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15 Nov 20:40

Medieval Batman Quite a way to test your pen: drawing a figure...

Medieval Batman

Quite a way to test your pen: drawing a figure that looks like, well, Batman. The nib of medieval quills needed constant adjusting, cutting with a knife. In order to see if it had the right shape, the scribe would test it out on a blank page. This one is filled with such pen trials, most of them written vertically: nonsense words, elongated letters and wobbly lines, all at least 500 years old. The biggest trial, however, looks familiar: a hooded man in which we may see Batman. Long live the needy medieval pen, which produced such delightful creations!

Pic: Paris, Bibliothèque Mazarine, MS 3475 (15th century).

14 Nov 22:07


14 Nov 22:07


14 Nov 22:07


25 Jul 23:06

c. 1850: Scientific Diagrams by John Philipps Emslie

by Amanda


V0025335EL Electricity: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of V0025335ER Magnetism: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of e V0025332ER Hydrostatics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures o V0025333EL Hydraulics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of V0025332EL Mechanics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of v V0025331EL Physics: the decorative titlepage to a partwork on science, V0025334EL Acoustics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of m V0025331ER Physics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of mec V0025334ER Optics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of opti V0025333ER Pneumatics: page to a partwork on science, with pictures of

25 Jul 23:03

1956: “Why don’t we build an atoms for peace dirigible”

by Amanda


Atoms Peace Dirigible 1 Atoms Peace Dirigible 2 Atoms Peace Dirigible 3 Atoms Peace Dirigible 4 Atoms Peace Dirigible 5

25 Jul 21:16

1857: The Victoria Inflated Skirt

by Amanda

Victoria Inflated Skirt 1 Victoria Inflated Skirt 2 Victoria Inflated Skirt 3 Victoria Inflated Skirt 4

25 Jul 21:14

Octopus-Horde Attack: The Perle, 1906

by Lyle Zapato

A SINGULAR BLOW OF THE NET. — Boat attacked by octopus

The attack of the fishing boat Perle by an octopus horde in 1906, from Le Petit Journal's illustrated supplement (click for full image). The article it illustrated:


Bateau assailli par des pieuvres

Une grande barque de pêche, la Perle, de Cancale, se trouvait dans la baie d'Erquy, sur le banc des Ruinais.

Les pêcheurs s'apprêtaient à remonter à bord le filet traîné à l'arrière du bateau, quand soudain ils éprouvèrent une résistance inaccoutumée. C'était en perspective la pêche miraculeuse : aussi l'équipage tout entier se précipita-t-il au treuil.

Stupéfaction : le filet apparut à la surface de la mer, entièrement rempli de pieuvres ; le nombre de celles-ci a été évalué à au moins quinze cents. Certaines étaient pourvues de tentacules dépassant deux mètres de longueur.

La situation ne laissait pas d'être angoissante. Il fallait décharger le filet des dangereux poulpes et éviter d'être enserré par leurs tentacules. A un moment donné, les pieuvres couvrirent un des côtés de la barque de leurs terribles lanières. Le patron n'eut que le temps de crier l'ordre de couper le câble reliant le chalut à la barque. Les huit pêcheurs, armés de haches, tranchèrent la corde du chalut et échappèrent ainsi à une submersion , qui, sans cette mesure, eût été inévitable.

Il fut ensuite possible de débarrasser les flancs du bateau de celles des pieuvres qui avaient eu le temps de s'y attacher. Un certain nombre d'entre elles furent recueillies à bord et livrées au bateau terre-neuvier Consonne, qui s'en servira comme appât de pêche.

Quant au filet, il est entièrement perdu, et c'est un gros dommage pour le malheureux patron.



Boat attacked by octopus

A large fishing boat, the Perle, of Cancale, was in the Bay of Erquy, on the Banc des Ruinais.

The fishermen were preparing to haul in the net towed behind the boat, when suddenly they felt an unusual resistance. This was a prospect of a miraculous catch: so the entire crew rushed to the winch.

Amazement: the net appeared on the surface of the sea, completely filled with octopus; the number of these was evaluated at least fifteen hundred. Some were equipped with tentacles exceeding two meters in length.

The situation did not allow for fright. It was necessary to unload the net of dangerous octopus and avoid being ensnared by their tentacles. At one point, octopus covered one side of the boat with their terrible straps. The boss had time to shout the order to cut the cable connecting the trawl to the boat. Eight fishermen, armed with axes, sliced the trawl rope and thus escaped submersion, which, without this measure, would have been inevitable.

It was then possible to remove from the sides of the boat those octopus who had time to attach. A number of them were collected on board and delivered to the Newfoundlander Consonne, which will use them as fishing bait.

As for the net, it is entirely lost, and it is a big pity for the unhappy boss.

