Shared posts

17 Oct 05:51

Rosetta’s Selfie via NASA

Rosetta’s Selfie via NASA

07 Oct 12:22

Not a Manifesto

by Charlie Stross

Leave it to Charlie to neatly lay out a concept I've been nursing for years, but have seen no other writing about to date. I think this has interesting implications for design direction as well. You could see stereotypically common magic objects, spells, and creatures as deeply desired human capacities that we now or soon have the technology to implement...

I'm just not that interested in writing science fiction this decade. Nope: instead, I'm veering more and more in the direction of urban fantasy. Here's why.

My personal take on science fiction is that this narrow slice of the literature of the Fantastika (hint: if you haven't met that term of critical art before, follow the link before reading on) is about the study of the human condition under circumstances which might plausibly come to pass. By "plausibly" I thereby try to exclude the implausible (wizards, elves, surrealist intrusions from the subconscious) and to include stuff that doesn't exist but which plausibly might exist (artificial intelligence, aliens).

Now, as various SF and fantasy writers have observed, our baseline definitions of what is plausible and implausible change over time. In part, this is because formerly plausible ideas have shifted gradually into the penumbra of implausibility (the luminiferous aether, for example: phlogiston: the other detritus of discredited scientific hypotheses; arguably time travel and faster than light travel might be heading this way too). In no small part, the Mundane science fiction movement is a response to this: if we have no plausible evidence to support large scale causality violation in the observable universe, doesn't it follow that FTL starships are little more plausible than fire-breathing, flying dragons?

(Meanwhile, some items which would have been pigeon-holed as implausible without an eye-blink a few decades ago are not merely plausible today but are probably sitting in your pocket right now. About which, more later.)

In addition to the redrawing of the plausibility/implausibility frontier, we have other factors to consider: notably, our relationship with technology and science. As Vernor Vinge remarked in his novel Rainbows End many modern technologies come with no user serviceable parts inside. Back in the late 1970s or early 1980s, personal computers were (by modern standards) a bit crap, but they offered an unparalleled opportunity to open the lid and learn by tinkering. For example, the BBC Micro in the UK—which sold by the million—had an analog i/o port, user-accessible DMA ports, and ROM sockets into which users could install additional firmware; it was designed for learning. The Apple II similarly featured a fairly simple expansion port architecture. But today's personal computing devices (with very few exceptions) come as shiny sealed boxes; their expansion options exist but are complex and require considerable expertise to develop: they're not designed for learners and tinkers but for users or highly trained developers.

Similarly, in other fields our technologies have developed in a way that's hostile to monkey-see monkey-do learning. You can't credibly learn to service a modern automobile in your own garage. You can't formulate a new pharmaceutical preparation in the back of your dispensary (which, believe it or not, actually happened right up until the late 1930s: even in the late 1970s/early 1980s it was possible for a medium-sized company with perhaps 20-30 researchers to develop and bring to market new medicines).

In part, this is a side-effect of market globalization: to survive even locally a product has to reach a planetary market, which means competing with large organizations and getting access to huge supply chains, which means you need to be big ... and market regulations are structured to lock out upstart small competitors. But that's not the only reason for it. Lots of our technologies have become so complex that just learning how to use them is a full-time job; understanding the interlocking specialities that go into them is beyond individual comprehension.

As brilliant new fantasy author Max Gladstone notes:

Old-school fantasy is a genre of the unknowable. Magic in Tolkien's works is big and vast and ancient. His characters relate to that magic with awe, with fear, and occasionally with love. No one tries to hack the One Ring. Certainly no one tries to build a new one! People acquire the One Ring, or the Palantir, and use each within its limits.

But consider the smartphone I have in my pocket.

No single human being knows how to make this phone. I acquired the phone, and I use it. People who know more about the phone can tell it to do more things than I can, but they're still bound by the limits of the hardware. A few communities are dedicated to modding and hacking phones like mine, yes, but for most people most of the time a smartphone is a portable magic mirror. We make mystic passes before the glass, address the indwelling spirit with suitably respectful tones, and LEARN THE FUTURE. ("Siri, what will the weather be like tomorrow?") The same thought experiment works for many modern technologies.

Max then goes on to make a point that I might well have made myself if I'd thought to put it so explicitly: while the technologies in our far-future SF now look more and more like numinous magical powers, our daily life is perfused by magical devices that obey relatively predictable rules—utter the right incantation and Siri tells you the weather. Which means we as readers are coming to expect an almost mechanistic causality to inform the magic in our fantasies.

(And if that makes sense to you, go try one of Max's novels. No, seriously: if you like near-future SF there's a rather good chance that this fantasy novel will speak to you. Weird, isn't it? Because he's writing SF set in a world perfused by mechanised, systematized magic. We need a word for this: the standard genre tags are too limiting.)

So here's my next step: we are living in a 21st century that resembles a mutant Shadowrun—by turns a cyberpunk dystopia and a world where everyone has access to certain kinds of magic. And if you want to explore the human condition under circumstances which might plausibly come to pass, these days the human condition is constrained by technologies so predictably inaccessible that they might as well be magic. So magic makes a great metaphor for probing the human condition. We might not have starships, but there's a Palantir in every pocket (and we might not have dragons, but some of our wizards are working on it ).

Over the past few years I've found myself reading less and less far-future SF and more and more urban fantasy. If you view it through the lens of the future we're living in rather than the future we expected in times gone by, that's not so surprising. Starships and galactic empires and aliens are receding into the same misty haze of unreality as dragons and demons: instead we're living in a world with chickens with tails and scales and teeth, magic mirrors with answers to every question (many of them misleading or malicious), dominated by abhuman hive minds.

