A great talk on the cross influences between science fiction and design – the example from The X Men is particularly interesting. Watch in full screen for the best experience.
The Economist (I told you it was worth looking at!) carried a great cover article on 3D printing last week, and you can read it in full on their website. Here’s a snippet:
FILTON, just outside Bristol, is where Britain’s fleet of Concorde supersonic airliners was built. In a building near a wind tunnel on the same sprawling site, something even more remarkable is being created. Little by little a machine is “printing” a complex titanium landing-gear bracket, about the size of a shoe, which normally would have to be laboriously hewn from a solid block of metal. Brackets are only the beginning. The researchers at Filton have a much bigger ambition: to print the entire wing of an airliner.
Far-fetched as this may seem, many other people are using three-dimensional printing technology to create similarly remarkable things. These include medical implants, jewellery, football boots designed for individual feet, lampshades, racing-car parts, solid-state batteries and customised mobile phones. Some are even making mechanical devices. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Peter Schmitt, a PhD student, has been printing something that resembles the workings of a grandfather clock. It took him a few attempts to get right, but eventually he removed the plastic clock from a 3D printer, hung it on the wall and pulled down the counterweight. It started ticking.
Read the rest at 3D printing: The printed world | The Economist.
Browsing Amazon on Christmas Day (as you do) to see what I could spend my vouchers on, up popped this book. Fashioning Technology: A DIY Intro to Smart Crafting, by Syuzi Pakhchyan.
The book presents a series of projects showing how to embed electronics in crafted objects, and assumes no technological knowledge on the reader’s part (though it does assume you know how to sew, solder, and generally craft stuff). It looks like something that might interest anyone thinking of embedding technology – motion sensors, LEDs, RFID chips, you name it – in to the things they make, and who wants an introduction to the basic techniques.
A reviewer on Amazon comments: “The first chapter covers the materials, electronic components and tools that you may come across. The materials section covers a range of smart and conductive materials, some of which will be fairly familiar to most DIY-ers and crafters but some will be distinctly new – up until reading this book I didn’t know you could get conductive Velcro!”
Actually, I didn’t know you could get conductive Velcro either, but it’s true – that opens up lots of possibilities (no pun intended).
Here’s the publisher’s blurb:
Ready to take your craft projects to the next level? With “smart” materials, unorthodox assembly techniques, and the right tools, you can create accessories, housewares, and toys that light up, make sounds, or do even more. Fashioning Technology is an introductory DIY book that brings technology and crafts together in a fun and unique way. You get jargon-free primers and lots of how-to projects that will have you making — and even wearing — functional works of art.
Written for a broad audience, this book demonstrates how to blend sewing and assembly techniques with traditional electronics to assemble simple circuits using conductive thread, solder joints for snaps, and switches for buttons. With the sewing machine as a viable substitute for the soldering iron, you can craft a new generation of objects that are interactive, quirky, and fashion-conscious.
Author Syuzi Pakhchyan, a seasoned artist, roboticist, and teacher, explains how to use smart materials such as thermo- and photochromatic inks that change color by touch or sunlight, magnetic and conductive paints, polymorph plastic, fiber optics, and more.
In Fashioning Technology, you’ll find:
- An invaluable reference section that breaks down the materials, components, and tools with clear, concise explanations and photos
- A wide range of projects, including electronic accessories, interactive plush toys, and color-changing blinds, all using diverse crafting techniques
- Techniques for seasoned crafters interested in incorporating simple electronics into their own projects
- Methods for makers proficient in electronics who are looking for unconventional ways to create novel projects
Each project encourages you to personalize and customize using your own designs, materials, and craft skills. Fashioning Technology translates traditional electronics into fun, fashionable interactive projects for the geek, fashionista, and the craft aficionado alike. Now you really can be the flashiest dresser in town.
Selling at £16.09 on Amazon today (25/12/10), or £22.99 in the shops, it might be worth a look. Click here to view on Amazon.
