Sunday, 31 January 2010

New Metal Foam Invention To Save Energy & Lives

Mechanical and aerospace engineering professor Afsaneh Rabie, set out to create something that could be used in products that would save lives, save energy and eventually save money. She thus invented a space-age material so light and strong that it could revolutionize everything from vehicle bumpers to armor to biomedical devices.

The new material, is an ultra high strength metal matrix composite foam. This material absorbs seven to eight times the energy absorbed by similar foams. The material is as light as aluminum and stronger than stainless steel.

The test results of a traffic accident show that by inserting two pieces of the composite metal foam behind the bumper of a car traveling 28 mph, equals the impact of traveling at only 5 mph.

"Tests are now underway to use it as both body armor and vehicle armor for the military." Source 

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Amazing RC Helicopter pilot shaves airspace into an Art Form

Hats off to the insanely skilled world champion RC  helicopter stuntster Alan Szabo Jr, who twirls and spins his RC T-rex  600  hobby heli-bird with entertaining dexterity.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Fun Video: The future of air travel

This is an entertaining media art skit Patrick Bolvin created with 8 of his friends for the Phylactère Cola Show, (a former French Canadian tv series).

You may be forgiven if you thought this was a stop motion video, but It  uses a unique technique and is in fact a very long process, but simple. The actors "play" their scenes very, VERY slowly, and then the videographer speeds up the video in the edit so it looks like a 24fps movie!

I wonder if there are many or any other video's that emulate this technique or hey, does anyone have an idea what name or genre it goes by ? Maybe its called the Charlie Chaplin ?

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Chick Corea Elektric Band performing Elektric City

Within the next 6 or so hours, Steve Jobs is set to launch another new "revolutionary device", I thought it apt that I find a historical mention for this evenings story.

Thus much to my glee I found this video of Chick Corea's Elektric Band performing Elektric City, you may notice the 1984 Mac Plus in the studio, hey,  I never imagined it could have been put to video studio use ?

I believe I saw this cool jazz clip once or twice, when it was produced in 1986 and it charms me now as much as it did then.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Hot Air Stirling Engine Generator

A Stirling engine is the simplest type of motor possible, but more precisely  its a heat engine that operates by cyclic compression and expansion of air or other gas. The gasses used inside a Stirling engine never leave the engine. There are no exhaust valves that vent high-pressure gasses, as in a gasoline or diesel engine, and there are no explosions taking place. Because of this, Stirling engines are very quiet. Source

In this video Green Power Science demonstrates a Stirling engine being driven by a focused beam of sunlight via a suspended Fresnel lens, producing about 40 watts of energy.

Green Power Science  says: "We are almost ready to introduce a line of Stirling hot air engines that range from toys to 500 watts of power."

I was simultaneously shocked and amazed when I saw this little machine unsteadily stacked atop of a couple of house bricks, producing seemingly unlimited carbon free energy !

Saturday, 23 January 2010

Twilight zones Lifeforms of the Ocean Depths

This video is an excerpt from the BBC video documentary series The Blue Planet narrated by David Attenborough.

When we watch this little video we learn about the animal that inspired David Cameron's creature for his Alien movie.

These deep sea marine lifeforms survive from the pressure of the water because they are  about 90-95% water.

Go here for a thorough read of the creatures that live beyond the abyss.

Thursday, 21 January 2010

Jeep Cherokee break beat video

Using a  Jeep Cherokee as a sound booth generator instrument together with a bunch of people Julian Smith has created a genuinely interesting track of beat music.

Everyone began rehearsing their parts 2 weeks before the video was shot, which took 7 hours of filming to get a solid take.

Oh what joy, it is, on one horse open sleigh !

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Entertaining demo of 10 in 1 office gadget

Angry muttering blogger Leanna Gingras posts stories on her blog, usability fail, whenever she encounters an astonishingly ineptly-designed object such as we see in the video.

It's a combination stapler, hole punch, carton opener, nail file, flat-head screwdriver, phillips screwdriver, tape measure, pencil sharpener, led flashlight, and of course, scissors.

The thoughtful and delightful music track, Misirlou (made famous by the movie Pulp Fiction), shares her fun, exasperation and frustration of the usability test whilst astutely finding the appropriate tool in the device.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Chandra X-ray Observatory documentary

In ten years of operation, the Chandra X-ray Observatory has transformed our view of the high-energy universe with its ability to make exquisite X-ray images of star clusters, supernova remnants, galactic eruptions, and collisions between clusters of galaxies. Chandra has probed the geometry of space-time around black holes, traced the dispersal of calcium and other elements by supernovas, and revealed that whirling neutron stars only twelve miles in diameter can generate streams of high-energy particles that extend for light years. Chandra has found cosmic generators millions of times more powerful than neutron stars - rapidly spinning, supergiant black holes in the centers of galaxies. There, energy from the rotation of the black hole and surrounding gas is converted into powerful jets and winds that can influence the destiny of an entire galaxy.