So it shouldn't be any surprise to discover in the world I'm now living in I can engage better with the subjects of my fiction by writing urban fantasy, rather than by extruding good old-fashioned space opera just like grandpappy wrote. This doesn't mean that I consider traditional space opera to be dead (any more than high fantasy with elves, dwarves and dragons is dead): but it's not something I'm engaging with much, if at all, these days.

And now for one final thought.

Traditionally fantasy works were set in a mythologized past: frequently faux-mediaeval, occasionally classical, sometimes (as is especially the case with the more recent steampunk sub-genre) only 1-2 centuries removed. Some fantasies are set in the present: we often mislabel these urban fantasy, although very often contemporary fantasy is rural/wilderness oriented while it's quite common for urban fantasy settings to be historic (Ankh-Morpork, I'm looking at you). But it's still very rare to find a fantasy that's set in the cities of the near future: and I find this genre blind spot fascinating, because the future of humanity is overwhelmingly urban and magical ...

28 Sep 08:31

*Yes, yes, enjoy the sarcasm while you can….

*Yes, yes, enjoy the sarcasm while you can….

25 Sep 17:21

*I’ve seen some folding furniture in my day, but...

*I’ve seen some folding furniture in my day, but that’s not half shabby.

"Founded by architect, designer and innovator Alexander GendellFolditure is a young company that develops functional pieces of furniture designed to be suitable for living spaces of any size. Folditure’s pieces are engineered so that they can be easily folded in seconds into flat silhouettes that can be hung in the closet when they are not in use.

"Folditure uses a patented pyramid hinge technology, mixed in with cutting-edge materials and assembly processes, to create furniture that is aesthetically pleasing and easy to stow away as needed.

"The patented folding mechanism of Folditure’s pieces allows the components to either smoothly move in sync and fold into a completely flat structure or open up into a three-dimensional frame. The components of the furniture piece easily lock together to create a sturdy and balanced chair or table…."

13 Aug 22:52

Ponoko Customer Blows Past Kickstarter Goal in One Day

by Dan Devorkin

Brad Hill is the creator behind LittleRP – A DLP projector-based resin printer that can be put together for as little as $499.

Brad set out to create a printer that was open, flexible and affordable. Rather than using proprietary resins, the LittleRP is designed to use as many different formulations of UV curing resins as possible. By focusing on smaller, higher quality prints, the LittleRP is able to provide high accuracy while keeping costs low.

The flexibility and low cost helps explain the explosive popularity of the LittleRP’s Kickstarter, which passed it’s funding goal of $25,000 is under 24 hours. As of this writing the LittleRP has raised over $98,000, just under 400% of it’s original goal!

The LittleRP’s sleek translucent enclosure is made from Ponoko’s Acrylic Orange Tint, and the housing is made from Melamine Finished MDF seen here:

The LittleRP works using a process known as 3D stereolithography, a 3D printing process that uses light-sensitive resin and a high intensity light source to build a 3D object, layer by layer, rather than using spools of plastic filament as on a majority of 3D printers currently on the market. You can check out the LittleRP in action on it’s Kickstarter Video:

Want to get your hands on your own LittleRP? Head over to Brad’s Kickstarter page to get one while you still can.

Inspired to make your own project? Signup to make and sell for free!

Posted in 3D Printing, Digital Fabrication, Laser Cut Acrylic, Laser Cut Wood, Laser Cutting, Materials, Ponoko News, Technology by Dan Devorkin | Comments are off for this post

05 Sep 17:55

Laser Cut Helical Springs

by Guy Blashki

Coils that run rings around Slinky

Thanks to the addition of a rotary attachment for his laser cutter, Adam Watters has spent several months exploring what happens when you cut helical paths onto cylinders.

The variety of outcomes shows that there is a whole lot further to go with Springs than the trusty old Slinky would have us believe. Working in materials including acrylic, cardboard and 3d printed PLA, he has created a range of forms that have a mathematical beauty both as static objects and when in motion.

Discovering new patterns and the shapes and forms that follow has been a rewarding process for Adam. When questioned as to what the point of it all is, he had this to say:

For a little while, I turned my attention to finding an application for these, but that proved to be way less fun than experimenting with the process and cutting new springs. So for now, they are what they are.

Head over to Instructables where you can read all about laser cutting acrylic and cardboard springs, from a straightforward spiral through to cuboid grids, nested coils and even compression springs that take things in another direction entirely.

via Instructables: Laser Cut Helical Springs

Posted in Functional Art + Objects, Guy Blashki, Laser Cut Acrylic, Laser Cutting by Guy Blashki | Comments are off for this post

23 Sep 15:00

Wearable Tech Just Got Smarter: Anouk Wipprecht’s Intel-Edison-powered, 3D-printed “Synapse Dress” Logs Your Mood

by Elizabeth

Changing your appearance with your mood is a topic that’s no longer reserved for New Age followers or sci-fi fans.

By embedding Intel’s super versatile, small-in-size-but-large-in-processing-capacity microcontroller called “Intel Edison”, Anouk Wipprecht created “Synapse”, a smart dress based on biosensors that takes user experience to the next level, as it acts on the wearer’s behalf!


Take a moment to imagine the possibility of the clothes you wear communicating changes in your mood, not only to others, but also gives the wearer better knowledge on her own fluctuations in attention and (dis)-stress level; basically functioning as a learning system.

Dutch high-tech fashion designer, Anouk Wipprecht – a name you may recognize from her “Smoke Dress”,Cirque du Soleil pieces and a recent Open Source Particle dress- is known for creating electronic couture that intersects fashion design with engineering. She is particularly interested in interactive design and sensors, and with her new work, she dove even further into the world of user experience design and body sensor networks.

Photo credit: Jason Perry

Photo credit: Jason Perry

How did Anouk pull this off?

