Friday, January 29. 2010
Emotiv’s brain-reading Epoq gaming headset has been floating around for a while now, but it’s only recently that customers finally received their orders. One such early adopter is Rick Dakan over at Joystiq, who slapped down $299 for an Epoq of his own. Unfortunately, while the theory may be great, the implementation is sadly lacking. From the start, the Epoq is difficult to wear, with sixteen individual head-pads that each need to be separately moistened and slotted into place. Unfortunately Rick found that then trying to don the headset generally popped a few of those pads off; you also have to factor in the removal process, retrieving each pad and carefully stowing it in its box. Once you’re actually wearing the Epoq, it doesn’t get much better. Learning how to use it is frustrating, given there’s no indication of what you’re actually doing wrong when it fails to work (or, conversely, what exactly you did right when it responds), and even the three basic games – including Emotipong, shown below – were difficult to control. You can map the commands from Emotiv’s software to general keyboard and mouse shortcuts, but if you can’t even master the up/down movement of Pong then more advanced system navigation seems unduly ambitious. The conclusion? ”Seldom has the early adopter tax (one I’ve paid often) felt more onerous” says Rick.
Emotiv’s brain-reading Epoq gaming headset has been floating around for a while now, but it’s only recently that customers finally received their orders. One such early adopter is Rick Dakan over at Joystiq, who slapped down $299 for an Epoq of his own. Unfortunately, while the theory may be great, the implementation is sadly lacking.
From the start, the Epoq is difficult to wear, with sixteen individual head-pads that each need to be separately moistened and slotted into place. Unfortunately Rick found that then trying to don the headset generally popped a few of those pads off; you also have to factor in the removal process, retrieving each pad and carefully stowing it in its box.
Once you’re actually wearing the Epoq, it doesn’t get much better. Learning how to use it is frustrating, given there’s no indication of what you’re actually doing wrong when it fails to work (or, conversely, what exactly you did right when it responds), and even the three basic games – including Emotipong, shown below – were difficult to control. You can map the commands from Emotiv’s software to general keyboard and mouse shortcuts, but if you can’t even master the up/down movement of Pong then more advanced system navigation seems unduly ambitious. The conclusion? ”Seldom has the early adopter tax (one I’ve paid often) felt more onerous” says Rick.
Photo via Science Daily, Credit: Frank Wojciechowski Princeton University engineers have come up with a rubber film that harvests kinetic energy. But it's not just another piezoelectric film. The team has been able to combine silicone and naonoribbons of lead zirconate titanate (PZT). PZT is the most efficient of kinetic-energy harvesting materials, converting as much as 80% of mechanical energy into electrical energy. By being the first team to successfully embed it into silicone, the Princeton engineers have opened up a whole slew of possibilities ...Read the full story on TreeHugger
In a week when we are all learning to say iPad, we might also start practicing 'iGlasses'. Apple's got patents on augmented reality goggles:
Goggles you can put on, indeed.
Il faut battre le fer pendant qu'il est chaud... Pour contribuer à lancer la prochaine rumeur Apple...
Wednesday, January 27. 2010
New light-activated catalyst keeps on working even after the lights go out.
By Corinna Wu
It has long been known that irradiating water with high-intensity ultraviolet light kills bacteria. Some water filters made for campers and hikers, for example, use this technology. Researchers have been working to enhance the method's effectiveness by adding a photocatalyst that gets activated by UV light and generates reactive chemical compounds that break down microbes into carbon dioxide and water.
The new photocatalyst improves on that by using visible, rather than UV, light. Synthesized by Jian-Ku Shang, professor of
"It would be very nice to shift activity of the traditional [photocatalyst] materials, which were only activated by
Shang and his colleagues tested the photocatalyst by placing it in a solution containing a high concentration of E. coli bacteria and then shining a halogen desk lamp on the solution for varying lengths of time. After an hour, the concentration of bacteria dropped from 10 million cells per liter to just one cell per 10,000 liters.
The researchers also tested the photocatalyst's ability to disinfect in the dark. They shined light on the fibers for 10 hours to simulate exposure to daylight and then stored them in the dark for various times. Even after 24 hours, the photocatalyst still killed bacteria. In fact, just a few minutes of illumination was enough to keep the photocatalyst activated for up to that length of time.
"Typically, when you have a photocatalyst, the activity will stop almost instantaneously when the light is switched off," Shang says. "The chemical species you generate will only last a few nanoseconds. This is an intrinsic drawback of a photocatalytic system, since you require light activation essentially all the time."
