Archives for category: technology

Alpha Lyrae,the latest collection from Vega Zaishi Wang, was recently showcased at Beijing’s Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (UCCA) as part of The Creators Project, a global platform launched by Intel and Vice.She is Beijing based and a 2008 graduate from St. Martins, perhaps explaining the visual link to McQueen and Chalayan. Inspired by a BBC documentary about deep sea creatures—in particular, colorful jellyfish and the magic of bioluminiscence, she utilized EL technology upon advice from her electronic engineer parents. The result makes for some very poetic atmosphere. See more at: Vega Wang



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Cornell University develops software to realize virtual knitwear.

Professor Andrew Mills and Dr Michael McFarlane, from the University of Stratchclyde, Scotland has come up with an ingenious invention with this colourful paper bracelet that changes from yellow to pink when UV rays have reached safe limits. The acid in the paper degrades and changes colour. There is a range of bands depending on skin tones and their limits. Swedish-based Intellego Technology is commercializing it with a launch for spring 2013. The simplest ideas are often the best, after all.

Like a scene out of Total Recall, the BCI (brain-computer interface) has been developed to the point where they can be found in novelty or spywear stores. Scientists have taken an off-shelf version and shown it has the capability of hacking the brain and pulling details straight from your mind.
University of Oxford, California Berkeley and Geneva gathered computer science students. They were briefed as being part of a security experiment but nothing else. A series of banks, maps, PIN # and such were displayed and by following P300 brain signals, the scientists were able to deduce where they lived and their banks by reducing the random data by up to 40%.
This coupled with information-prying technologies like smartphones, energy smart meters and naturally, Facebook , reveals an increasingly disturbing capability to monitor almost everyone and the relative simplicity of more sophisticated attacks with even pedestrian technology. Food for thought.


Graphs showing performance of the BCI test using three different data-response classification techniques with the dashed line displaying the correlation of random guesswork (Image: Martinovic et al.)

Google has sold interactive glasses for $1500 (only) during its annual software conference in San Francisco to first adaptors. If all goes well, a less expensive version of the glasses is expected to go on sale for consumers in early 2014. While wearing these glasses, directions to a destination or a text message from a friend may appear directly before your eyes. Conversing with friends in a video chat, take a photo without taking out a camera, phone or even buy a few things online as you walk around. JUST DON’T DRIVE DOING IT.

Isabelle Olsson, lead designer of Google’s Project Glass, talks about the design of the Google Glass during the keynote at Google’s annual developer conference


Brooklyn’s own Bitbanger Labs is the brainchild of photographer meister Duncan McCloud Frazier and his compatriot jack-of-all-trades genius Steve McGuigan.
They’ve invented a remarkable eye mask that presumably helps trigger lucid dreaming (or rather the ability to control yourself and your surroundings as you dream!). Remee (REM Enhancing Eye Mask) is the specialized eye mask that is equipped with a microcontroller that flashes a series of six customizable LED light patterns when you are at the peak of rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. These dim flashes appear as visual anomalies as you sleep, helping you recognize that you are dreaming and subsequently trigger lucidity. Remee’s performance can be customized and adjusted by placing its built-in light sensors in front of your monitor on their official site while you set your configurations. Oh, so MODERN!
It sounds like a portal to limitless creativity.

Kickstarter once again is proving a fertile ground and is crowd-funding this project where the two bright boys have surpassed their initial goal of $35,000 with $573,000 and counting…
Pre-order yours (for 95$+ 15$international orders) at: www.sleepwithremee




http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bitbangerlabs/remee-the-rem-enhancing-lucid-dreaming-mask/widget/video.html

An innovative approach to textile technology is unfolding with this technique that harnesses nature’s forces.
“BioCouture is a research project harnessing nature to propose a radical future fashion vision. We are investigating the use of microbial-cellulose, grown in a laboratory, to produce clothing. Our ultimate goal is to literally grow a dress in a vat of liquid…The material is nearest in feel to a vegetable leather and, like your vegetable peelings, it can be safely composted when you no longer want it.”

Suzanne Lee is Director of the project and a Senior Research Fellow at Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London. She is collaborating with scientists to unite design with cutting edge bio and nano-technologies.