By flawlessly blending the newest technological developments with her sophisticated fashion sense, her “Synapse Dress” is powered by Intel’s newly launched “Intel Edison” microcontroller and was designed in collaboration with Niccolo Casas. The dress was then 3D printed by i.materialise’s parent company Materialise, in the fully-flexible TPU 92A-1 (Rubber Like‘s technical name), a material Anouk is pretty familiar with at this point.

Photo credit: Jason Perry

“Intel Edison,” microcontroller that powers Aouk’s Synapse Dress. Photo credit: Jason Perry

The Synapse dress was revealed on September 9th at Intel’s Development Forum and was made in collaboration with Intel’s New Devices Group. It marks Anouk’s first attempt to embed Intel Edison into a sensing garment, and has given truly spectacular results!

Photo credit: Jason Perry

Photo credit: Jason Perry

The Intel-Edison-powered dress logs your own actions and makes you and others understand when something within yourself or within your immediate environment captures your attention or gives you stress. Unlocking the potential for social, emotional and even “therapeutic” ways in how we can merge electronic fashion with body sensing networks and learning systems, this dress defines and uncovers new ways to explore and interact with the world around us.

The dress’s headpiece is fitted with a sensor that track the wearer’s attention level and focus to monitor fluctuations in the wearer’s “internal” mode – where attention level is usually high (around 80%). This functions internally to train your attention span, but also communicates externally by telling others that you are in a high state of focus and “do not disturb” while concentrated on a difficult task.

Photo credit: Margo Mortitz

Photo credit: Margo Mortitz

One of the other sensors embedded in the dress monitors proximity: if the wearer feels like someone is invading her personal space, the lights in the dress can give off up to 120 watts of brightness, telling the other person to back off. The dress has a camera on the front that can capture a picture whenever the subject feels either most tense or most relaxed so she can later track what was making her feel that way. In short, it’s a dress with a lot of on-board hardware that challenges the body.

Thanks to these new technologies, the designer can now easily compute with a whole set of complicated hardware. Anouk’s previous innovations for wearable technologies brought her to a great height; but with the use of her recent technology, body-activated interactions can also flourish. She is super excited about new finds that give depth to her design process.

Photo caption: Margo Mortitz

Photo caption: Margo Mortitz

“I cherish all new technologies; for example, Intel Edison allows me to integrate a super small piece of technology which can quickly compute complicated sets of signals, optional store and interconnect wirelessly to a lot of input data at once in an more advanced and more intelligent way. With digital design and manufacturing processes like 3D printing at Materialise for example, I can seamlessly create a garment, that rolls out of the machine, that I can directly embed, code, program and test out to be worn a few hours later. It simplifies certain things (manufacturing process), and deepens others (design process). At this point in time we stop ‘crafting’ fashion – but instead, ‘engineer’ your garment extensively.” – Anouk Wipprecht

“Synapse Dress” up close.

“Synapse Dress” up close.

What would you want to design with 3D printing and Intel Edison? Share your ideas in the comments below!

23 Sep 16:36

Ransombots - Criminals as software

by John Robb

Ransombots are everywhere now.  Last month 900,000 Android users were attacked by an aggressive bot using the "ScareMe" framework.

Here's what ransombot does:

  • Bot finds a way to infect your phone or your comptuer.  
  • Bot locks your device and/or encrypts your data.  Sometimes the bot spoofs you into thinking is the FBI or the IRS.  
  • Bot demands hundreds of dollars in payment in bitcoins to unlock/decrypt your phone.

This scam is worth hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

The cops and the police can't and won't protect you from this and all of the other attacks that are being made against you.  Why?

  • They don't know what they are doing.  They are more likely to be victims than saviors.  
  • They can't get your data back nor will they catch the criminals involved (they live far far away).
  • The amount of money involved is low and you probably aren't rich enough to have the influence to get them to do something about it.  

Where is this going?

Bots are going to be everywhere.  

Here's one Reuters story I'm waiting for.  You know it's close:

Ransom bot locks mother and child in their car for two terrifying hours until they are able to pay five bitcoins....  Their names have been withheld due to a fear of retribution from the bot if they told anyone about the crime.    

23 Sep 10:35


21 Sep 08:27


18 Sep 11:56


19 Sep 16:18

campdracula5eva: lglights-is-hiding: deerhoof: the future is...




the future is here and it’s horrible

I can’t stop laughing at this.

Mother of god.

20 Sep 09:28

"This is the second interview of the series I started last week, based on my recent book about future, sci-fi and design fictions. After Warren Ellis, here’s Bruce Sterling (whose blogging have moved to this wonderful tumblr called ‘Wolf in Living Room’:

"NN: In your opinion, as a science-fiction writer, how to you perceive this difficulty to go beyond the standard visions of "the Future" (from flying cars to humanoid robots)?

"BS: At SXSW 2014 I was on a panel with Warren Ellis, Joi Ito and Daniel Suarez where an interesting atemporal design-fiction issue came up.  We science fiction writers were discussing the problem of inventing something far-fetched, satirical, extrapolative or socially critical and then discovering that it was already commercially available on the shelves of Wal-Mart.  This was immediately called the “Wal-Mart Problem.”

"Atemporally speaking, it’s clearly possible to write a form of "futuristic" science fiction in which all the "sci-fi gadgets" are already real objects in Wal-Mart. …"

17 Sep 16:20

Dremel’s 3D Idea Builder

by General Fabb

Toolmaker Dremel surprised everyone by announcing a personal 3D printer, the Dremel 3D Idea Builder. 

Dremel is, of course, famous for their incredibly versatile handheld tool, capable of accommodating multiple types of add-ons. There’s likely one (or more) Dremel tools in every maker’s toolbox. Now, perhaps, you can add another Dremel device to your collection. 

