unattainable standards of physical beauty, Coilhouse’s Nadya Lev has some relevant re-contextualization to share:
Also, this foray into the uncanny valley brings us one step closer to the age of the idoru. With teenage pop idol Aimi Eguchi, whose face is a composite of six different singers, and vocaloids (singing synthesizers) such as pigtailed holographic superstar, we’re almost there — in The Future. And even though H&M’s online catalogue conforms to the same beauty standard as any other big fashion retailer, this technology actually has potential to subvert the paradigm altogether.
See the rest over at Coilhouse.
From WIRED UK:
Japanese company Neurowear is creating a range of fashion itemsthat are operated using brainwaves, including a pair of moveable cat ears.
The cat ear product, called “necomimi” is a novelty hair band that is worn in the normal way but features sensors that pick up on brain signals and convert them into visible actions — in this case by wiggling the cat ears.
The ears twitch through a range of different positions, which correspond to different brain activity. So when you concentrate, the ears point upwards and when you relax the ears flop down and forwards. The result is a kick-ass pair of ears that will make everyone at the furry convention / fancy dress party jealous.
Today’s worthy Kickstarter project:
Defrag is an iPad magazine that features creative writing, music, visual art, multimedia and music videos from around the world, introducing you to the vibrant, multifaceted cultural life of your planet. No political soundbites, no celebrity profiles and no corporate propaganda.
In the first issue you’ll discover an indie rock scene in China, fine artists from India and a Heavy metal band from Iran. You’ll read poetry from Egypt, participatory fiction from California and see what club VJ’s are doing in Sweden. You’ll also hear experimental music from the UK, psychedelic blues from NYC, and experience multimedia hip-hop from the West Bank. Not the sort of content you’re likely to find on Fox News or in People Magazine.
It’s Cyberpunk Future Present, and full of There Is No They. And Phase 3 is to move it to Android tablets & PC. I like this a lot.
A new Cornell cloth that can selectively trap noxious gases and odors has been fashioned by a senior into a mask and hooded shirts inspired by the military.
The garments use metal organic framework molecules (MOFs) and cellulose fibers that were assembled in assistant fiber science professor Juan Hinestroza’s lab to create the special cloth.
MOFs, which are clustered crystalline compounds, can be manipulated at the nanolevel to have cages that are the exact same size as the gas they are trying to capture, said Jennifer Keane ’11, a fiber science and apparel design (FSAD) major in the College of Human Ecology.
Keane worked with Hinestroza and fiber science postdoctoral associate Marcia Da Silva Pinto to create the gas-absorbing hood and mask. Some of the basic science behind this project was funded by the U.S. Department of Defense.
At first the process did not work smoothly. “These crystalline molecules are like a powder that cannot easily become part of cloth,” Da Silva Pinto noted. After months of trying to attach the particles to the fiber, the researchers realized that, “The key was to bring the fiber to the particle … It was a real paradigm shift,” she said.
“Now we can make large surfaces of fabric coated with MOFs, and we are looking at scaling up this technology to nanofibers,” said Hinestroza. “This type of work would only be possible at a place like Cornell where you have this unique merging of disciplines, where a fashion designer can interact easily with a chemist or a materials scientist.”
Though trained as a chemical engineer, Hinestroza said he likes “to work with designers because they think very differently than scientists. I love that because that’s where the real creativity comes, when you have this collision of styles and thinking processes.”
via Alex Vagenas
This short-film by Interdisciplinary Fashion Designer Nancy Tilbury and Visual Artists 125 Creative gives us a glimpse at what they think fashion in 2050 might look like:
Couture becomes a biological experience, gowns are assembled by gas and nano-electronic-particles, where tailoring and cosmetics are constructed by 3D liquid formations, including swallowable technologies exciting the mind, body and soul through physical expression. It is a time when couture will be cultured and farmed as fashion facets of human flesh. A Fashion Futures Film to provoke…
thanks for the tip-off Emily Crane!
In fact, check out this film of her work too:
Foam used to cushion astronauts derriere is now being used in bras. Nick Gilbert interviews Dr Tim Nielsen, who explains the more practical uses:
“A derivation of the foam is used in the memory foam mattresses. It’s also used in the safety lining of racing car helmets, and so I realised it could have a lot of practical uses, and this softening and expansion could have a lot of benefits.”
