Monday, March 31, 2014 - 18:00Ladyada visits Pololu @Pololu – APEX EXPO #adafruitAPEX @IPCShow #IPCshow #apexexpo
While at the APEX Expo looking for manufacturing equipment for Adafruit we met up with Jan and the team from Pololu. Pololu is one of our favorite maker/robotics companies, they have some of the best engineered & designed electronics (we sell their Zumo!) – About Pololu.
Pololu is an electronics manufacturer and online retailer serving education, maker, and professional engineering industries with products ranging from sensors and motion control electronics to motors and wheels to complete robots. We strive to offer well-engineered, quality products that enable our customers to take their own projects from idea to reality.
Thank you for the tour!
NEW PRODUCT – Zumo Robot for Arduino – The Pololu Zumo robot is an Arduino-controllable tracked robot platform that is less than 10 cm × 10 cm—small enough to qualify for Mini Sumo. It includes two micro metal gearmotors coupled to a pair of silicone tracks, a stainless steel bulldozer-style blade, an array of six infrared reflectance sensors for line following or edge detection, a 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer, and a buzzer for simple sounds and music. Just add 4 AA batteries and an Arduino (or compatible controller) and you are ready to push! No soldering or assembly is required.
The Zumo robot is a low-profile tracked robot platform intended for use with an Arduino (or compatible device) as its main controller. It measures less than 10 cm on each side and weighs approximately 300 g with an Arduino Uno and batteries (165 g without, as shipped), so it is both small enough and light enough to qualify for Mini-Sumo competitions. It uses two 75:1 HP micro metal gearmotors to drive the treads, providing plenty of torque and a top speed of approximately 2 feet per second (60 cm/s), which makes it much more agile than competing robots like the Solarbotics Sumovore and Parallax SumoBot while still offering plenty of control. The Zumo robot includes a 0.036″-thick laser-cut stainless steel sumo blade mounted to the front of the chassis for pushing around objects like other robots, and a reflectance sensor array mounted along the front edge of the Zumo (behind the sumo blade) allows the Zumo to detect features on the ground in front of it, such as lines for following or edges for avoiding.
The Zumo control board is essentially a shield for the Arduino Uno or Leonardo, both of which can be plugged directly into the shield’s male header pins, face down. (It is not compatible with the Arduino Mega or Due, but it can be used with older Arduinos that have the same form factor as the Uno, such as the Duemilanove.) The shield includes dual motor drivers, a buzzer for playing simple sounds and music, a user pushbutton, and a 3-axis accelerometer and compass. It also boosts the battery voltage to power the Arduino and breaks out the Arduino I/O lines, reset button, and user LED for convenient access and to accommodate additional sensors.
Our Zumo Arduino libraries make it easy to interface with all of the integrated hardware, and we provide a number of sample programs that show how to use the Zumo’s reflectance array, pushbutton, buzzer, and motors. We have also written a basic LSM303 Arduino library that makes it easier to interface the LSM303DLHC 3-axis accelerometer and magnetometer with an Arduino.
The robot ships as shown in the main product picture; no assembly or soldering is required. An appropriate Arduino (or compatible controller) and four AA batteries are required but not included.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 17:00New A-Trak and Tommy Trash video features INSANE Rube Goldberg machine #MusicMonday
We were blown away when we saw this new video for A-Trak & Tommy Trash’s ‘Tuna Melt’ on Colossal. This is one of the coolest Rube Goldberg machines we’ve ever seen!
Here’s a fun new music video for A-Trak & Tommy Trash’s ‘Tuna Melt‘. The Rube Goldberg device moves through almost every room of the The Ohage House in St. Paul, MN as dominoes crash, paper airplanes fly, and submarines chug along underwater. I couldn’t say for sure if it was all shot in one take, but there are some fantastic sequences regardless. The video was directed by Ryan Staake and most of the dominoes and other kinetic devices were created by Tim Fort.
Here’s a behind the scenes video which sort of indicates that it wasn’t done in one shot. Still, incredible build- can you imagine how long it must’ve taken?
