Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Snowbird. the World's first Human-Powered Ornithopter

The Snowbird flew into history recently when it continuously flapped its wings with both a sustained altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, covering a distance of 145 meters at an average speed of 26.5 kilometers per hour.

The ornithopter was designed and constructed by a team of engineering students led by Todd Reichert, Cameron Robertson and Professor Emeritius James D. DeLaurier from the University of Toronto.

According to lead developer and project manager Todd Reichert; the Snowbird represents one of the last of the aviation firsts and the completion of an age-old aeronautical dream: "Throughout history, countless men and women have dreamt of flying like a bird under their own power, and hundreds, if not thousands have attempted to achieve it."

Whilst this is an incredibly stunning achievement the craft, as we can see in the video, is towed for the initial couple of hundred meters to provide lift. Nevertheless if they continue to develop it, they may yet find way for it to be totally self-sufficient !

The cool music for the video was provided by Nicholas Marten and Daniel Gauthier.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Light Drive: Cool Media Art Video

Kim Pimmel has been preoccupied with studying light and its behavior as a painting medium as can be seen here from his collection of photographs, on Flickr, (a small example to the right).

When Kim was given the opportunity to show them at a VJ gig, for FITC San Francisco, he decided to join the collection into several stop motion sequences, He then added them together with some mashed up audio from the Tron Legacy trailers.

Its worth noting that "every frame is an individually shot photograph. Each photograph is a long exposure photo, with exposures reaching up to 20 seconds in some cases".

Kim controlled the light using an Arduino controller circuit board via bluetooth to drive a stepper motor. The stepper motor controls the movements of the lights remotely from the Processing application. The light sources he used include cold cathode case lights, EL wire, lasers and more.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Balloon Bassist Addi Somek, jams with Box drummer

Balloon artist Sean Rooney devised the principle of the balloon resonator in 1992 and invented an instrument he called the balloon guitar.

Since then, compatriot balloon artist Addi Somek applied some tweaks to it and has come up with what must be the cheapest bass guitar on the planet, and it sounds amazingly like the real thing. Here, in this video, Addi duos with a drummer friend playing a wooden box.

Addi has recently released his debut album Air, Rubber and Soul, now available here as a free download, but don't forget to drop by Addi Somekh's website to learn more about how you can make this unbelievably easy and cheap balloon bass.

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Michael Cone's blissful Chimera

a clever synchronizing of passion and media carries us into the moment of the emotional meld - where two become one in the moment of the kiss.

Media artist Michael Cone's use of M83's audio piece "By the Kiss". from the Digital Shades Album, transcends the instantaineity of the motion/emotionally  charged moment via the crescendo of mind numbing sound.

Although there are no accompanying notes with this video its production is suggestive of the manipulation of some kind of visual f/x animation generative software, possibly Processing ?

Monday, 20 September 2010

Inception inspired Time Lapse video montage

I find this video by Mike Flores cinematica-lly stunning. Gifted by the dramatic use of astronomical and landscape stock imagery, consistently panning us out of the frame, but maintaining our momentum with the musical crescendo of Hans Zimmer's soundtrack from Inception, (the) "Dream is collapsing".

One may feel confused by the inclusion of the off road vehicles towards the end of the video, but after re-watching the video a few more times, I now feel that without that unexpected element, the video may more than likely, stand out among the many - time lapse videos.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Bike Rocker; How to ride a bike without really going anywhere

A biker rigorously wrenches and straddles his jumping tricks within the turning circle of his bicycle, to the tune of some hip, rhythmical music accompanying this well captured video.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Insect food; most overlooked source of nutrition in the West

I wonder how many of us are aware that most people on the planet consume insects regularly. Red dye used in many of our foods and confectionery's like Coca Cola is derived from Charmine which is extracted from cochineal beetles and their eggs.