Another depiction from Le Petit Parisien's illustrated supplement (1906-12-09, the article was the same as in Le Petit Journal):


The next year, one of the fishermen told his story in greater depth to the English-language Wide World Magazine, "Our Fight With the Devil-Fish":

Just as [the patron] spoke I chanced to glance at his face. As I did so I saw a distinct change come over it, and he uttered a sharp cry of "Mon Dieu! what’s that?" Instantly, without another word, he dropped one end of the treuil into the sea. Nedellec had also seen something extremely unpleasant, and had likewise started back terror-stricken, otherwise I should have been inclined to think the patron had suddenly gone crazy.

The next moment I and the others saw the thing that had alarmed them. It consisted of a pair of very large eyes—strange, weird eyes in a hideous head bearing a crown of long arms. These waved menacingly for a few seconds at the side of the boat and then disappeared. Cadderuc says that one of the tentacles actually twined over the bulwarks and touched him on the arm. However that may be, I know for certain that the huge pieuvre disappeared with as great a rapidity as it had appeared, and that as soon as it had sunk into the sea Kurdoncuff sang out, "All right, boys! It's only a devil-fish that's been attracted by our catch. Come along, let's get to work, and if need be we'll haul him in with the rest."

Personally I didn’t feel so optimistic as the patron, and some of the others were also a bit scared; but we did as we were told and once more hauled away at the net.

This time we got it well within reach, but just as we were preparing to pull it on board the devil-fish appeared again, and fixing one of its eight horrible tentacles on the side of the Perle, while it twisted another round the the net-pole, hoisted itself with truly marvellous agility almost into the boat. Had you told me that such a feat was possible I should never have believed you, for it was more like the trick of a trained gymnast than the work of a mere fish. Quick as lightning the patron, who had seized a hatchet, gave a cut at the creature’s head and succeeded in detaching its arms from the pole.

Then we witnessed the most terrifying sight we poor fishermen had ever set eyes on. As though acting on a signal from the wounded devil-fish, scores and scores of fierce-eyed monsters rose from the sea, their arms writhing in the air, some of them six feet in length. For a distance of twenty yards the surface of the water was alive with them. Throwing out jets of water from the front of their bodies, the octopuses dashed hither and thither with incredible swiftness, seeking all the time, by means of their suckers, to attach themselves either to the net-pole or to the side of the vessel. Some succeeded, and these we beat off as best we could, in a frenzy of excitement, with anything that came nearest to our hands. But as soon as we had rid ourselves of them others took their places, and soon the fight became general. It was evident that we had captured an entire family or school of devil-fish, and that these, finding they were partly imprisoned in the drag-net, were making a concerted attack upon us.


The patron, now quite disillusioned, shouted out an order to defend ourselves and never mind the net. It was given none too soon, for the hideous, slimy-looking creatures were by this time affixing their tentacles round the bulwarks and coming upon us by dozens. Some of them, to our intense horror, actually succeeded in getting into the boat, where they would without doubt have strangled Nedellec and another of my mates named Poullaouec, around whose legs and arms they twined their waving tentacles, had we not killed them with our fish-spades and hatchets. In addition to this hand-to-hand struggle, picture to yourself the danger we ran of capsizing the Perle, which was all the time almost on her beam-ends, owing to the weight of the four to five hundred devil-fish in the net. We came to the conclusion that there must have been quite that number of them. They weighed down the boat so much on one side that, as I say, there were nine chances to one we should find ourselves in the water unless something was done. At last, therefore, Kurdoncuff, with a few well-directed blows of his hatchet, severed the cable attaching the chalut to the boat.

Relieved of the strain, the vessel swung clear of the heavy pole, which, heavily weighted as it was, sank almost immediately with the net and its repulsive contents. It was then possible for us to get rid of the devil-fish that still clung to the sides of our vessel with a muscular power which I should say is without equal amongst the creatures of the sea.

Octopus-Horde Attacks: Then & Now

I mentioned octopus-horde attacks previously in my post on The Strange Adventures of Captain Quinton, where Quinton recounted his own run-in with a ship-boarding horde of devil-fish in the South Pacific, as well as his (and others') theory that an octopus-horde was responsible for the fate of the Mary Celeste's crew.

Octopus attacks, both by hordes and individuals, used to be quite common. A week couldn't go by without the human media reporting on the seizing of a person (or sometimes their animal) by an octopus, if not actual, full-on horde swarmings. But by the mid-20th century, they had all stopped. What drove octopuses to horde-attacks in centuries past, and why do we not see these attacks today?

Octopuses have long shown that they can venture onto dry land (or even, of course, into the trees). In contrast, humans are out of their element in the water, barely able to bob around and flail about on the surface of the ocean without special equipment. This disparity emboldened certain misanthropic octopuses to gather in hordes to attack humans (who, to be fair, had been stealing their shellfish), fearing no serious reprisals from beings in primitive, bulky dive-suits, tethered to the surface by air-lines, that were little match against even one determined octopus.

