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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 ‘Intimate Technology’

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    Implanted Magnets to Keep Your iPod Close

    Body-mod enthusiast David Hurban has decided to make a lifelong commitment to his iPod Nano. By implanting magnets in his wrist, Hurban has created a permanent bracket to hold his device. Of course, as some wise Youtubers have pointed out, there might be a problem if the next iPod comes in a different size. Want ideas for your own Apple-branded self-surgery? Watch the video of Hurban’s process here.

    Thanks to Frederike Kaltheuner for the tip.

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    Huggable Vending Machine

    Finally a vending machine that doesn’t want you money, it wants hugs. Embrace it to get a free can of coke. Might give you rushes of anthropomorphobia too though.

    Via The Pop-Up City. Thanks Teun.

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    NANO Product: The Necklace

    Breast cancer is a disease that comes with feelings of helplessness and loneliness. This nanotechnological necklace allows you to regain some control regarding your disease, in particular, how to share your recovery with your loved ones.

    By gently pushing a link of the necklace onto your skin it withdraws a small blood sample without any feeling of discomfort. This link then changes color. The deeper the color of the link the healthier you are. Such information decoration allows you to see any time of day how your recovery is progressing and communicate it with your love ones who m you learned how to read it. In this way this unique necklace symbolizes your personal story.

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    Please note that the Necklace does not yet exist today. It is a speculative product designed by Marco van Beers for the NANO Supermarket, who in the TEDx video talks about the why and how of his project. Go Marco!

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    Gordan Savicic – Facebook Suicide

    Slowly but steadily the digital environment is becoming the primary living space where we interact and define ourselves. According to Gordan Savicic however, some things are still missing… like committing suicide.

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    Twitter Implant becomes a Reality

    You all probably know the ‘Twitter implant‘ from the Nano Supermarket. Scientist at the University of Princeton now created the first working prototype.

    The implant is actually a sensor which could be tattooed on a tooth. The tattoo could diagnose an infection and transmit that information to a medic. This would be useful for military personnel to determine wether or not a wound becomes infectious.

    Although the tattoo does not exactly twitter your coffee intake, it is a big step in monitoring over distance. I wonder which Nano Supermarket product would be next to become reality?

    Via Gizmodo

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    Lucy McRay – Swallowable Parfum

    Know garlic? Now imagine you could make something that functions alike, but smells a lot better. Body architect Lucy McRae teams up with Harvard Biologist Sheref Mansy to create a digestible scented capsule that works through your own perspiration.

    Once absorbed, fragrance molecules are excreted through the skin’s surface. A unique odor is emanated, depending on each individual’s acclimatization to temperatures, to stress, exercise, or sexual arousal. Watch Lucy’s presentation at the Next Nature Power Show.

    www.swallowableparfum.com

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  • Humanthesizer

    Humanthesizer

    The human body as an instrument is a cool example of how culture and nature are merging. Calvin Harris used a giant human synthesizer to perform his single. The material used is Conductive Ink, a material technology that delivers a new platform for non-toxic flexible electronics. Bare is unique among conductive inks because it is non-toxic, flexible, water soluble, and cures at room temperature.

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    Via Creative Review, Denkbeeldenstorm.

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    Sin free for just €1.59

    For just £1.19 ($1.99, €1,59) you can download an app for your iPhone which offers tips and guidelines with the sacrament, “the perfect aid for every penitent” as the description reads. This, on itself, is not so special. There are dozen of apps which help you to confess, though this is the first which is officially approved by the Catholic Church.

    The app allows users to keep track of their sins, and guides them through the sacrament (where Catholics admit their wrongdoing through).  The app is launched shortly after Pope Benedict XVI gave the advice to embrace digital communication. Although he adds: “It is important always to remember that virtual contact cannot and must not take the place of direct human contact with people at every level of our lives.”

    Hopefully there will be a ‘Pocket Pope’ app in the near future.

