28 April 2014

Seaboard ~ ROLI's Continuous Musical Keyboard!

Check out ROLI's Seaboard...
"A radically new musical instrument that reimagines the piano keyboard as a soft, continuous surface. [...] The Seaboard’s polyphonic pitch bend, vibrato and per-note dynamic changes are all available at your fingertips, marrying the intuitiveness of a traditional instrument with the versatility of digital technology."

GEMSI ~ Hackerspaces & Ventures in MENA...

Just had nice chat with Bilal Ghalib one of the instigators of GEMSI -- the Global Entrepreneurship & Maker Space Initiative...
"We help hacker spaces take root in the Middle East and beyond. Together, we can create inclusive spaces to solve problems, start businesses, and strengthen our communities."

22 April 2014

Bye Bye Barcelona ~ On Tourisms Downsides...

Feargus O'Sullivan at Atlantic Cities asks what's Ruining Barcelona?
"'Barcelona? It's a theme park.' Spain's second city is so effortlessly attractive that it's hard to believe anyone could fall out of love with it. A new documentary called Bye Bye Barcelona, however, shows some long-term residents wondering aloud how much longer they can stay where they are. The problem? Tourism, specifically a local industry that has become so dominant it risks stifling ordinary, everyday life in the city's heart."

Rush Hour Tips ~ Dutch Train Platform Display!

Dutch trainco's demonstrate cool Rush Hour Tips display...
"Where will the train stop? Where can I find an empty seat? Where can I board with my bike? NS and ProRail wanted to improve the transfer process at station platforms: more comfortable, faster and safer. The result of an extensive research and ideation process was a 180 meter long LED strip suspended above the platform showing travellers everything they need to prepare for the next incoming train. Most importantly: using red, orange and green color bands it indicates the occupancy of the different parts of the train. A 3 month pilot at Den Bosch train station proved to be very successful: customers gave NS a significantly higher valuation at the end of the trial period than before. Plans for a nation-wide rollout of the system are at an advanced stage."

Pyro Board ~ 2D Rubens' Tube Burner Array!

Steph at WebUrbanist spotlights Beats on Fire: Music Visualized with Movement of Flames, a 2D Rubens' Tube array with 2,500 holes which makes a pyromaniacal MIDI synthesizer!

19 April 2014

Battlefield Medicine ~ Accelerated Learnings...

Battlefield Medicine means treating those injured in or affected by combat. While the carnage of war and violence is horrific, an ironic good has come from it because normal civilian medicine has advanced by techniques first learned in treating war wounds, a topic I touched on a few weeks ago by looking at the WWII Guinea Pig Club. These documentaries survey this landscape...

Ant Architects ~ Cool Properties & Capabilities...

Ants are collective creators of remarkable homes and temporary structures. To explore this further, check out when a fire ant colony is filled with molten aluminum and the cast is dug up and cleansed... See more lovely example casts at Anthill Art! Fire ant groups also demonstrate remarkable hydrophobic properties... This means they can self-configure into massive rafts... Curiously enough, as a collective they also behave like a fluid... A different species creates a giant ant hill which is here filled with concrete and excavated... To get a better sense of how ants live and organize, here's the investigative BBC show, Planet Ant ~ Life Inside The Colony of Central American leafcutter ants... Maybe that whets your appetite for the BBC's Ant Attack! And NatGeo's City of Ants too...

MIT Sustainability Summit 2014 ~ Coastal Cities

Check out student-run MIT Sustainability Summit 2014 with special focus on Coastal Cities this upcoming May 3rd and 4th...
"Half of the world population and three-quarters of all large cities are located on the coast. 634 million people are at risk from rising water levels. How will our world landscapes change as a result? From New York City to Shanghai, Sydney to Rio de Janeiro -- coastal cities have become the nexuses for today's global economy, yet face a confounding duality in which they are also the most threatened by climate change. MIT is addressing these challenges of coastal cities. [...] The conference will defy traditional notions of urban development to ask how coastal cities can sustain themselves and continue to grow as the climate changes and their local environments deteriorate."

12 April 2014

Magic Carpets ~ Chevalier's Smartbulb Artwork...

designboom spots French artist Miguel Chevalier's huge 50 x 10m (164 x 33ft) interactive light display -- Magic Carpets -- covering the floor of the former Sacré Coeur church in Casablanca, Morocco...

11 April 2014

Africa Innovate ~ MIT Market Showcase 2014...

http://sloanafrica.scripts.mit.edu/africainnovate/Excellent to have the 4th annual MIT Africa Innovate conference on 12th April 2014 here at the MIT Media Lab! With a full agenda, and rockstar speakers, this promises to be excellent! See you Saturday!
http://sloanafrica.scripts.mit.edu/africainnovate/

Steampunk Walking Ship ~ Lego Strandbeest!