However, in 1942, French Naval officer and covert SDECE operative Jacques-Yves Cousteau co-invented the Self-Contained Underwater Breathing Apparatus (better known as SCUBA). While ostensibly a device for humanity's peaceful exploration of the sea, SCUBA was really an offensive weapon that leveled the playing field in man-octopus combat. This was a shocking development for octopus kind: now human-hordes could swarm the octopuses' dens and gardens with the same impunity as octopuses had swarmed boats and beaches.

Realizing this denial of their ability to retreat to safety under the waves, at some point in late 1945 -- in some undisclosed bay or lagoon known only to select members of the newly formed United Nations Security Council -- a secret meeting was held between humanity's newly appointed Ambassador to the Sea, Cousteau, and the now-contrite representatives of the octopus hordes. After much gesticulating and color changing, an armistice was reached, and it was agreed that horde-attacks across the Air-Sea Interface would be forbidden for both species.

The resulting détente has lasted for almost seven decades, and now even individual octopus attacks are unheard of.

25 Jul 21:13

c. 1870: Preliminary model of the Statue of Liberty

by Amanda

Terracotta Liberty 1Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi (1834-1904). Statue of Liberty, ca. 1870

The sculpture, is made from terracotta.  The 19 3/8 inch maquette is estimated to have a date of ca. 1870.

This image above shows what may be a broken shackle in her hand, and the close up below shows what appears to be chains coming out from the Statue’s robe.  However, the Museum has no documentation to  interpret the symbolism of these chains.

25 Jul 21:12

1931: Airport on top of King’s Cross Station, London

by Chris

“It was envisaged that planes would approach down a new ‘Aerial Way’ above the Pentonville Road, landing on one of the half-mile concrete runways. In the 1930s, London had no skyscrapers, so the approach would have been obstacle free.

Businessmen who owned their own small planes would be able to store them in garages under the runways, which would be brought up by lifts when they were going to be flown. 

Airport on top of King’s Cross Station, London

There were two problems with the concept, though: firstly, the design meant the runways could not be lengthened at a later date, and secondly, if a plane careered off one of the numerous edges, it would be a catastrophe.

The “Aerial King’s Cross” features in Felix Barker and Ralph Hyde’s excellent 1982 work London As It Might Have Been, a collection of architect’s plans for London which were proposed but never built. Additional information from Airports: A Cemtury of Architecture by Hugh Pearman (2004.)”

- Darkest London

15 Jul 22:09

Sleep in the Trees Inside a Portable Suspended Treehouse by Tentsile

by Christopher Jobson

Sleep in the Trees Inside a Portable Suspended Treehouse by Tentsile treehouses tents camping

Sleep in the Trees Inside a Portable Suspended Treehouse by Tentsile treehouses tents camping

Sleep in the Trees Inside a Portable Suspended Treehouse by Tentsile treehouses tents camping

Sleep in the Trees Inside a Portable Suspended Treehouse by Tentsile treehouses tents camping

Sleep in the Trees Inside a Portable Suspended Treehouse by Tentsile treehouses tents camping

Sleep in the Trees Inside a Portable Suspended Treehouse by Tentsile treehouses tents camping

Sleep in the Trees Inside a Portable Suspended Treehouse by Tentsile treehouses tents camping

Created by UK inventor Alex Shirley-Smith, Tentsile is an ingenious portable suspended treehouse that installs much like a hammock while offering the convenience of a multi-person tent. Simply locate any three anchor points and install the tent above ground where you’re immediately clear of threats from rain and a plethora of ground-based creepy crawly things.

The Tentsile system was first conceived by Shirley-Smith in 2010 and after an early concept went absurdly viral around the web in 2012 the company hired another designer, Kirk Kirchev. The team worked through a series of 14 prototypes before finally releasing their first production model, the Tentsile Stingray, at the end of last year. You can learn more about this backpackable treehouse over on their website. (via My Modern Met, This Isn’t Happiness)

11 Jul 22:59

Engine failure foils ISEE-3 recovery effort

by David Szondy


The ISEE-3 Reboot Project was unable to successfully file the craft's engine (Image: NASA)

The private effort to recover the 35-year old ISEE-3 spacecraft has ended in apparent failure. In an interview on National Public Radio (NPR), Keith Cowing of the ISEE-3 Reboot Project said that though the group had been able to establish radio contact with the unmanned probe, it was unsuccessful in getting the engines to fire properly. This means it will not be able to make the planned course correction and the craft will head back into deep space. .. Continue Reading Engine failure foils ISEE-3 recovery effort

Section: Space

Tags: Crowdfunding, ISEE-3, NASA, Spacecraft, Unmanned

Related Articles:
11 Jul 22:53

30 Days of “Quantum Poetry” Celebrating the Glory of Science

by Maria Popova

From black holes to DNA to butterfly metamorphosis, bewitching verses on the magic of nature.