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 16:19ASK AN ENGINEER + POPULAR MECHANICS @PopMech on Wednesday night 8pm ET 4/2/2014 – Special guest Jerry Beilinson!
ASK AN ENGINEER + POPULAR MECHANICS on Wednesday night 8pm ET 4/2/2014 – Special guest Jerry Beilinson! We will be talking about the April issue on stands now – Innovation Economy – 25 Makers Who Are Reinventing the American Dream. Get the issue here!
Jerry Beilinson, the deputy editor of Popular Mechanics, helps lead the coverage of diverse topics including the maker movement, advancements in biology, climate issues, and energy policy. He launched the magazine’s annual Breakthrough Awards program and led the development of its award-winning tablet magazine, along with other mobile apps.
Now, as never before, DIYers are empowered to design, manufacture, and market their creations. Call it the maker movement, a fresh industrial revolution, or the new innovation economy. By any name, it’s a great time to be an innovator. And these visionaries are leading the way.
What is “Ask an engineer”? From the electronics enthusiast to the professional community — “Ask an Engineer” has a little bit of everything for everyone. If you’re a beginner, or a seasoned engineer — stop in and see what we’re up to! We have demos of projects and products we’re working on, we answer your engineering and electronics questions and we have a trivia question + give away each week.
READ MORE – Our Ladyada is featured along with a whole bunch of awesome makers!
While working on her master’s degree at MIT, Limor Fried used to relax at night by building synthesizers and other DIY electronics projects, then posting the instructions online. After fans started asking for help locating parts, she launched Adafruit. The company now sells electronics kits with open-source licenses, encouraging would-be inventors to experiment and have fun. The popular MintyBoost, for example, is a mobile-device charger housed in an Altoids-size tin. Fried’s site includes vibrant forums and video tutorials, and she awards badges for coding and welding. Her work is clearly making an impact: After watching the pink-haired engineer’s webcasts, one girl asked her father, “Are there any boy engineers?”
Mission statement: Fried calls Adafruit “an educational company that just happens to have a gift shop at the end.”
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 16:01Dr. Frankenstein’s Wireless Xbox One Steering Wheel
Buy an Xbox One controller and hack it immediately? That’s exactly what [tEEonE] did so he could merge it with a Simraceway SRW-S1 steering wheel. He loves racing games and was psyched to play Forza 5. He already had the steering wheel, but it’s strictly a PC peripheral. [tEEonE] wanted the wheel to control the steering, gas, and brakes and found both the XB1 controller and the SRW-S1 well-suited to the hack.
For steering, [tEEonE] substituted the SRW-S1′s accelerometer for the XB1′s left joystick pot. He connected the X and Y to analog pins on an Arduino Pro. Then he mapped the rotation angles to voltage levels using a DAC and wired that to the XB1 joystick output. The XB1 controller uses Hall effect sensors and magnets on the triggers to control the gas and brake. He removed these and wired the SRW-S1 paddles to their outputs and the XB1 controller is none the wiser.
He also rigged up a 3-point control system to control the sensitivity and calibrate the angles: a button to toggle through menu items and two touch modules to increment and decrement the value. These he wired up to a feedback interface made by reusing a 15-LED strip from the SRW-S1. Finally, he had space left inside the housing for the XB1′s big rumble motors and was able to attach the small motors to the gas and brake paddles with the help of some 3-D printed attachments. Check out this awesome hack in action after the break.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 16:00Rainbow-catching waveguide could revolutionize energy technologies #Manufacturing Monday
Phys.org has posted a story on some new photonics research that could allow manufacturers to recycle waste heat and more.
By slowing and absorbing certain wavelengths of light, engineers open new possibilities in solar power, thermal energy recycling and stealth technology.
More efficient photovoltaic cells. Improved radar and stealth technology. A new way to recycle waste heat generated by machines into energy.
All may be possible due to breakthrough photonics research at the University at Buffalo.
The work, published March 28 in the journal Scientific Reports, explores the use of a nanoscale microchip component called a “multilayered waveguide taper array” that improves the chip’s ability to trap and absorb light.
