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What is Next Nature?

With our attempts to cultivate nature, humankind causes the rising of a next nature, which is wild and unpredictable as ever. Wild systems, genetic surprises, autonomous machinery and splendidly beautiful black flowers. Nature changes along with us.

Posts Tagged ‘Calm-technology’

  • YouTube Preview Image

    Control Your Environment with Myo

    In same spirit of Kinect and other movement detectors, the Canadian firm Thalmic Labs recently presented Myo, a high-tech armband able to interpret musclular contractions. Myo changes your hand into a computer mouse: Raise your hand and make the web page change, or remotely manipulate a robot or drone. The device turns the world into a giant touch-sensitive screen, without actually needing to touch anything.

    Myo might seem like magic, but it uses an old technology that has been used in electromyography to control the muscle and nerve activity in patients. In addition to a basic Bluetooth connection, this technology allows Myo to foresee arm movements by a tiny fraction of a second. This amazing device will be available by the end of the year for a quite reasonable price – around $115. So, if you want to feel like the mutant Magneto, it’s already possible!

    Via Futura-Sciences.

  • AR grocery store

    Filling Vacant Lots with Augmented Reality Grocery Stores

    China’s biggest e-commerce website plans to virtually transform 1,500 vacant lots around the country into augmented reality supermarkets. It’s a cheap and near-instantaneous way to use dead space in cities. Each one of Yihaodian‘s AR supermarkets will take up 1,200 “real” square meters, and have about 1,000 products each. Customers will wander around using their smart phones as an interface to buy items, and get their purchases delivered at home.

    Unlike Korea’s AR shopping on subway platforms, Yihaodian’s stores seem to require that shoppers go out of their way to look for items that could just as easily be purchased online. Because of this, we’re a little skeptical about the life of this idea beyond its novelty as a marketing stunt. To really draw the crowds to empty areas, AR pop-ups would have to offer something exclusive: products, art, or checkpoints in a city-wide game that sends people swarming over the streets to earn discounts.

    Via Pop Up City

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  • Break Time by Stephenpperry

    “Responsive Typography” Tracks Your Location to Automatically Resize Text

    Web designer  Marko Dugonjić has created a website called “Responsive Typography” that alters the size of the text based on your distance from the screen. As a simple working prototype, Responsive Typography shows us some of the untapped potential of physical interactions with soft wear. Imagine moving away from your screen to get a drink and watching as it magnifies the text so you can read your email from afar, or a computer that goes to sleep when you leave a room and wakes when you return.

    It’s fascinating to think of computers becoming more responsive to our bodies as a whole, but with the increasing prevalence of facial recognition these interactions could be taken even deeper. If the computer recognized your face was sad, it might change your music playlist to something cheerier, or send your friend a message to give you a call. If it realized you were getting tired, could it tell you when to take a break? Or open the blinds to let in a little more daylight?

    Dugonjić’s tool shows the range of untapped design potential that is already built into webcams, and bodes for an exciting interactive computing future.

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  • ElizaSecondSightRetinalimplantMasterandLead-1360942862868

    Bionic Eye: Limited Vision to the Blind

    On Valentine’s day, the US Food and Drug Administration approved the first treatment that can restore (limited) eyesight to (some) blind people. This means that the first “bionic eye” will come to the American market next year! This milestone device allows users to see “crosswalks on the street, the presence of people or cars, and sometimes even large numbers or letters.

    The treatment involves sheets of electrodes implanted behind the eye, glasses with an attached camera and a video processer. With this system, the device bypasses the damaged retina and transmits images directly to the brain. According to the company which produces the implants, they could also be beneficial for elderly people with bad eyesight.

    For the rest of us, we’ll just wait for implants that improve our “normal” vision.

    Via IEEE Spectrum

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  • Screen Shot 2013-01-28 at 6.52.53 PM

    Bacterioptica

    Living lamps like Latro Algea Lamp by Mike Thompson are nothing new. But design studio MADLAB has created Bacterioptica, a lamp that contains organisms and bacteria from the family that owns it. The statement reads:

    “It is alive in a very literal sense: it cultivates, distributes and illuminates the bacterial life of its family members by way of a branching assembly of metal rods, glass petri dishes and fiber optics.

    “Bacterioptica is adaptive by design, not only in its form and mechanics, but more importantly, in the way it evolves. Step- by-step instructions guide the family through procedures to experiment with and prepare each bacterial sample for its place in the chandelier. Whether featuring bacteria from the skin, the yard or the dinner guests, Bacterioptica is continually changing in shape and luminosity.”

    With this lamp your family can literally light up your life.

