Tag: Plastic Planet

hermit crab

Crystalline Cityscapes for Homeless Hermit Crabs

Japanese artist Aki Inomata is lending a helping hand to homeless hermit crabs. Armed with a 3D printer and a CAT-scan of actual snail shells, Inomata has created a series of surreal, gorgeous shells adorned with famous cityscapes. Though the artist’s pet crab preferred to make its home in a model of the Moroccan city Ait-Ben-Haddou, we (of course) have a soft spot for the version covered in Dutch windmills.

Via The Guardian.


Wipe with the World’s First Transparent Toilet Paper

After the emergence of a transparent battery, transparent screen and transparent mobile phone now, there is now another thing that has been made transparent: Paper. Paper manufacturer Oji Holdings Corp and chemical giant Mitsubishi Chemical Corp have developed a way to produce the world’s first transparent paper made from plant fibers. Based on a common paper-making process, but at a nanometer-scale, this new technology has succeeded in making paper transparent. The see-through paper is expected to be produced at a commercial scale sometime in 2016. One day soon, we may be wiping with transparent toilet paper.

Via IQIYI. Image via 47news.

Fitness Boosters

Human Barbie

Just when you thought the Second Life hype was long gone, meet Ukrainian body artist Valerie Lukyanova who aims to turn Second Life into First Life.

They call her the Human Barbie. She has been posting images & videos of her hypernatural beauty since November last year and her emergence on the internet erupted a virtual firestorm. Many have wondered if she was a hoax, however, her appearance in a television show seems to confirm she is a real lady.

Although we wholeheartedly grant Valerie the morphological freedom to alter her body like a Barbie, we also advise her to read the essay Anthropomorphobia – Exploring the Twilight Zone between Person and Product. It might help understand the uncanniness her fellow members of the human species experience with her appearance.

Via Vmagazine.com. Thanks Janine, Thanks Ronald.


Architect Aims to Build House From Plastic Waste

Some years ago we wrote about the utterly nextnatural proposal by WHIM architects to create floating city composed of plastics from the great pacific garbage patch – a concentration of plastic litter in the central North Pacific about the size of France.

Although the proposal was highly speculative, they deserved kudos for perceiving the plastics in the Earths ecosystem as building material rather than waste. Now they want to get practical and construct the first floating villa of plastic waste material.

As we write, their Kickstarter project has gathered only $676, but that can quickly change if the billionaire readers of this website step in, no? Click here to get your unique villa from plastic material for only $70.000.


Mushrooms: The New Solution for our Plastic Problem?

You cannot look around your local environment without seeing something made out of plastic. Almost all the stuff we buy is packaged in plastic. Since recycling packaging materials is difficult and expensive, these plastics are being moved to landfills to bio-degrade. If left undisturbed, this process could take more than a thousand years for the plastic lying on the bottom, where there is hardly any oxygen. Fortunately, researchers have recently found a fungus in the Amazon rainforest which is able to degrade the plastics.

In an expedition to discover plants and microorganisms in the Amazon, researchers discovered the first fungus species that could live on a diet of polyurethane and thrive in a climate without oxygen. This means that plastic on the bottom of a landfill might possible by broken down by Pestalotiopsis microspora or a similar species.

The mushroom is only found in the Amazon, a place without any plastics. Will this fungus have a future outside the rainforest?

The soft touch of a human hand

The Soft Touch of a Human Hand

When using devices nowadays everything feels like plastic. Nissan’s engineers are trying to change just that.

The inside of cars usually are built with plastic and can feel cheap instead of the pleasant feeling of human skin. The most comfortable materials, according to Nissan’s engineers, are soft, warm, smooth and even moist. When creating the most naturally feeling plastic the engineers are using these qualities to recreate the feeling of human skin. These qualities, however, are not the only factors in making plastic feel naturally.

The natural feeling comes from pressure resistance and texture as well. Nissan’s engineers are replicating the softness of human skin and applying it to the plastics. The most attractive texture according to Nissan’s research approximates that of the human fingerprint. The implementation of these new natural feeling plastics should lead to the most comfortable cars ever. Drivers will love the soft, natural feeling of the steering wheel.

nanocrystalline cellulose sample
Guided Growth

Using Nanoscale Wood Pulp to Replace Metal and Plastics

Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) sounds almost too good to be true. The same microscopic particles that help trees to stand up straight are also lightweight, non-toxic, stronger than steel and just happen to be the most abundant organic compound on Earth. First studied in earnest in the early 1990s, manufacturers can now produce pure NCC from wood pulp.

Some early boosters are predicting that NCC will replace metals, conventional glass, and petroleum-based plastics in everything from helicopters to office towers. The material is cheap, and doesn’t even require felling entire trees: It can be recovered from twigs, sawdust and presumably any plant with woody components. Though NCC is cheap, is potential profitability is anything but. The USDA anticipates that the nanocrystalline cellulose market will hit $600 billion by 2020. NCC might wean us off mining for nonrenewable resources, might lead to a second rush on the world’s forests, or may simply blow away in a puff of nanoscale hype.

Via Atlantic Cities.