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Design Science

MIT Developed a Fabric That Can Fold Into Origami-Like Shapes When Inflated

August 10, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

MIT Media Lab's Tangible Media Group has created a system to fold materials into various origami shapes when inflated, turning specifically designed paper, plastic, and fabric into representations of swans, helixes, or other 3D figures with minimal human interaction. The project, aeroMorph, utilizes special software to program the geometry needed for each three-dimensional shape and exports the information as digital fabrication files. After this, specific markings are heat-sealed onto the provided material on a large robotic platform, allowing it to bend at specific joints when filled with a steady stream of air.

The creators believe aeroMorph could be applied to future wearables, toys, robotics, and automated packaging. You can see the results from several of the project’s self-folding experiments in the video below. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Art History

Text SFMOMA Your Favorite Emoji and Receive an Artwork From Their Vast Collection

July 11, 2017

Kate Sierzputowski

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art's newest tech tool allows any smartphone user to gain access to the artworks hidden behind their archive doors, a collection so large that it would stretch 121.3 miles if you placed each artwork end-to-end. With only 5% of this collection on view, the museum decided to create Send Me SFMOMA, a texting service that delivers an artwork to your phone based on a sent emoji or phrase. For example, the first emoji I decided to text was a goat, for which they return Takuma Nakahira's 2008 Untitled image of—you guessed it, a goat.

To participate, text the number 572-51 the words “send me” followed by either a keyword (such as a color, emotion, or type of art) or an emoji. A quick response will bring your phone an image of an artwork from SFMOMA’s vast collection, in addition to a caption containing the artist, artwork title, and year. Within the first four days of the program over 3,000 artworks were generated, a larger number than the amount of works currently on view.

The system isn’t perfect, more of my inquiries came back with an error message than an artwork, however the intrigue of seeing a piece that has been tucked away from the public is quite addicting. I especially loved seeing what some of my most used emojis resulted in, such as the single eye which brought Tomoko Sawada's Early Days (1996) to my inbox. (via Hyperallergic)

 

 



Animation Illustration

Animator Sasha Katz Explores a Symbiotic Relationship Between Plants and Technology

May 25, 2017

Christopher Jobson

There’s perhaps no two objects more different than a brand new laptop built in a sterile factory and a healthy living plant that’s evolved over millions of years, but for animator Sasha Katz the relationship between computers and plants is a bit more gray. As part of her ongoing GIF series that sees plant specimens sprouting from the glassy screens of iPhones or the keys of keyboards, Katz instead imagines a convergence, where computers can one day interface directly with organic life and perhaps the two become one. She also draws influence from pop art and the minimalism of 8-bit graphics, giving some of her pieces a nostalgic retro video game feel. You see many more of her GIFs on Instagram and GIPHY. (via Colossal Submissions)

 

 



Crafts Design Illustration Music

Miniature Retro Papercraft Synthesizers by Dan McPharlin

March 9, 2017

Christopher Jobson

Produced between 2006 and 2009, Australian designer and illustrator Dan McPharlin's Analogue Miniatures are a marvel of papercraft. The tiny analogue synthesizers and pieces of recording equipment were pieced together with paper, framing mat board, string, rubber bands and cardboard, and appeared in everything from art shows to editorial spreads in magazines like Esquire. McPharlin is widely known for his retro sci-fi illustration work that appears on album covers and in limited edition prints, and he brings this aspect of fiction to these paper models as well. None of the objects are meant as exact replicas or recreations of real-life devices, but are instead speculative objects that draw aesthetic attributes from the audio technology of the 70s and 80s.

You can see many more pieces from Analogue Miniatures on Flickr. (via Strictly Paper)

 

 



Amazing Design Science

New Camera Allows You to Zoom in to the Surface of the Moon. Way In.

August 8, 2016

Christopher Jobson

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In a great example of just how powerful consumer cameras have become, watch as this Nikon P900 zooms into the night sky, transporting you from a parking lot in Quebec to the surface of the moon. According to DL Cade at PetaPixel, the built-in optical zoom maxes out at 83x but the camera is capable of continuing with digital zoom. “The P900 features 166x ‘Dynamic Fine Zoom,’ putting the final equivalent focal length at a mind-numbing 4000mm.” I don’t even know that that means exactly but it sounds like a whole lotta zoom. Video by Daniel Pelletier. (via Sploid, PetaPixel)

 

 



Art

The Attention-Sucking Power of Digital Technology Displayed Through Photography by Antoine Geiger

November 11, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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All images provided by Antoine Geiger

Making eye contact, a once unavoidable feat when packed into a crowded train car or museum, is now a nearly impossible mission as those around you are almost guaranteed to be sucked into their phone’s screen while scrolling through Facebook or killing digital zombies. Our increasing dependence on the information devices constantly stuck to our hands was the inspiration for artist Antoine Geiger’s series SUR-FAKE, a group of digitally altered photographs depicting random people being sucked into the screens of their phones.

The images show children, businessmen, and tourists with their faces completely lost, the forms stretched like taffy into the portals we use for selfies, email communication, and mindless gaming. The blur imposed by Photoshop completely masks any emotion once seen on the subject’s face, rendering each a personality-less drone. With this altering of the body the artist explains that the project is “placing the screen as an object of ‘mass subculture,’ alienating the relation to our own body, and more generally to the physical world.” All images courtesy Antoine Geiger. (via This Isn’t Happiness)

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Design Science

Watch Molten Glass 3D-Printed From a Kiln at 1900 Degrees

August 26, 2015

Kate Sierzputowski

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In collaboration with the MIT Glass Lab, the Mediated Matter group at the MIT Media Lab has produced a way to 3D print glass, creating intricate patterns from molten glass inside a kiln-like printer and giving a completely modern twist to the 4,500 year-old material. The video produced to exhibit the ways in which the technology works displays the process without words, instead focusing on the mesmerizing way the hot glass stacks upon itself in the machine and ultimately cools into the final vase-like forms.

Glass 3D printing (or G3DP) is based on a dual-heated chamber concept, with the top chamber heating the glass and lower chamber slowly cooling it to prevent internal stresses. The top chamber operates at approximately 1900°F, and funnels the molten material through an alumina-zircon-silica nozzle into its programmable shapes.

The researchers explain the concept of the project as one that “synthesizes modern technologies, with age-old established glass tools and technologies producing novel glass structures with numerous potential applications.” One application of which is beautifully designed vessels created without human error, forms that are mathematically perfect in appearance and design.

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Caustic patterns of a 3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

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Caustic patterns of a 3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

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Glass 3D printing process. Photo: Steven Keating

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Glass 3D printing process. Photo: Steven Keating

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3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

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3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.

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3D printed glass structure. Photo: Chikara Inamura.