Scientists at MIT have pulled up a very tiny curtain on their newest invention: a 1.7cm square robot capable of assembling itself like a piece of origami. The Untethered Miniature Origami Robot is powered by a small neodymium magnet and four electromagnetic coils underneath the robot’s surface that create magnet fields necessary for it to operate. The small robot can walk on different surfaces, climb, carry objects twice its own weight, swim in shallow water, burrow, and it even completely dissolves in an acetone solution leaving behind just the magnet.
So what can we do with super tiny self-folding robots? Researchers hope to develop even smaller autonomous robots with additional sensors that can dissolve in water. Such tiny devices could have a variety of medical uses when introduced inside of a human body, maybe zapping cancer cells or cleaning clogged arteries. You can read more about it over at IEEE and in this research paper. (via Laughing Squid)
Ellie Davies' studio is the forest, creating magical, fairytale-like stills throughout the UK. Davies has been exploring this terrain for the past seven years, attempting to uncover the complex interrelationships between landscape and the individual.
Davies creates both temporary and non-invasive interventions within each forested scene. By incorporating pools of light, smoke, and craft materials she places the viewer in the liminal space between reality and fantasy, a re-exploration of the natural world around us. In her series Stars, the artist overlays her own photography with stars plucked from imagery taken by the Hubble space telescope. These mystical images are created in order to encourage pause, and provoke thoughts about how landscapes influences our identity.
While visiting the island nation of Palau earlier this month, a diver shot this impressive footage while snorkeling in Jellyfish Lake, a small body of water inhabited with an estimated 13 million golden jellyfish. Every morning the entire jellyfish population migrates from the east side of the lake to the west side, and then back again in the afternoon, causing a near constant flurry of activity as seen in the video. Unlike most jellyfish, this particular species has such a mild, almost undetectable sting that it can’t be felt on human skin, making it possible to swim through the school without being harmed. You can read a bit more about them in this fact sheet (PDF). (via Reddit)
Javier de Riba spray paints abandoned buildings, but not in the way you might imagine. Instead of working on the interior or exterior walls of the buildings he finds, de Riba spray paints the floors, mapping out bright geometric patterns both large and small. The patterns de Riba creates look exactly like tiled floors, making it seem like an element of the building’s past has been elegantly restored.
Like a screen printer, de Riba works layer by layer, first painting the entirety of the space he plans to cover, then working one colored stencil at a time to build up the tile-like effect. The end result is a trick to the eyes both with materials and placement, one never expecting that spray paint formed the intricate patterns on the dusty floors.
The artist and creative designer was born in Barcelona and has worked as an art director in various agencies and studios. His current job is at Reskate Arts & Crafts Collective, a company that develops graphics and communication projects with a focus on sustainability and humane treatment. (via Junk Culture)
The Tempescope is a novel device designed by Ken Kawamoto that displays the upcoming forecast by simulating weather conditions inside a small translucent box. The device is capable of downloading information about upcoming weather off the internet, which it then translates into a variety of modes to replicate sunshine, clouds, rain, and even lighting. Kawamoto made an early version of the device available as a free open-source project called OpenTempescope so you can try building your own, but a consumer version is planned for Kickstarter later this year. If you liked this, don’t miss The Cloud. (via Sixpenceee)
Taking the analogy comparing blood vessels and tree branches literally, Nunzio Paci (previously) creates oil and graphite paintings that connect humans back to nature. Paci’s works look almost straight from a medical textbook except for one flaw—the trees and animals that sprout from his subjects’ mouths, chests, and necks. Paci ultimately takes a painterly approach to his works, paint dripping down the canvas to add balance to his extreme detail.
Paci’s practice centers on the relationship between man and nature, especially focusing on the visual overlap of our intrinsic and extrinsic systems. The beautiful and minimally colored works could be interpreted as extremely morbid—Paci showing us our ultimate fate when nature takes over.