While it’s debatable whether we’ll ever be able to teleport objects or people around the world at the speed of light, the inFORM system from Tangible Media Group at MIT might be the seeds of the next best thing. inFORM facilitates the real-time movement of physical “pixels” on a table surface that move in accordance with data from a Kinect motion sensing input device. The system allows people to remotely manipulate objects from a distance, physically interact with data or temporary objects, and could open the door to a wide variety of gaming, medical, or other interactive scenarios where people might be in remote locations.
One can only imagine the possibilities as the resolution of such a device increases. As mind-blowing as the video is above, the inFORM demonstrated has a relatively low resolution of 30×30 resulting in 900 moving “pixels”. As technology allows, what happens if the resolution doubles or quadruples and 3D content begins to appear exponentially more lifelike.
Segmentation, a distinguishing feature of the annelids is clearly visible here. Photo by Alexander Semenov.
Nudibranchs, together with a huge variety of other marine molluscs, are commonly known as sea slugs (Coryphella polaris). Photo by Alexander Semenov.
Many tube-dwelling polychaetes have elaborate, colourful tentacles for filter feeding and gas exchange. The funnel-shaped structure (operculum) seals the tube when the animal retreats inside (unidentified serpulid). Photo by Alexander Semenov.
The compound eyes of a cynipid wasp (unidentified species). Some insects have simple eyes in addition to compound eyes, three of which can be seen on the top of this wasp’s head. Photo by Tomas Rak.
The spherical test and impressive spines of a sea urchin. Coelopleurus floridanus. The mobile spines offer protection from predators. Since this species lives in relatively deep water, the purpose of the bright pigments in the skin and underlying skeleton is unknown. Photo by Arthur Anker.
A jellyfish (Bougainvillia superciliris) with a hitchhiking amphipod (Hyperia galba). Photo by Alexander Semenov.
In the cnidarians, what looks like a single individual is often a colony of polyps with specialized functions. In this floating colony (Porpita sp.) there are polyps for providing buoyancy, feeding (tentacles), digestion and reproduction. Photo by Arthur Anker.
The colors and patterns of the sea slugs warn predators of their toxicity. This nudibranch is Chromodoris annulata. Photo by Arthur Anker.
A sea angel, Clione limacine. In this image the grasping tentacles and chitinous hooks are retracted. Photo by Alexander Semenov.
We’ve all grown up learning about familiar animals like fish, tigers, elephants and bears, but this new book from Ross Piper takes the opposite approach: exploring the diversity in size, shape and color of the world’s most obscure and rarely seen organisms. With photography from Alexander Semenov, Arthur Anker, and other animal specialists and researchers, the 320-page Animal Earth promises to open your eyes to a variey of truly bizarre species from deepest oceans and the most adverse climates. The book is set to be published mid-November from Thames & Hudson.
As part of ongoing research into the transmission of lungworm from snails to dogs, a team of researchers from the Ecology department at the University of Exeter lead by Dr. Dave Hodgson created an experiment to track the movement of snails through a garden at night. The team tagged hundreds of live snails with an array of LEDs and UV paint and then tracked their speed and patterns of movement at night. Apparently lungworm infections are potentially fatal in dogs and nobody is exactly sure how the organisms make the leap from snails to dogs in the first place, though the assumption is accidental ingestion. You can watch the awesome timelapse of glow-in-the-dark snails starting around 2:15 in the video above, or watch the entire clip here. Be Lungworm Aware! (via Hungeree)
Educator, scientist and artist Bobby Jaber retired from teaching chemistry over 20 years ago and decided to dedicate the next chapter of his life to combining his passions for science and art. To do this he began to mimic some of the most beautifully shaped molecules in existence using porcelain. Jaber says that because he spent so much of his life studying chemistry, the study of change in matter, that ceramics were a perfect extension as they dramatically demonstrate chemical change, especially at the physical level.
Filmmaker Dave Altizer filmed this brief documentary about Jaber’s artistic philosophy and how the 76-year-old continues to find meaning and success over 20 years into his artistic career. Make sure you catch the last few seconds.
This is what happens when you mix Mercury(II) thiocyanate (Hg(SCN)2) and Ammonium chromate (NH4)2CrO4 and then set it on fire. I was honestly expecting the fiery volcano part, but at about 30 seconds in something… horrifying happens. The kids witnessing the experiment really make the video. “The kraken!!!!” (via The Awesomer)
The Igor I. Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition was established in 1980 by the American Helicopter Society to help foster the creation of the first human-powered helicopter. To win the prize a team of engineers would have to build a helicopter powered solely by a human that would achieve a flight duration of 60 seconds, reach an altitude of 3 meters (9.8 ft), while remaining in a 10 meter (32.8 ft) square. The first attempt wouldn’t even leave the ground until 1989 when the Da Vinci III built by students Cal Poly San Luis Obispo flew for 7.1 seconds.