The palladium nanoparticles boost the photocatalyst's power in two ways. When photons hit the material, they create pairs of
As soon as they grab the electrons, the nanoparticles enter a different chemical state and store the negative charges. "When the light is switched off, that charge gets slowly released, and that slow release is what gives us that
The photocatalyst offers the ability to disinfect at full power during the day and then keep working at night or during power outages. Also, because the disinfection happens quickly, systems could be designed to clean large volumes of water by exposing it to light as the water flows through pipes, Shang says.
by Stowe Boyd
In some recent writings and presentations, I have explored the topic 'Time Is The New Space':
I want to build on one aspect of this topic: to the degree that we rely on real-time streaming as the basis of our work interactions, we will sense that we are sharing time, not documents, or other artifacts. Interaction in real-time forms the context of our interactions, and displaces many prior social objects.
In particular, this means the end of documenting status is reports: moments are what we share, not memos.
The elements of the memo are atomized into a scattershot of micro status updates, which, like macro blogging before it, has thrown away the stucture of beginning, middle and end. We are always at the start, middle, and end. Not everything fits into a 140 character Twitter post, but long form writing won't necessarily look like memos, but a slightly slower stream made up of larger chunks.
In everyday, more prosaic terms, I am betting that the operational documents that flowed, sluggishly, through the interoffice mail of companies in the '90s, and as email attachments in the '00s, will simply not be created in the '10s. Instead, people will simply aggregate others' streams -- both micro and macro -- ordered by time and topic. Or simply remain aware of what folks are doing in an ambient way, sharing time. A fully streamed world, not batched.
Tuesday, January 26. 2010
by Stan Schroeder
Security expert Ben Edelman has done some digging, and he’s discovered that Google toolbar keeps tracking your browsing even after you disable that option. He’s also noticed that Google makes it easier to enable than disable certain tracking features, all of which make the Google toolbar a somewhat shady affair if you’re concerned about your privacy.
A very detailed explanation can be found on Edelman’s blog. In addition to the problems named above, he also quotes some bits from Google Toolbar’s installation and privacy disclosures, which seem to have worsened over time.
Google has recently taken a very big step towards protecting their users’ security and privacy by refusing to operate under some of China’s rules. But it makes it easy to forget that Google itself has a history of privacy issues, some of which seemingly still haven’t been resolved.
*You throw your bread on the water, and… well, you never can tell, ladies and gentlemen.
WHOLE EARTH CATALOGUE
Video selection for the series “Playlist”, Neoncampobase, Bologna (Italy)
Founded by the American writer Stewart Brand in 1968, the Whole Earth Catalogue (WEC) was a catalogue of tools that was regarded as a bible by the counterculture generation – that is, by those who shaped the techno-cultural environment we are living in. Published regularly until 1972 and sporadically until 1998, it definitely died with the rise of the Web, of which it is considered a conceptual forerunner by people such as Steve Jobs (founder of Apple) and Kevin Kelly (founder of Wired). WEC was conceived as an “evaluation and access device” meant to bring power and knowledge to the people. It featured excellent reviews of books, maps, professional journals, courses, and classes, along with objects of any kind, from gardening tools to computers. Everybody could submit a review for the catalogue.
Like the WEC reviewers, the artists in this exhibition are contributing to a shared resource; like them, they love their tools and, like them, they are interested in understanding the world as a whole. What did change, in the meantime – and mostly thanks to the WEC generation – is the world itself.
These artists use simple tools and editing tricks in order to comment on the current status of the image, to talk about themselves, to edit found material and to improve its meaning; they explore cultures and habits in order to sample, remix and comment them; they use and abuse technologies; they export metaphors, practices, aesthetics and narratives to other situations. This may sound weird if you are not living in their same time slice, but please – don’t call them formalists. They are not working within a medium: they are working within a media-implemented reality. They are realists, in the only way that realism makes sense nowadays.
This peculiar realism can bring somebody to go back to when everything started. Notoriously, psychedelic drugs played an important rule in the beginning of digital culture. Without Sun, by Brody Condon, is a mesh-up of various found videos of individuals on a psychedelic substance. Why do people broadcast these materials? Do these “out of the body” experiences have any relationship with other now common forms of projection of the self, such as online videogaming? Some artists, such as Cory Arcangel or Oliver Laric, are interested in the conceptual consequences of technologies, and on the way they are updating fundamental concerns of our culture; others, such as the duo AIDS-3D, explore how technologies are increasingly affecting our spiritual life. In their own words, they want to make “the intangible magic of technology visible”. Not necessarily trough technologies themselves: Constant Dullart’s video, for example, turns Youtube’s “loading” animation into a suggestive, hypnotic object using light and styrofoam balls.