Hang on. Softening and expanding? What exactly does this bra actually do?
“It can boost the cleavage when it detects a rise in body temperature,” Dr Nielsen said.
“Such as when a woman gets a little flushed when she gets excited. It can kind of do some of the flirting for you.”
“But it also has a lot of practical benefits.”
“For example, if you’re exercising and it detects a rise in body temperature, it can expand to offer more support when you need it.”
The bra, according to Dr Nielsen, can also adapt to a woman’s changing shape and size, meaning you’re less likely to have to shop for another bra down the line.
Betabrand is proud to offer you the opportunity to own a piece of DARPA-class technology in hoodie form. For those unfamiliar with DARPA, it stands for Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency–the government agency responsible for creating the Internet, Stealth fighter, and robots galore.
You’ll note some special differences between our hoodie and the common hooded coat. Most notably, the seams run in unique directions, thanks to an ingenious algorithm cooked up by our friends Jonathan Bachrach and Saul Griffith from Otherlab.
…At long last, you can own a coat that looks like the love child of Spiderman and a stealth fighter.
More in this interview on BoingBoing.
Comrade-in-arms, grinder, and occasional Science Fictional overlord M1k3y recently penned a very insightful, spoiler-laden and topical overview of William Gibson’s new novel ZERO HISTORY over at the Tech Gonzo Diary.
ATEMPORALITY! There, I said it again. It’s been an obsession of mine recently and much of my excitement on the release of this book stemmed from videos of Bruce Sterling’s lectures on the subject, which he kept speaking of as a back’n’forth between him and Gibson, as they fleshed-out this idea. That Zero History would be the bible of Atemporality. That this would be the case was furthered by twitter exchanges between these two, and thusly hashtagged tweets by them on the subject.
So is Zero History a manifesto of Atemporality.. a guidebook to a new understanding of progress, a new way of viewing the present, the defining of a new historical epoch?
[Via: The Tech Gonzo Diary]
Students of Stockholm’s two most prestigious design schools have collaborated to produce these awe-inspiring, full-wearable shoes, 3D printed in polyamid.
Naim Josefi and Souzan Youssouf, of Beckmans & Konstfack respectively, designed and modelled the shoes for Selective Laser Sintering (the one with all the powder and the lasers) and produced five pairs for Naim’s “Melonia” collection, shown during Stockholm Fashion Show earlier this month.
The concept for the shoes call for further exploration in ever-developing rapid prototyping processes. The pair envisage a world in which we could produce and recycle such objects in a closed loop.
The Deafinite Style is a concept from Munich-based Designaffairs STUDIO that turns a hearing aid into a piece of jewelry, provided you’re up for a bit of lobe stretching to get started. The main advantage they propose (aside from an instant hipster-grunge-punk look) is the opportunity to embed the TriMic System — a highly effective directional microphone system made from 3 individual microphones — into the plug, helping people who suffer from severe hearing loss.
Core77 contributor Ben Hopson (he wrote the “Kinetic Design and the Animation of Products” piece last March) collaborated with entrepreneur Glen Liberman of Kinekt Design to design a series of kinetic jewelry pieces, and the Gear Ring is the first to be realized. Made from high quality matte stainless steel, this ring is currently available here in a limited number of sizes.
Link and video via core77.com.
Fashion designers recently went all out and put together a weird mix of creations for the China Fashion Week which was held in November 2009. A bi-annual event, the Fashion Week showcases the latest creations of prominent brand names as well as the works of the upcoming folk.
Link and photo via weirdasianews.com.
Rock, paper scissors for the next generation:
This month’s issue of tee-magazine T-post is maybe the weirdest shirt I’ve ever seen. It looks normal (and pretty nice, actually) in real life, but when worn in front of a webcam hooked up to T-post’s special web app, a ghostly, green hand emerges from it and challenges you to a game of Rochambeau.
Mathematics and fashion aren’t necessarily strange bedfellows. The craft of pattern making and transforming 2D flats into three-dimenionsal garments does require an understanding of basic arithmetics.
LISA SHAHNO’s latest collection “SQUARING THE SQUARE” takes mathematical principles and uses them as pure, unadulterated inspiration.
The entire collection is created from rectangular pieces of fabric in various lengths and widths sewn together into sculptural forms. The result is bold and dramatic architectural fashions that reshape silhouettes with faceted surfaces and sharp angles.