“The ideal scientist thinks like a poet and works like a bookkeeper,” the influential biologist E.O. Wilson said in his spectacular recent conversation with the former Poet Laureate Robert Hass, exploring the shared creative wellspring of poetry and science. A beautiful embodiment of it comes from 30 Days, an unusual and bewitching series of “quantum poetry” by xYz — the pseudonym of British biologist and poet Joanna Tilsley, who began writing poetry at the age of eight and continued, for her own pleasure, until she graduated college with a degree in biology. In April of 2013, while undergoing an emotional breakdown, Tilsley took a friend up on a dare and decided to participate in NaPoWriMo — an annual creative writing project inviting participants to write a poem a day for a month. Immersed in cosmology and quantum physics at the time, she found herself enchanted by the scientific poetics of nature as she strolled around her home in North London. Translating that enchantment in lyrical form, she produced a series of thirty poems on everything from DNA to the exoplanet Keppler-62F, a “super-Earth-sized planet orbiting a star smaller and cooler than the sun,” to holometabolism, the process by which the caterpillar metamorphoses into a butterfly, to the Soviet cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, the first human being to see Earth from space.

Tilsley’s choice of pseudonym is itself remarkably poetic — besides the scientific sensibility, XYZ was the pen name of her grandfather, the late British novelist and war correspondent Frank Tilsley.

Tilsley wrote and illustrated her quantum poems simultaneously, using her vast collection of scanned vintage paper ephemera, old typewriter fonts, and 19th-century artwork (I recognize Benjamin Betts’s “geometrical psychology” illustrations), which she manipulated digitally into beautiful backdrops for her verses. Not unlike the work of William Blake, text and image work together to channel a cohesive atmosphere.

It’s also interesting that Tilsley chose to capitalize nouns and pronouns in the style of religious texts — a poignant juxtaposition with the scientific sensibility of the poems, hinting, consciously or not, at the spiritual element of science.

This beautiful self-published book is available on Etsy, along with prints of the individual poems, as well as on Amazon UK. Complement it with E.O Wilson and Robert Hass on why poetry and science belong together, then revisit Diane Ackerman’s breathtaking poems for the planets.

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11 Jul 22:51

Princess Mononoke Costume

by Amy Ratcliffe


San, a.k.a. Princess Mononoke, is the lead character of the Studio Ghibli film Princess Mononoke. The story has a special place in cosplayer Meagan Marie’s heart because it was one of her first experiences with anime storytelling. She decided to tackle San’s iconic costume and spent about a month working on the ensemble. She began with the mask:

The mask began as a bamboo bowl from Target, which I chose because of its light weight and durability. I shaved down the bowl with a razor, plotted out the eyes and mouth, burned the sockets in with a soldering iron, and began mold the clay accent pieces. When everything was shaped, I popped it in the oven to bake. After cooling, I filed off any paint that still adhered to the mask so the natural grain would show through.

She eventually moved onto making San’s daggers:

The crystal dagger was fairly easy. I ordered a glass napped point on Etsy, and painted the back with blue nail polish. It’s a simple trick that works very well and doesn’t compromise the transparency of the glass. I used a friendship bracelet and some leather cording to finish off the piece.

San’s actual dagger – her primary weapon – is made out of Wonderflex. I left the edges intentionally serrated so it would appear to be made out of bone. Again, I used a slight off-white color. A spare piece of curtain rod became the handle, completed by wrapping leather cording around the grip. I also made the earrings out of Wonderflex, painted a pearlescent shell color.

Read more at Meagan Marie’s website.


Photos by Anna Fischer

11 Jul 22:50

Ben’s wearable solder gauntlet: a wearable soldering iron #WearableWednesday

by Jessica

Element 14′s The Ben Heck Show posted a wearables video this week and it’s pretty cool!

Wearables are all the rage and Ben decides to get in on the action. He sets out to create the ultimate in wearables for engineers – solder gauntlets! Ben plans to build a gauntlet for each hand. One will have a retractable soldering iron and the other will have a motorized solder dispenser. In today’s episode, Ben gets the soldering iron gauntlet working.

Read more.

Flora breadboard is Every Wednesday is Wearable Wednesday here at Adafruit! We’re bringing you the blinkiest, most fashionable, innovative, and useful wearables from around the web and in our own original projects featuring our wearable Arduino-compatible platform, FLORA. Be sure to post up your wearables projects in the forums or send us a link and you might be featured here on Wearable Wednesday!

11 Jul 20:28

The New Normal: 25 Percent of Pending Sales Don’t Close

by Timothy Ellis (The Tim)


Let’s take a look a the latest data on pending sales volume versus closed sales volume.

For this series I roll the pending sales and closed sales data up by quarter, with pending sales offset by one month. In other words, the second quarter numbers below represent pending sales from March, April, and May and closed sales from April, May, and June.

