Amon Tobin’s ISAM Stage Design

Posted by on June 7th, 2011

Via YouTube Preview Image

Sony’s “SmartAR” Augmented Reality Tech Demo

Posted by on May 30th, 2011

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Needless to say, the ability to photograph barcode-less items in the real world and get instant information on them could be huge, a sort of away-from-a-home-computer Google. What remains to be seen is if Sony can bring it to the masses in a palatable format and, of course, what Google will counteroffer if SmartAR takes off.

Video and words from

In the year 02037…

Posted by on March 27th, 2011

Via Stuart “Futuryst” Candy we learn of MIT’s Future Freight Flows; four attempts to show just what the year 02037 might look like, from the POV of a person watching various iterations of a news program itself current to that period.  (Stuart uses the Long Now’s 10,000 year clock calendar.)

Of the four, this one seems closest to the mark:

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How close? Well in my view it’s good, apart from these elements of it’s depiction:

  • Firstly, and mostly obviously, Nuclear Power. An increasing problem in extrapolating from the present in these rapidly changing times, something can happen just next week that invalidates the prediction you made today. This is a perfect case of that. Except for maybe state-controlled China (and we’ll see how long that situation itself lasts), that push we’ve been seeing to “re-brand” nuclear power as being ‘Green’ is over. No matter how hard they green-wash it, the world’s just got a deservedly bad case of the NIMBY’s for nuclear reactors. My prediction: reduced energy demands thanks to efficiency gains, coupled with a distributed, renewable energy driven, grid.
  • Hyperlocal manufacturing thanks to 3D Printing tech? Hell yes! But… buying designs as DRM’ed products, controlled via IP law? Well, maybe for the new global elite it might be the chic thing, but for the rest..? No. Far more likely: downloading open-source designs from sites like thingiverse for everything from fashion and furniture to food to medicine, as the technology improves.
  • Finally the year itself: 02037. 02017, more likely. It’s been traditional to project radical changes as being far away, over the horizon of the present. So this imagining of a newish world, a fictional future present, is pitched as being 26 years distant. But as we ride the wave of accelerating change, 6 years is the new 26 years, and I will happily place a Long Bet to that effect.

By way of contrast with this, I leave you with my least favourite of the four scenarios: the quasi-fascist/quasi-communist Eco World Order future:

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The Kno Tablet

Posted by on February 3rd, 2011

One more step to make printed college textbooks a thing of the past:

Via core77.

Scientists Find Cheap Solar Panel Material In Toothpaste

Posted by on February 3rd, 2011


From Gearlog:

Like a lot of green technologies, one of the major issues with solar panels is that they are expensive. But a team of researchers from the University of Oxford may have stumbled upon a way to make solar cells much less expensive.

And they found the answer in a tube of toothpaste.

The team discovered that a metal oxide commonly found in toothpaste can be combined with a special dye and imprinted onto glass, making an instant solar cell. The glass can be created in a variety of colors, and the creators say that it has a great deal of potential.

“It opens up a lot of versatility and a lot of possibilities for building design,” Dr Henry Snaith told the BBC, though he admitted that it’ll take some time before the solar glass will be a commercially viable product.

“Coupled with our extremely low cost of manufacture and processing and the ongoing research effort to improve the overall performance of the device, we think it’s only a short while till our performance will be competitive.”

The Real Life Civilization-Building Kit

Posted by on February 2nd, 2011

Making these machines, the group explains, is 8 times cheaper than buying them from manufacturers, on average. And in a world where resources might be scarcer than we anticipate more quickly than we anticipate, their ambitious project could prove to be a vital one. They’re publishing the full schematics and diagrams on their Wiki, so anyone can use them once shit goes Mad Max. If the internet still works, that is. OK, maybe you should print them out now just to be safe.

Via Gizmodo.

Tuning Graphene Film So It Sheds Water

Posted by on February 2nd, 2011

Windshields that shed water so effectively that they don’t need wipers. Ship hulls so slippery that they glide through the water more efficiently than ordinary hulls.

These are some of the potential applications for graphene, one of the hottest new materials in the field of nanotechnology, raised by the research of James Dickerson, assistant professor of physics at Vanderbilt.
Dickerson and his colleagues have figured out how to create a freestanding film of graphene oxide and alter its surface roughness so that it either causes water to bead up and run off or causes it to spread out in a thin layer.

“Graphene films are transparent and, because they are made of carbon, they are very inexpensive to make,” Dickerson said. “The technique that we use can be rapidly scaled up to produce it in commercial quantities.”

Via Science Daily.