    Via BBC News, iTunes

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  • Skin

    Tattoo 2.0

    As a child you probably had one of those temporary tattoos that come packed with over-sweetened chewing gum. It was a nice decoration, and a way to stand out. Recently researchers have brought temporary tattoos to the next level with small, flexible electronic circuits.

    These electronic patches consist of tiny semiconductor circuits, and are able to stretch with the skin. Scientists from the University of Illinois have created demonstration versions of these “tattoos” using a diverse array of electronic components mounted on a thin, rubbery substrate. Possible applications include sensors, LEDs, transistors, radio frequency capacitors, wireless antennas, and conductive coils and solar cells for power.The patches are mounted on a thin sheet of water-soluble plastic and then laminated to the skin with water, just like a temporary tattoo. The circuits can also be applied directly to a temporary tattoo, hiding the appearance of the electronics.

    This is an important advancement in wearable electronics. Such patches could allow us to measure brainwaves and other mental activity in an everyday setting.  Currently this is only possible in a lab with a complicated helmet and a lot of wires. Imagine what else might be possible. In the near future we may be able to exchange contact information through a handshake, or finally find that mysterious six sense.

    Via Physorg

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    Spidergoats & Superskin

    While some of us might have heard of the humorous but fictional ‘spider pig,’ spidergoats are the real deal. Although you might expect to see them lounging in giant webs or dangling from the ceiling, spidergoats actually look and behave like normal, everyday goats.

    Randy Lewis, professor of molecular biology at the University of Wyoming, has geneticly modified goats so they produce the same protein in their milk that spiders use to spin their webs. As you might have guessed, milking spiders is a difficult job. Milking goats, on the other hand, has been done for centuries. Not only are goats easy to handle, they don’t tend to eat each other like spiders do. They also produce much more of the spider silk-protein than a single or even a hundred spiders can.

    The silk spiders produce is a very thin yet strong material. The tensile strength of a silk strand varies from species to species.  Some spiders, like Darwin’s Bark Spider, produced silk that is up to 10 times stronger than kevlar.

    Bio-artist Jalila Essaïdi uses the spider silk produced by Randy Lewis’ goats to create superhuman skin that is partially bulletproof. “The work did stop some partially slowed bullets but not the one at full speed. But even with the skin pierced by the bullet the experiment is still a success. It leads to the conversation about how which form of safety would benefit society.”

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    Glowing Glucose

    Maybe you still remember the tattoo which helps to monitor a diabetic’s glucose level. A permanent solution. Now Japanese scientists from the University of Tokyo created a new way for diabetics to monitor their levels.

    Instead of putting needles in your body, either to measure your levels or to get the special tattoo, you can also get a special 1mm glowstick inserted underneath your skin. This glowstick will glow whenever your glucose levels will increase. This hydrogel fiber is considered more accurate and stable than its predecessors. It even does not require oxygen and will work for 140 days (in mice that is).

    Parties with a diabetic will never be the same.

    Via Engadget

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  • Swallowable Parfum

    Swallowable Parfum is a digestible scented capsule that works through your own perspiration. Once absorbed, fragrance molecules are excreted through the skin’s surface. A unique odor is emanated, depending on each individual’s acclimatization to temperatures, to stress, exercise, or sexual arousal.

    This utterly intimate technology is being developed by body architect Lucy McRae in a collaboration with Harvard biologist Sheref Mansy.

  • A bacteria of a different color

    In 2009, undergraduates at the University of Cambridge worked with scientists and artists to engineer E. coli into E. chromi, a new type of bacteria that secretes a range of colorful pigments.  The genetic ‘BioBricks’ responsible for color can be combined with other custom DNA sequences to achieve various useful effects.  For instance, E. chromi could color feces blue in the presence of an intestinal disease, or turn red in response to arsenic in groundwater.