Over 33 years have passed since the creation of the AHS Sikorsky Prize and dozens teams have tried to win it. Finally, on June 13th of this year the AeroVelo team from the University Of Toronto managed to fly their Atlas Human-Powered Helicopter for 64.1 seconds, reaching an altitude of 11 feet (3.3 meters). The Atlas is a mammoth four rotor helicopter that despite measuring 154 feet (47 meters) across weighs only 119 pounds. The results were just verified this morning and the AeroVelo team was officially declared the winners of the $250,000 award. Watch the record-breaking flight above and read more over on the Huffington Post. Surely Da Vinci is fist-pumping in his grave.
Youtube user Brusspup (previously here and here) who often explores the intersection between art and science just released this new video featuring the Chladni plate experiment. First a black metal plate is attached to a tone generator and then sand is poured on the plate. As the speaker is cycled through various frequencies the sand naturally gravitates to the area where the least amount of vibration occurs causing fascinating geometric patterns to emerge. There’s actually a mathematical law that determines how each shape will form, the higher the frequency the more complex the pattern.
You’re walking down a street in Brooklyn, gnawing on a piece of gum that’s past the point of flavorful.. In a hurry, you spit it on the ground without a second thought and continue about your day. Hours later, a mysterious woman arrives, surreptitiously collecting the sticky gum from the sidewalk and dropping it into a clear plastic bag which she then carefully labels. Flash forward a month later: you’re walking through an art gallery, and there, mounted on the wall, is a familiar face staring back at you. Astonishingly (or terrifyingly), it’s a 3D print of your face generated from the DNA you left behind on that random piece of gum that now appears in a petri dish just below the portrait. A few years ago this would have seemed like science fiction, the stuff of films like Gattaca, but to information artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg, it’s how she makes her artwork here in 2013.
They say inspiration can strike anywhere. For Dewey-Hagborg, it happened in a therapy session. While staring at a framed print on the wall, she fixated on a tiny crack in the glass into which a small hair had become lodged. As her mind wandered, she imagined who this seemingly insignificant hair belonged to, and, more specifically, what they might look like. After that day, she became keenly aware of the genetic trail left by every person in their daily life, and began to question what physical characteristics could be identified through the DNA left behind on a piece of gum or cigarette butt.
Sample Location 6. January 6, 2013 at 12:25pm; Wilson ave. and Stanhope St. Brooklyn, NY; MtDNA Haplogroup: D1 (Native American, South American); SRY Gene: present; Gender: Male; HERC2 Gene: AA; Eye Color: Brown
Stranger Visions is the result of her fascinating, if slightly disconcerting, line of questioning and experimentation: 3D printed portraits based on DNA samples taken from objects found on the streets of Brooklyn. Dewey-Hagborg worked with a DIY biology lab called Genspace, where she met a number of biologists who taught her everything she now knows about molecular biology and DNA. Via an interview with the artist:
So I extract the DNA in the lab and then I amplify certain regions of it using a technique called PCR – Polymerase Chain Reaction. This allows me to study certain regions of the genome that tend to vary person to person, what are called SNPs or Single Nucleotide Polymorphisms.
I send the results of my PCR reactions off to a lab for sequencing and what I get back are basically text files filled with sequences of As, Ts, Cs, and Gs, the nucleotides that compose DNA. I align these using a bioinformatics program and determine what allele is present for a particular SNP on each sample.
Then I feed this information into a custom computer program I wrote which takes all these values which code for physical genetic traits and parameterizes a 3d model of a face to represent them. For example gender, ancestry, eye color, hair color, freckles, lighter or darker skin, and certain facial features like nose width and distance between eyes are some of the features I am in the process of studying.
I add some finishing touches to the model in 3d software and then export it for printing on a 3d printer. I use a Zcorp printer which prints in full color using a powder type material, kind of like sand and glue.
The resulting portraits are bizarre approximations of anonymous people who unknowingly left their genetic material on a random city street. So how accurate are the faces created from this genetic experiment? The artist likes to say they have a “family resemblance” and no, unlike the scenario depicted above, a person has never recognized themselves in any of her exhibitions. Yet. There are some things such as age which are virtually impossible to determine from DNA alone, so Dewey-Hagborg casts each portrait as if the person were around 25 years old.
Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg with a genetically derived self-portrait.
Dewey-Hagborg will be giving a talk with a pop-up exhibit at Genspace on June 13th, and QF Gallery on Long Island will host a body of her work from June 29th through July 13th. You can follow the artist via her website and also her blog. All imagery courtesy the artist. (via smithsonian)