Pending & Closed Sales of King Co. SFH

As of the second quarter, one in four pending sales (25.2 percent) were still failing to ever show up in the closed sales numbers.

With the housing market as hot as it has been for most of the last year and a half, I had been expecting this number to shrink down to closer to 10 percent, but it has instead actually risen since this same time last year, when 23.8 percent of pending sales failed to close.

Apparently one in four pending sales falling out of contract for one reason or another has become the new normal for the housing market. This is likely due to a combination of various factors, including the NWMLS’ redefinition of “pending” in July 2008 as well as buyers simply becoming a lot more picky.

This is good news for buyers, since many homes that quickly go pending may end up back on the market, giving buyers a second chance.

It will be interesting to see if this number changes much over the next year, but given how long we’ve seen it at these ~20%+ levels, I’ve become doubtful that we’ll be seeing it drop down to 10 percent any time soon.

The post The New Normal: 25 Percent of Pending Sales Don’t Close appeared first on Seattle Bubble.

11 Jul 19:08

3D Printing used to remove inoperable tumor #3dthursday

by Pedro Ruiz


After two failed attempts at intervention, physicians viewed in 3D one perfect opportunity to better plan the intervention. Based on a CT scan and an MRI, the UPC was able to print a same tumor model with two different materials: plastic hard blood vessels, kidneys and spine, the “untouchable” part, and the soft resin with unresectable tumor was designed.

Read more on:

Every Thursday is #3dthursday here at Adafruit! The DIY 3D printing community has passion and dedication for making solid objects from digital models. Recently, we have noticed electronics projects integrated with 3D printed enclosures, brackets, and sculptures, so each Thursday we celebrate and highlight these bold pioneers!

Have you considered building a 3D project around an Arduino or other microcontroller? How about printing a bracket to mount your Raspberry Pi to the back of your HD monitor? And don’t forget the countless LED projects that are possible when you are modeling your projects in 3D!

The Adafruit Learning System has dozens of great tools to get you well on your way to creating incredible works of engineering, interactive art, and design with your 3D printer! If you’ve made a cool project that combines 3D printing and electronics, be sure to let us know, and we’ll feature it here!

11 Jul 19:05

Elysium Powered Exoskeleton Costume WIP

by Amy Ratcliffe

elysium wip 1

In Elysium, Matt Damon’s character (and others) wear an exoskeleton that was inspired by a real life military Human Universal Load Carrier (HULC). Replica Prop Forum user Odayaka wanted to make one as soon as he saw the trailer for the film, and though it’s still in progress, it’s a project worth taking a look at because of the creativity on display.

Odayaka used 0.5 inch EVA foam puzzle piece “Gold’s Gym” equipment mats to create the exoskeleton. For shaping, he’s using a wood-burning wand with an Xact-o blade attachment and then connecting the pieces with hot glue. A couple different sizes of PVC were used to approximate the pistons, and the whole thing will be held on by a nylon strap harness. The above photo shows what t he forearm bracers look like.

elysium wip 2

elysium wip 3

See more photos of the build so far at The RPF.

11 Jul 19:02

Using Auto Body Vinyl Wrap in Cosplay

by Amy Ratcliffe

auto wrap for cosplay metallics_header

A cosplay challenge that comes up regularly is how to make non-metallic surfaces look like metal. There’s always paint or covering foam with metallic spandex, but it’s hard to get a mirror finish that looks exactly like metal. Designer Kay Pike recently shared an idea that makes perfect sense though: auto body vinyl wrap. The material is incredibly shiny, and since it’s thin, the vinyl wrap can be applied to any surface. It works on fabric, thermal plastics, clay, etc. You only need the vinyl car wrap (which comes in a wide variety of colors), scissors, and a heat gun to shape the wrap around whatever you want to look metallic.

See more information about using the material on Facebook.

via Geek x Girls

11 Jul 18:59

League of Legends Heartseeker Ashe Cosplay

by Amy Ratcliffe


Yaya Han’s newest costume is Heartseeker Ashe from League of Legends. It’s bright and colorful, and she based the design on a piece of fan art featuring the character. The art is slightly different than the Heartseeker skin in the actual game. As usual, Han put a little of her own style into the outfit. Here’s what she said about construction:

So for Heartseeker Ashe, I used a variety of fabrics and mixed them together. I also tapered the jacket to be wider at the bottom and made a double circle skirt instead of the mini skirt in the game rendering. I thought the wider bottom would balance out the puffy sleeves and big hair and give me a more feminine silhouette.
I started collecting materials for this costume as soon as possible, and chose luxurious fabrics such as red silk, a lavender swirl patterned satin, a maroon brocade, and a matte metallic plum colored pvc. I made a red silk bodice and then tailored the jacket over it. The jacket is fully lined and custom patterned. The cape drapes almost like a flag in the game, so I made it t be stiff and heavy. The thigh high boot covers, garters, gloves, choker and shoe hearts rounded out the outfit.
All of the gold trimming on the costume is hand patterned and cut gold neoprene, sewn on. I discovered this technique by accident and was so thrilled with how easy it was to work with, and how sleek it looks. Definitely recommend others to try making trim with metallic neoprene!
I also made the heart shaped hair piece out of Worbla! The wig started off as a Matilda from Arda – I gradient dyed it from white to light blue, as a bridge between the splash art and the game render, and styled big barrel curls into it.