Unlike current chips, the waveguide tapers (the thimble-shaped structures above) slow and ultimately absorb each frequency of light at different places vertically to catch a “rainbow” of wavelengths, or broadband light…
“We previously predicted the multilayered waveguide tapers would more efficiently absorb light, and now we’ve proved it with these experiments,” said lead researcher Qiaoqiang Gan, PhD, UB assistant professor of electrical engineering. “This advancement could prove invaluable for thin-film solar technology, as well as recycling waste thermal energy that is a byproduct of industry and everyday electronic devices such as smartphones and laptops.”
Each multilayered waveguide taper is made of ultrathin layers of metal, semiconductors and/or insulators. The tapers absorb light in metal dielectric layer pairs, the so-called hyperbolic metamaterial. By adjusting the thickness of the layers and other geometric parameters, the tapers can be tuned to different frequencies including visible, near-infrared, mid-infrared, terahertz and microwaves.
The structure could lead to advancements in an array of fields…
The multilayered waveguide taper array could help recycle waste heat generated by power plants and other industrial processes, as well as electronic devices such as televisions, smartphones and laptop computers.
“It could be useful as an ultra compact thermal-absorption, collection and liberation device in the mid-infrared spectrum,” said Dengxin Ji, a PhD student in Gan’s lab and first author of the paper.
It could even be used as a stealth, or cloaking, material for airplanes, ships and other vehicles to avoid radar, sonar, infrared and other forms of detection. “The multilayered waveguide tapers can be scaled up to tune the absorption band to a lower frequency domain and absorb microwaves efficiently,” said Haomin Song, another PhD student in Gan’s lab and the paper’s second author.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 15:59Abstract Ideas Don’t Deserve Patents #makerbusiness
The Constitution gives Congress the power to grant inventors a temporary monopoly over their creations to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.” But in recent years, the government has too often given patent protection to inventions that do not represent real scientific advances.
On Monday, the Supreme Court will consider when the government should grant patents to processes that are based on abstract ideas. In a world where technology is rapidly changing, the Patent and Trademark Office has been flooded with applications that claim to have invented ways to solve problems. But it can be hard to discern if these creations should be patentable.
The number of patent applications has more than tripled in the last two decades, and the number of patents granted has multiplied two and a half times. But many of those patents appear to be overly broad and vague, according to a report by the Government Accountability Office. That increase has contributed to a surge in costly, and often frivolous, patent-infringement lawsuits.
…The Supreme Court should make clear that nobody should be allowed to claim a monopoly over an abstract idea simply by tying it to a computer.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 15:57Ultimaker Announces New CEO #makerbusiness
Co-founders Martijn Elserman and Erik de Bruijn will take on supporting roles responsible for the Ultimaker Experience and Evangelizing 3D printing respectively. The change comes as a result of a newly defined growth strategy in which the founders will take on a more prominent role in defining the path forward. The three co-founders are extremely grateful for the role of interim CEO Henk van Gils who has guided the company the past two years.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 15:53Life (video)
A commission by The Metropolitan Hotel London as part of their charity work for Noah’s Ark Children Hospice, this egg is a contemporary interpretation of the Faberge egg. Designed using parametric principles the structure itself provides power to 400 LEDs. In this object circuit boards are part of the structure and the structure is part of the circuit to create a seamless aesthetics of structure and light.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 15:51What the IRS Bitcoin Tax Guidelines Mean For You #makerbusiness
The US Internal Revenue Service finally announced its guidance for virtual currencies yesterday, explicitly referring to bitcoin (see the announcement here PDF here). and notice . The increased clarity – provided three weeks before the end of the US tax year – will come as a relief to many who were scared to get involved in bitcoin, commercially. But what does it mean for different members of the bitcoin community?
Adafruit is pleased to offer BitCoin as a payment method for Adafruit purchases. We’re using BitPay as our payment processor. BitPay is an electronic payment processing system for the bitcoin currency. BitPay enables online merchants to accept bitcoins, as a form of payment like payments from Visa, Mastercard, Amex, Google Wallet and Paypal.