This concern with magic and transcendence is shared by many of the artists on show, from Petra Cortright to Damon Zucconi, from Harm Van den Dorpel to Martin Kohout. In their hands, a video filter can become the best way to explore how consistent the outer world is, and how consistent we are. It can become the best way to get a better knowledge of the world we live in, whatever we may mean with this word.
Lavori selezionati / Selected works:
AIDS-3D (Daniel Keller & Nik Kosmas, US/DE), Motion Capture Dance, 2008. Video, 08.34 min. Courtesy Gentili Apri, Berlin. Online at http://www.aids-3d.com/motioncapture.mov.
Cory Arcangel (US), Drei Klavierstücke op. II – I, 2009. Video, 04.21 min. Courtesy Team Gallery, New York. Online at http://www.beigerecords.com/cory/Things_I_Made/DreiKlavierstucke.
Brody Condon (US), Without Sun, 2008. Video, 15.12 min. Courtesy Virgil De Voldere, New York. Online at http://www.tmpspace.com/video/WithoutSun.mov (excerpt).
Petra Cortright (US), Das Hell(e) Modell, 2009. Video, 03.41 min. Online at http://petracortright.com/das_helle_modell/das_helle_modell.html.
Paul B. Davis (UK/US), Compression Study #4 (Barney), 2007. Video, 02.49 min. Courtesy Seventeen Gallery, London. Online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CWG5jqzYsEI.
Constant Dullart (NL), Youtube as a Sculpture, 2009. Video, 00.33 min. Online at http://www.youtube.com/constantdullaart.
Martijn Hendriks (NL), Untitled (12 glowing men), 2008. Video, 04.10 min. Online at http://www.12glowingmen.com/.
Jodi (BE/NL), Mal Au Pixel, 2009. Video, 01.14 min. Courtesy Gentili Apri, Berlin. Online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KE8VIKXnsQ0.
Martin Kohout (CZ/DE), Close Up, 2009. Video loop, 03.11 min. Online at http://www.martinkohout.com/new/close-up/.
Oliver Laric (DE), Aircondition, 2006. Video, 01.59 min. Courtesy Seventeen Gallery, London. Online at http://www.oliverlaric.com/airconditionvideo.htm.
Les Liens Invisibles (IT), Too Close to Duchamp’s Bicycle, 2008. Video loop, 02.14 min. Online at http://www.lesliensinvisibles.org/too-close-to-duchamps-bicycle/.
Miltos Manetas (GR/UK), King Kong After Peter Jackson, 2006. Video, 03.05 min. Online at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cNMkjWpdC4c.
Pascual Sisto (US), No strings attached, 2007. Video, 01.30 min. Online at http://www.pascualsisto.com/projects/no-strings-attached/.
Paul Slocum (US), You’re Not My Father, 2007. Video, 04.05 min. Online at http://turbulence.org/Works/notmyfather/.
Harm Van den Dorpel (NL), Resurrections, 2007. 3 animated found photos, 04.18 min. Online at http://www.harmvandendorpel.com/work/resurrections.
Damon Zucconi (US), Colors Preceding Photographs (woodshed), 2008. Video, 00.35. Courtesy Gentili Apri, Berlin. Online at http://damonzucconi.com/uploads/Video/woodshed_w.mov.
I've only heard recently of this "Whole Earth Catalogue" (yet another origin of the web), while looking at the "Das Netz" movie from Lutz Dammbeck. Here it comes back in a video show. It looks interesting as it is deeply rooted into californian counter culture that could also be pinpointed as "yet another --60ies-- root" for the web!
Monday, January 25. 2010
by Arnoud van den Heuvel
That’s one small tweet for man, one giant tweet for mankind.
The Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design of the University of Toronto will held a conference on Architecture Therapeutics Aesthetics from February 26 till February 28. This conference will begin the public discourse that will be continued in our new Health Design graduate studies program currently in the planning stages.
It begins a dialogue between medicine and aesthetics examining the capacity for design to align evidence with intuition, quantitative analysis with qualitative judgment, science with art. The conference interrogates current ideas and practices defining the role of design in the promotion of health while seeking to foster an appreciation of how the forms of affective and cognitive experience associated with environmental aesthetics may clarify and amplify the goals that motivate therapeutic practices and institutions.
For more information, click here.
Engineers are developing a more flexible outfit--just the thing for a mission to the moon.
By Brittany Sauser
If NASA returns to the moon in 2020 as planned, astronauts will step out in a brand-new space suit. It will give them new mobility and flexibility on the lunar surface while still protecting them from its harsh atmosphere. The suit will also be able to sustain life for up to 120 hours and will even be equipped with a computer that links directly back to Earth.
