Science

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Amazing Science

Watch Amazonian Butterflies Take Sips of a Turtle’s Salty Tears

July 25, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Entomologist and adventurer Phil Torres hosts a popular YouTube Channel, The Jungle Diaries, where he shares insights and observations from his travels to remote areas around the world. Recently, a trip to the Peruvian Amazon afforded footage of eight different butterfly species alighting on turtles to drink their tears. The phenomenon occurs because the sodium in the tears is a vital part of the butterflies’ diet that’s not readily available in the foods they consume. The search for sodium is actually quite common in the wild, and is also sourced from jaguar feces and river mud, as Torres notes.

You can follow along with more of Torres’s discovery-filled travels on Instagram and Twitter. Also check out photographer Mark Cowan’s amazing snapshot of a caiman sporting a crown of tear-drinking butterflies from 2016. (via Lustik)

 

 

 



Photography Science

Microsculpture: Macro Photographs of Iridescent Insects Composed of 10,000 Images by Levon Biss

July 16, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Iridescent Bark Mantis

Iridescent Bark Mantis

Photographer Levon Biss (previously) shoots highly detailed images of insect specimens for his continuing series Microsculpture, combining 8,000 to 10,000 individual shots to produce the final piece. Included in this selection are the shield bug and tricolored jewel beetle, which were both collected by famous naturalists. The former was collected by Charles Darwin during a visit to Australia in 1836, and brought back to the UK on the famed HMS Beagle. The luminescent tricolored jewel beetle was collected exactly two decades later by his contemporary Alfred Russell Wallace.

Biss has current exhibitions at the Hessischer Landesmuseum in Darmstadt, Germany through August 5, 2018 and Naturama in Svenborg, Denmark through November 25, 2018, in addition to his first US exhibit Microsculpture: The Insect Photography of Levon Biss which opened at the Houston Museum of Natural Science earlier this month. You can buy limited edition archival pieces on his online print shop, and view interactive versions of his highly detailed composite images on his Microsculpture website.

Detail of Iridescent Bark Mantis

Detail of Iridescent Bark Mantis

Detail of Iridescent Bark Mantis

Detail of Iridescent Bark Mantis

Tortoise Beetle

Tortoise Beetle

Detail of Tortoise Beetle

Detail of Tortoise Beetle

Detail of Tricolored Jewel Beetle

Detail of Tricolored Jewel Beetle

Tricolored Jewel Beetle

Tricolored Jewel Beetle

Shield Bug

Shield Bug

 

 



Design Science

DRAGON: A Snakelike Drone Robot That Shape-Shifts in Flight

June 28, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

The JSK Lab at the University of Tokyo has designed a modular flying robot that propels itself through the air with several small fans. The entire device is built to autonomously alter its shape during flight, allowing the robot to maneuver its way through obstacles that might obscure its path. The robot is named DRAGON, which is a simplified way of saying “Dual-rotor embedded multilink Robot with the Ability of multi-deGree-of-freedom aerial transformatiON.

The project’s researchers imagine the robot to eventually act as a flying arm, moving its way through the air as it picks up and moves objects with a two-fingered grip. The linked modules that compose DRAGON’s body are connected via hinged joints and the entire structure is driven by an Intel Euclid which allows for a 3 minute run time. The above video shows the robot shape-shifting from a circular configuration to a snake-like object in order to pass through a small hole in the grid that lies above.

DRAGON was presented as a part of the paper “Design, Modeling and Control of Aerial Robot DRAGON: Dual-Rotor Embedded Multilink Robot with the Ability of Multi-Degree-of-Freedom Aerial Transformation,” by researchers Moju Zhao, Tomoki Anzai, Fan Shi, Xiangyu Chen, Kei Okada, and Masayuki Inaba at the International Conference on Robotics and Automation 2018 in Brisbane, Australia in May. (via The Kid Should See This)

 

 



Amazing Design Science

MIT Engineers Design Responsive 3D-Printed Structures Remotely Controlled by Magnets

June 22, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

A new concept for 3D printed structures designed by engineers at MIT can be remotely controlled with magnets. The innovative gadgets include a smooth ring that wrinkles up, a long tube that squeezes shut, and a sheet that folds itself. The most impressive structure is a spider-like “grabber” that can crawl, roll, jump, and snap together fast enough to catch a passing ball or wrap up and carry small objects. Each piece is created using 3D printable ink infused with tiny magnetic particles that are directed into a uniform orientation via printer nozzle retrofitted with a electromagnet.

Researches believe these magnetic concepts could one day find applications in the realm of medicine similar to implanted stents or pacemakers. “We think in biomedicine this technique will find promising applications,” explains Xuanhe Zhao, the Noyce Career Development Professor in MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. “For example, we could put a structure around a blood vessel to control the pumping of blood, or use a magnet to guide a device through the GI tract to take images, extract tissue samples, clear a blockage, or deliver certain drugs to a specific location. You can design, simulate, and then just print to achieve various functions.” (via digg)

 

 



Amazing Science

The Science Behind Incredible Bubbles Explained by Pro Bubbler Melody Yang

June 14, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

With a lifetime of bubble experience under her belt, Melody Yang of the Gazillion Bubbles Show shows the method behind the madness. Much of the formula and nuances of technique are, unsurprisingly, proprietary. But the video above, from Wired, is a fun look behind the scenes as Yang demonstrates her expertise and shares some stories of her career as a bubble engineer. (via Laughing Squid)

 

 



Art Science

The Human Microbiome Reimagined as a Cut-Paper Coral Reef by Rogan Brown

June 4, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Using the visual metaphor of a coral reef, artist Rogan Brown (previously) introduces his audience to the diverse bacteria, archaea, fungi found in the human body through paper-based sculptures. The detailed works are created after months of research and hunting for aesthetic parallels that might link the two surprisingly similar worlds.

His series Magical Circle Variations merge these sources of inspiration with a pastel color scheme that can also be found in a coral habitat. “What the reef and the microbiome have in common is that they both consist of biodiverse colonies of organisms that coexist more or less harmoniously,” Brown explains. “There are further parallels between coral and human beings in that we are both symbiont organisms, that is we depend on a mutually beneficial relationship with another species: coral only receive their beautiful colors from varieties of algae that live on them and human beings can only exist thanks to the unimaginably huge and diverse number of bacteria that live in and on them.”

Brown hopes that his intricate paper sculptures will allow his audience to more greatly conceptualize the bacteria-based landscape of the human body. Works like these will be exhibited with C Fine Art at the upcoming Art Market Hamptons July 5-8, 2018. You can see more of his work on his website.

 

 



Photography Science

Macro Infrared Photographs Unlock the Depth of Green in a Stunning Array of Canary Island Plants

May 25, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

All images via Field

Marcus Wendt, creative director at the London-based studio Field, recently traveled to the island of Lanzarote to shoot a series of macro images of the region’s native plants. His project, Suprachromacy transforms cacti and other light-absorbing species into vibrant, multi-hued beings through infrared photography. Needles and spines of one species glow bright blue, while others are illuminated in deep orange tones.

The project was inspired by Isaac Newton’s quote, “For the Rays, to speak properly, are not colored. In them, there is nothing else than a certain power and disposition to stir up a sensation of this or that color.” Its intension is to spark inquiry about a color’s origin. Is color an inherent part of the object? Or is it an individualized sensation?

“For us, these alien color spectra spark ideas about how we see color, how much depth is locked up in the color green, and whether color is a property or a sensation,” says Wendt. “And also what plants might look like on planets under a different colored sun.”

You can see other technology and photo-based projects by Field on their website and Instagram. (via My Modern Met)