Here’s a video from BitPay that explains their service. And below is the Bitcoin.org overview of Bitcoin and video.
Bitcoin uses peer-to-peer technology to operate with no central authority or banks; managing transactions and the issuing of bitcoins is carried out collectively by the network. Bitcoin is open-source; its design is public, nobody owns or controls Bitcoin and everyone can take part. Through many of its unique properties, Bitcoin allows exciting uses that could not be covered by any previous payment system.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 15:00Dead Computer Tower? Why Not Make a Tool Box?
Turns out a dead computer tower is the perfect structure for an oversized tool box, from hackaday.
[Michael Gohjs] acquired a bunch of old business computers — the Dell Optiplex GX400, to be precise — and after salvaging any of the useful components out of them he was left with the cases. Not wanting to toss them for recycling, he decided to try upcycling one into a portable tool box.
The cool thing with using a computer tower for a tool box is most of it is already setup for modular storage spaces. [Michael] removed the bracket that holds the power supply in place, and using some cardboard from a calendar stand formed a box attached to it — instant storage space. Even better? The 5.25″ drive bays have sliding rails for easy removal! Again, all [Michael] had to do was build a box in between the slot rails and he had a cleverly utilized drawer.
The rest of the case was built in a similar manner, making use of pre-existing features, and making new cubbies. If you wanted to get fancy, you could use sheet metal to do this to make an even more rugged toolbox.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 14:00ArduinoPixel – Android App to Control a NeoPixel LED Strip via Arduino Web Server #NeoPixel #Arduino
This project consists of two pieces. The first piece is an Arduino sketch that implements a Web Server and offers an API for controlling a NeoPixel LED Strip. The second piece is an Android app, ArduinoPixel, that connects to the Arduino Web Server and sends commands to control the color and the on/off state of the LED strip.
The Arduino sketch is also available at codebender. You can clone the project, update the controller and network parameters, and upload it straight to your Arduino Ethernet, or any other Arduino compatible board w/ an Ethernet Shield.
The Android application is available on Google Play. Install the app to your phone or tablet, configure the network parameters you set earlier in the Arduino sketch, and you are ready to go. You can watch a demo on YouTube.
Featured Adafruit Product!
Adafruit NeoPixel Digital RGB LED Weatherproof Strip 60 LED -1m – WHITE: You thought it couldn’t get better than our world-famous 32-LED-per-meter Digital LED strip but we will prove you wrong! You wanted twice the LEDs? We got it (well, its 1.875 times as many but that’s within a margin of error). You wanted thinner strips? Now only 12.5 mm wide, 10 mm if you remove the strip from the casing. You wanted less noticable strip color – this strip has white-colored flex PCB, which will be less visible against white-painted walls. This is the strip with white flex PCB, its identical to the black 60 LED/meter except it has a different color mask on the flex strip (read more)
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 13:01Sniffing pH Sensor RF Signals for Feedback Re: Your Esophagus
For about a week [Justin] had a wireless acidity level sensor in his esophagus and a pager-looking RF receiver in his pocket. So he naturally decided to use an RTL-SDR dongle to sniff the signals coming out of him. As most of our Hackaday readers know, these cheap RTL2382U-based DVB-T receivers are very handy when it comes to listening to anything between 50MHz and 1800MHz. [Justin] actually did a great job at listing all the things these receivers can be used for (aircraft traffic monitoring, weather images download, electric meter reading, pacemaker monitoring…).
After some Googling he managed to find his Bravo pH sensor user’s guide and therefore discovered its main frequency and modulation scheme (433.92MHz / ASK). [Justin] then used gqrx and Audacity to manually decode the packets before writing a browser-based tool which uses an audio file. Finally, a few additional hours of thinking allowed him to extract his dear esophagus’ pH value.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 13:00Math that predicts glucose has paved the way for an artificial pancreas #biohacking #math
Futurity has the story on the latest development in artificial organs- using math!
A mathematical model can predict with more than 90 percent accuracy the blood glucose levels of individuals with type 1 diabetes up to 30 minutes before a change in levels.