Let’s take a look at the 3D Idea Builder’s specifications. It is a plastic filament-based device, capable of printing PLA plastic at 0.1mm layer size with its single extruder, like many others currently on the market. It has a build volume of 230 x 150 x 140mm, similar to current MakerBot models. 

While the 3DIB doesn’t have a heated build surface, it does have a fully enclosed build chamber, which should not only be safer for nearby children and pets, but also encourage consistent heating conditions during printing. A fan can blow out hot air when desired temperatures are exceeded. 

The machine is of course fully assembled, UL certified and includes a friendly touchscreen for easy use. 

Dremel’s documentation says you must use “Dremel PLA filament”, which “has been specifically engineered for optimal printing with your Idea Builder.” We do not know the price of their filament, but if it is hefty, it appears that you might be able to use generic filament in this machine easily enough. The spools mount inside the machine at the bottom, so as long as your spool fits and the filament is of the correct diameter, it’s probably worth a try. 

In other words, it’s a pretty decent, but basic filament-based personal 3D printer, particularly at their price point: USD$999.

So what’s the big deal? We think the big deal is that Dremel is behind this venture. Consider these:

  • Dremel has an existing massive market of consumers who by definition like to make things. The 3DIB could match very well with their interests, leading to an awesome amount of sales.
  • Dremel’s existing relationships with retailers can be leveraged to instantly provide multiple sales channels. Indeed, they’ve announced upcoming availability at Home Depot, Amazon and Canadian Tire (in Canada, obviously). 
  • Dremel’s relationships with their manufacturers could enable them to physically produce many 3DIB’s quickly, just in time to fill the stores above for the holiday season.
  • Dremel’s size and reputation enabled them to partner with Autodesk to provide tools and content for the 3DIB.
  • Dremel’s corporate investment in this venture has enabled them to build a top-class unit, software, content ecosystem, massive marketing rollout and materials supply in one swoop. 

If you happen to be a smaller 3D printing venture, there is simply no way you could manage to do all these things. Even the larger 3D printing companies, such as MakerBot, took years to accomplish even some of them. When a big company decides to go into this market, look out. 

Smaller 3D printing ventures simply cannot compete against this, as the volume of product sold by Dremel will likely overrun most of their competitors in the first week of sales. It is not a good time to launch your personal 3D printer startup company; that time has long past. In fact, we think even MakerBot, Ultimaker and 3D Systems should be concerned about this announcement, as Dremel’s market reach is well beyond those companies. 

Now then, when is HP announcing their 3D printer? 

Via Dremel

04 Sep 23:39

despina-kr: elephant tattoo στο We Heart It.


elephant tattoo στο We Heart It.

10 Sep 14:20

rodbegbie: Awesome Brit comedian Dave Gorman, using Facebook...


Awesome Brit comedian Dave Gorman, using Facebook targeting to scare potential viewers for his new series of Modern Life is Goodish. Well worth watching online if you have access to a UK proxy…

(via 1, 2)

08 Sep 17:00

Amphora May Revolutionize 3D Printed Plastics

by General Fabb

At this year’s 3D Printshow in London the most important item seen, in our opinion, was the launch of ColorFabb’s Amphora line of plastic filament. 

You might ask the question, is it ABS or PLA-based. The answer, surprisingly, is neither. It’s an entirely new polymer, never previously used for 3D printing. In fact, it’s never been used EVER. 

Amphora has been newly developed specifically for filament-based 3D printing applications by the American firm Eastman Chemical Company. As far as we know, this has NEVER happened before. Plastics used for 3D printing were in fact, leftover plastics, designed for other purposes that had nothing to do with 3D printing. 

Now, however, there are sufficient 3D printers in the world to justify the development of new plastics that match the needs for improved 3D printed filament. 

Imagine if you were granted a wish to magically develop a new plastic filament. What properties would you include in it? Would you make it shiny? Bendable? Heat resistant? Dishwasher safe? That’s the challenge posed by ColorFabb to Eastman last year. Eastman chemists took up this challenge and created a checklist of required properties. 

And then they made a polymer that has them. 

Ok, let’s get directly to the juicy facts about Amphora: 

  • It produces very little to no odor during printing, avoiding the same issue experienced when printing ABS
  • Far fewer unhealthy nanoparticles become airborne during Amphora printing, unlike ABS plastic
  • Amphora is a very strong material, avoiding the fragility of PLA plastic
  • Finer details are possible due to the strength of the material
  • Amphora has a higher melting point than PLA, meaning you might be able to leave an Amphora print on your car dashboard and expect to not melt
  • Layers bond together much better, meaning prints are stronger and surface finish is improved
  • The material has very strong chemical resistance; few common substances will affect it
  • It’s approved by the US Food and Drug Administration for “food contact” applications

Although the material is food contact-safe, that doesn’t mean a 3D printed Amphora cup is literally foodsafe, as gaps in the layering can physically harbor bacteria. That said, if a new process used Amphora to produce a perfectly sealed surface, it could indeed be a foodsafe object. 

We’re particularly interested in the safety characteristics, as personal 3D printers are increasingly installed in people’s homes - even their bedrooms. We cannot imagine a world where ABS fumes are breathed by sleepers for hours every night. Amphora should change all that. In fact, Eastman's expert says there are no toxic styrene elements within Amphora and that the amount of nanoparticles is “way lower” than when printing ABS. 

We asked Eastman’s representative about methods for smoothing Amphora, such as is done for ABS with Acetone. Apparently there is no common substance that can smooth Amphora - it’s simply too resistant to chemicals. That's the only downside we could find with the new material.

If you’re skeptical of Amphora’s physical properties, just watch this video, where ColorFabb’s Sander Strijbos crushes an Amphora print to an impossible degree - and watch it snap back into place! Wouldn’t you like your prints to act like that? 