24Oranges notes when Lego creation strolls down the beach...
"Inspired by Theo Jansen’s ‘Strandbeest’ -- ‘Beach Animal’ -- Jason Allemann of JK Brickworks has built a creation called ‘Steampunk Walking Ship’ entirely made of Lego components featuring several play features, including the functional cargo crane. “Power and control is provided by the Lego Power Functions system, which includes the remote control, IR receiver, battery box and two M-size motors. The frame, crankshaft and legs are built using Lego Technic elements.”

10 April 2014

Transform ~ Tangible MIT Topomorphic Display!

MIT Media Lab colleagues from Tangible Media group reveal Transform, their latest expo-grade topomorphic robotic display! It's really a "dance play"! Here's Fast CoDesign piece and Brochure.

09 April 2014

David Sengeh ~ Lemelson-MIT "Cure it!" Winner

Congrats to Sierra Leonean David Sengeh, MIT Media Lab doctoral student and the 2014 Lemelson-MIT "Cure it!" Graduate Winner...

ScratchJr ~ Kickstarting Young Kids Coding!

Excellent to see progress on Kickstarter for the ScratchJr project from the MIT Media Lab and Tufts which enables Coding for Young Kids!
"Coding is the new literacy. With ScratchJr, young children (ages 5-7) learn to program their own interactive stories and games. [...] Children snap together graphical programming blocks to make characters move, jump, dance, and sing. Children can modify characters in the paint editor, add their own voices and sounds, even insert photos of themselves -- then use the programming blocks to make their characters come to life. ScratchJr was inspired by the popular Scratch programming language, used by millions of young people (ages 8 and up) around the world. In creating ScratchJr, we redesigned the interface and programming language to make them developmentally appropriate for younger children."

08 April 2014

1M/km2 ~ HK's KWC Superdense Vertical Village!

VICE Motherboard takes A New Look at Kowloon Walled City, the Internet's Favorite Cyberpunk Slum...
"Borne out of longstanding tensions between the British and Chinese governments. It was spawned by the agreement, completed in 1898, to lease Hong Kong to the British for 99 years, which didn't include the Walled City [...] The result was a heavily isolated, ramshackle city-state. [...] The lack of outside support meant the Walled City was built on itself largely by itself, with commerce and industry mixed into itself as produced by a self-sufficient population. [...] Ingenuity was spawned by the city's isolation. There was little in the way of public services, meaning sanitation, public safety, and crime prevention were all the purview of locals. [...] The Kowloon Walled City continues to captivate people because of those problems, and its ills are also what make it such powerful inspiration for fictional portrayals of what's to come."
See WSJ's City of Imagination: Kowloon Walled City 20 Years Later... Plus definitely check out -- and please support financially -- the ambitious and timely City of Darkness Revisited book publishing project on Kickstarter by co-authors Ian Lambot and Greg Girard...
"We are working together again to produce City of Darkness Revisited, an all-new edition that will combine the best of the original book with several new sections that will fill in some of the gaps and bring the story up to date. We will explore the City’s dramatic architectural evolution from a near bare site in 1945 to a 17-storey megalith housing over 33,000 people at the time of its clearance. And we will explain the City’s unique legal and political status -- under two jurisdictions but effectively managed by neither -- and how this coloured every aspect of life there. A third theme will delve into the myths and realities of the Triads’ activities within the City and how these might -- or might not -- have been effectively policed. And finally we will describe how the influence of the Walled City has spread into popular culture worldwide, and how this has allowed interest in the City -- either as myth or physical reality -- to flourish."
And as extra bonus, Ian and Greg and friend Lisa point out Kowloon Walled City, Hong Kong, Urban Fabric -- Historic project prepared by Lia Tramontini, Haneen Dalla-Ali, Mona Dai, and Christopher Glebe...

Punchcard Chemistry ~ Prakash's Cheap Fluidikit

Media Lab alum, now Stanford bioengineer Manu Prakash (of FoldScope fame) and team win the Science Play and Research Kit Competition (SPARK) for their ultra-affordable punchcard-programmable chemistry fluidic kits! Thanks to Medgadget for spotting!

Inside Orion ~ NASA Spotlights Nebular Core!

NASA APOD spots Inside the Orion Nebula... http://apod.nasa.gov/apod/ap140408.html

05 April 2014

Shifter ~ Striker vs The System SF Short...