Keep up with all of Yaya Han’s cosplay work at Facebook.


via Cosplay Blog, photo by N8e

11 Jul 18:57

Kinect v2 Available: 3D Scanning Just Got Better

by General Fabb

After a long period of waiting, Microsoft now offers their new Kinect v2 3D sensor for pre-order. 

What does this have to do with 3D printing? The Kinect v1 has long been used as a sensor for basic 3D scanning setups. Combined with software like Skanect or ReconstructMe, the sensor has been used to capture 3D models of many people and objects. 

The complaint with Kinect v1, however, has been the quality of its scans. Rough surfaces, limited resolution and accuracy prevented it from use in some situations. While you could capture reasonable “organic” shapes, like people, animals, etc., Kinect v1 has a hard time capturing smooth surfaces. Scans of a boxes or cylinders were usually rubbish. 

That could change with the Kinect v2. According to Microsoft, several features are upgraded. We picked the upgrades relevant to 3D scanning: 

With higher depth fidelity and a significantly improved noise floor, the v2 sensor gives you improved 3D visualization, improved ability to see smaller objects and all objects more clearly, and improves the stability of skeletal tracking.

This means scanned surfaces will be of higher accuracy and smoother. Fewer bumps!

The expanded field of view enables a larger area of a scene to be captured by the camera. As a result, users can be closer to the camera and still in view and the camera is effective over a larger total area.

Larger objects can be captured in good resolution. This may also speed up the scan, as you would require less movement to cover an entire object. 

In addition to allowing the Kinect for Windows v2 sensor to see in the dark, the new infrared (IR) capabilities produce a lighting-independent view, which makes machine learning or computer-vision–based tasks much easier—because you don’t have to account for or model lighting-based variation.

Yes, you can now 3D scan in the dark! We’re not sure why you’d do that, but we’ll leave that up to your imagination. 

The new Kinect is not literally available; you can pre-order it at a cost of USD$199, which, when combined with some scanning software such as Skanect, provides a far less expensive alternative to many other scanning solutions. 

Via Microsoft

11 Jul 18:54

Amanda Huxtable photographed by Giles Clement years ago when he...

Amanda Huxtable photographed by Giles Clement years ago when he was doing a photographic project featuring vintage motorcycles and women. 

In 2011 I posted another image from this shoot, which you can check out here.

[ see more posts ft. Giles Clement | ]

11 Jul 18:47

"Nano-pixels" hold huge potential for flexible, low-power, high-res screens

by Darren Quick

Still images drawn with the 'nano-pixel' technology that each measure around 70 micrometre...

The Retina displays featured on Apple's iPhone 4 and 5 models pack a pixel density of 326 ppi, with individual pixels measuring 78 micrometers. That might seem plenty good enough given the average human eye is unable to differentiate between the individual pixels, but scientists in the UK have now developed technology that could lead to extremely high-resolution displays that put such pixel densities to shame... Continue Reading "Nano-pixels" hold huge potential for flexible, low-power, high-res screens

Section: Electronics

Tags: Display, Flexible, High-resolution, Nanoscale, Oxford University, Phase change material, Pixel, Prototype, Thin Film, University of Exeter

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11 Jul 18:45

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak

by Christopher Jobson

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Humorous Urban Interventions on the Streets of France by OakOak street art pop culture humor

Based in the old industrial town of St. Etienne, France, street artist oakoak (previously) relies on a keen sense of observation to create his humorous interventions on walls, streets, and sidewalks. Cracks and crumbling infrastructure become the backdrop for superheroes and other pop culture characters who interact with their surrounds in unexpected ways. He shares with Bulkka:

Since I come from Saint Etienne, an old industrial city which is now in reconversion, I have the need to make my city less “grey” and at the same time, funnier. Humor is really important to me. It’s definitely the most important element in what I do.

My main interest is giving importance to places and objects that people don’t notice anymore. I walk a lot every day and that’s how I get to find new attractive places with urban elements such as broken walls for example. When I see something interesting during my walks, I measure it and study it, and I come back later to make the collage. I prefer to prepare the drawings and drafts at home.

Included here are several works from the last 6 months or so, but you can see many more pieces on his Facebook page.