    Via DesignTaxi

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  • moss table creates electricity

    Moss Table Powers Its Own Lamp

    When moss photosynthesize, they release nutritious fats, carbs and proteins into their roots to feed colonies of helpful, symbiotic bacteria. In the process of breaking down these compounds, the bacteria release electrons. In other words, the create electricity. Researchers at the University of Cambridge have figured out how to harness these minute electrical charges into an emerging technology called biophotovoltiacs (BPV).

    Created by Alex Driver, Carlos Peralta, Paolo Bombelli, the prototype Moss Table produces enough electricity to power a small lamp. According to Peralta, the Moss Table “suggests a world in which self-sustaining organic-synthetic hybrid objects surround us, and supply us with our daily needs in a clean and environmentally friendly manner.” Small devices could be powered by houseplants or backyard gardens, while larger arrays of plants might hold promise as a new renewable source of energy, especially in remote or impoverished communities.

    See also the NANO Supermarket’s speculative algae-powered Latro Lamp and the Bioelectric Bonsai.

    Story via the University of Cambridge. Image via Keetsa.

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  • body heat powered clothing

    Clothes that Turn Heat into Electricity

    With rising energy costs and our growing arsenal of iPads, smart phones, and wearable monitors, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to power our devices. Perpetua Power, an Oregon-based startup, has invented a chip that can turn heat into energy – specifically the heat from your own body. When placed against your skin, the one square-inch TEGwear thermoelectric generator outputs up to three volts. One generator is enough to power headphones or a pedometer; a battery of them sewn into your favorite jumpsuit might even provide enough power for a phone. Maybe the TEGwear chip will be the intermediate step between old-and-tired fossil fuels and our fat-powered Energy Belt.

    Image and story via Fast Company.

  • oranges

    Using Simple Scents to Trick Shoppers into Buying

    Retailers have long known that certain smells get us into the buying mood – cinnamon or warm cookies around the holidays, for instance – even if we’re shopping for completely unrelated items. Now, scientists are beginning to zoom in on the exact smells that get consumers reaching for their wallets. Working with colleagues in Switzerland, researchers in Washington State University tested three different scents on unsuspecting Swiss shoppers to figure how smells might be tied to sales.

    While the idea of an orange-basil-green tea mixture may sound alluring, a plain orange scent outperformed both the complex scent and no scent at all. The orange scent was so powerful, in fact, that customers exposed to it spent an average of 20% more. This effect is likely due to the brain’s limited bandwidth for sensory input. Any effort spent teasing apart subtle aromas, no matter how enticing, is less effort that a shopper can devote to picking out the perfect necktie. A simple scent provides the ideal level of stimulation – not too much, but not too little.

    Science is enabling us to fine-tune our retail environments to make them the ideal habitats for buying. Next time you’re at the mall and get a whiff of orange, just follow your nose to the check-out line.

    Story via Boing Boing. Image via Flickr user OrangeSmell.

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  • Touch-vision

    Braille 2.0

    Text for blind people using the Braille alphabet has been around for some time. But instead of making separate books for the visually impaired, why not change the way we all read?

    With Braille 2.0, you simply scan text with your finger. Tiny implants will digitalize the text and transmit it to an ear implant. The implant converts the text into spoken words that are projected into the ear.

    Other applications of the system are also appealing for people with full vision. Adding the function of translating or explaining a word’s meaning will give readers a richer experience.  Instead of looking words up in the dictionary, you scan it and get the meaning projected through your ear implant. Reading in the dark might even be possible. Now everyone can go to the library and pick up any book he wants to read, with or without vision.

  • nanotechnology water bottle

    Nanotech Water Bottle Harvests Water from the Air

    The Namib desert gets less than a half an inch of rain per year, yet the stenocara beetle manages to survive in these punishing conditions. The beetle’s secret lies in an array of microscopic bumps and valleys on its shell. The bumps are hydrophilic (water-attracting) and the valleys are hydrophobic (water-repelling). During foggy days, tiny water droplets accumulate on the hydrophilic bumps. Once a droplet is big enough, it tumbles off the bump down into a hydrophobic trough, which funnels the water to the beetle’s mouth. Now, a company called NBD Nano is hoping to mimic stenocara’s shell to create the world’s first self-filling water bottles.

    NBD Nano co-founder Deckard Sorenson says that “We see this being applicable to anything from marathon runners to people in third-world countries, because we realize that water is such a large issue in the world today, and we want to try to alleviate those problems with a cost-efficient solution.” According to him, this technology could harvest three liters per square meter per hour in an area with 75% humidity. Unfortunately, the self-filling water bottle is still years from being realized, if ever. For those of you who are impatient for a solution to the world’s water crisis, GrabCAD is holding a contest to design devices that harvest water from the air.

    Story via BoingBoing. Image via GrabCAD.

