Warren Ellis: A Séance for the Future

Posted by on October 28th, 2012
YouTube Preview Image

CERN Photos

Posted by on February 3rd, 2011

science fiction 2

Photos taken by Ricardo Hurtubia, from inside CERN’s visitors center, via io9.

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.


Posted by on January 21st, 2011

From Gizmodo:

At 1:10PM PST, the this Delta IV, the largest spacecraft in the world, took off from Vandenberg Air Force base in Lompoc, California. It was the most powerful anything to ever be launched from the West Coast—unless you count Tupac. (West side!) According to ABC, you could hear the rumble of the engines from 50 miles away.

Remains of the Day: Kinect Hacking Makes for Minority Report-Style Browsing

Posted by on November 30th, 2010

Video via lifehacker.

Bioencryption can store almost a million gigabytes of data inside bacteria

Posted by on November 26th, 2010

Antibiotics aren’t the only way we are going to make bacteria work:

A new method of data storage that converts information into DNA sequences allows you to store the contents of an entire computer hard-drive on a gram’s worth of E. coli bacteria…and perhaps considerably more than that.


A single gram of E. coli cells could hold up to 900,000 gigabytes (or 900 terabytes) of data, meaning these bacteria have almost 500 times the storage capacity of a top of the line commercial hard drive.

Full story at io9.com.

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…..

‘Skin Printer’

Posted by on November 4th, 2010

Via disinfo.com, a machine that prints layers of cells mixed with fibrinogen, type 1 collagen and thrombin has been reported by technologyreview.com.

The system, which lays down cells with the same fluid-based inkjet technology used in many printers, could print large swathes of living tissue directly onto the injuries of soldiers wounded on the battlefield. Covering burns and related wounds is of critical importance because, the scientists note, “any loss of full-thickness skin of more than 4 cm in diameter will not heal by itself.”

See also:

Hat-tip to @catvincent!

Geometric Death Frequency-14

Posted by on November 3rd, 2010

Not something you see everyday outside your office window:


MASS MoCA director Joseph Thompson describes the development of Geometric Death Frequency-14: “Pure data and algorithms based on particle physics served as the primary guiding forces behind the sculpture’s shape, texture and size.”

Assembled from 420,000 robotically milled black spheres, Federico Díaz’s sculpture draws inspiration from a digital photograph of the museum’s clock tower entryway. The artist, who lives in the Czech capital Prague, transformed the two-dimensional image into pure data, then used analytical and fluid-dynamic modeling techniques to reshape the building’s contours into wavelike forms.

“Federico is the ultimate shape-shifter, in a way,” said MASS MoCA director Joseph C. Thompson in a statement. “The bricks and mullions and windows of our buildings become files of digital data; the pixels become black spheres meticulously cut, stacked and assembled; the courtyard becomes and contains sculpture. There’s something alchemical or magical about it, and all the while Federico remains behind the curtain, as if to say, ‘Look ma, no hands.’”

Words and picture via wired.com.

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!

New polymer to give robots sensitive skin

Posted by on February 23rd, 2010

From Technology Review:

The UK company Peratech, which last month signed a deal to develop novel pressure-sensing technology for screen maker Nissha, has announced that it will use the same approach to make artificial “skin” for the MIT Media Lab.

Peratech makes an electrically conductive material called quantum tunneling composite (QTC). When the material is compressed electrons jump between two conductors separated by polymer insulating layer covered with metallic nanoparticles. QTC has already been used to make small sensors for NASA’s Robonaut and for a robotic gripper made by Shadow Robot Company.

QTC robot skin could perhaps let a robot know precisely where it has been touched, and with how much pressure. It could also be helpful in designing machines that have better grasping capabilities, and for developing more natural ways for machines to interact with humans.

The company says QTC can be screen-printed as a flexible, robust sheet as thin as 75 microns or made into a coating just 10 microns thick. Because the material reacts only when a force is applied, it consumes little power. And it’s flexibility will let it conform to unique robotic shapes.

First factory robots, then better prosthetics and in the future, whole new sensory organs for posthumans, I say.

(OK, fine, and better sexbots..)

Implantable Silicon-Silk Electronics

Posted by on November 16th, 2009

Scientists of the University of Pennsylvania are creating electronics that almost completely dissolve inside the body, through the use of thin, flexible silicon electronics on silk substrates.

While implanted electronics must usually be encased to protect them from the body, these electronics don’t need protection. The whole process is pretty much seamless: The electronics on the flexible silk substrates conform to biological tissue. The silk melts away over time and the thin silicon circuits left behind don’t cause irritation because they are just nanometers thick.

To make the devices, silicon transistors about one millimeter long and 250 nanometers thick are collected on a stamp and then transferred to the surface of a thin film of silk. The silk holds each device in place, even after the array is implanted in an animal – so far the technique is tested on mice – and wetted with saline, causing it to conform to the tissue surface.

In a paper published in the journal Applied Physics Letters, the researchers report that such circuits can be implanted in animals with no adverse effects. And the performance of the transistors on silk inside the body doesn’t suffer.

The researchers are now developing silk-silicon LEDs that might act as photonic tattoos that can show blood-sugar readings, as well as arrays of conformable electrodes that might interface with the nervous system.