11 Jul 18:42

Europa Is Covered In Bacon. That Is Why We Must Go.

by Jason Major
A newly-released image of Europa's surface captured by Galileo (NASA/JPL)

A newly-released image of Europa’s surface captured by Galileo (NASA/JPL)

Whether you’re a trend-loving hipster, a breakfast lover, or just fan of meat products in general, you’d have to agree that it does look like a giant piece of bacon* running across the image above. And while the color and shape seems about right, the size and temperature is a bit off — that’d be a piece of fried pork 25 miles wide and -300ºF!

All kidding aside, this is actually a newly-released picture of the frozen surface of Jupiter’s moon Europa, made from images acquired by NASA’s Galileo spacecraft in 1997 and 1998. The dark coloration of the river-like bands is thought to be the result of organic compounds staining the water ice that has welled up from the moon’s deep subsurface ocean… all the more reason that yes, we really should attempt a landing there in the very near future!

Read more about this in my article on Universe Today here.

*No pigs were harmed in the production of this image.

Tagged: bacon, Europa, Galileo, moon, NASA, science, solar system, space
11 Jul 18:22

Building machines from muscle: University of Illinois demonstrates "walking" bio-robot

by Loz Blain

The University of Illionois has demonstrated a bio-robot built from a flexibly hydrogel sp...

If you're going to deploy robots in biological settings – for example, inside the body – it makes a lot of sense to build those robots out of actual biological body parts. Muscle, for example, is a very effective, biodegradable replacement for an electric actuator that can run in a nutrient-rich fluid without the need for any other power source. Bio-robotics experts in Illinois have demonstrated a walking bio-bot built from 3-D printed hydrogel and spinal muscle tissue that can "walk" in response to an electrical signal. Their next step will be trying to incorporate neurons that can get the bot walking in different directions when faced with different stimuli... Continue Reading Building machines from muscle: University of Illinois demonstrates "walking" bio-robot

Section: Robotics

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09 Jul 22:01

Gender Swapped Ezio Costume

by Amy Ratcliffe

ezio cosplay

When RPF user Mandi planned her Ezio costume, she wanted to show that it was possible to create a femme take on the character from Assassin’s Creed without showing lots of leg or chest. She spent three months working on the cosplay. It took her a while to decide on the proper materials and colors, but she finally gathered the fabrics and drew the belt insignia by hand. She created her own pattern for the tunic by using a plastic bag and masking tape, and she even sewed it together by hand. She also handpainted the intricate designs onto the skrt and tunic and weathered the fabric.

ezio in progress

handpainting Ezio

ezio belt

Read more and see more photos at The RPF.

09 Jul 21:55

c. 1920: The spirit photographs of William Hope

by Chris

The spirit photographs of William Hope

“These photographs of ‘spirits’ are taken from an album of photographs unearthed in a Lancashire second-hand and antiquarian bookshop by one of the National Media Museum’s curators. They were taken by a controversial medium called William Hope (1863-1933).

The clergyman and his wife had attended a seance at which a voice was heard, claiming to be their stillborn daughter - whom the 'spirit people' had named Rose. The voice asked them to sit for a psychic photograph, telling them she would try to appear in it.   'Rose' is not clearly apparent in the image. The image of the man was identified as the long-deceased father of the clergyman. Hope may have asked the clergyman to bring a photograph of his father, under the pretence of using the image to contact the spirit world.

The clergyman and his wife had attended a seance at which a voice was heard, claiming to be their stillborn daughter – whom the ‘spirit people’ had named Rose. The voice asked them to sit for a psychic photograph, telling them she would try to appear in it.
‘Rose’ is not clearly apparent in the image. The image of the man was identified as the long-deceased father of the clergyman. Hope may have asked the clergyman to bring a photograph of his father, under the pretence of using the image to contact the spirit world.

“Born in 1863 in Crewe, Hope started his working life as a carpenter. In about 1905 he became interested in spirit photography after capturing the supposed image of a ghost while photographing a friend.

A photograph of Welsh mediums and brothers Joe and Will Thomas.   The Thomas family claimed that the image superimposed over the sitters was the only photograph of their deceased grandmother in existence. Hope, however, would have used an existing photograph of a woman to create the illusion.

A photograph of Welsh mediums and brothers Joe and Will Thomas.
The Thomas family claimed that the image superimposed over the sitters was the only photograph of their deceased grandmother in existence. Hope, however, would have used an existing photograph of a woman to create the illusion.

“He went on to found the Crewe Circle – a group of six spirit photographers led by Hope. When Archbishop Thomas Colley joined the group they began to publicise their work.

The spirit photographs of William Hope

“Following World War I support for the Crewe Circle grew as the grieving relatives of those lost to the war sought a means of contacting their loved ones.

The face of a younger woman appears between the men, surrounded in an ethereal-looking 'mist'.

The face of a younger woman appears between the men, surrounded in an ethereal-looking ‘mist’.