Portugese Scientists Create Water-Powered Paper Battery

Posted by on January 31st, 2011

From Inhabitat:

Paper batteries are not a new creation — many scientists are working on creating transistors out of the material — but CENIMAT has taken the concept a step further with a battery that gets its energy from water through hydrogen and oxygen electrolysis.

The battery can also absorb water vapors from the atmosphere. Apparently if the air has just 40 percent humidity, it is enough for the battery to recharge itself. The faculty’s scientists hope that the technology will benefit in the production of tablets, mobile phones and medical devices

520-day mission to Mars gets ready to land next month

Posted by on January 22nd, 2011

The only big factor missing in the lack of gravity:

It sounds crazy, but 233 days ago a team of six scientists entered a sealed simulator in Russia. Their mission? Recreate the conditions of a 520-day round trip to and from Mars, realistically cutoff from the rest of the world. Come February they’ll finally reach the Red Planet, but the hardest part of the journey will still be ahead.

The experiment, called Mars500, is going down in a windowless isolation chamber within the Institute of Biomedical Problems in Moscow, with a team composed of three Russians, a fellow from France, one from China, and an Italian-Colombian. Communication is delayed just as it would be if the team was traveling further and further away from Earth for real; email and video messaging are the prime ways to exchange words even though the simulator is surrounded by a team of researchers, unseen by those inside. The team eats the kind of meals you’d find on the International Space Station and typically only enjoys showers weekly.

Via dvice.

Saturn’s moon Rhea may have a breathable atmosphere

Posted by on November 25th, 2010

From io9:

It seems oxygen is far more abundant than we ever suspected, particularly on moons that seem to be completely frozen solid. We recently found evidence of oxygen on Jupiter’s moons Europa and Ganymede, and now this finding on Europa. In fact, because the region of space surrounding Saturn’s rings has an oxygen atmosphere, it’s thought even more of the icy moons within the gas giant’s magnetosphere likely have little atmospheres of their own.

According to new data from the Cassini probe, the moon’s thin atmosphere is kept up by the constant chemical decomposition of ice water on the surface of Rhea. It’s likely that Saturn’s fierce magnetosphere is continually irradiating this ice water, which is what helps to maintain the atmosphere. Researchers suspect a lot of Rhea’s oxygen isn’t actually free right now, but is instead trapped inside Rhea’s frozen oceans.

New Body Printable Organic Body Armor is Twice as Strong as Kevlar

Posted by on November 25th, 2010

From Inhabitat:

Sometimes inspiration comes from the strangest of places. Case in point: scientists have just created a new super strong material based on the plaque found in Alzheimer’s patients’ brains. The new substance isn’t exactly the same as the plaque that causes the tragic disease, but it has a very similar chemical structure that is then coated with an additional protective layer. The tiny spheres that result are microscopic and when put together, form a printable substance that is tougher than steel, twice as tough as Kevlar and the hardest microscopic organic substance on Earth.

Thanks to vertigojones for the tip!

AVR Programming 01: Introduction

Posted by on November 5th, 2010

Mike Szczys over at hack a day is creating a tutorial for a programming a microcontroller.

This tutorial series aims to make you comfortable programming the Atmel AVR line of microcontrollers. Whether you’ve never touched a microcontroller before, or you’ve cut your teeth with dozens of Arduino projects, this will help you get right down to the hardware and give you the confidence to build anything.

You’ll need a little prerequisite knowledge, a tool or two, a program for your computer and a controller for starters.

Mold Sculptures On an iPad App, Then Print Them With a 3D Printer

Posted by on November 4th, 2010

From Gizmodo, play with digital clay and then print out your masterpiece:

It’s probably the easiest way to design 3D objects, without mucking around on CAD or other design programs. Actually using your fingertips to bend the lump of clay within the iPad app, turning it into a little object to print out—well, it sounds like a dream come true. Imagine your mom making Christmas tree ornaments this way, or being able to conjure up a little doohicky for sliding under a short table leg, within minutes?

Now the 3-D printers need to drop in price, just a little more…..

Friday Flying

Posted by on October 8th, 2010

Jeb Corliss is a professional wingsuit pilot and BASE-jumper – so I think the following video pretty much speaks for itself.  I don’t know about you, but I needed an extra injection of wonder and awesome, today:

Jeb Corliss wing-suit demo from Jeb Corliss on Vimeo.

Cambridge University Produces Cheap Plastic Organic Solar Cell

Posted by on September 17th, 2010

From Inhabitat:

The University of Cambridge has developed a low cost organic solar cell that has the potential to transform solar production. This new material is made of organic plastic and could be used on awnings, umbrellas and other plastic devices to generate energy.