"An estimated 2,000 insect species are consumed around the world, and people do not just eat insects, they relish them as delicacies. In Africa, caterpillars and winged termites are fried and eaten as roadside snacks (after wings, legs, and bristles are removed, of course), and often considered tastier than meat. Grasshoppers and bee larvae seasoned with soy sauce are favorites in Japan, where pricey canned insects are also available. Papua New Guinea is known for its nutty-flavored sago grubs (Rhynchophorus ferrugineus papuanus or R. bilineatus), beetle larvae that inhabit dead sago palm trees and are honored at annual festivals.

Insects often contain more protein, fat, and carbohydrates than equal amounts of beef or fish, and a higher energy value than soybeans, maize, beef, fish, lentils, or other beans. According to a 2004 United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) report, caterpillars of many species are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, and iron, as well as B-vitamins. In some African regions, children fight malnutrition by eating flour made out of dried caterpillars. Pregnant and nursing women as well as anemic people also eat caterpillar species high in protein, calcium, and iron." Source

Al Jazeera's news reporter, Charles Stratford walks and talks us through the market stalls in Vientiane, Laos in this news documentary video here about moves afoot towards developing and promoting insect farming.

Presently large swathes of farming districts in the south east of Australia are under threat of being severely munched up by a large areas of locust plagues and the plague control organizations are spending large sums of money on aerial spraying of toxic poisons. Maybe we ought to be looking at ways to hoover them up for the dinner table, which seems possible since insect farming in Australia already exists !

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Unnata: Aerial Yoga

Unnata pronounced ooo-NOT-ahh, a Sanskrit word meaning "elevated,"combines yoga with aerial acrobatics, and uses a hammock-like fabric trapeze to prop up or fully support a person, enabling swinging in the air.

Developed by  dancer and yoga instructor Michelle Dortignac, Unnata, is a new practice that aids proper alignment by strengthening shoulder and core ab muscles whilst increasing shoulder and spinal flexibility all without strain or pain.

To the tune of some groovy music, Kim Henry of Morristown NJ, demonstrates in the video here, some of the possible moves one can practice, like counteracting gravity and achieving challenging yoga postures and inversions.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Dual Tracked skateboard vehicle for the military

or the DTV Shredder is a modular dual purpose flat surface terrain dual function transport vehicle. This off road Lego-land like transporter runs up to 30 mph and can haul up to 1,200 lbs, is powered by a 200cc four-stroke engine and can tackle slopes up to 40 degrees.

This mini tank platform is customizable with on-board computer facilitated gyroscope, can either be driven solo or function as a remotely controlled device, and in this situation looks to be an invaluable resource for rapid response rescue/retrieval.

The video music track Deadmau5 feat. Rob Swire with  Ghosts 'n' Stuff, goes along way to help us understand and enjoy The DTV's purposes and performance.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Ant Spiral Hurricane Spectacular

Yikes, wait a minute, isn't that an ant tornado ?

Ants are social animals since having evolved more than 130 million years ago from wasp-like ancestors and diversified after the rise of flowering plants, have had quite a while to develop their life, skills and habits.

I'm left to ponder if the molasses of ant swarm intelligence in this video are also engineering their burrow into a spiral groove below the surface ?

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Ebru: Turkish paper marbling painting

Taking the idea of water color painting literally, an unknown artist creates a surprisingly interesting painting by applying paint directly on water, accompanied by some trippy flute music of Ney Taksimi by Ahmet Sahin.

This technique is referred to as Ebru and was used extensively in the binding of books and within calligraphic panels in Turkey since the fifteenth century.

If you wish to try this technique yourself you will need to discover the appropriate additives or surfactant chemicals in order to help float the ink. Learn more about this technique, here.

Friday, 10 September 2010

Tomorrows computer and mobile phone display concepts

Practically daily we see more and more innovative display terminals popping up. And as our computers, televisions and mobile phones get progressively smaller and thinner, display screen technology is steadily becoming reduced to a mere sheet of glass covering interfaces.