“By 1922 Hope had moved to London where he became a professional medium. The work of the Crewe Circle was investigated on various occasions.

Swirls of light appear to surround the sitter.

Swirls of light appear to surround the sitter.

“The most famous of these took place in 1922, when the Society for Psychical Research sent Harry Price to investigate the group.

A woman's face - draped in a transparent cloak - appears over the group.

A woman’s face – draped in a transparent cloak – appears over the group.

“Price collected evidence that Hope was substituting glass plates bearing ghostly images in order to produce his spirit photographs.

A male face appears on its side above the sitter's head.

A male face appears on its side above the sitter’s head.

“Later the same year Price published his findings, exposing Hope as a fraudster. However, many of Hope’s most ardent supporters spoke out on his behalf, the most famous being Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and Hope continued to practice, despite his exposure. He died in London on 7 March 1933.”

- National Media Museum

A man's blurred face appears next to the sitter, surrounded in an ethereal-looking 'mist'. The signature in the upper right hand corner belongs to the sitter. A woman's face appears above the couple - identified at the time as the sister of a man prominent in the Spiritualist Church. Her cloak adds to the ethereal effect.
The signature in the upper left hand corner is by one of the sitters, to authenticate the plate. The couple are the parents of the person who compiled the spirit album. A woman's face appears in a 'misty' cloud to the right of the man - identified as that of his deceased first wife. Hope may have already held her photograph in his studio, or he may have asked the man to supply her photograph under the pretence of using the image to contact the spirit world.
The signature in the upper left hand corner is the sitter's, authenticating the plate. A man's face appears in a haze of drapery on the right of the photograph. Thomas, a medium from Wales, did not recognise the superimposed image.
Thomas has signed the bottom of the photograph, 'Sincerely Yours Will Thomas' - perhaps this indicates a friendship with Hope. The image of a young man's face appears prominently over the man, draped in a cloak. The signature at the base of the image belongs to the sitter.
The man had links with the person who compiled the spirit album, and he gave the photograph to her as a keepsake. He apparently recognised the young man's face. A face appears over the man's image on the left of the photograph, covered in a cloak. Although indistinct, the man apparently identified the 'spirit' as an ex-work colleague who had died thirty two years earlier. A photograph of the Welsh medium Joe Thomas.
The shrouded woman's face appearing in the photograph was not identified by Thomas - but it may indicate some form of collaboration between him and Hope. The information accompanying the spirit album states that the table is levitating - in reality the image of a ghostly arm has been superimposed over the table- stand through double exposure. A woman mourns for her husband in a Chapel of Rest, standing by his body which is wrapped in sheets and laden with flowers. The woman's son stands beside her.
The image of a man's face has been superimposed over the original photograph. The spirit album notes that the family were Roman Catholics and believed in life after death. Two faces appear around the group - one, an elderly person, and the other that of a younger woman shrouded in a cloak. Two faces - that of a man and a girl - appear, surrounded in 'mist', above the group. A woman's face appears above the heads of the women, surrounded in an ethereal-looking 'mist'. A woman's face appears in 'misty' drapes around the man. He was said to have been asked to sit for a photograph by a voice heard at a seance held on 6 May 1923.
This man had also identified the 'spirit' of his deceased first wife in an earlier photograph. He now identified this 'spirit' as his deceased second wife. A photograph of Mrs Bentley, once the President of the British Spiritualists Lyceum Union, taken by Wylie, about 1920.
A superimposed image - that of Mrs Bentley's deceased sister's face - appears at the lower right of the photograph.
09 Jul 21:35

Cassini set to begin its grand finale

by Anthony Wood

Picture taken from Cassini in 2013, displaying the Earth as seen from orbit around Saturn ...

Having returned a vast number of incredible images of Saturn, her rings and her moons, NASA's Cassini spacecraft is reaching the final stage of its marathon mission. As such, and with the help of over 2,000 members of the general public, mission operators have selected a fitting name for the final maneuvers of the iconic spacecraft. .. Continue Reading Cassini set to begin its grand finale

Section: Space

Tags: Cassini, NASA, Orbit, Saturn, Spacecraft

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09 Jul 21:15

BugJuggler: The 70 ft tall car-juggling robot

by Colin Jeffrey

HOLY CRAP I hope this happens.

BugJuggler is a gigantic 70 ft tall robot designed to juggle cars

BugJuggler is a 70 ft tall robot that its designers claim will hurl full-size cars into the sky and catch them again in mid-air. Designed to use a diesel generator, enormous hydraulic rams, and hydraulic accumulators to allow for rapid movements, BugJuggler will not only be impressively large, but exceptionally agile for its size... Continue Reading BugJuggler: The 70 ft tall car-juggling robot

Section: Robotics

Tags: Entertainment, Gigantic, Monster Trucks, Robotic, Robots

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