Tag: Manufactured Animals


Anthropo-scene #7: Anthropocene Bird

What does it mean to be a bird in a world massively altered by human actions? This White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus), a beautiful raptor, is finding it out while hovering above Baylands Park near Palo Alto, California.

Humans have made not only the Dodo, but dozens of bird species, vanish from Earth in the past decades, through hunting, habitat destruction and the spread of cats, rats and dogs with the help of ships. Globally, 1300 out of a total of 10,000 bird species are seriously in decline. Other birds have learned to live with humans and profit from their presence.

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Drone Operated by Honeybee Brain

The Green Brain Project aims to create drones that will think, act and sense like a bee. In order to do this, the team of researchers from the University of Sheffield and University of Sussex in England is now working on recreating the brain structure of the European honeybee Apis mellifera. 

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Plastivore – A Bird that Feeds on Plastic

Imagine humankind would magically disappear from the planet today. We would leave the ruins of cities, roads, cars and… plastics. Since its invention in 1907, plastic steadily worked its way into the geology of Earth. As plastics hardly break down they could survive humankind.

Artist Britt Duppen envisions that, in due time, new species might evolve that could feed on plastic. Her speculative ‘Plastivore’ bird (Latin for ‘plastic eater’, plasticio meaning ‘plastic’ or ‘food that contains particles of plastic’ and vorare meaning ‘to devour’) thrives on a diet of fungi and plastics.

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Let Your Drone Mow Your Lawn

Having to mow the lawn might be one of the peskiest tasks humanity has created for itself. If you don’t want to slave away under the sun, pushing a bulky mower around, drones can now do it for you!

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Your Cat Can Post on Instagram Now

Do you take photos of your cat, but wish there was a way for your pet to take snapshot and share it on Instagram by itself? Thanks to a camera developed by the cat food brand Whiskas, this might soon be a reality.

Named Catstacam, the system comes with a collar camera which takes six photos every minute. When it comes within the range of a WiFi network, the camera shares them on an Instagram account created for your cat. Prototypes of Catstacam have been distributed to cats owned by celebrities already.

If this is not a joke, we predict a lot of cat lovers will want to get their hands on this product. You can check some of the photos shared by tester cats here.

Story and image via Design Taxi


Recreating Woolly Mammoth DNA

Bioengineering might soon enable us to bring long gone animals back to life, à la Jurassic Park. Recently, a team of scientists at Harvard University managed to insert wooly mammoth DNA into the genome of its closest relative – the Asian elephant.

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Turning Cockroaches into Rescue Robots

Certain natural disasters such as earthquakes and Tsunamis often trap high numbers of people under unstable rubble, making search-and-rescue operations very difficult. Cyborg cockroaches might be of critical help for these disasters.

North Caroline State University carried out a study in 2012, where researchers attached electrodes to the antennae of Madagascar hissing cockroaches to steer them. Currently, the team is working on tiny backpacks attached to the back of cockroaches, to transform these critters into moving networks of sensors.

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liam young
Manufactured Landscapes

Interview: Liam Young on Speculative Architecture and Engineering the Future

Liam Young is a speculative architect who, in his own words, “operates in the spaces between design, fiction and futures”. With his London-based design think tank, Tomorrow’s Thoughts Today, he explores the future implications of emerging urban developments. Named by Blueprint magazine as one of 25 people who will change architecture and design, Young uses fiction and film to discuss probable futures. He has also co-founded Unknown Fields Division with Kate Davies, an award winning nomadic workshop that travels on annual expeditions to the ends of the Earth, investigating unreal and forgotten landscapes, alien terrains and industrial ecologies. Unknown Fields have developed projects through expeditions from the Ecuadorian Amazon and the Galapagos Islands to North Alaska, the mining landscapes of the Australian Outback, the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone and Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan.

Recently, Young gave an interesting lecture at the Sonic Acts Festival 2015 in Amsterdam. His visually engaging storytelling took the audience on a virtual trip with the infamous celebrity Kim Kardashian, whose derriere broke the internet recently. During his talk, he meditated on the emergence of virtual landscapes and hinted at new futures originated by developing technologies. On that occasion, we talked to Liam Young about his work in speculative architecture, the future, and our role as humans in relation to the nature.

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Manufactured Animals

A Swarm of Micro Drones

Researchers at GRASP Laboratory have developed agile micro drones able to act like a swarm. The drones are capable of complex motion behavior, either as individual units or as a group. Each unit contains several sensors, allowing the micro drone to stabilize itself in mid-air and recover from unexpected errors.

While the drones still require external localization, the results represent the first steps towards the development of advanced swarm behavior within drones. This could have a major impact on the future of automated unmanned aerial vehicles, commercial airlines or even flying cars.