BioCouture is investigating the use of microbes to grow a textile biomaterial. Certain bacteria will spin microfibrils of pure cellulose during fermentation which form a dense layer that can be harvested and dried. To a sugary green tea solution they add a mixed culture of bacterial cellulose, yeasts and other microorganisms to produce a flexible cellulose mat. The bacteria feed on the sugar and spin fine threads of cellulose. As these start to stick together they form a skin on the liquids surface. After two to three weeks, when it is approximately 1.5cm thick, they remove the cellulose skin from the growth bath. They can then either use it wet to mold onto a 3D form, like a dress shape, or dry it flat and then cut and sew it into a garment.
Lee is the author of ‘Fashioning The Future: tomorrow’s wardrobe’ published by Thames & Hudson.http://www.biocouture.co.uk/



Utilizing the aerodynamic properties of the humble golf ball, Nike’s engineers are pioneering this innovative tracksuit that reportedly shaves off micro seconds from performances. .023 seconds to be exact. That would be the possible equivalent of a higher placing when one talks of sprinting, so that is something very interesting to consider. Relying on the principle that explains the convex dimpled pattern found on a golf ball. These help balls travel further as they create low pressure turbulence in the boundary layer on the wind-facing side of the ball as it glides through the air, creating less drag behind the ball. Nike is calling them, “surface architectures”. panels are added to the areas that create most resistance such as the arms and legs. The result is also visually sleek and intimidating.



Scientists say they’re getting closer to Matrix-style instant learning
What price effortless learning? In a paper published in the latest issue of Science, neuroscientists say they’ve developed a novel method of learning, that can cause long-lasting improvement in tasks that demand a high level of visual performance.

And while the so-called neurofeedback method could one day be used to teach you kung fu, or to aid spinal-injury patients on the road to rehabilitation, evidence also suggests the technology could be used to target people without their knowledge, opening doors to numerous important ethical questions.
According to a press release from the National Science Foundation:

New research published today in the journal Science suggests it may be possible to use brain technology to learn to play a piano, reduce mental stress or hit a curve ball with little or no conscious effort. It’s the kind of thing seen in Hollywood’s “Matrix” franchise.

Experiments conducted at Boston University (BU) and ATR Computational Neuroscience Laboratories in Kyoto, Japan, recently demonstrated that through a person’s visual cortex, researchers could use decoded functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to induce brain activity patterns to match a previously known target state and thereby improve performance on visual tasks.

Think of a person watching a computer screen and having his or her brain patterns modified to match those of a high-performing athlete or modified to recuperate from an accident or disease. Though preliminary, researchers say such possibilities may exist in the future.

But here’s the bit that’s really interesting (and also pretty creepy): the researchers found that this novel learning approach worked even when test subjects weren’t aware of what they were learning:

“The most surprising thing in this study is that mere inductions of neural activation patterns…led to visual performance improvement…without presenting the feature or subjects’ awareness of what was to be learned,” said lead researcher Takeo Watanabe. He continues:

We found that subjects were not aware of what was to be learned while behavioral data obtained before and after the neurofeedback training showed that subjects’ visual performance improved specifically for the target orientation, which was used in the neurofeedback training.

Is this research mind-blowing and exciting? Absolutely. I mean come on — automated learning? Yes. Sign me up. But according to research co-author Mitsuo Kawato, the neurofeedback mechanism could just as soon be used for purposes of hypnosis or covert mind control. And that… I’m not so keen on.

“We have to be careful,” he explains, “so that this method is not used in an unethical way.” [Science via NSF]


NIKE has come out with various innovations this past week, one of which is the astonishingly minimal series, FLYKNIT, utilizing the most homespun of concepts: CROCHET.
Not your ordinary needle and thread, this is a micro-engineered upper utilizing resistant yet pliable material ideal for continual wear. Four years in the R+D phase, it is a masterful innovation in minimalist footwear, not quite as reductionist as the Swiss protection sock but certainly perhaps more practical. The single layer construction whittles the weight down to just 34 grams for the upper for a total of 160 for the entire shoe! Now that’s FLY.

On the heels (excuse the pun) of the barefoot trend such as Vibrams 5-fingers shoes come the Swiss Protection sock developed with Kevlar (of bullet proof vest origins) and laminated with PVC for further protection. Not for everyone but possibly the solution for a variety of water sports and such. Running on tacks and glass is probably not recommended.
It brings new meaning to casual and “socks with sandals” notoriety and may become as annoying as the ubiquitous Croc but comfort is obviously the new black. Enjoy.
See more at:Swiss Barefoot Co.


REFLEXCELL is a unique material that with its triple ply construction and use of reflective foil material offers TWICE the warmth-to-weight ratio of goose down! The construction is also elastic due to the crimping and thus contours to the body therefore optimizing its warming effect. Too bad it doesn’t feel as cozy as down but when the chips are done and you’re in Survivor mode, this is definitely the way to go. Besides, it comes in fun shades like optimal orange (visibility) and army green (camouflage) alongside spacy silver.
Following exhaustive in-house testing and trials performed by the US Army Institute of Surgical Research, the Blizzard Survival Blanket has been endorsed by the US Army Medical Center Directorate of Combat and Doctrine Development and is the only blanket used to train Army medics in the treatment of hypothermia.
Don’t leave home without it…
More at BLIZZARDSURVIVAL



Scientists from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China have come up with a unique cotton material that can clean itself when left under ordinary sunlight. The fabric includes a coat of nanoparticles made from a compound of titanium dioxide, nitrogen, silver and iodine. From a test experiment, the special coating was able to remove an orange stain when exposed to sunlight for just two hours. Furthermore, the coating remained intact even after washing and drying.

