Category Archives: science

Talk: Use Sixth-Sense technology to interact with the digital world of data

In his interesting TED talk on ‘The thrilling potential of SixthSense technology’, Pranav Mistry shows several self built hardware tools that help the physical world interact with the world of data. He also discusses his SixthSense device and a new, paradigm-shifting paper laptop in detail. He says that he’ll open-source the software behind SixthSense, to open its possibilities to all.

This reminds me a lot on Prof. Hiroshi Ishii’s Tangible User Interfaces‘, (Tangible Media Group) research group at MIT, who’s work i really admire since my studies at the university. The Tangible User Interface group continuously publish great work on the challenge how to build tangible real world interfaces to interfere with digital artefacts. They combine art, media and technology to invent great interfaces!

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Magnetic Lego whiteboard eraser robot

 Despite the fact that it is a really simple and cheap design, i really love this creation of a magnetic whiteboard eraser bot that’s built with Lego parts and a simple Atmel microcontroller, which acts as brain controller. Le Zhang and Michael Lathrop, both senior students at Cornell had this nice idea how to efficiently clean your professors whiteboard 🙂 The entire robot consits of a magnet that holds the robot ontop of the whiteboard, an accelerometer sensor for controlling the direction of movement and some microswitches to sense the edge of the board.
I wish i had such a robot for cleaning the windows for my house or for removing the dust of solar panels to get more energy out of them. If you know such robots please comment below this post and give us your information!

Ars Electronica Festival 2012: THE BIG PICTURE Trailer

This year’s Ars Electronica Festival ‘THE BIG PICTURE – New Concepts for a New World’ presents digital and electronic art projects related to new concepts for understanding the big picture of our world and society. The festival takes place in Linz, Austria from 30.August to 3.September 2012. While waiting for these most interesting art installations, watch the recent Ars Electronica 2012 festival trailer:

Watch the touch down of NASA’s Curiosity Rover live!

Mars Science Laboratory (MSL) is a robotic mission to Mars launched by NASA on November 26, 2011, that will attempt to land a Mars rover called Curiosity on the surface of Mars. Today (August 6, 2012), it is scheduled to land in Gale Crater at about 05:31 UTCCuriosity rover’s objectives include determining Mars’ habitability, studying its climate and geology, and collecting data for human missions. Curiosity is twice as long and five times as heavy as NASA’s previous rovers Spirit and Opportunity. The total cost of the MSL/curiosity project is about US$2.5 billion.

So if you would like to see how 2.5 billions touch down on Mars, watch this live video stream:

Video streaming by Ustream

Visual Internet Maps

Here is another nice example for a visual Internet map by Ruslan Enikeev, who visualizes the Internet nodes of different countries and regions as galaxies of stars. The distance between these stars, model a bi-dimensional presentation of links between websites on the Internet. Every site is a circle on the map, and its size is determined by website traffic, the larger the amount of traffic, the bigger the circle. The Internet map is a non-commercial project. Its main goal is to let the people see beauty of the Internet:

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Another really famous visualization of the Internet’s backbone structure was created by Stephen G. Eick from Bell Laboratories in 1993:

The arc map displays a 3D network structure as arcs curving smoothly above a flat map of the world. The data being visualized is Internet traffic flows between fifty countries, as measured by the NSFNET backbone in 1993. The colour, thickness and height of the arcs is used to encode the traffic statistics for particular inter-country links. The arcs are also partially translucent so as not to completely obscure lines at the back of the map, while their height above the base map is in relation to total volume of traffic flowing over a link. This has the effect of making the most important (high traffic) links, the highest and therefore most visually prominent on the map. The user has considerable interactive control over the arc map, for example the arc height scaling and translucency can be varied. The map can also be rotated and scaled, so that the user can view it from any angle.

One really cool example by Felix Heinen, it was his final year work in information design, shows the the variety and attitudes of members from an internet community like Facebook. In a first visualization he shows the functions each member uses as well as additional demographic information. The second visualization shows a geographic orientation where the members of a community are located worldwide:

screenshot taken from:

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The book ‘Visual Complexity’ by Manuel Lima combines design and complexity to explain the art of information and knowledge extraction out of graphical visualizations. Visual Complexity presents one hundred of the most interesting examples of information-visualization by the field’s leading practitioners. Many popular examples try to visualize Internet or social graph related  aspecs, such as traffic, site links or even social connection between a huge amount of nodes.

Manuel’s Web site Visual Complexity shows hundreds of different examples for large scale data visualizations, such as social graphs, nike running tracks, research networks, technology connections, wikipedia edits during global crisis and incredibly more:

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Large Amateur Rocket

This video shows the preparations and the test launch of one of the world’s largest amateur-built liquid rocket engines, the TM65 engine. The test took place on May 20, 2012. They participate in all aspects of the preparations from the construction of the test stand and the safety bunker, welding and mounting of the oxygen and alcohol tanks, mounting of the rocket engine, the launch itself, and the crunching of data collected during the test.

Science finally found prove for the Higgs Boson!

image source: wikipedia

Maybe this is a historic date and you should remeber it! On July the 4th of 2012 CERN announced recently that a new boson (it could be the long expected Higgs Boson) has been observed with a standard deviation of 5 (confidence of 99.9%). The observation is of a boson particle with a mass of 125.3 ± 0.6 GeV, at a significance of 4.9 sigma. Joe Incandela — giving the presentation — said that this is “In agreement with the standard model at 95% confidence range.” The boson is the heaviest ever found, and although this is still a preliminary result, it’s by far the strongest case yet for the existence of the elusive Higgs. This discovery is one of the latest results of running experiences with the LHC (Large Hadron Collider).