Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Happy 2014!

May all your desires be fulfilled in the coming year.

3D Printed lamp turns your room into a forest

The Danish duo HildenDiaz have created a very intricate and arguably beautiful structure for a 3D printed lampshade. Besides being an amazing work of digital craftsmanship, it's an interesting design because the shapes generate an immersive projection on the surrounding walls, making you feel as if you're in the middle of some dense forest. The lamp is not on sale yet, but the makers are currently trying to raise some crowdfunding.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Cubli, the self-balancing cube

As the Zurich-based developers say, to them Cubli is simply a cool little cube that can balance and walk, but it may have much more potential. I definitely see this newborn technology growing out into more advanced things. Although it will probably be much too power-consuming for most application, it seems quite powerful and an interesting way to create locomotion without moving exterior parts but through angular momentums generated on the inside. Cubli is essentially a kind of modernist project, a technical feat, and it may therefore be a bit surprising that things like this still get millions of YouTube hits in a few weeks, but it is undeniably very impressive and relevant. Watch it in action here:

Dances with Objects

For some reason I love to talk philosophically or at least pseudo-philosophically about technology, and videos such as 'Design' by Glasser can trigger those downpours of thoughts:

This artist is clearly inspired by technology as well, as she moves sensuously around an essentially abstract object, exploring her relationship to it. The video shows the object changing along with her movements, unfolding its potentials and showing possible stances it may take in relationship to her. First, the object and human being are presented as essentially quite naked and empty. It shows the object being confined to nothing but empty straight lines, which is, you might say, the monolithic essence of machine-made artefacts. And the human being is confined to its organic essence, empty with nothing but animal impulses inside. These two empty containers are in a way quite ridiculous in themselves. But when the object and human being start to complement each other, dramas unfold, and the relationship deepens. It is interesting that sometimes it shows her clearly manipulating the object in order to control it, but as soon as she stops, the object takes on its own behavior again, driven by its own life force, ready for the next unfoldment in the drama. This is unlike many human beings who tend to remain obsessed with ideas of control. But the human and his objects inherently seem to dance around one another, as the relationship is more mysterious and unpredictable.

I see technology as a great mirror for humanity. It is in itself very pure and abstract, able to reflect many different things, whereas human individuals often are only able to reflect a limited number of things and that's why in our lives we need to meet all these different people, from simple fools in random bars up to the highest gurus in holy places. But a single technological artefact can potentially shift in all these forms, emotionalities, and roles, and so it could shift relationships much more powerfully and efficiently. This will lead to a next sort of modernist project, namely the automation of our inner development.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Projection Mapping Power!

Probably one of the most powerful demonstrations of projection mapping up to date, the clip 'Box' by Bot&Dolly, shows some novelties in how the technique is used. It's pretty well sequenced, and it involves robots, too! Watch it here:


The only criticism is that the end, with its 'Escape' section and the Arthur C. Clarke quote, is based on an illusion: it would seem like a magical dream that technology offers us some kind of existential escape. This escape is an illusion and instead the challenge or invitation -to which technology could also contribute- is to deeply accept our existential condition and venture further into it, rather than using external methods to get out of it. In the end, technology is a mere tool for survival, and this video is mostly just eye-candy of course, it shouldn't be seen as part of some great technological dream (well it's fine if you do but it's an illusion you're buying into which has burdened humanity long enough now). That having been said, this video is still an absolute must-see.

Wright's law, and the meaning of the universe

Jeffrey Wright is a remarkable guy who may be a piece of the puzzle in one of the main dramas playing out in the world today: the bridging of science and spirituality. Through his remarkable life, this high school physics teacher ventures beyond materialism and starts to find a connection between the interior and exterior realms of the universe. I personally think that the American government should aim to put him to work with top-scientists in say, quantum physics, for a few days a week next to his teaching. It is often when a person has a certain opening of heart that certain revelations come, so he may be a step ahead of most other scientists there.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

3D Printing wearables in crumpled form

After making their intricate designs for 3D printed items customizable, the designers of Nervous System have introduced yet another evolutionary leap in 3d printing products for end use. In the 'Kinematics' project, they have created several designs for products such as bracelets, necklaces and even a dress that consist of triangular elements. These elements can be customized according to the customer's liking, and based on a 3D scan of the customer's body. The way the dress will drape over the body can be simulated and previewed. The most innovative aspect of this project is that after customization, the 3d models of the products will intelligently be folded so as to minimize the space it takes within the printable volume. So essentially a dress will be printed like a crumpled plastic ball, but when unfolded it turns into the complete dress. It's impressive, but now some fashion designers need to step in to make this stuff really wearable.

Immersive experience slows down time

It's a critique, a provocation around the Western concept of time and how it dominates much of modern life. The installation 'Dromos' by artists Maotik and Fraction takes viewers on a 40 minute journey of 360 degree three-dimensional visuals, lights and sounds.  The installation has been designed to let viewers experience different time scales; sometimes it seems to speed up, at other times the experience is that time slows down. And every performance is different, as the artists manipulate their work in real-time and in response to the audience. Watch it in the video:

Changing the experience of time can be an incredibly powerful experience that can completely shift around someone's perspective on the world, and consequently his perspective on himself. Experiences can be so powerful that one comes to directly see the illusion of time, even that eternity is something that can be directly experienced. When one has experienced eternity, the powerful change that can occur is that it comes to one that consciousness and not matter is primary, that matter arises with mind, as does time. When one completely experiences what you could call 'no-mind', you also directly experience what you really are; not something that exists within time and space, but eternal life. Anyone interested could contact me as I have had one experience of expanding into eternity, but any advanced meditator could probably tell you much more. I would like to end simply by promoting more of such artistic explorations, because these kinds of technological installations are very inviting to people, the viewers can journey as far as they are ready for, and I believe they could have as powerful effects as for example a month-long retreat with Amazonian shamans or 10 years of psychotherapy.

Protocell sneakers add life to the body

Protocells might be the first step towards products that behave just like other biological organisms. These are primitive cells that can be created in a lab and contain chemicals that react to environmental stimuli. Designer/researcher Shamees Aden collaborated with Martin Hanczyc to give rise to a sneaker made of such protocells.

The sneakers are grown in a lab, where different cells can intelligently be grown in different places for different material properties and behaviors. For instance, the sneaker contains cells that expand or contract based on the pressure on the sole, thus adjusting its shape dynamically while in use. Another unique aspect is that since such products are made of cell colonies and the cells will die over time, new cells with new properties can be added by submerging them in a special liquid containing the new protocells. Since such products can be self-healing and be given new colors, they may dramatically alter the way we shop for, maintain, and store our clothing.