Here is an example of the strength of Amphora. This is a rather long bridge easily built with Amphora. At the time of this writing, they were attempting to increase the gap by another 5cm. Incredible! 

Amphora seems like a miracle material made just for 3D printing. That’s because IT IS made specifically for 3D printing. For now, ColorFabb will be marketing a line of Amphora products, likely eventually abandoning their existing plastic products. The new Amphora material is officially called “XT-COPOLYESTER” made from “Amphora 3D™ Polymer” by ColorFabb. Other filament manufacturers may eventually adopt Amphora, too, but there are none so far. 

Our spies tell us that the new material is actually just the first of MANY new plastics that will be specifically designed for 3D printing. We’re expecting to see several new variations emerge over the next few months, including: a heat resistant version; a dissolvable support material; and much more. 

Best of all, the implication of this new material implies that 3D printing has reached the stage where it deserves its own plastics. This is a huge milestone for the personal 3D printing industry. Congratulations, we made it!

Via ColorFabb

10 Sep 00:00

On the Phone


So I'm not the only one who does this!

'No idea what I was thinking! Haha! But anyway, maybe we should check out what this Ba'al guy has to say.'
25 Aug 14:20

"When I close my laptop, it goes to sleep. It’s a curiously domestic metaphor but it also implies..."

When I close my laptop, it goes to sleep. It’s a curiously domestic metaphor but it also implies that sleep in humans and other animals is just a kind of low-power standby mode. (Do computers dream of electric sleep?) Last year, Apple announced a twist on this idea: a new feature for the Mac operating system called “Power Nap”. Using Power Nap, your computer can do important things even while asleep, receiving updates and performing backups.

The name Power Nap comes from the term describing the thrusting executive’s purported ability to catch a restorative forty winks in 20 minutes but the functioning of Apple’s feature symbolically implies a yet more ultra-modern and frankly inhuman aspiration: to be “productive” even while dozing. It is the uncanny technological embodiment of the dream most blatantly sold to us by those work-from-home scams online, which promise that you can “make money even while you sleep”.

Sleep, indeed, is a standing affront to capitalism. That is the argument of Jonathan Crary’s provocative and fascinating essay, which takes “24/7” as a spectral umbrella term for round-the-clock consumption and production in today’s world. The human power nap is a macho response to what Crary notes is the alarming shrinkage of sleep in modernity. “The average North American adult now sleeps approximately six and a half hours a night,” he observes, which is “an erosion from eight hours a generation ago” and “ten hours in the early 20th century”.

Back in 1996, Stanley Coren’s book Sleep Thieves blamed insufficient rest for industrial disasters such as the Chernobyl meltdown. Crary is worried about the encroachment on sleep because it represents one of the last remaining zones of dissidence, of anti-productivity and even of solidarity. Isn’t it quite disgusting that, as he notices, public benches are now deliberately engineered to prevent human beings from sleeping on them?

While Apple-branded machines that take working Power Naps are figured as a more efficient species of people, people themselves are increasingly represented as apparatuses to be acted on by machines. Take the popular internet parlance of getting “eyeballs”, which means reaching an audience. “The term ‘eyeballs’ for the site of control,” Crary writes, “repositions human vision as a motor activity that can be subjected to external direction or stimuli … The eye is dislodged from the realm of optics and made into an intermediary element of a circuit whose end result is always a motor response of the body to electronic solicitation.”

You can’t get more “eyeballs” if the people to whose brains the eyeballs are physically connected are asleep. Hence the interest – currently military; before long surely commercial, too – in removing our need for sleep with drugs or other modifications. Then we would be more like efficient machines, able to “interact” with (or labour among) electronic media all day and all night. (It is strange, once you think about it, that the phrase “He’s a machine” is now supposed to be a compliment in the sporting arena and the workplace.)

- "24/7: Late Capitalism and the Ends of Sleep" by Jonathan Crary: Sleep is a standing affront to capitalism | New Statesman
23 Aug 09:01


25 Aug 07:18

artnouveaustyle: missolivialouise: Here’s a thing I’ve had...

Art by Owen Carson

That's right, I drew a Solarpunk punk

Lolita Nouveau!

Art by Imperial Boy

Mucha drew a loooot of topless ladies in flowy half-garments, so I decided to put a similiar kind of thing on a guy

The Cosmovitral in Mexico



Here’s a thing I’ve had around in my head for a while!

Okay, so I’m pretty sure that by now everyone at least is aware of Steampunk, with it’s completely awesome Victorian sci-fi aesthetic. But what I want to see is Solarpunk – a plausible near-future sci-fi genre, which I like to imagine as based on updated Art Nouveau, Victorian, and Edwardian aesthetics, combined with a green and renewable energy movement to create a world in which children grow up being taught about building electronic tech as well as food gardening and other skills, and people have come back around to appreciating artisans and craftspeople, from stonemasons and smithies, to dress makers and jewelers, and everyone in between. A balance of sustainable energy-powered tech, environmental cities, and wicked cool aesthetics. 

A lot of people seem to share a vision of futuristic tech and architecture that looks a lot like an ipod – smooth and geometrical and white. Which imo is a little boring and sterile, which is why I picked out an Art Nouveau aesthetic for this.

With energy costs at a low, I like to imagine people being more inclined to focus their expendable income on the arts!

Aesthetically my vision of solarpunk is very similar to steampunk, but with electronic technology, and an Art Nouveau veneer.

So here are some buzz words~

Natural colors!
Art Nouveau!
Handcrafted wares!
Tailors and dressmakers!
Stained glass window solar panels!!!
Education in tech and food growing!
Less corporate capitalism, and more small businesses!
Solar rooftops and roadways!
Communal greenhouses on top of apartments!
Electric cars with old-fashioned looks!
No-cars-allowed walkways lined with independent shops!
Renewable energy-powered Art Nouveau-styled tech life!

