Tag: Sentient Spaces

Calm-technology

“Responsive Typography” Tracks Your Location to Automatically Resize Text

Web designer  Marko Dugonji? has created a website called “Responsive Typography” that alters the size of the text based on your distance from the screen. As a simple working prototype, Responsive Typography shows us some of the untapped potential of physical interactions with soft wear. Imagine moving away from your screen to get a drink and watching as it magnifies the text so you can read your email from afar, or a computer that goes to sleep when you leave a room and wakes when you return.

It’s fascinating to think of computers becoming more responsive to our bodies as a whole, but with the increasing prevalence of facial recognition these interactions could be taken even deeper. If the computer recognized your face was sad, it might change your music playlist to something cheerier, or send your friend a message to give you a call. If it realized you were getting tired, could it tell you when to take a break? Or open the blinds to let in a little more daylight?

Dugonji?’s tool shows the range of untapped design potential that is already built into webcams, and bodes for an exciting interactive computing future.

Genetic-surprises

Implanted into Bacteria, Synthetic DNA Functions as a Diagnostic Computer

In the movie Fantastic Voyage, a submarine and its crew were shrunk and injected into the body of a sick man in an attempt to save his life. Despite the fictional nature of this story, in the near future miniaturized, organic “computers” may roam our bodies, detecting early-stage diseases and treating them on the spot. There are already 10 times more bacterial cells than human cells in our bodies – so why not add a few more?

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Anthropocene

Offshore Wind Farms Generate Their Own Microclimates

As we strive to milk all available energy from nature, we not only harvest but alter our surroundings in the process. By mixing the warm sea air with cooler air above, offshore wind farms create their own clouds and could even alter weather and storm patterns. This phenomenon might even project the future potential of constructing wind farms to disperse storms and evade natural disasters before they happen.

From the Greenopolis website: “Wind farms receive a lot of praise in the fight against climate change. Along with solar, they’re often pitched as our last hope for energy independence. Ironically, not only do they “fight” climate change but they also create micro-climates… Studies have shown that wind farms are even capable of changing weather patterns.”

Image via Greenopolis.

Designed-by-Evolution

The Six Epochs of Evolution

Monday afternoon, feeling a a bit jaded? Buckle up for a delightful cinematic espresso shot from Jason Silva (*) on the six epochs of evolution.

* Warning: Video essays from Mr. Silva may cause rushes of Techno-utopism.

Calm-technology

Clothes that Turn Heat into Electricity

With rising energy costs and our growing arsenal of iPads, smart phones, and wearable monitors, we’re always on the lookout for new ways to power our devices. Perpetua Power, an Oregon-based startup, has invented a chip that can turn heat into energy – specifically the heat from your own body. When placed against your skin, the one square-inch TEGwear thermoelectric generator outputs up to three volts. One generator is enough to power headphones or a pedometer; a battery of them sewn into your favorite jumpsuit might even provide enough power for a phone. Maybe the TEGwear chip will be the intermediate step between old-and-tired fossil fuels and our fat-powered Energy Belt.

Image and story via Fast Company.

Augmented-Bodies

Braille 2.0

Text for blind people using the Braille alphabet has been around for some time. But instead of making separate books for the visually impaired, why not change the way we all read?

With Braille 2.0, you simply scan text with your finger. Tiny implants will digitalize the text and transmit it to an ear implant. The implant converts the text into spoken words that are projected into the ear.

Other applications of the system are also appealing for people with full vision. Adding the function of translating or explaining a word’s meaning will give readers a richer experience.  Instead of looking words up in the dictionary, you scan it and get the meaning projected through your ear implant. Reading in the dark might even be possible. Now everyone can go to the library and pick up any book he wants to read, with or without vision.

Digital-Presence

That Website Smells!

Do you ever miss being able to smell the woods in an online travel journal? The odor of a new leather jacket in an online shop? Or perhaps you just couldn’t find the words in an email to describe the delicious scent of your freshly baked goods?

DigiScents did, or at least thought a lot of consumers in 2001 were encountering this gap in the day’s technology. The idea of adding smell to the way we communicate online unfortunately was not successful. Failing to surpass the prototype stage, its ambitious concept to link our rapidly growing technology use to more senses than our eyes and ears, actually does something more: It reveals the true colors of the technology we use.

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Biomimicry

Will a Cockroach Save Your Life?

Often cockroaches aren’t people’s best friends, but maybe in a few years you will be relieved when you see a cockroach. Researchers of the North Carolina State University succeeded in developing a new technique that will be able to move a cockroach in any direction. By doing this, they may be creating an opportunity to change the cockroach’s poor image into that of a life saver.

The technique has three main principles. First, to control the cockroach, they give it a backpack containing a microchip, with a wireless receiver and transmitter. This microchip communicates with a micro-controller, which is also stuffed into the backpack. The controller is wired by electrodes that are implanted into the antenna at the front of its body and the cerci at its abdomen.

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Food Technology

Let the Robotic Farmers feed the World

The future of farming is not to be found in further mass-industrialization nor in the return to traditional farming with man and horse power, but rather in swarms of smart, cheap robotic farmers that patiently seed, tend and harvest fields one plant at a time without the need for damaging pesticides.

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