On an even greater scale, Chandra has helped to confirm that galaxies and the universe are dominated by other forms of darkness, called dark matter and dark energy. In the distant past, dark matter pulled material together to form galaxies and galaxy clusters, but now, it appears that dark energy - which may be a much different phenomenon -has stopped the process and is causing the universe to expand at an ever-increasing rate. The nature of dark matter and dark energy is still a deep mystery.

There is a time lapse video deep within this set of Flickr images of what appears as a fiery object spiraling towards a black hole which we watch being drawn into it.

Music by Frank Ippolito; Narration by Chris Camilleri

Monday, 18 January 2010

A Hummingbird Hawk Moth ?

Seriously ?
Well yes,  Macroglossum stellatarum is hairy with a dark, white-spotted abdomen, mousy-grey fore-wings and golden-orange hind-wings. It can be easily mistaken for a hummingbird as it hovers, probing flowers for nectar with its long proboscis. In fact, it is smaller than any hummingbird.

They fly during the day and can be seen throughout lowland Britain in the summer. Hummingbird hawk moths cannot survive the British winter, so migrate to and from southern Europe in autumn and spring.

After they emerge from caterpillars, they are about 50 mm long, and have a green or reddish-brown body with white dots, white, dark and yellow horizontal stripes and a blue, yellow-tipped horn.

So, how or why did this curious creature come about ? Scientists believe it is something called convergent evolution.  This is when two completely different species may evolve very similar physiologies because they inhabit a  near identical ecological niche. 

So I wonder if we, humans are a result of convergent evolution ?

Sunday, 17 January 2010

Joanie Lemercier's Light Sculpture v4

This video documents an interactive immersive installation of walls and pillars of video screens, which streamed various wave lengths of pure video signal, facilitated by a video mapping application called vvvv, or v4.

"vvvv is a toolkit for real time video synthesis. It is designed to facilitate the handling of large media environments with physical interfaces, real-time motion graphics, audio and video that can interact with many users simultaneously."

The video was produced by the Visual System (VS) collective whose projects explore the role of digital media in the city of the future. which are hosted at FIAF Gallery, New York.

Friday, 15 January 2010

Awesome new Motion Controller from Razer & Sixense

CrunchGear tech reports about a new motion gaming controller that works similar to the Wiimote. The Razer Sixense,  is thought to be designed essentially for gamers to control a range of functions on their computers including moving around and controlling weapons.

"The scientists and engineers at the two companies have been working on developing the precise one-to-one motion sensing controllers that make use of electromagnetic fields to track movement along all six axes. The absolute position of the controller can be tracked to within one millimeter"

Phew, hey, with this degree of precision, to instantaneously determine position and orientation, its not difficult to envisage it appealing to many other types of maneuvering navigation skilling services applicable to space, aeronautics and defense ?

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Mag + An e-reader concept

"This conceptual video is a corporate collaborative research project initiated by Bonnier R&D into the experience of reading magazines on handheld digital devices. It illustrates one possible vision for digital magazines in the near future, presented by our design partners at BERG. The concept aims to capture the essence of magazine reading, which people have been enjoying for decades: an engaging and unique reading experience in which high-quality writing and stunning imagery build up immersive stories.

The concept uses the power of digital media to create a rich and meaningful experience, while maintaining the relaxed and curated features of printed magazines. It has been designed for a world in which interactivity, abundant information and unlimited options could be perceived as intrusive and overwhelming.

The purpose of publishing this concept video is first and foremost to spark a discussion around the digital reading experience in general, and digital reading platforms in particular. Thus, we would be more than happy to hear what you have to say regarding the concept and ideas expressed in the video: the magazine reading experience, digital browsing, text versus images, as well as hear about your own digital reading experiences and thoughts. We are all ears."

The table display interface in this video appears, revealing of the future for computer desktops. Say that's a mind-sweep in itself. Imagine that, a desktop computer, that is the surface of the desk, with gesture control,  phew I can't wait !

But, hey, I wonder how similar the Berg e-reader is to the eagerly anticipated Apple tablet ?

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

The Orchestrion: Pat Metheny’s band of merry robots

The Orchestrion is a project by the musical robotic specialists LEMUR (League of Electronic Musical Urban Robots).