The new design will also let astronauts work outside of the International Space Station (ISS) and will be suitable for trips to Mars, as outlined in NASA's program for exploration, called Constellation. "The current suits just cannot do everything we need them to do," says Terry Hill, the Constellation space suit engineering project manager at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. "We have a completely new design, something that has never been done before."
NASA has proposed a plug-in-play design, so that the same arms, legs, boots, and helmets can be used with different suit torsos. "It's one reconfigurable suit that can do the job of three specialized suits," says Hill. The space agency has awarded a $500 million, 6.5-year contract for the design and development of the Constellation space suit to Houston-based Oceaneering International, which primarily makes equipment for deep-sea exploration. Oceaneering has partnered with the Worchester, MA-based David Clark Company, which has been developing space suits for the U.S. space agency since the 1960s.
The space shuttle astronauts currently wear two difference types of space suits. The Advanced Crew Escape Suit (ACES) is worn during the launch and ascent phases of flight. It is soft, fabric-based, and protects against the loss of atmospheric pressure or cold-water exposure in case of an ocean landing, and provides water cooling to regulate an astronaut's body temperature. The full assembly includes a survival pack, an emergency oxygen system, and a personal parachute so that astronauts can abort the shuttle during the landing phase.
Astronauts wear a second suit, called the Extravehicular Mobility Unit (EMU), when they perform tasks outside the confines of the shuttle or the ISS, such as adding solar panels to the space station or performing repairs. It has a hard upper torso, layers of material to protect astronauts from micrometeoroids and radiation, a temperature-regulation system, and its own life support and communication systems. The EMU weighs over 300 pounds and has limited leg mobility--astronauts' feet are normally locked in place on foot restraints while performing extravehicular tasks, and during Apollo missions, astronauts were forced to develop a bunny hop to traverse the lunar surface.
"When we went to the moon the first time, we were just trying to get there. Now astronauts need to be able to explore the surface, harvest resources, and do science," says Daniel Barry, vice president and director of research and development at David Clark Company, and head of the Constellation space suits project.
The new space suit will consist of two configurations. The first is similar to the current space shuttle escape suit, and it is designed for launch, reentry, and emergency operations in zero gravity. It's soft and allows for mobility in the event of pressure loss or in case crew members need to abort.
When existing space suits are pressurized, they tend to stiffen. For the Constellation suits, Barry's team has built in panels of material at the joints--shoulders, elbows, and knees--that keep the volume inside the suit constant, allowing astronauts to easily move. David Clark engineers are also developing breathable materials for the suit, making them more comfortable than the conventional urethane- or neoprene-coated nylon fabrics.
The second configuration of the Constellation space suit, which will be used for lunar excursions, uses the same arms, legs, boots, and helmet. These are snapped onto a new reinforced torso equipped with life support, electronics, and communication systems. Astronauts will also put on an outer garment to protect them from the harsh lunar atmosphere, including micrometeorites. Engineers are also working on enhanced materials to combat the very fine lunar dust, which, as NASA learned from the Apollo missions, can be problematic and hazardous to the crew.
The new design will eliminate many of the hard elements that add weight to current space suits and can injure the crew in the event of a rough landing. Instead, engineers are using lightweight composite structures. Furthermore, astronauts will be able to get in and out of the suit more quickly through a rear zippered entrance. The current suits are made of two pieces that take three hours and a helping hand to put together.
Barry says that a single modular suit will be cheaper to manufacture and will reduce launch mass and logistical complexity. David Clark Company has built an early prototype that will undergo testing next week at NASA with the new crew exploration vehicle, called Orion, which is also being developed for the Constellation program.
Hill says the first completed suit will be ready for testing in September, and the final suit design will be ready by 2013 and ready for flight in 2015. The lunar suit will incorporate OLED displays and a computer, and will act like a node on the Internet, relaying data back to Earth.
In the coming weeks, the Obama administration will make a decision on the future of U.S. human spaceflight, which could significantly change the direction of the Constellation program. "The bottom line is that if we are going to do manned missions, we need a new space suit," says Hill. And, he adds, "we have made the suit modular for that reason; if they decide to skip the moon and go to Mars, it does not change our architecture."
Copyright Technology Review 2010.
Suit as micro space ship, communication device and livable environment.
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fabric | rblg is the survey website of fabric | ch -- studio for architecture, interaction and research. We curate and re-blog articles, researches, exhibitions and projects that we notice during our everyday practice.