Can you imagine how pretty it would be to have stained glass windows everywhere that are actually solar panels? The tech is already headed in that direction!  Or how about wide-brim hats, or parasols that are topped with discreet solar panel tech incorporated into the design, with ports you can stick your phone charger in to?

(((Character art by me; click the cityscape pieces to see artist names)))

Plz bring back art nouveau design in everything *_*

*I like it when people just make up entire cultural sensibilities

26 Aug 13:36


03 Sep 00:00


29 Aug 14:22

Initial Success! | Experiment

Initial Success! | Experiment:

"Can we biologically extend the range of human vision into the near infrared?"

27 Aug 16:37


by AWOLtrends

There are only so many aspects of an object that designers can influence. Physical objects have proportions, form, surfacing, color, material, finish, detailing, graphics…and that’s about it. Fundamentally, creative professionals today are dealing with the same set of realities that Greek architects or Chinese potters were considering thousands of years ago (maybe with the addition of pixels). But today’s designers, being the unruly creative sort who don’t like being put into well-defined boxes, have seemingly invented a new physical property. This new property has less to do with the actual object, and everything to do with its relation to the space around it. This trend, Spatial Reinterpretation, seeks to twist, bend, scale, and invert the way we expect an object to sit in space, so that commonplace forms are presented in a completely new light. Perhaps inspired by the ease with which objects can be manipulated in Computer Aided Design (CAD) modeling applications, designers have used similar transformational tools to open up new doors of thinking. For example: why have a lamp sit on a table, when it can hover above it? Or a planting pot that hangs inverted from the ceiling instead of grounded on the floor? In most instances, you wouldn’t notice a small generic hair clip, but what about when it’s scaled up 10 times on a girl’s head? Or the way Boxee’s simple cube is rotated to break the ground plane of the table surface? In the examples shown here, some common operations seem to be most favored: massively scaling an object (larger or smaller), rotating an object into an unlikely position (including upside-down), or breaking gravity (either by floating an object, cantilevering a form, or breaking through the ground plane). Looking at the simple but effective CapitalOne credit card, rotated to portrait instead of landscape, completely challenges our notion of what we’ve seen as a credit card for the last several decades…all with one simple spatial rotation. Most of these examples are geared towards aesthetic impact and novelty, and many are purely artistic statements with little regard for functionality (I’d have a very hard time scrubbing my kitchen floor, thank you very much Inverted House architect). But for objects like lamps and other interior décor (and potentially consumer electronics) where functionality is balanced with artistic expression, this stylistic mode may take your design explorations into unexpected areas. In other categories where functionality really rules the design relationship, like Automotive, this trend may be difficult to employ (although I did see a CHiPs episode once where Ponch was chasing a custom-built backwards car…but that was in 1980). Certainly today’s architects are finding novel ways to bring this theme into the buildings we live and work in, as they strive to break away from classical relationships. This trend may even have ancient military origins: Iktinos and Kallikrates may not have known about Spatial Reinterpretation when they built the Parthenon, but apparently the Trojans did

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29 Jul 06:57

Côte&Ciel Nile Rucksack

by Andrew Kim

Côte&Ciel has been one of the brands I’ve been keeping a close eye on. Their unique, modern aesthetic caught my attention and I’ve been admiring their rapid expansion and collaborations with awesome brands like MYKITA, Comme des Garçons and Attachment. They’re a company that’s forward thinking, something I admire greatly. 



The Nile Rucksack has been sent by Côte&Ciel.

Modeling thanks to

A. Kim & T. Sasahara


Earlier this year, Côte&Ciel reached out to me after reading my Isar Rucksack review. They teased a successor to me, touting its progressive, futuristic design. The Isar is the best backpack I’ve ever owned so I knew this had to be interesting.


A few months later, the Nile Rucksack arrived on my doorstep. It’s truly unique like they had promised. It’s appropriately unconventional. 


The Nile Rucksack and comes in three colorways. I asked for the Obsidian black model which runs for $325. I don’t really like the rustic CMF of the other two models and think their products really shine when paired with modern materials. All things considered, this is probably their most progressive, avant-garde design to date. 


I’ve had the backpack for quite some time now and took it with me on vacation to New York. I’ve also been bringing it to work everyday so it’s given me a ton of time to see how it really performs in the wild.


Like most of the company’s products, the Nile Rucksack is all about allowing a material to express its true form. A cynic would say that it looks like a trash bag, but is there anything wrong with that? The backpack’s form is constructed by its contents, instead of forcing the contents into a conformed cavity. It’s honest form creation.


The backpack has a truly controversial appearance. I always receive compliments when I wear my Isar Rucksack but with the Nile, it leans more towards curiosity. I agree that the Isar is the pretty one out of the family I can’t help but appreciate Côte&Ciel’s creativity in playing with the interaction of fabrics. The Nile has a sinister, monstrous appearance that’s largely constructed from a slick coated polyester. It's water resistant and has a smooth texture that seems to be pretty durable.


My industry connections tell me that Côte&Ciel uses the same manufacturer as Apple does for their new iPhone and iPad cases. It’s no wonder their level of craftsmanship that is so high.


Attention to detail is Côte&Ciel’s speciality and details like the zipper pulls and branding tag really show their obsession. These touches are tasteful and never excessive, something that’s hard to come by.


Like the Isar Rucksack, the Nile Rucksack’s has two storage compartments. The main compartment is accessible via a top zipper and is just big enough for a quick weekend trip.


Stuffed. Its pouch-like design makes it great for irregular items and cramming in clothes. I see these backpacks as utilitarian, urban tools and this kind of functional approach totally makes it.