The Guardian has an interesting article of innovative jazz artist Pat Metheny and his latest recording, on which he replaces his band with music robots:

“I’ve always had a problem with electronic sound,” says Metheny. “When a whole bunch of sounds are jammed into one set of speakers, that’s not the way I hear it. I’ve been searching for some kind of acoustic expression of ideas … a means of getting something in the air moving.”

Metheny’s new album, Orchestrion, will be released on 25 January and from the beginning of February, he starts a tour across Europe. Using software called Ableton Live, he will send the preprogrammed accompaniment off on different paths each night, essentially improvising with himself. "It's fun," he says. "How much fun it's going to be in Poland when everything's breaking, I don't know."

Although I'm not really a Jazz enthusiast I've always made space for the ruminating riffs of Pat Metheny, and I think this emotionally charged band of robots will add new colors and textures to his unique jazz rhythms. I only wish the preview video was another 2-5 minutes longer, don't you ?

Tuesday, 12 January 2010

"Triste Tryst (The Balkan Bazaar) on the Cybraphon

FOUND collective invited Bernd Rest, to create a guest composition "Triste Tryst" for the Cybraphon.

FOUND artist collective, are an  experimental pop band based in Edinburgh Scotland. They recently invented an emotionally charged automata robot they call the The Cybraphon, built into an antique display cabinet.

"Inspired by early 19th century mechanical bands such as the nickelodeon, Cybraphon is an interactive version of a mechanical band in a box. Consisting of a series of robotic instruments housed in a glass display case, Cybraphon will behave like a real band. Image conscious and emotional, the band’s performance will be effected by online community opinion." FOUND

You get a glimpse of its moodiness  during the video, when it turns its inner lights off and your left ponder a view of what looks like the night sky or is it the emotional antics of the cameraman in hot pursuit of the inner action of the Cybraphon's cabinet !

FOUND collective are (Ziggy Campbell, Simon Kirby and Tommy Perman).

Monday, 11 January 2010

Flying the Unreal Parrot Helicopter with your iPhone

Check out this cool new cell phone app and air flight gizmo robot toy, combo.

The model helicopter or quad-copter being flown here,  is using an iphone, but its mooted that just about any wifi capable cell phone will also be able to do this, perhaps after the Parrot product is finally released to the public.

One important aspect about this unreal application/device is, that its has an autofly setting, in which it'll follow certain visual stimuli in the environment, while it also watches the floor for flight stabilization.

Including the wow features of the gizmo, are the cameras on the drone providing an augmented reality game feed, (so that while your exploring around your house, you explore the drone's capabilities) the gizmo completes the feedback loop to your sweaty palms. In other words its really an interactive cybernetic robot toy ?

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Alex Roman's Architectural Cinematographic Opus

is a full computer graphics animated media art project which he describes as 

"The visual fusion between the third and seventh arts that tries to illustrate architecture art across a photographic point of view where main subjects are already-built spaces. Sometimes in an abstract way. Sometimes surreal."

Alex did the modeling, texturing, illumination and rendering utilizing 3dsmax, Vray, AfterEffects and Premier softwares. He sequenced, orchestrated & mixed the sound work with Sonar & EWQLSO Gold Pro XP technologies and based the music on the original scores of, The Departure by Michael Laurence Edward Nyman and Le Carnaval des animaux by Charles-Camille Saint-Saëns.

Alex Roman's The Third & The Seventh work was based on real places, which he then sifted and cajoled into a delightfully relaxing media art opus which doesn't cause you to have to ratchet your attention every second to be wonderful to watch.

Friday, 8 January 2010

The story of Stuff

a big analysis of the desiring machine implanted within the root of our minds; the hunger for the new and next thing we need to buy.

"From its extraction through sale, use and disposal, all the stuff in our lives affects communities at home and abroad, yet most of this is hidden from view. The Story of Stuff is a 20-minute, fast-paced, fact-filled look at the underside of our production and consumption patterns. The Story of Stuff exposes the connections between a huge number of environmental and social issues, and calls us together to create a more sustainable and just world. It'll teach you something, it'll make you laugh, and it just may change the way you look at all the stuff in your life forever."  the story of stuff

I might be wrong, but I think we may be able to undermine our need for stuff, if we can invent the singularity, or the one thing that does everything:

"Technological singularity refers to the (idea) that technological progress will reach such an infinite or extremely high value at a point in the near future. "  Wikipedia

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Interactive balloon ballet

A hundred white balloons are floating in space like the atoms of a molecule. They are moving up and down slowly and gracefully. The balloons appear as floating spheres, forming three-dimensional pixels arranged in a 10x10 grid. The pixels combine together to make a larger form. The weightless objects are representing three-dimensional digital data sets in a dynamic display sculpture composed of physical particles.