  • bits-pageturn-tmagArticle

    Don’t turn that page, it’s patented

    Apple’s recent work on iOS has been using as much references to “natural” elements as possible, making the digital as physical as possible. Doing how they do, they have been protecting their work pretty extensively. They have now managed to patent the turning of a page on a digital device. So now Apple owns the page turn. You know, as when you turn a page with your hand. An “interface” that has been around for hundreds of years in physical form.

  • nico_bear

    Nano Product: Nico

    Nico is cute, cuddly and serious about your child’s health. Many adults smoke around children with no thought for their developing lungs. Covered in nicotine-sensitive nano-cloth, Nico monitors your child’s exposure to secondhand smoke by changing from brown to black. Log into the website or simply glance at the Nico keychain to see if your child is around a smoker – and if it’s time to fire the babysitter.

    From the NANO Supermarket product collection. Designer: Vincent Hammingh. Enabling technology: Nano sensors. Feasibility: High.

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  • roosegarde

    “Smart Highways” to Power Streetlights and Electric Cars

    Roads are a ubiquitous, even defining aspect of our urban and suburban spaces. In the United States alone, parking lots and roads cover 16,000 square kilometers. So why must roads be gray, plain and a general waste of space? Dutch designer Daan Roosegarde, inventor of the Intimacy Dress, wants to take the technology from his Sustainable Dance Floor and apply it to the highway of the future.

    The vibrations of cars over the road surface will create energy for streetlights and will power electric cars and scooters at charging stations. These “smart” roads could be further equipped with sensors to report ice, rain, temperature or traffic conditions. Roosegarde’s proposal for an energy-generating highway isn’t the first: There’s been plans for solar roadways in the US, electromagnetic roadways in China, and a piezo-electric road similar to Roosegarde’s in Israel.

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  • rhesus monkey brain implant

    Brain Implant Restores Memory to Cocaine-Addled Monkeys

    A team of researchers from three universities have succeeded in creating the first device that boosts the brain power of primates. In the study, five rhesus macaques were trained to complete an image-matching task. Each was shown one photo, and then asked to select the same photo from a larger pool of images. Using a tiny probe inserted into the monkey’s cerebral cortex, a computer recorded and analyzed the neural signals being sent when the primate was studying the first photo and when it made the “right” decision in the game. Over the course of two years, the monkeys acquired a 75% proficiency in this task.

    Read more »

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  • Book as Human-Computer Interface

    In combining the classic feeling of handling a book with the interactivity of the computer, Waldek Węgrzyn of the Academy of Fine Arts in Katowice, Poland, has created a new human-computer interface. His Electrolibraryproject connects the custom made book to a PC. Providing additional information, relevant to the page being viewed, on-screen. Turn a page in the book, and you “turn a page” on the website as well.

    Read more »

  • offshore wind turbine

    Turning Wind Farms into Seaweed Farms

    Closed to commercial shipping and fishing, offshore wind farms aren’t put to much use besides generating clean energy. Ecofys, a Dutch sustainable consulting company, hopes to turn the empty space between turbines into an environment teaming with fish and farmed seaweed.

    Last March, the company installed a trial module of steel nets in the North Sea and seeded the nets with native seaweed species. If the trial succeeds, the company says, it will be the first “offshore cultivation of biomass”, and a way to produce two renewable resources in the same area. The seaweed could eventually be used for biofuels or as an energy feedstock, or as a replacement for soy protein in fish and livestock feed. It’s a win-win situation for the environment, with less land cleared for soy, more nursery habitat for fish, and more clean energy for us humans.

    Ecofys will be presenting their proposal at the Transnatural Festival in Amsterdam, from September 7 to October 7. 

  • early_mobile_phone_prototype

    Mobile Phone Avant La Lettre

    Our peculiar image of the week is exemplary of our human longing for technology that intimately integrates with our body & senses. We are all cyborgs.

  • jurema action plant robot

    The Action Plant Runs Away from Your Touch

    Plants have it tough. They’re tasty, silent, and stuck to the spot. With Jurema Action Plant, artist Ivan Henriques has given plants the mobility they deserve . Henriques’ pieces links up Mimosa pudica – the touch-me-not plant – with hacked wheelchair. When the plant’s touch-sensitive leaves curl away from a person’s prying fingers, integrated sensors trigger the wheelchair robot to scoot away to safety.

    While plants do not have nervous systems like animals or wires like machines, they do use electrical signaling within their cells. Henriques takes advantage of this fact, using a series of electrodes placed around the plant to measure changes in its electromagnetic field. These electrodes communicate to the robot which direction it should flee. Add a pair of water tanks, and the shy Mimosa plant is fully self-sufficient. Jurema Action Plant is a hybrid entity, a way to empower plants through machinery to give them the trappings of conscious behavior. Just like the Lorax, Jurema Action Plant speaks for the trees.

    Action Plant will be exhibited at the 2012 Transnatural Festival in Amsterdam. 

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