Tag: Physical-computing


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

Hermit crab in his new house

Hermit Crabs Can Live Like Kings Again

As global houses shortages are on the rise, hermit crabs are impacted too. Hermit crabs do not make their own homes, but must scavenge for shells. The shell supply is decreasing and therefore they often end up using glass bottles or empty shotgun shells. This housing is not up to modern standards, let alone health and safety regulations. Project Shellter wants to save these beatniks and provide them with quality housing so they can live like kings again.

A collaborating between Makerbot and TeamTeamUsa is using 3D printers to produce new biodegradable shells. They are tested in the ‘crabitat’ to see whether or not the crabs adapt to their new housing. All shell designs are crowd sourced, so if you have some 3D modeling skills and a good idea, you can contribute by uploading your own design.

Via Crisp Green and Project Shellter

i-weather logo

A Fake Sun for Your 25/7 Life

The earth operates on a 24 hour cycle, and so do humans. For most of history, we didn’t have much choice in the matter. However, in the absence of visual cues light sunlight, some research indicates that humans naturally stick to a 25 hour schedule. So why rely on the earth’s rotation to order our lives?

I-Weather is a website and app that cycles through blue and orange light for a period of 25 hours, 40 minutes and 7 seconds. The blue ‘day’ suppresses the hormone melatonin and promotes wakefulness. The orange ‘night’ has no impact on melatonin or other hormones, allowing users to work or to drift off as they please. I-Weather acts like an online sun,”creating the world’s first artificial climate to satisfy the metabolic and physiological requirements of a human being in an environment partially or completely removed from earthly influences.” It’s good for travelers, insomniacs, and anyone with a grudge against sunlight.

For a more practical way to regulate your circadian rhythms, check out F.lux.

angry young computer
anthropomorphism and design

Rule #4: Complex Products Tend to Be Anthropomorphized

For past entries and an introduction to the 11 Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Design, click here. 

Think about a spoon. Now think about a spoon with a face. What do you think it is? Most likely, you think it’s a spoon with a face. Now think about a computer, which doesn’t have a face. Are you more likely to swear at the spoon or the computer? Humans have a natural tendency to anthropomorphize things they can’t explain. In the past, mysterious phenomena such as the weather, the sun or the moon were anthropomorphized in the form of gods.

Nowadays, technological products have advanced to such a degree that most people don’t understand them. They try to explain a device by ascribing human emotions and motives to its behavior. The more complex, capable and autonomous a product is, the more likely it’s going to be anthropomorphized. Designers of technologically advanced products should anticipate how users will anthropomorphize their product, and design it accordingly.

Photo via Top Design Mag.



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.

Via Creative Review, Denkbeeldenstorm.

big disk la cie
anthropomorphism and design

Rule #2: Different People Anthropomorphize Differently

For past entries and an introduction to the 11 Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Design, click here. 

What people experience as anthropomorphic is highly personal. Tests have shown that when given a selection of products with anthropomorphic characteristics, people differ greatly in how human-like they perceive the objects to be. Even if an anthropomorphic product fits the cultural, social and ethical norms of a society, it’s still possible some people just won’t like it because they experience it differently.

A computer with a glowing round button is a fairly generic design. But to those who’ve seen Stanley Kubricks’ 2001: A Space Odyssey there’s an unavoidable association with murderous hardware. Would you trust the unblinking blue eye of a Lacie hard drive?

Synthetic Cricket Hair

Crickets Inspire New Sensitive Sensor

Inspired by crickets, researchers of the MESA+ Institute for Nanotechnology of the University of Twente in the Netherlands have build a biomimetic sensor that can measure changes in airflow and pressure. It resembles the same sensory system of ‘filiform hairs’ that crickets use to perceive their predators.

The tiny artificial hairs, made of polymer SU8, are broader at the base and thinner near the top. The base of each hair rests on a flexible surface that, when moved, changes its electrical capacity, thus providing a means to meassure movement. By alternating the voltage, the hairs can be made more or less stiff, changing the sensitivity to movement. If the hairs are limper, they can measure smaller movements in airflow and pressure, up to ten times as much compared to a stiff hair.

Via University of Twente.


Robot Guide Dog

Possibly the answer for blind people with cynophobia, the fear of dogs. This robot guide dog is stil a bit slow compared to the old nature version, but as technology advances it will surely compete with the old, trusted, yet expensive guide dogs.

Via diginfo.tv

baby with ipad
Back to the Tribe

Resizing Daddy

A little girl gets angry at her father, and uses her index finger and thumb to make a pinching motion. No, she’s not trying to hurt him. She’s using iPad sign language to say, “I want you to be smaller.”

PCs and cell phones required restricted motions, mostly clicking and typing. In contrast, the recent slew of computers, tablets, and smart phones utilize more expressive motions: swiping, flicking, squeezing. These gestures may enter the vernacular of common signs, like waving and shoulder shrugging, just as internet terms like ‘lol’ and ‘brb’ entered everyday language.

All great apes stick out their hands to beg for food, but only humans pinch if their friend won’t share.

Image via Gawker


I am not a Robot. I am a Unicorn.

At Cornell Creative Machines Lab they were curious to see how two “chatbots” would make conversation. Powered by Cleverbot, created by AI researcher Rollo Carpenter, the robots were fooled into recognizing each other as humans. On YouTube someone comments: “If ever these two got married, it wouldn’t last a week.” But the contrary could be true if their somewhat intelligent chitchat helps them pass the Turing test. Till the switch do them part.