“Many people with type 1 diabetes use continuous glucose monitors, which examine the fluid underneath the skin,” says Peter Molenaar, a professor of human development and family studies and of psychology at Penn State…
“In the past decade, much progress has been made in the development of a mechanical ‘artificial pancreas,’ which would be a wearable or implantable automated insulin-delivery system consisting of a continuous glucose monitor, an insulin pump, and a control algorithm closing the loop between glucose sensing and insulin delivery,” he says.
“But creating an artificial pancreas that delivers the right amount of insulin at the right times has been a challenge because it is difficult to create a control algorithm that can handle the variability among individuals. Our new model is able to capture this variability. It predicts the blood glucose levels of individuals based on insulin dose and meal intake.”
The researchers created a time-varying model estimated by the extended Kalman filtering technique. This model accounts for time-varying changes in glucose kinetics due to insulin and meal intake.
The team tested the accuracy of its model using an FDA-approved UVa/Padova simulator with 30 virtual patients and five living patients with type 1 diabetes. The results appeared online in the Journal of Diabetes Science and Technology.
“We learned that the dynamic dependencies of blood glucose on insulin dose and meal intake vary substantially in time within each patient and between patients,” says Qian Wang, professor of mechanical engineering.
“The high prediction fidelity of our model over 30-minute intervals allows for the execution of optimal control of fast-acting insulin dose in real time because the initiation of insulin action has a delay of less than 30 minutes. Our approach outperforms standard approaches because all our model parameters are estimated in real time. Our model’s configuration of recursive estimator and optimal controller will constitute an effective artificial pancreas.”
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 12:00UW student researches ways to make robots more human by making them more distracted
This piece in the Badger Herald highlights new research being done at the University of Wisconsin on how to make robots more like us humans. The main focus is on “gaze aversion,” which teaches robots to turn away and act distracted during conversation. Robots! They’re socially awkward! Just like us! via boingboing.
If interactive robots were able to pause during conversation and take a moment to gaze off into the distance as if pondering what the user was saying, research suggests this small change could make them seem less robotic.
Sean Andrist, a graduate researcher at the University of Wisconsin, studies ways researchers can improve how communicative characters, both digitally-constructed virtual agents and physical robots, maintain eye contact.
Specifically, Andrist’s research focuses on “gaze aversion,” or the moments when people glance away or look around during conversation.
Andrist has a particular interest in human-computer interaction and computer animation, so he started working on a cross-section of these two topics. He looked at how to make computer agents behave more naturally and work with users more intuitively, his co-advisor, Bilge Mutlu, a professor in the Computer Sciences Department, said.
To achieve a stronger application of gaze mechanisms in communicative characters, Andrist said he also studies social science aspects of how humans behave while communicating with one another.
In his most recent paper, Andrist outlined how speakers use these aversions in conversation, they signal to the listeners that cognitive processing is occurring, creating the impression that deep thought or creativity is being undertaken in formulating their speech.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 11:18Transparent IC Portraits
Witness below – some of the intricate detail made visible by the transparent IC package, each one nestled in their own particular flavor of light sensor breakout board.
If only all chip dies were so visible …
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 11:00From the Forums: Open Hardware, open source 3DOF robot arm with AMS2
From the MarginallyClever.com project page:
…I’m dedicating the next year to one of my dream projects: Building a 6DOF arm and making it available for everyone.
For the last two years I’ve been teaching myself what I need to know to build a robot arm. I started the Makelangelo to learn how to use stepper motors. I built my first Delta robot to learn how to calculate Inverse Kinematics. I Build the first Stewart Platform because I thought I could use it as a wrist for the robot arm and because I want to drive at least 6 stepper motors in the final arm. It’s like I’ve got the Minecraft blocks and now I can craft them together. The Makelangelo 3 is out, the Seattle Mini Maker Fair is over, and I have more time to work on what really matters to me.
How does it work?