This project, Wear I Go, has been mentioned by a couple of people following Friday’s lecture. It’s an interesting idea relating to wearable technology that I think has lots of potential applications. It reminds me a bit of the CatCam (pictured below), something I’m rather tempted to get for my own cat as I have so many questions…
Here’s the creator of Wear I Go, Yves, explaining her project. I recommend taking a look at her other videos.
“Wear I Go” is a camera-wearable that introduces new perception into your everyday. You believe you knew where you live but this device will help you think again. As a font of inspiration, photographic experiment or just for the fun of it, Wear I Go will put your life in to a whole new perspective.
The initial device is a self-contained ring. When you buy this ring, you are automatically subscribed to a service that allows you to upload photos and videos as they are taken. On the ring itself, there is a built-in diamond like camera which you can use as just another camera and take pictures on demand. Or, you can also use it as a “second-eye” by setting it up to automatically take pictures at pre-defined intervals, and in this case your device will pleasantly surprise you by giving you unexpected angles and bringing a new light into known and new grounds.
By setting your ring to “public mode” when you and your friends are together, will also allow you to sync your photos to your friend’s online account, meaning pictures will be taken at the same time from the Wear I Go devices worn by different people, documenting “this moment” from a variety of view points.
The Wear I Go ring is only the starting point. You can expand your collection and bring newer angles by buying accessories, such as pendants, earrings or bracelets, which also have built-in cameras and are part of the full concept. In this case, your ring works not only as a self-standing device, but also as a “remote-control” to the other Wear I Go devices.
via Wear I go on Vimeo.
What do you think? Fancy having your every move and encounter saved for posterity? What potential uses do you think it might have? Social, medical, emergency? (A video camera on a ferret, sent down into collapsed buildings, perhaps?)
Gadget manufacturer Belkin have released the Conserve Insight, a device that sits between your appliances and the electricity supply to show you how much power they use, and how much it’s costing you. The idea is that you get a very visible notification of how much it costs to operate your TV (even in standby), your fluorescent bulbs (if you still have any) and your computer.
Find out how much energy your devices really use—including, the cost of operation, the amount of carbon dioxide (CO₂) produced in generating the electricity consumed, and watts. See at a glance the true impact to your wallet—and the environment.
A project carried out in the north of England as part of the DOTT 07 scheme showed that when people have a very visible indication of how much power they’re using, in pounds and pence rather than watts, they will start to turn things off. The Home Energy Dashboard was the result
This product from Belkin seems like a good commercial implementation of that idea, one device at a time, and without waiting for the energy companies or government to get their act together. Maybe this device could save a lot more than its own cost in energy conservation.
I promise I won’t post things from Lolcats very often (even though it is the best site on the interweb) but this seemed appropriate given its links with, oh I don’t know, technology, social design, interactive design…
Oh okay, it’s just here because it’s freaky. You got me.
For those who can’t have cats in their apartments or are allergic to cats, there is another option. Sega’s battery-operated Dream Cat Venus costs about $108 and has sensors that allow it to show cat-like behavior like blinking, moving its legs when you rub its belly, purring when you talk to it, and sleeping and laying around a lot.
Alejandro Aravena designed the Chairless, a seating device for the modern nomad, for Vitra. It’s just a strap of fabric which you put around your knees and back. Alejandro was inspired by a picture of an Ayoreo Indian sitting with such a strap. This is definitely not a typical Vitra product.A part of the proceeds will be used to support the “Foundation for Paraguayan Indian Communities”.
Read the rest at Chairless – today and tomorrow.
Thanks to Steph in IPD
BBC News reports:
If you have ever done a first aid course, the chances are you have been intimate with Resusci Anne.
Launched in 1960 to solve the problem of how to practice life like mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, she has been nick-named “the most kissed girl in the world” and to put it plainly, she is getting on a bit.
More sophisticated mannequins have been manufactured in recent years and Resusci Anne’s creators Laerdal have now brought out SimMan 3G, the next generation of simulator, able to mimic an array of medical complications.
He has a pulse, he can cough and wheeze, his eyes can water, his jaws can lock and his body can breathe and convulse.
Those are just the visible features but he can also simulate breathing complications, cardiac arrests and reactions to drugs.