Thanks to Kuriositas for spotting Shifter an SF short film by the Hallivis Brothers...
"Los Angeles - 2023. James Striker is on the verge of bringing down the oppressive government that has crushed all freedom in the United States. But before he can take them on, Striker must get past a homicidal drone and an elite squad of EFT soldiers. His only advantage is the SHIFT, a process that allows Striker to transfer his mind into an identical clone body. New body, Same mission: Bring the whole system down."
Plus Behind the Scenes... And Storyboard to Film...

African Holocaust ~ Rwanda Genocide 20 Yrs Ago

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rwandan_GenocideTwo decades ago, extreme violence seized the small but densely populated African nation of Rwanda. Peacekeeping efforts were overwhelmed, the UN and outsiders were slow to act, many, many died. We're still not sure what lessons to draw from the whole experience. But at least it's worth remembering what happened. First, contemporary reports, for example, Nightline Rwanda 1994... Next, retrospective documentaries from a decade ago, including the Ghosts of Rwanda 2004... The overwhelmed UN General Dallaire whose memoir is tellingly titled Shake Hands with the Devil... President Kagame reflects on 20 years... Finally, amidst the craziness of that time emerged several remarkable protectors and heroes. The BBC's Mark Doyle tells of A good man in Rwanda, the Senegalese Captain Mbaye Diagne, a UN observer...
"This is the story of the bravest man I have ever met. [...] We will never know exactly how many people owe their lives to Mbaye. [He] was part of a small group who had been willing to risk their lives to save others. [Mbaye] had a sense of humanity that went well beyond orders, well beyond any mandate."
http://globalvoicesonline.org/2013/06/16/paying-tribute-to-captain-mbaye-diagne-the-senegalese-hero-of-rwanda/

02 April 2014

Save Our Planet ~ Jane Goodall on Technology...

http://a.abcnews.com/images/WNT/abc_wn_extra_goodall_101022_wn.jpg
In USAToday OpEd piece, renowned socio-primatologist and conservationist Jane Goodall writes Technology can help save our planet...
"It is hard for me to believe that I will have lived on planet Earth for 80 years as of this Thursday. I was born on April 3, 1934 and the world has changed in almost all ways possible [via technology which] would have been considered science fiction when I was young. [...] Technology alone will not solve every problem, but it is part of the solution. Let's use technology as a way to amplify our voices in support of the environment. Let's turn to Facebook, Twitter and the myriad other ways to connect and strategize with likeminded individuals about how to make this world better. Let's use technology to extend the reach of our personal influence in support of the planet we love. You cannot get through a single day without having an impact on the world around you -- for better or for worse. What you do makes a difference. Technology can help us all make a positive difference."

Digital Paper ~ Sony's A4 Featuring E-Ink Mobius!

http://pro.sony.com/bbsc/ssr/show-digitalpaper/resource.solutions.bbsccms-assets-show-digitalpaper-digitalpaper.shtml?PID=I:digitalpaper:digitalpaper
E-Ink co-founder and MIT Media Lab colleague Joe Jacobson shared their saga in Imaging & Fabrication Ventures class this morning and spotlit the latest development: Sony's revelation of the semi-flexible 13.3-inch diagonal A4 sized Digital Paper. ExtremeTech's Sebastian Anthony writes...
"At $1100 (shipping in May), Digital Paper is being pitched at education, business, and legal environments. Digital Paper appears to only support PDFs, but the website implies that software is included to convert Word, Excel, and PowerPoint files to PDF format. Stylus input appears to be accurate and high-resolution, though e-ink’s refresh latency might cause you some mental discomfort. 4GB of internal storage and a micro SD slot should give you plenty of space for annotating textbooks and documents. At just 357 grams (12.6 ounces), Digital Paper is by far the lightest large-screen tablet on the market, too (the iPad Air is a chunky 469 grams). Hopefully this is the beginning of an exciting, flexible-and-light-weight computing revolution!"

01 April 2014

Uses of Helium ~ Emergent Apps for Lite Gas...

Several very compelling new uses are emerging for Helium. Sam Adams is brewing the Helium-infused ultralight and fruity beer, Heliyum... And King's College Choir uses it as an alternative to surgery to achieve the castrati effect... And, of course, rebooting an oldy, Trappe balloon lifts across the Atlantic...

Mirror Cube ~ Numen's Reflective Light Box!

MindUnleashed spots Numen's Mirror Cube!
"A giant cube with three out of the six surfaces made of flexible membrane (foil mirror) with an air tank and a compressor connected to it. The other three mirrors are semi transparent spy-glass. By inflating or deflating the air tank, the membrane turns convex or concave, deforming the reflections within."
http://themindunleashed.org/2014/03/happens-build-cube-one-way-mirrors.html