Let’s start by naming the major parts. The finger is the triangle bit at the end where a tool would go. Connected to that is the forearm, which is a parallelogram shape. Connected to the forearm is the bicep, which also has a parallelogram. The two parallelograms are connected by the triangle piece at the top, which forces the finger tip to always be level with the table. The bicep is connected to the shoulder where all the motors and electronics are mounted. The shoulder is connected to the base, which is suction cupped or screwed to a table.
Between the shoulder and the elbow there’s an extra “tendon” bar that pulls on the back of the elbow. See how there’s two gears on the front of the shoulder? One of those gears is attached to the tendon. That way I can put all the motors on the base and make the arm lighter. The second gear is turning the shoulder.
In this first prototype I’m using Two Adafruit Motor Sheild v2 on an Arduino UNO for the brain. For the first test of the software I used the gcodecncdemo for AMS2 with 4 axis. I could type gcode command G00 Z10 and the robot would turn to the left, G00 X10 would move the shoulder, and G00 Y10 would move the elbow….
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 10:01Magic Screwdriver Decides If You Watch TV Or Not
Video projectors are great. They can easily produce a very large image to watch. With that large image comes a large screen, and who wants to look at a large screen when not watching TV? Well, [Steve] didn’t either so he set out to make a powered retractable screen for his projector. The best part about this one is that it is done in true DIY/hacker fashion. The parts used are definitely not intended to be used as anything close to a projector screen and the overall cost is kept to an absolute minimum.
The business end of this project is an electric screwdriver. It is mounted to a shelf that’s sole intent is to support the contraption. The screen rolls around a standard cardboard tube. A screwdriver bit, wooden dowel, bronze bushing and water pipe fitting are responsible for connecting the drill to the cardboard tube. Holding the bronze bushing in place is a clip that is intended for broom handles and the like. The whole thing is covered up by a cornice to hide the hackery.
To raise and lower the screen, [Steve] has to reach up and manually push buttons on the screwdriver. In the future we’d like to see a wired or IR remote to control the screen so it can be raised and lowered from the comfort of the couch.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 10:00Mentors help create a sustainable pipeline for women in STEM- Sign up to be a mentor now!
Forbes recently published an interview with Balaji Ganapathy and Seeta Hariharan who both work with the Million Women Mentors program. It’s aimed at creating a million women and men mentors for those looking to go into STEM fields.
Women make up about half of the workforce in America, but they only represent 24% of the workforce in STEM fields. Why should we care? First and foremost, this statistic calls attention to an untapped potential; talent that we need in science, technology, engineering and mathematics in order to remain competitive from a global perspective. But for women, this is important on another level because careers in STEM industries offer better compensation and more career advancement opportunities. In fact, women who hold STEM positions earn 92 cents to the dollar versus 77 cents for women who are not in these fields.
Yet, creating a pathway for women to be successful in these industries is a complex problem; one that must be addressed on several different levels in order to be effective. Young girls are not encouraged to study these subjects in school and even if they receive STEM degrees, many are not pursuing careers in these fields or staying in STEM professions. There are also cultural stereotypes that young girls face growing up that discourages STEM career choices, and these biases often start at home at an early age. Hence, the Million Women Mentor program was created with the goal of creating a sustainable pipeline of women by mobilizing and engaging one million men and women to serve as STEM mentors by 2018.
Here’s a few selections from the interview but everyone should make sure to go check out the full thing- it’s very inspiring!
Marcus: What advice do you give young women in STEM about mentoring?
Hariharan: I actually tell them that you don’t just choose one mentor. And it’s not necessary for you to choose a mentor that’s right at the top of the ladder. You don’t have to have a CEO as your mentor. You have to choose someone that is willing to give you the time. And I also tell them that mentors can come in various forms. So you may want to have a mentor, as an example, that could help you understand your own strengths and weaknesses. Another mentor might help you to understand organization dynamics. Another mentor could help you to build a network within the organization so that you’re effective in navigating your career path that you juggle for yourself. So I always tell women that, you’ve got to have more than one mentor. When you pick a mentor, choose someone that you can give something back to. If you can give more than you receive, it will be pretty good, in my opinion.
