Tag: Calm-technology

Biocustomization

Streetlight Trees

We all know the cellphone masts disguised as trees, created in an attempt to blend technology within the ‘natural’ landscape. Now Taiwanese scientists have created trees that could function as streetlights. They infused the leaves of Bacopa Caroliniana with gold nanoparticles which causes the chlorophyll to produce a reddish luminescence. This phenomenon is awkwardly named bio-LED by the scientists.

According to Yen Hsun Su of the Academia Sinicia and the National Cheng Kun Univerisity: ‘The bio-LED could be used to make roadside trees luminescent at night. This will save energy and absorb CO2 as the bio-LED luminescence will cause the chloroplast to conduct photosynthesis,’ This means that while the tree is ‘lit’ more CO2 is consumed from the atmosphere, therefore the glowing trees could reduce carbon emission, cut electricity costs while still lighting streets safely.

Photo courtesy of MrHayata. Via PopSci via Inhabitat.

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Calm-technology

Catalytic Clothing

Catalytic Clothing is a fashionably calm technology that aims to tackle air pollution by embedding a substance in the clothing that purifies air when you wear it.

The purifying effect is established by treating clothes with a photo-catalyst that is able to break down air borne pollutants from industry and motor vehicles. This photo-catalyst can simply be added to your clothing in a normal laundry procedure.

It almost all sounds too good to be true, until you read that a significant reduction in the level of air borne pollutants in a large city such as London will only be achieved if, for every meter of pavement width, 30 people wearing catalytic clothes walked past each minute – unsure if you can still breathe in such a crowded space.

Nonetheless we must applaud the symbolic power of the concept. And luckily, the photo-catalyst can also be added to paints, cements and paving stones.

The Catalytic Clothing project is a collaboration between artist/designer Helen Storey and chemist Tony Ryan. Thanks Kat Chan.

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Biomimicmarketing

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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Biomimicmarketing

The Sound of the Blue Canary

Blue is a beautiful color, but its sound is simply irresistible. It is the song of the unhappy and the depressed. It is a sound that touches people. It was also the sound of a little songbird, the Serinus Canaria Domestica, a sound that so moved me, I was led on a voyage of discovery into the world of birdsong. The Serinus Canaria Domestica is the man-made descendant of the Wild Canary, a finch originally from the Canary Islands, which nowadays exists in many different breeds. This essay deals with the cultivation of the song-bred canary and imagines how its story might lend inspiration to the sound design of electric cars.

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Calm-technology

Humane Technology #4: Resonate with human senses

Principle number four: Humane technology should resonate with the human senses, rather than numbing them.

If you’re an office worker or a video game fanatic, you may spend most of your waking hours staring at a screen, and not tasting, touching, or smelling much of anything. How much more engaging would the constructed environment be if we had squishy computers or scented information?  This is the basis of information decoration, which attempts to expand the digital interface beyond the flat screen of a computer or cell phone.

Humane technology recognizes that humans are sensory organisms, made to live in a rich three-dimensional environment.  Neurologists have counted between 9 and 20 difference human senses.  It’s time we engage more than just the ones required to operate a computer.  That blaring 7 AM alarm may be the norm, but it feels better to be awoken by the gradual glow of a sunrise-style lamp or pillow.

Photo

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Calm-technology

Morphing Cutlery

Imagine a world where the shapes of all objects around you would be able to change on the fly. Envision a future where nanotechnology and morphing become ubiquitous and blend in with the physical environment of the everyday. One day society will look back on our crude, static appliances and wonder how we survived without programmable matter catering to our needs.

It is the goal of designer Jeffrey Braun to explore how to design for a new interaction paradigm that is proposed as ‘Morphing Interaction’, as conducted at the Next Nature lab. When the digital merges with the physical world, our perceptions of space, time and the physical become a play with reality. As morphological properties do not impose specific forms or interactions for a design, it allows for an abundance of functionalities. The freedom of form that will be inherent to these products might not inform the user about the physical actions. Meaningful actions, forms and states will need to be created, where a harmony between human physicality, interface and physical representation is needed.

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Calm-technology

Soundmixtree

Diego Stocco is sound designer and composer from Burbank CA/US. He plays a tree as a rhythmic musical instrument, recording its sounds using a custom stethoscope. I suggest him to get in touch with Guido Maciocci to start a band.

via Boingboing.net

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Calm-technology

Visualizing Wifi Landscapes

This project explores the invisible terrain of WiFi networks in urban spaces by light painting signal strength in long-exposure photographs. A four-metre long measuring rod with 80 points of light reveals cross-sections through WiFi networks using a photographic technique called light-painting.

More info on: nearfield.org – via the #CoCities conference

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Biomimicry

Fly Paper Clock

Bionic horror by designers James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau, who have created a clock that traps insects on flypaper before depositing them into a vat of bacteria. The resulting chemical reaction – a form of digestion – results into electric power that keeps the roller rolling and the clock ticking.

At first sight the Fly Paper Clock seems odious and prosperous, however, we must applaud its self-sustaining quality. Will we one day have our houses crowded of insect catching domestic robots? NPR has an article on more meat eating furniture, including a table that consumes mice.

Thanks Roy van den Heuvel.

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