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June 05 2018

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August 20 2012

February 22 2010

Concept for swarming "display blocks"

Last week, I posted about Flyfire, an MIT research project to explore whether a swarm of tiny illuminated helicopters could form into a flying display screen. In a similar vein is Julia Yu Tsao's Curious Displays, her graduate thesis project last fall at Art Center College of Design. The video she made to demonstrate her vision is lovely and provocative. From the project page:
Curious Displays is a product proposal for a new platform for display technology. Instead of a fixed form factor screen, the display surface is instead broken up into hundreds of ½ inch display blocks. Each block operates independently as a self-contained unit, and has full mobility, allowing movement across any physical surface. The blocks operate independently of one another, but are aware of the position and role relative to the rest of the system. With this awareness, the blocks are able to coordinate with the other blocks to reconfigure their positioning to form larger display surfaces and forms depending on purpose and function. In this way, the blocks become a physical embodiment of digital media, and act as a vehicle for the physical manifestation of what typically exists only in the virtual space of the screen.
Curious Displays

Tags: Technology

February 18 2010

January 26 2010

Chris Anderson: "In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits,"

In a long, thoughful and exciting piece entitled "In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits," Wired's editor-in-chief Chris Anderson describes the way that networks, 3D printers, and other technologies are reinventing business, from garage hackers to Chinese knock-off factories. Chris's most provocative thesis, a recapitulation of Bill Joy's argument: "working within a company often imposes higher transaction costs than running a project online. Why turn to the person who happens to be in the next cubicle when it's just as easy to turn to an online community member from a global marketplace of talent?"

It's fascinating to see this essentially anti-corporate position emerge from a former Economist editor who now runs a major Conde-Nast publication. It's one of the things I like best about Chris's work: he's multidimensional and willing to challenge all sorts of received wisdom.

One place he doesn't go here is what corporate giants will do in the face of this sort of "creative destruction" -- are they going to roll over and play dead, or will they fight back with the indiscriminate savagery of a cornered record executive?

Alibaba's chair, Jack Ma, calls this "C to B" -- consumer to business. It's a new avenue of trade and one ideally suited for the micro-entrepreneur of the DIY movement. "If we can encourage companies to do more small, cross-border transactions, the profits can be higher, because they are unique, non-commodity goods," Ma says. Since its founding in 1999, Alibaba has become a $12 billion company with 45 million registered users worldwide. Its $1.7 billion initial public offering on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in 2007 was the biggest tech debut since Google. Over the past three years, Ma says, more than 1.1 million jobs have been created in China by companies doing ecommerce across Alibaba's platforms.

This trend is playing out in many countries, but it's happening fastest in China. One reason is the same cultural dynamism that led to the rise of shanzhai industries. The term shanzhai, which derives from the Chinese word for bandit, usually refers to the thriving business of making knockoffs of electronic products, or as Shanzai.com more generously puts it, "a vendor, who operates a business without observing the traditional rules or practices often resulting in innovative and unusual products or business models." But those same vendors are increasingly driving the manufacturing side of the maker revolution by being fast and flexible enough to work with micro-entrepreneurs. The rise of shanzhai business practices "suggests a new approach to economic recovery as well, one based on small companies well networked with each other," observes Tom Igoe, a core developer of the open source Arduino computing platform. "What happens when that approach hits the manufacturing world? We're about to find out."

In the Next Industrial Revolution, Atoms Are the New Bits

(Photo: Leon Chew, Wired)

NASA to investigate VASIMR propelled lunar tug concept

NASA is to investigate a VASIMR propelled lunar tug concept according to a procurement synopsis it published last week. The video above can be found here along with other videos about the tug concept. The NASA synopsis says:

Studies will be conducted to evaluate a Lunar Tug concept utilizing Variable Specific Impulse Magneto-plasma Rocket (VASIMR) engine capabilities from Low Earth Orbit to Lunar Orbit and libration points.

The VASIMR was conceived by former NASA astronaut Franklin Chang Díaz and developed through his Ad Astra Rocket company. Chang Diaz's company and Houston, Texas based-MEI Technologies released a press release last week qouting MEI's chief executive Ed Muñiz saying:

"Ad Astra's impressive technology coupled with our payload integration capabilities will ultimately result in innovative cargo and supply mechanisms, greater access to resources and broader support for robotic and human missions in space," [emphasis added]

The text above, italicised by this blog, indicated something interesting was going on. Hyperbola is still waiting for a response to its request for an interview. New propulsion technologies have been mentioned by NASA administrator Charles Bolden as a focus for the space agency

December 30 2009

May 04 2007

Howto take down the Internet2

This really nicely written blog about a homeless who was able to take down the Internet2 for 4hrs because of one cigarette. You see we should definitely forbid smoking since it can be used for terrorist attacks ;-)

Unlike the regular Internet we all use everyday, which was originally designed to distribute the AACS hex key withstand a nuclear attack, Internet2 is designed primarily for speed -- up to 9.08Gbps in most recent tests. All that juice comes at the price of redundant network links, though -- which means the whole thing got taken offline last night when a homeless man threw a cigarette onto a mattress under Boston's Longfellow Bridge, starting a blaze that eventually melted the fiber-optic link between Boston and New York.

via http://feeds.engadget.com/~r/weblogsinc/engadget/~3/114026151/

May 02 2007

the power of numbers

Until today, it seems, even Digg didn’t fully understand the power of its community to determine what is “news.” I think the community made their point crystal clear.

via techcrunch.com

And all just because of a bunch of numbers?! ... well the revolution has started and it looks really strange
09 F9 11 02 9D 74 E3 5B D8 41 56 C5 63 56 88 C0.

March 23 2007

Robots evolved

After studying robotics for a week our robots now evolved into obstacle avoidance beings (more or less).

Since this (studying) week is going to an end now I can only say: "I loved it!". It's been amazing, not just the great university facilities but also the great people taking these courses here in Lisbon. And best of all my Portuguese friends who still try to convince me that I have to speak Portuguese :-)
Thank you so much I had a great time @IST! Unfortunately I have to leave on Monday...

March 20 2007


Finally I am having internet access here from Portugal. The problem on one hand was that the hostel did not offer wifi access :-( and on the other hand that the organizers here had really a though schedule for us. (especially if you add all the time going out to "socialize"...)

Now I am crashing at a friend's flat, which is quite nice (cheap!) but not close to the other ATHENS people and they seem to be quite nice. There are lots of Czech people, Spanish, Italian, some Norwegian girls, some French, Belgian and Dutch, ah and a Polish guy...

Classes started today and in the morning we had lectures whereas in the afternoon we had practical lab work on a serial linked robot arm.

Here is my first picture on Portuguese soil:

you don't see that in Austria - especially when it is snowing :-)

Here you see Brussels, this picture was taking shortly after being relayed there

And Lisbon from the air

well and this is IST the main building where we had our meeting point for the last few days....
IST main building
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