Marcus: What are you looking for in a mentor and what type of commitment do they need to make?
Ganapathy: A mentor can be anybody who is willing to give back and has the time available to do that. So, from a commitment point of view, we’re looking at 20 hours annually. Which means that, it’s just about 1-2 hours a month that they need to spend on mentoring a young woman, an early career woman. And, there are different pathways that we are prescribing. So it’s not a “one size fits all.” You can do face-to-face mentoring. You can do online mentoring. You can do internships at your institution – whether it is a public, private, or entrepreneurs-led institution. You can have workplace mentoring, or job shadowing. You can also do sponsorships.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 09:00This incredible video shows rarely seen footage of “slow” marine life
Daniel Stoupin made this incredible time lapse video of rarely seen footage of “Slow” marine life in the Great Barrier Reef. We highly recommend watching this in full screen HD because the visuals are truly stunning.
The most important living organisms that play the key functions in the biosphere might not seem exciting when it comes to motion. Plants, fungi, sponges, corals, plankton, and microorganisms make life on Earth possible and do all the hard biochemical job. Similarly to all living things, they are dynamic, mobile, and fundamentally have the same motion properties as us. They grow, reproduce, spread, move towards source of energy, and away from unfavorable conditions. However, their speeds happen to be out of sync with our narrow perception. Our brains are wired to comprehend and follow fast and dynamic events better, especially those very few that happen at speeds comparable to ours. In a world of blazingly fast predators and escaping prey events where it takes minutes, hours, or days to notice any changes are harder to grasp.
“Slow” marine life is particularly mysterious. As colorful, bizarre-looking, and environmentally important as we know corals and sponges are, their simple day-to-day life is hidden. We know some bits about their biochemistry, corals’ interaction with zooxanthella algae, their life cycles, and systematics. Unfortunately, it’s hard to tell what we don’t know about the rest, and particularly when it comes to interaction with other organisms happening over long periods of time.
Here’s some info on how he made the video from his upload on Vimeo:
To make this little clip I took 150000 shots. Why so many? Because macro photography involves shallow depth of field. To extend it, I used focus stacking. Each frame of the video is actually a stack that consists of 3-12 shots where in-focus areas are merged. Just the intro and last scene are regular real-time footage. One frame required about 10 minutes of processing time (raw conversion + stacking). Unfortunately, the success rate was very low due to copious technical challenges and I spent almost 9 long months just to learn how to make these kinds of videos and understand how to work with these delicate creatures.
Monday, March 31, 2014 - 08:00Swapping Streetlights with Luminous Trees
Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch designer captivated by the merging worlds of nature and technology, is developing a plan to replace traditional streetlights with glowing plants and trees in an on-site installation, from dezeen.
Dezeen and MINI Frontiers: Dutch designer Daan Roosegaarde is exploring ways of using the bio-luminescent qualities of jellyfish and mushrooms to create glow-in-the-dark trees that could replace street lights.
In this movie filmed at SXSW in Austin, Roosegaarde explains how: “In the last year I really became fond of biomimicry.”
“What can we learn from nature and apply to the built environment, to roads, to public spaces, to our urban landscape?” asks Roosegaarde.
Biomimicry is the method of imitating models and systems found in nature to solve complex design issues. One of the biological phenomena that fascinated Roosegaarde was how animals like jellyfish and fireflies generate their own light.
“When a jellyfish is deep, deep underwater it creates its own light,” he says. “It does not have a battery or a solar panel or an energy bill. It does it completely autonomously. What can we learn from that?”
Roosegaarde’s interest in biomimicry led him to collaborate with the State University of New York and Alexander Krichevsky, whose technology firm Bioglow unveiled genetically modified glow-in-the-dark plants earlier this year.
Krichevsky creates the glowing plants by splicing DNA from luminescent marine bacteria to the chloroplast genome of a common houseplant, so the stem and leaves emit a faint light similar to that produced by fireflies and jellyfish.
Roosegaarde is now working on a proposal to use a collection of these plants for a large-scale installation designed to look like a light-emitting tree.