Though similarly sized, I’ve found the Nile to be easier to live with than the Isar. The top loading opening provides effortless access and makes it possible to carry oversized items like tripods or poster tubes.


Padding is pretty thin on the Nile but still offers enough comfort for everyday use. The grab handle is attached to the shoulder straps, a signature Côte&Ciel design. By the way, the designers have fixed the slipping straps that were problematic on the previous model. 



The top of the backpack is held in place using two oversized buckles. They’re covered in calf leather, showing more craftsmanship prowess. The buckles are a bit too flamboyant in my opinion but are fitting with the ominous appearance of the backpack. 


The padded laptop compartment is big enough for a 15” MacBook Pro and has enough room for a couple of thin books. You’ll also find a couple of useful pouches and pockets for various accessories like cables. The interior of the backpack is completely finished in a beautiful grey to contrast with the monotone black exterior.


I absolutely love the oversized label located inside this compartment. Any excuse to bridge the gap between graphic and industrial design is a plus in my books.


The unique shape and versatility aren’t the only tricks the Nile has up its sleeve though; it has a concealed rain hood. You didn’t think that bulge was purely aesthetic did you?


The hood is made from a ultra-light woven nylon called ripstop. It’s used in military applications and is used to make things like parachutes and air balloons. It’s completely water and air-proof, perfect for a Seattle resident like myself. 


Because it’s made from such a thin material, the hood has a bit of a translucency. It may come off a bit silly but you’ve got to admit, it’s got an interesting futuristic look about it.


Although I love the utility of the Nile, I still prefer my Isar Rucksack. This is largely due to aesthetics. I’m simply more 2001: A Space Odyssey or Oblivion than Batman. Like I’ve said, these backpacks are urban, utilitarian tools and this time, Côte&Ciel took a darker interpretation of this proposition. The Nile does seem like a more cohesive package than the Isar; there are functional improvements and it’s architecturally superior. The new layout, pouches and hood weren’t enough to win me over though, I still end up picking up my older backpack in the morning. 


I’m still immensely impressed with what Côte&Ciel is doing though. In a world where everyone is choosing to look backwards and producing retro products, this small group of French creatives are trying to define the aesthetic of the future. I’ve had a hard time trying to find a backpack that I really liked before discovering these guys. Everything seems to cater to nostalgic consumers or be made in a disposable fashion. The Nile Rucksack points where we should be headed. Reasonably priced, well crafted, progressively styled and extremely functional. It’s about time that we’ve let go of the past. Côte&Ciel, please don’t stop what you’re doing.

29 Aug 00:00

Writing Skills

I'd like to find a corpus of writing from children in a non-self-selected sample (e.g. handwritten letters to the president from everyone in the same teacher's 7th grade class every year)--and score the kids today versus the kids 20 years ago on various objective measures of writing quality. I've heard the idea that exposure to all this amateur peer practice is hurting us, but I'd bet on the generation that conducts the bulk of their social lives via the written word over the generation that occasionally wrote book reports and letters to grandma once a year, any day.
26 Aug 16:39

Danny van Ryswyk’s Dark Wonderland: Master Artist Shares How He Hand-Paints Polyamide 3D Prints

by Roxy

Every so often, an artist comes along who pushes the boundaries of what we believe is possible. Danny van Ryswyk is an acclaimed Amsterdam-based digital painter and sculptor who creates surreal, paranormal sculptures using 3D CAD (computer assisted design) sculpting software and hand-painting techniques. His sculptures and two-dimensional render-based paintings join childlike fantasy with the macabre and fantastical world of nightmares. His work is dark, brooding, and admired all over the world.

His sculptures are 3D paintings, instantly recognizable by their smooth surface, dark colors, and minute level of detail.

Ryswyk sat down with us for an interview about his sculpting and painting techniques, as well as the ideas and symbolism that compel him to create his haunting artwork.

Read on!

Design and Photo by Danny van Ryswyk

“The Untitled Figure” is a polyamide print hand-painted with acrylic paints by Danny Van Ryswyk.

1. Where do you derive inspiration from?

The examination of a reality that exist outside the range of science’s ability to explain or measure.

2. How did you become interested in sculptures/figurines?

When I first started painting 3D-printed sculptures, I envisioned classic polychrome-painted religious sculptures made from wood. I wanted to create hand-painted objects with an authentic feel and look. Traditional methods involve covering the sculpture with plaster first, and then applying oil or tempera paint to its surface. In my case, I use a modern approach because my sculptures are 3D printed in polyamide, a material which requires different painting methods.

Danny van Ryswyk's White Rabbit, unpainted

“White Rabbit” is printed in polyamide, a white plastic with a slight grain to its surface.

3. When did you start using 3D printing technology? Which tool or software do you use most?

Half a year ago, I started using 3D printing technology. I create my sculptures in Zbrush, a 3D software specifically used for high-poly sculpting. As an artist, high poly sculpting software allows me to work with digital objects as if they where made of clay, and to sculpt with utmost attention to detail. This gives me unlimited freedom to create whatever I have in mind.

4. Why did you choose 3D printing over other options (such as traditional casting)?

Because my work is made in a digital environment, 3D printing is an interesting new method to get my work out of the computer. You know… I do not consider it important that it is made of polymer, clay or porcelain. What is important are the final results, the realization of the idea, not the 3D-printing technology itself. That is just a way to get there.

Design and Photo by Danny van Ryswyk

5. Which material is your favorite to 3D print in, and why?

So far I prefer polyamide, because it is the only material that is able to print in the highest detail level for the sizes I want. I have considered muliticolor sandstone material, but the colors used in this printing process are based on dye inks that are sensitive to UV-light. This makes them unsuitable for my artwork. Furthermore, there is no color profile system for this type of printing.