The height of the helium balloons is adjusted with a computer-controlled cable, whilst the internal illumination is accomplished using dimmable super-bright LEDs, creating a pixel in a warped 8x8 spatial matrix.

Sound design by Monolake

Wednesday, 6 January 2010

Ring° Wall: world biggest multitouch multi-user wall

The slickly engineered Ring Wall was developed by Sensory Minds and was installed recently in Germany's Nürburgring F1 race track circuit, presenting a hibernation of cultural exchange.

The display wall is architecturally composed of two display zones totaling 425 square meters .

The human height zone, consists of 15 touchy screens, measuring 45 meters long and stands two meters tall utilizing 15 high definition projectors to display more than 34 million pixels; while laser light plane illumination tracks users’ touches, and 80 users can, at once, contiguously web interface.

Installed above this is an even larger LED wall which is over 400 square meters in size. That LED display contains just 5.8 million pixels and is for crowd-wide presentation, not interaction.

Perhaps these displays are ideally suited for large international museums, or as a means of sharing information in airports, train stations and metro terminals.  Eventually, technology of this scale, will transform many a public space highlighting interfaces of digital data dissemination and discovery. (ie entertainment gigs, folk festivals, cracker nights ......:)\

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

Serpentine Robot crawls slithers and glides

over rugged terrains and is called the OmniTread Serpentine Robot, which was developed by engineering students at the University of Michigan.

Its body consists of seven segments connected by pneumatic bellows. Treads on all four sides of the segments give it traction against surfaces, and the connecting bellows can inflate or deflate to provide stiffness or flexibility as needed. The robot can squeeze through a four-inch hole and amazingly ascend a vertical tube

The OmniTread serpentine robot is designed to traverse extremely difficult terrain, such as the rubble of a collapsed building and can also drive over sand and rocks and climb over tall obstacles.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Paper Nanotube Battery

Research Professor Yi Cui, (Materials and Science Engineering, Stanford University) here demonstrates a new paper battery that may change the energy storage landscape.

Dip an ordinary piece of paper into ink infused with carbon nanotubes and silver nanowires, and it turns into a battery or supercapacitor. Crumple the piece of paper, and it still works.

We need to bear in mind that this cutting edge development is merely a taste of what may one day be possible! Thus we are left to ponder the issues, such as what the lifespan of the battery is... how soon does the power degrade and are they rechargeable?

Although its conceivably easier to recycle than Lithium or Lead acid, can the nano material be recovered and recycled, if the nano material is toxic, and whether or not the dried nano material creates dust that is hazardous when inhaled ?

Sunday, 3 January 2010

Anima Machines: Biomorphic Robotic Kinetica

Anyone who has pulled apart a hard drive or a car engine will likely appreciate the engineering finesse deployed in Choe U-Ram's biomorphic robotic kinetic sculptures.

Incorporating simple elements such as steel machine parts, sensors and/or lightbulbs, the sculptures, convey an impression of lifelike skeletal structures and organisms. Each piece has its own disposition: hanging from the ceiling, clinging to the walls, hovering over the floor, his unique works explore the boundary between fine art, science and cybernetics, (feedback loop systems).

Choe combines organic forms with machinery to produce eerie sculptures that respond to light and heat. Some works include embedded motion and light detectors and move by interactive participation around them.

Enjoy, Choe U-Ram's photographs of his works at Bitforms Gallery.

Friday, 1 January 2010

"Magical Mirrors" Interactive Shopping Displays

Hendrik Send and Daniel Michelis are developing an engaging new marketing tool based on their studies of collaborative interaction with public displays and have coined their Calm Advertising and Calm Computing concepts to directly compete with the "in your face" marketing model.

"Pervasive computing technologies such as a variety of public digital displays, ever-smaller mobile devices, and location sensing and tracking tools are rapidly adopted by the advertising and retail industries. Adoption is driven by the comprehensive business models facilitated by these technologies, a fact that leads us to believe that advertising and shopping could well be amongst the most important deployment domains for pervasive technologies. Furthermore, the two industries are intimately linked: advertising that is the communication of sponsored messages to inform, convince, and persuade to buy leads to shopping, that is the examination and purchasing of goods." read more

The video here shows the public on the streets of Berlin variously interacting with a number of street wide embedded  "Magical Mirrors" or interactive displays.

The accompanying "We are showroom dummies" tune, is a catchy shopping jingle that acclimatizes our shopping spirit, true to their  underlying pervasive conceptual marketing model. In other words: Hey watch out; giant interactive shopping windows, will soon be coming to a store near you !

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