Researchers Mingce Long and Deyong Wu published their findings in the American Chemical Society Journal Applied Material & Interfaces. However, it is not expected that the breakthrough invention will be hitting retail shelves anytime soon.
Jioa Tong university



Designer: Riley Sanders

BASE IMPACT JERSEY
The Base Impact Jersey is an unobtrusive solution to personal protective equipment specific to snow sports. It reduces the chance of serious injury occurring, while still allowing the user to perform at their peak without being restricted by their equipment.
A personal snowboarding injury was the inspiration for an investigation of the issues surrounding personal protective equipment (PPE) specific to snow sports. The project was an attempt to develop an improved product that will reduce the chance of serious injury occurring to a skier or snowboarder while maintaining comfort and mobility.
Research methods including focus groups and one-on-one interviews with snowboarders, skiers, and industry-related professionals highlighted the need for more refined PPE specific to snow sports. The study helped the designer to understand the most common injuries that occur during snow sports, how the injuries have occurred, and the best methods for their prevention. It was made evident through the research that there was a lack of PPE that could provide sufficient support to the user upon impact while maintaining their freedom of movement and comfort.
The solution was Base – an upper-body personal protective system specific to snow sports. The patented Base protective material was developed to assist with the prevention of unnatural movements of jointed body parts. The material consists of two main components: the displacement hexagons, which determine the overall locking angle of the material, and the flexible clipping layer that holds the displacement hexagons in place. The material has been utilized in the Base Impact Jersey to protect the elbow from overextension, the shoulder from dislocation, and the back from hyperextension.

In an innovative move, Dutch firm Phillips moves with the times and introduces an off-grid solution to lighting using everyday waste products…Utilizing the principles behind biological luminescence such as fireflies and deep sea creatures which provide light through bioluminescent BACTERIA. This bacteria, in theory, could be collected and mixed with kitchen and even bathroom wastes in individual pods where the reaction takes place. Further uses could fuel outdoor low-light venues like roadway edge indicators. There is no heat produced by this reaction and would not require further energy supplies. Saving the world seems just a tiny bit closer.
More: PHILLIPS

The AeroShot Pure Energy delivers a fine powder containing vitamin B and 100 mg of caffeine that dissolves instantly in the mouth. That would be the same amount of caffeine found in one large cup of coffee … without the calories or coffee breath!
Tom Hadfield from Breathable Foods mission statement is “to bring the aesthetic experience of aerosol cuisine to commercial markets.” It can even be taken on an aircraft.
see more here: AEROSHOT
With the new shots, Le Whif and AeroShot, along with the AWOL, means it’s now possible to enjoy some chocolate flavor, get yourself inebriated, then try and sober up with a jolt of caffeine – all without food or beverage actually passing your lips…

Coming to rainy city near you, the EN-V electric pod car series which are now in testing phase from General Motors. Not for everyone, but it sure beats a moped on windy, rainy or chilly days…



As if taking a scene from the beautiful French film, “Le Parfum” and reeling it into the 21st Century, a new chapter unfolds.
Introducing, SWALLOWABLE PARFUM, a innovative solution that permits the user to swallow a capsule and produce a fragrance that is generated from WITHIN.

Lucy McRae and synthetic biologist Sheref Mansy from Amsterdam, have produced a capsule with synthetic fragrant lipids that mimic the structure of the fat molecule found in the body, this when those lipids get metabolized by the body’s enzymes, fragrant molecules are released and excreted through the skin’s surface through perspiration. The skin acts like an atomizer for the fragrance and the resulting scent is determined by the individual: current temperature, stress, exercise or sexual arousal. Have a glimpse below:

SWALLOWABLE PARFUM® from Lucy McRae on Vimeo.

Website: http://www.swallowableparfum.com
Contact: Lucy@LucyMcrae.net

It is only fitting I pay my own respects to Steve Jobs by showing his unveiling of the very first personal Macintosh computer, especially as I am using one of its descendants as I write. It’s quite the moment.

The quiet revolution of 3-D printing is being presented alongside art at the Victoria & Albert museum in London. Funded by the Materialize factory in Belgium, it will show pieces devised through various printing methods like “laser-sintering” and “stereolithography”.
Read more: The Independent