From nextnature.net.

28 Balls

Posted by on November 9th, 2009

Puzzling and creepy science at work:

“The video consists of a locked off shot of an empty parking lot. A centered sodium vapor light illuminates the night landscape. 28 red balls bounce up and down in a chaotic random order. As the video reaches its mid point, the balls align themselves until they reach the point where they all bounce at the same precise moment and then resume to go back into chaos.”

Link and video from environmentalgraffiti.com.

The Beautiful Side of a Viral Infection

Posted by on October 27th, 2009

Gorgeous animation about a viral infection:

NPR’s Robert Krulwich sat down with David Bolinsky of XVIVO, a firm that makes amazing animations for medicine and life sciences, to explain to the general public how viruses infect cells and reproduce themselves. For demonstration they used animation XVIVO produced for Zirus, a company developing novel methods to fight pathogenic viruses.

Link via medgadget.

Mechanical Heart

Posted by on October 19th, 2009

Nineteen extraordinary images have been chosen by a panel of judges based on the ability of the picture to communicate the wonder and fascination of science. From capillary networks and liver cells to summer plankton and bird of paradise seeds, miniature worlds are explored through microscopy and electron micrographs. Cutting-edge techniques reveal the intricate nerve endings around our hair follicles, and the beautiful patterns in compact bone and aspirin crystals. The selected images are now on display at Wellcome Collection, as well as on the Image Awards website, which explains the stories behind the pictures: how the images were created, what they add to scientific understanding and why the judges picked them out as the best images this year.

Mechanical heart from the Wellcome Image Awards 2009 Winners, Via medgadget.com.

Prosthetics with aesthetics

Posted by on October 5th, 2009

Concept prosthetic porn:

This prosthetic arm was designed by Hans Alexander Huseklepp, a designer in Norway.

It is designed to be connected to the wearer’s nervous system, like the most advanced, but less aesthetically designed, prosthetics currently are.

Because each of its joints is a globe joint it is capable of a larger freedom of movement than a normal human arm.

The exterior parts of the arm are made from the plastic Corian, the inner layer is textile.

This image is a model built to demonstrate the concept.

Via newscientist.com.

Eye Tagging

Posted by on October 1st, 2009

LA graffiti writer Tony, aka TemptOne, has a rare neuromuscular disease that has caused progressive muscle weakness and eventual paralysis. Despite not being able to move a muscle, his eyes still function normally. With the help of the Not Impossible Foundation, he was once again able to get back to work:

Video via F.A.T. (Free Art & Technology), where the project phases are shown. Since the Not Impossible Foundation is open source and non-profit, the source code for this device could be used by anyone.

Thanks to Joseph Holsten for the link!

Cave Music

Posted by on September 28th, 2009

Performers Katelyn Clark and Xenia Pestova will play multiple toy pianos and portable percussion instruments, placed strategically throughout the cave’s winding passages. Canadian Music Centre Associate Composer Erik Ross will provide an electroacoustic soundscape, which will be played back by loudspeakers, creating an intricate sonic tapestry. According to the composer, the audio material will be based upon Canadian environmental themes and use sounds directly inspired by the cave setting, such as running water, as well as spoken text.”

Photo via Veronika von Volkova’s photostream, from the Cave Music project.

Golden Silk Spider Cloth

Posted by on September 23rd, 2009

A rare textile made from the silk of more than a million wild spiders goes on display today at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City.

To produce this unique golden cloth, 70 people spent four years collecting golden orb spiders from telephone poles in Madagascar, while another dozen workers carefully extracted about 80 feet of silk filament from each of the arachnids. The resulting 11-foot by 4-foot textile is the only large piece of cloth made from natural spider silk existing in the world today.

“Spider silk is very elastic, and it has a tensile strength that is incredibly strong compared to steel or Kevlar,” said textile expert Simon Peers, who co-led the project. “There’s scientific research going on all over the world right now trying to replicate the tensile properties of spider silk and apply it to all sorts of areas in medicine and industry, but no one up until now has succeeded in replicating 100 percent of the properties of natural spider silk.”

Via wired.com.

September programme of the VivoArts School for Transgenic Aesthetics

Posted by on September 2nd, 2009

We touched on the same program in March of 2008, and now they are back with a new one this month, via we-make-money-not-art.com:

You might remember that back in May i was throwing seedballs all over Amsterdam along with Adam Zaretsky, the Waag society and other eco-enthusiast.

The VivoArts School for Transgenic Aesthetics Ltd. comes back to town in September and this time the focus will be biology and bacterial transformation. VASTAL is a temporary research and education institute that Zaretsky has created in Amsterdam following an invitation by the Waag Society. The lectures and workshops aim to show the public what it means to work both artistically and scientifically with living organisms and materials. VASTAL also aims to make this form of art-science accessible for a broader audience and invite them to discuss the ethical and aesthetic issues at stake.

Topics include:

    • Alt-Biology: Solar Transgenics, Synthetic Biology, Nanotech Biomimicry, Post-Natural History and Green Biofuel

    • Tissue Culture Lab

    • Growing Politics: Tissue Culture and Art meets Urbanibalism

    • (De)Mystified DNA: Sequencing Lab