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Animation Science

The Milky Way’s Glimmering Core Captured in a Timelapse Video by Adrien Mauduit

September 7, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

When not working for a NASA-funded citizen-science project, Adrien Mauduit travels the world seeking out remote places to create photographs and films of the night sky. To the naked eye, the galaxies around us appear as single points of light; Mauduit’s “astro-lapse” visuals showcase the dimensionality of the universe through specialized photo and video equipment. His most recent video, Galaxies Volume III, is the third in the astro-lapse series and focuses on the core of the Milky Way.

Mauduit explains in a statement about the project that from a young age he has been interested in  the natural wonders of the environment, and by “showing the true beauty of the universe I could contribute in my own limited way to bringing the real dark skies to the hectic and light polluted urban jungle.” The resulting film includes dramatic shots of shooting stars, silhouetted mountains, and rushing clouds foregrounding the shimmering night sky. You can see more of Mauduit’s work on Vimeo and Instagram. (via Vimeo Staff Picks)

 

 

 



Science

These Sneaky Sea Slugs Paralyze Their Predators With Stolen “Weapons”

August 30, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Nudibranchs, or sea slugs, and are group of wildly colored animals that use their striking forms to warn predators against attack. Although the sea slugs move slow, they are protected by a brilliant defense mechanism. Some species create an alarming defense by stealing “weapons” from another creature called a hydroid. These plant-like animals may appear like seaweed, but they are actually a jellyfish relative covered in stingers packed with a paralyzing venom.

Instead of being repelled by the dangerous tentacles covering the hydroids’ bodies, nudibranchs devour them. Once swallowed, some of the immature stingers are passed directly into their digestion system and are stored in their spikes. If a sea slug feels threatened, these stingers are deployed for an overwhelming punch of stolen venom. For more information on nudibranchs and their sneaky defense system, view this article from KQED Deep Look. (via The Kid Should See This)

A nudibranch devouring a hydroid

 

 



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)

 

 

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Brick Man