    In future scenarios, the altered bacteria give rise to a new profession of chromonauts who search the earth for new organic pigments. The Orange Liberation Front, an imaginary Dutch terrorist organization, might even demand an end to patents on orange-generating genes.  The above video, which won the Bio:Fiction prize for documentaries, is a fun look into some plausible (and less so) applications for a new piece of biotech.  The technology used for E. chromi bacteria may open new areas for information decoration on a living canvas.  Maybe transgenic humans will someday flush blue when they’re feeling down, or cover up an actual yellow belly when they’re being cowardly.  I feel less enthusiastic, however, about rainbow-hued poop that marks every stomach bug.

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    Kitten Ears – Blushing 2.0

    Always wanted a pair of kitten ears to express your feelings to the world? Well, you probably never thought of that – as you have to be a Japanese genius to come up with such an idea – but now that you’ve seen them you crave for some kitten ears to communicate your feelings to the outer world.

    According to the designers of Neurowear.net, the kitten ears convey your feelings by responding to your brainwaves. The ears should go up when you concentrate and down when you relax. Think of it as blushing 2.0. How that brainwave–feelings–ears mapping is exactly algorithmically defined is currently still unclear to us. This could result in some confusing communicative behavior, which wouldn’t matter that much as it would be very kitten like anyhow. Smart.

    Thanks Mattheus Swinkels.

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    Living Life Support

    Designer Revital Cohen imagines a future where life-support machines are replaced with life-support animals. In this scenario, a transgenic lamb is allowed to frolic in the fields by day.  By night, the lamb is hooked up to a renal patient to filter his blood. The artist presents a mutually beneficial relationship: the human lives as a parasite, and the lamb lives to be a medical device, not Easter dinner. While it’s an alien vision, it may be more humane than killing animals, engineered or not, for their spare parts. Read more »

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    Remote kissing device

    Nobuhiru Takahashi, student at the Kajimoto Laboratory of the University of Electro-Communications in Chofu City, Tokyo, invented this Internet French kissing device. When a bended straw is touched with the tongue on one end, the motion-parameters will be transferred to a similar device on the other. This invention taps a new market; the storing and trading of famous-idol-kissing-data. Takahashi, notes that “the elements of a kiss include the sense of taste, the manner of breathing, and the moistness of the tongue”. With tongue movement down, these properties have his attention now (let’s hope for Takahashi he gets to do some actual research). The device could also palliate more fundamental issues: “love miles” for instance (the miles we must travel out to people we care about).

    Though the technique is not as proficient as f.e. robotic surgery; remote kissing could herald a new compassion-through-internet era!
    No harm done yet… Lady Gaga is the best coffee-stirrer I know.

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  • People are better at growing Limbs than Lizards

    People are better at growing Limbs than Lizards

    Whereas lizards have the extraordinary ability to regenerate lost limbs – meaning that if the lizard loses a limb through conflict with a predator, it will grow back – people have a perhaps even more extraordinary ability to extent themselves with technological limbs: shoes, cars, bikes, warm winter coats, cellphones.

    Mobile phones are a good example of a victorious second nature that becomes a first nature. Although they were introduced relatively recently, almost everyone carries a mobile device, and when you accidentally leave your house without your phone it feels naked, almost like you have been amputated, and you quickly run back to your house to grasp your missing limb – your cell phone – off the table.

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    System Animals

    What animal is so naive to come into this world as a naked and crying infant, completely vulnerable, helpless, and an easy prey for any predator? Newborn lamb or giraffe’s babies can walk within a few hours, but it takes humans years and years to learn to take care of themselves. Yet, despite our physical vulnerability, we’ve proven not only able to survive, but even to dominate the planet. How come?

    Unlike other animals, which have specific organs, skills and reflexes that enable them to survive in their proper environment, humans have never been placed in an environment for which we are specifically equipped. The human physique implies that there is no such thing as a ‘purely’ natural environment for us. We are system animals: technological beings by nature.

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