Danny van Ryswyk

From left to right: the transition from digital image to polyamide print to painted art.

6. Describe your work flow.

The moment I visualize an idea, the real work begins. I never make a sketch, so nothing is written in stone at this stage. Instead, I make a mental projection of the idea and work from there. I can spend weeks, even months, working in 3D-software on a sculpture that might contain many layers and parts. From there I can go two directions, namely: creating a digital painting, or letting i.materialise create a 3D-printed sculpture of my model.

Painting "White Rabbit" by Danny van Ryswyk

7. And how do you work with your 3D printed designs?

My 3D-printed sculptures are an adaption of its existing digital painting I made of the sculpted 3D model. The digital painting serves me as an example of how the hue/values on the 3D-printed sculpture should be like. I choose to work in a monochrome color scheme for all my works.

Painting "White Rabbit" by Danny van Ryswyk

8. What are your tips and suggestions for painting a 3D printed figurine? Do you use special paints, brushes, techniques or materials that you would like to share with our readers?

The first thing I do when I receive my sculpture from i.materialise is to thoroughly clean it with water. This washes off any powder that is left on the sculpture from the printing process. After that, I leave the sculpture to dry for several days.

"White Rabbit" Danny van Ryswyk

Danny van Ryswyk cleans the plastic dust from his figure, and thoroughly dries it before painting.

Then, I prepare my paints and brushes. I only work with high grade paints and materials which are tested for their durability and fade-resistance. I make use of several brush sizes, since it is often hard to reach the small corners and places with just a normal paintbrush. One trick I use is bending the metal ferrule of an old brush, so that I can paint these impossible-to-reach corners!

A photo of Danny van Ryswyk's paints.

Painting a figure takes several layers of paint, and many brushes to reach tight, narrow areas. Danny says: “One trick I use is bending the metal ferrule of an old brush, so that I can paint these impossible-to-reach corners!”

When needed, I also use a few other unconventional methods. For example, using a toothbrush to splatter paint on parts of the surface to create texture. I might also cover the surface with a transparent wash of paint and wipe it away to highlight the focus on parts and bring out the details. There are no rules, I invent and take risks and see where it goes from there. This is how I make my art. Design and Photo by Danny van Ryswyk When I start I painting, I give the whole sculpture a warm mid-tone grey under-painting color. This serves as a good base for later hues and values. Design and Photo by Danny van Ryswyk After I lay the base, I start painting all the elements. I do not start in any particular order. Instead, I just start with what feels right: flesh, clothes, masks, skulls and bones. From studying the old masters, I became experienced painting layer upon layer until I reached that high level of perfection. The same methods are applied here, except with acrylic paints instead of oil or watercolor. White Rabbit by Danny van Ryswyk The smaller the scale of a sculpture, the more details need to be painted onto it. For instance, the folds in clothing. I paint the higher parts of a fold lighter, and the lower parts darker. Depending on natural light and shadows is not enough, they need to be added and accentuated as well to raise the dynamic of the form. This is very important, or else it will become flat and lifeless. The illusion of depth is the key.

Design and Photo by Danny van Ryswyk

“The Untitlted Figure” by Danny van Ryswyk.

Many hours go into painting a sculpture. Every detail takes time and dedication. The eyes can take up to several hours of work just to get the right expression. The texture of the skulls are painted in many layers as well. The surface of an old bone or skull is covered with little specks, dirt and discoloration. It is a meticulous job to paint this effect. When the sculpture is finished I sign it and place it under an antique glass dome.

Design and Photo by Danny van Ryswyk

9. Which advice would you give to new sculptors and 3D designers?

Art is all about finding your own style and methods. I do things my way and you should do things your way. If you want to start making art with 3D printing because you think that 3D-printing technology is cool, then you are thinking the wrong way. See if the method and material can give you what you are looking for. That is what truly matters.

White Rabbit by Danny van Ryswyk

Danny’s 2D render-based drawing of “White Rabbit” is at left, and his painted polyamide sculpture is at right.

10. For readers who prefer 2D animation, can you tell us how you use 3D sculpting software to create 2D digital paintings? Are your paintings renders, or do you also paint over those?

To create a digital painting, I import my 3D-model into rendering software. That’s where I apply textures, lights and camera. I use the rendering software to create a complex scene with intricate backgrounds and atmosphere. This scene is then rendered into a 2D image, which I further refine with digital paint. The final results of this process are 2D-printed using pigment inks on museum quality cotton paper, and then framed.

Has Danny inspired you? Share your ideas, projects, and questions below!

25 Aug 14:21

The Mudang's Dance - Issue #1 - Compass Cultura

The Mudang's Dance - Issue #1 - Compass Cultura:

"In Korea’s case, the spaceship launched in 1963 and it flew much faster, and arrived (in economic terms, at least — the only terms apparently relevant to Park) sometime around 1995 or 1996, disgorging most of the same passengers who’d first boarded it (plus their kids) into an alien world. In less time than it took Americans to go from the first muscle car to the Prius and the Humvee, Koreans went from ox-and-plow to bullet train; from mountaintop signal fires to cell phones and free webmail."

25 Aug 15:43

algopop: Secret Messaging service found in Google...


Secret Messaging service found in Google Translate

Security researchers have discovered that strange variations of latin words from the Cicero ‘Lorem Ipsum’ text translate into totally unexpected sentences using Google Translate. Google have now hard-coded the algorithm NOT to translate the words Lorem and Ipsum, but from my tests you can still create secret messages using other Latin words. Suspiciously a lot of the variations produce sentences with the words - China, Russia, Network, NATO, and so on. Since Google translation algorithms learn autonomously through Machine Learning the researchers believe that someone has gamed the system to make it learn this instead. I guess they may have done this by surreptitiously feeding Google with latin/secret language texts.