Multitouch screens and gesture panning are already with us, so the next likely steps in interface device development will likely be, transparent monitors in the bathroom and in the office, retractable phone screens, tactile feedback, flexible e-ink and LCD screens that roll out and or fold up.

The video here is the result of TAT's Open Innovation experiment, where we get to appreciate an experience within a few moments of a day in the future, using some cool gadget interfaces.

One peculiar moment in this video, is the use of a contemporary Apple keyboard and mouse, surely one would have imagined at the very least some virtual keyboards ?

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Entertaining Gravity Powered Aircraft Concept

One has to keep in mind when watching this animation in that the idea is a concept. The actual ability of the craft to function is likely two or more steps beyond a feasible reality. Nevertheless an entertaining contribution to drawing board gravity powered flight !

The weird punchline near the end of the video, is the suggestion that the design and function of the aircraft won't attract "terrorist activities". Huh ?

Monday, 6 September 2010

Light Forms; abstract animation

Canadian illustrator and animator Malcolm Sutherland presents here a
titillating exercise in pure abstraction as a short experimental floaty and aimless video animation.

Malcolm Sutherland also created the sound track.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

Willie Smits, on Saving Rain-forests with Tapergy

Biologist Willie Smits has discovered a method of sustainable energy production: using the forest to generate biofuels with a carbon-positive impact. His idea is grounded on his experience of having lived and worked in Indonesia for the last thirty years searching for ways to restore fragile ecosystems.

"The world is in need of bio-fuels, but most have many problems, Tapergy's does not. It is produced from a previously untapped, efficient and sustainable resource —the Sugar Palm, a tree that is three times more efficient than sugar cane and yields more than seven times the productivity of corn. Sugar Palm grows best in a bio-diverse forest environment and does not compete with food crops for valuable agricultural land. Our proprietary, zero-waste process is scalable and can satisfy a significant part of the world's energy needs while providing meaningful, everyday employment in developing countries across the tropical forest belt. Degraded land is reforested, watersheds protected and our carbon positive approach moderates our global climate."

Simultaneously, Willie is also working on saving orangutans in Borneo.

Thursday, 2 September 2010

"Sweet Dream" on the iPad Orchestra

People often say "Music makes the world go round" but it looks as though Music will go round the world a whole quicker now with a wifi enabled iPad. This is exemplified by Alex Shpil's video here of the iPad Orchestra playing a piece entitled "Sweet Dream" composed by Ilya Plavunov.

The quartet are using an application called Seline HD available from the iTunes store, and for your convenience here also is the introductory tutorial video for Seline HD.

The iPad may be come the tool of choice for composers and musicians who collaborate either within a studio environ or more significantly from within almost anywhere in the world to anywhere else. Nevertheless you may not be all that familiar with the iPad so here is the link to Apple's youtube channel where you can view introductory video's of the iPad as well as video's of the latest iPod products that Apple released today.

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Seaswarm: Solar powered Oil Skimmer Swarm Robot prototype

is a very smooth autonomous floating robotic system that can re-mediate oil soaked waterways of any scale. Conceived and designed to be used in the gulf was built by a significantly large team of collaborating MIT scientists.

"A Seaswarm has been described as a “rolling carpet” that moves along the surface of the water. It uses a special nanowire mesh developed by Visiting Associate Professor Francesco Stellacci.  The mesh is able to absorb 20 times its weight in oil.  The nanowire is attached to the robotic skimmer like a conveyor belt.  The mesh absorbs oil from the water which is then heated up and burnt locally." Green.Blorge

Perhaps not the only critical thing about this little beauty is that it looks as if I wouldn't cope very well in anything more than undulating wave conditions. Nevertheless, this cool little robotic vacuum cleaner has escaped the lab and got itself into the latest Venice Biennale, where visitors can view it in the Architecture section of the Italian Pavilion, until November 21, 2010.

Here now is a charming little video animation to the exhibit detailing how the vehicle was constructed and how it operates.

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