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Art

A Programmable 8-Bit Computer Created Using Traditional Embroidery Techniques and Materials

February 13, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

The Embroidered Computer by Irene Posch and Ebru Kurbak doesn’t look like what you might expect when you think of a computer. Instead, the work looks like an elegantly embroidered textile, complete with glass and magnetic beads and a meandering pattern of copper wire. The materials have conductive properties which are arranged in specific patterns to create electronic functions. Gold pieces on top of the magnetic beads flip depending on the program, switching sides as different signals are channeled through the embroidered work.

“Traditionally purely decorative, [the work’s patterns] defines their function,” explained Posch on her website. “They lay bare core digital routines usually hidden in black boxes. Users are invited to interact with the piece in programming the textile to compute for them.”

The piece is a reference to the historic similarity between textile creation and computing, for example the Jacquard loom being an important influence on the evolution of computing hardware. Posch is a researcher and artist with a background in media and computer science who explores the how technological seeps into the fields of art and craft, and Kurbak is an artist and designer who investigates the hidden politics of everyday spaces and routines. You can learn more about their work and partnerships here or here. (via Kottke)

 

 



Science

GPS Map Composed of 68,000 Pinpoints Tracks the Territorial Nature of Minnesota Wolves

January 31, 2019

Kate Sierzputowski

The Voyageurs Wolf Project is a collaboration between the University of Minnesota and Voyageurs National Park which tracks and studies wolves throughout the warmer months. In 2018, the project studied six northern Minnesota packs, creating a map that showcases the intensely territorial way the animals behave, and how tightly they stick to their packs. The brightly colored line drawings were composed from 68,000 GPS locations of the six packs, with negligible crossover between the data-driven formations.

Not only does the information help researchers track where wolves have been, but also which prey the wolves have killed. “This detailed GPS-data is incredibly valuable for understanding pack boundaries and also for our predation research,” explains a post from the Voyageurs Wolf Project. “We visited every spot these wolves spent more than 20 minutes to determine if the wolves made a kill. This required an estimated 5,000 miles of hiking this past summer from our field crew!!”

After the original map circulated widely, the team decided to bring the information to life, which you can observe in the GIF below. The moving image includes data from April 15, 2018 to the end of October of the same year, with GPS locations taken every 20 minutes. You can follow more data collected by the Minnesota-based team on Facebook. (via Twisted Sifter)

 

 



Design

GridDrones: These Self-Levitating Nanocopters Might Be the Future of Smartphones

October 12, 2018

Kate Sierzputowski

Starting tomorrow researchers will gather in Berlin for the ACM Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology. The symposium features projects on computer-human interaction, web user interfaces, tangible computing, virtual and augmented reality, and more. During the Human-Robot Symbiosis session a matrix of self-levitating nanocopters called “GridDrones” will be introduced by Sean Braley, Calvin Rubens, Timothy Merritt, Roel Vertegaal. The miniature flying machines act like pixels which can be programmed to perform specific animations and manipulated in real time. Instead of dragging and dropping apps on an iPhone, the technology could lead to manipulating flying objects in physical space which would completely alter how we view the landscape of a computer or phone “screen.” (via Fast Company)

 

 



Design

A New Virtual Reality Demo Allows Users to Explore the Inner Workings of a Friendly Feline

June 11, 2018

Laura Staugaitis

Leap Motion describes their newest virtual reality demo, Cat Explorer, as demonstrating “the transformative potential of VR and natural interaction in fields as diverse as education, training, healthcare, and entertainment.” The interactive program allows the user to explore the inner workings of a friendly cartoon feline. Coordinated with the motion of the user’s actual hand and based on a virtual setting, you can see the cat’s skin, muscles, organs, vascular system, and skeleton. The San Francisco-based VR company shares their projects on YouTube and Facebook.

 

 



Illustration

Meet Tatsuo Horiuchi, the 77-Year-Old Artist Who ‘Paints’ Japanese Landscapes With Excel

December 4, 2017

Christopher Jobson

For over 15 years, Japanese artist Tatsuo Horiuchi has rendered the subtle details of mountains, cherry blossoms, and dense forests with the most unlikely tool: Microsoft Excel. The 77-year-old illustrator shunned the idea of paying for expensive painting supplies or even a basic drawing program for his computer, saying that he prefers Excel even over Microsoft Paint because it has “more functions and is easier to use.” Using simple vector drawing tools developed primarily for graphs and simple shapes, Horiuchi instead draws panoramic scenes of life in rural Japan.

Great Big Story recently visited Horiuchi at his home for a brief interview and a behind-the-scenes look at how he works in the video above. If you’re even slightly skeptical, here’s two of his earlier Excel artworks you can download and explore yourself:

Cherry Blossoms at Jogo Castle (2006)
Kegon Falls (2007)

You can explore more of Horiuchi’s Excel drawings on his website and at Spoon & Tamago.

 

 



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)

 

 

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