By placing organic polymers (long chains of carbon-based molecules) in plastic you create an organic photovoltaic cell, that until now have not had much commercial success. With an operating principle similar to photosynthesis in green plants, organic photovoltaic cells are cheap to produce when compared to silicon solar cells, but have quite a low efficiency. This is something which the University of Cambridge is aiming to change.

The university team has reportedly come up with a commercial model that combines efficiency improvements, a longer lifespan, low-cost (and low-toxicity) raw materials, a cost-effective manufacturing process, and a product line that focuses on economies of scale and ease of installation. If this can be done, then cheaply produced solar cells have the ability to transform poorer countries and their energy demands.

Brother AirScouter projects 16-inch screen right on your eyeball

Posted by on September 17th, 2010

From slashgear, a prototype Retinal Imaging Display:

The images projected directly onto your retina simulate a 16-inch screen viewed for about three feet away according to the maker. The tech came from the Brother printer tech for laser and ink jet printers. The AirScouter will be launched in Japan for industrial uses like overlaying manuals on machinery. That is pretty cool and I could see a market for this thing in the DIY realm for folks that like to fix things themselves. Nothing like step-by-step directions clipped to your eyeball.

Thanks and hat tip to @bindychild!

Nine Strategies of Geo-engineering

Posted by on February 19th, 2010


OUTLAW BIOLOGY: Public Participation in the Age of Big Bio

Posted by on January 31st, 2010

Outlaw Biology, present by the UCLA Center for Society and Genetics and Art/Sci, presented a symposium, workshop and exhibition this weekend.

A symposium exploring new forms of public participation in biological research, raising questions and cultivating ideas about how life could and should be studied. Panelists will address issues including do-it-yourself biology, open source science, at home medical genetics, bio-art, and novel ethical engagements with science at the cutting edge. Event schedule includes: Friday, a panelist discussion with artists, scientists and normal people; Saturday, workshops and an open-house exhibition throughout.

A tentative list of workshops and exhibitions included:

1. Bioweathermap, Jason Bobe. With field-trips to the UCLA Arboretum and Hammer Museum (in cooperation with Machine Project

2. Learn to Design a DNA-based nanostructure using cadnano software, Philip Lukeman

3. Paint colorful microbes – luminescent, fluorescent, and pigmented – on do-it-yourself solid media. With a little time and luck, we’ll preserve the painted results in epoxy, like microbiological paintings in amber, Mackenzie Cowell

4. SKDB: Learn to use software tools for open source manufacturing and bioengineering, Bryan Bishop and Ben Lipkowitz

5. Use of Acinetobacter calcoaceticus strain ADP1 as a DIY bioengineering platform, David Metzgar

6. Ars Synthetica: Have an informed, ethical, and open dialogue on the emerging field of synthetic biology, Gaymon Bennett

7. Extract DNA from Strawberries, CSG Staff

8. Lactobacillus Plasmid Recovery and Visualization for fun and profit, Meredith L. Patterson

9. DIY Webcam Microscopy. Join us for a worldwide webcam hacking event and make your own 100x USB microscope for less than $10. We’ll provide the webcams and a live internet feed from other workshop locations across the world, from Bangalore to Australia. Find out more at

10. Velolab, See the first Bicyclized Mobile Biology lab, Sam Starr

“Original Sound Track”

Posted by on January 22nd, 2010

Any future Beethoven’s in the house?

Oh my goodness this is cute. The design you’re about to experience is called “Original Sound Track” and it’s basically a sound box flipped inside out and turned into a train on tracks. Set up your tracks, which have pins in them in just the right places, wind up your train car and set it on the tracks, and wowie! You’ve got your own little sound compilation! Made for kids, but who am I to say you adult figures can’t have one for yourself.

When this train makes it to production, it will come with 10 pieces of track which can be arranged in any number of different ways, allowing for the kid who runs it to make lots of different fresh songs! Then, just like any good modern toy, this train has song tracks you can buy separately. I’ll be in line the day they release the Chemical Brothers tracks! Or the Kraftwerk tracks – how awesome would that be?

This toy is basically GOING to inspire creativity and growth in cognitive ability in any child that uses it. Arranging music is intense – this is by far the simplest way to get a child excited about creating real amazing songs. Who DOESNT want their kid to become a composer!?

Video and link via yankodesign.

Sprayable, Instant Textile

Posted by on January 22nd, 2010

The Fabrican creates instant non-woven fabric:


Link via