Aug 12, 2014

Disney developed software to revolutionize Macy's parade balloons

posted by Larra Morris

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The reason your favorite cartoon or movie character hasn't appeared in Macy's annual Thanksgiving Day Parade isn't necessarily because they're not popular, it might be that crafting an inflatable likeness has just been too difficult. But to ensure no fad gets left out, the folks at Disney Research have developed special software making it easy to turn any 3D model into an inflatable balloon without it getting deformed or bloated in the process.
via Gizmodo

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Aug 12, 2014

11 Smells That Are Slowly Disappearing

posted by Larra Morris

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5. MAGIC MARKERS

The classic glass bottle-bodied Magic Marker was first marketed in 1952, and until the early 1990s, the ink formula included a mixture of Toluene and Xylene, two solvents which not only had a distinctive and not unpleasant odor, but which also contained intoxicating properties when inhaled. Today’s permanent markers get their color from less fragrant alcohol-based inks.
via Mental Floss

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Aug 12, 2014

First-ever 3D-printed space telescopes nearing completion

posted by Larra Morris

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Telescopes are very simple devices in theory, but getting one to work in space means a complex assembly of mechanical parts that is expensive, difficult to build, and hard to operate in the hostile environment outside the Earth’s atmosphere. To simplify things, NASA aerospace engineer Jason Budinoff is working on the first space telescope made entirely from 3D-printed parts.

The telescope is being fabricated using an additive printing process where the structure is built up layer-by-layer, by fusing a metal powder using a computer-controlled laser beam working from a 3D digital file. As each layer is created, more powder is laid down and the process is repeated. When finished, the excess powder is removed and the component is polished.
via Gizmag

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Image: NASA Goddard/Jason Budinoff

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Aug 11, 2014

The quest to find the worst piece of design on earth

posted by Laura Domela

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So many design awards seek to honor the smartest, the prettiest, the most innovative or responsible or sustainable. The Dead Prize, announced this week, wants to honor the worst—the very, very worst—that design has to offer.

The Dead Prize, which stands for Detrimental Engineering Architecture and Design Prize, is the brainchild of Cameron Sinclair, co-founder the feel-good social design nonprofit Architecture for Humanity.
via Gizmodo

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Aug 11, 2014

Cloud Piano, a robotic installation that plays keys on a piano based on the movement of clouds

posted by Larra Morris

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In the installation “Cloud Piano” by artist David Bowen, a robotic device plays the keys on a piano based on the movement of clouds overhead. An outdoor camera installed near the installation tracks the movement and shapes of clouds in real-time. Custom software translates the information into musical notes, which are then played on the piano by finger-like robotic armatures. The installation was commissioned by L’assaut de la Menuiserie in Saint-Etienne, France.
via Laughing Squid

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Image: David Bowen

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Aug 11, 2014

How to use your cat to hack your neighbors' wi-fi

posted by Larra Morris

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Pictured above is Coco, a cat and a computer hacker. She probably doesn't know about that last part. Gene Bransfield, a computer security expert, outfitted her with a collar that mapped Wi-Fi networks as she roamed her neighborhood. Andy Greenberg of Wired describes how it works:

And Bransfield had built into that collar a Spark Core chip loaded with his custom-coded firmware, a Wi-Fi card, a tiny GPS module and a battery—everything necessary to map all the networks in the neighborhood that would be vulnerable to any intruder or Wi-Fi mooch with, at most, some simple crypto-cracking tools.

This is similar to the practice of "wardriving"--driving around in a car, searching for unprotected Wi-Fi networks. Coco does the same thing on four feet with the help of Bransfield's "WarKitteh" collar, which cost him just $100 to build. He will give a presentation about it at DefCon, a convention about computer hacking and security.
via Neatorama

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Image: Gene Bransfield 

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Aug 11, 2014

Disney has created an algorithm that can turn almost anything into a spinning top

posted by Larra Morris

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The spinning top is one of the oldest and seemingly simplest toys devised in human history, but that doesn't mean we can't improve it. Disney Research has come up with a new algorithm that allows it to design a stable spinning toy out of almost any shape. Researchers found that shapes that fail to maintain a balanced spin as a solid object could be analyzed before construction to optimize its center of mass for rotational stability -- that is to say, the algorithm tweaked 3D meshes to create hollow, interior spaces that keep it balanced. Using this method, the team was able to 3D print tops in the shapes of teapots, asymmetrical ellipsoids and breakdancing armadillo without fear of them toppling over.
via Engadget

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Aug 08, 2014

Cool collection of science and technology ads from the 50s and 60s

posted by Laura Domela

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Assortment of science ads collected from various science and tech magazines of the 50s and 60s. 

via Flickr. Click here to see more.

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Aug 08, 2014

Don't fly drones here

posted by Laura Domela

Unmanned drones like quadcopters and fixed-wing aircraft are at the center of new airspace regulations by the FAA. While the FAA deliberates on rules and regulations, states, cities and other national organizations have implemented their own no-fly zones. To help people find safe places to fly, we’ve mapped established no-fly areas where drones are not permitted around all major airports, military bases, and national parks across the country. All the no-fly area data we collected to make these maps is now open data under 
CC-0.  (via Mapbox)

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Red denotes no fly zones. Explore the map

 

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Aug 08, 2014

‘The Swings’, a musical swing set that lets participants create music together

posted by Larra Morris

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“The Swings” is a musical swing set that lets people collaboratively create music by swinging. The interactive light installation was created by Montréal design studio Daily tous les jours and premiered at the 2014 Green Box Arts festival in Colorado.
via Laughing Squid

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Image: Daily tous les jours 

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