Oct 22, 2014

Your new winter hat should express your brain waves like a neon sign

posted by Larra Morris

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The illumino project by [io] however, has a relatively short and affordable list of materials for creating your own EEG sensor. It’s even built into a beanie that maps your mental status to a colorful LED pompom! Now that winter is around the corner, this project is perfect for those of us who want to try on the mad scientist’s hat and look awesome while we’re wearing it.

How does all the neuro-magic happen? At the heart of [io's] EEG project is a retired Thinkgear ASIC PC board by Neurosky. It comes loaded with fancy algorithms which amplify and process the different types of noise coming from the surface of our brain. A few small electrodes made from sheets of copper and placed in contact with the forehead are responsible for picking up this noise. The bridge between the electrodes and the Thinkgear is an arduino running the illumino project code. For [io's] tutorial, a Tinylilly Arduino is used to mesh with the wearable medium, since all of these parts are concealed in the folded brim of the beanie.
via Hack a Day

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Oct 22, 2014

Sorry, theater actors: now robots can play leading roles

posted by Larra Morris

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We've seen robots star in plays before, but the one in a new production of Franz Kafka'sThe Metamorphosis doesn't take on a bit role or even a supporting one: it's the show's lead actor. While we feel bad for struggling theater performers who can never seem to get a big break, it seems rather fitting for a robot to take center stage for this particular story. See,The Metamorphosis is about a man who inexplicably turns into a giant insect -- the play's director, Oriza Hirata, just substituted a robot for the bug in this Japanese-French production. Sure, it's a lot easier to just get someone who can act like an automaton, but where's the fun in that?

Hirata didn't even pick an old robot for the job. No, he collaborated with roboticist Hiroshi Ishiguro (whom you might remember for creating creepy humanoid machines) to develop Repliee S1 for the part, and he made sure it can smile, laugh and even speak its lines in an automated voice.
via Engadget

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Oct 21, 2014

Art displayed in a frame that follows you around

posted by Larra Morris

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The Eye Catcher frame and supporting system was developed by researchers at the Interactive Architecture Lab at the Bartlett School of Architecture, University College London. Using a tiny camera hidden behind a pin-sized hole in the piece's wooden frame, it's able to track the position of someone walking by and automatically reposition itself so it stays close to them and doesn't go unnoticed. And instead of good old-fashioned magic, the frame moves about with the assistance of magnets, and a robot arm hidden behind a fake wall.

Even the art inside the frame is interactive. It's a ferrofluid solution that uses moving magnets to change its shape and position to match the movement of the eyes and the facial expressions of someone who stops to examine the piece closer.
via Gizmodo

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Oct 21, 2014

New smart street corners that will act like a fitbit for the city

posted by Larra Morris

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There you are, standing on a street corner surrounded by a mob of people waiting for the walk signal. In front of you, a single car gets the green light. Again. For all the talk of smart cities, they can be infuriatingly dumb at times. But imagine if your city could monitor the flow of pedestrians and optimize its traffic signals for walkers, not drivers? That’s exactly what Chicago is looking to do.

Later this fall, the Windy City will install a network of 40 sensor nodes on light poles at the University of Chicago, School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Argonne National Laboratory. The goal is to eventually expand the system to 1,000 sensors (enough to cover the Chicago Loop) over the next few years. Spearheaded by the University of Chicago’s Urban Center for Computational Data, it’s called the Array of Things initiative, and the goal is to gather an unprecedented set of ambient data to help government officials and residents understand how their city ticks so they can make it a happier, healthier, and smarter place to live.
via Wired

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Oct 21, 2014

An artist perfectly trolls designers with a comic sans typewriter

posted by Larra Morris

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The easiest way to troll a pixel-pushing friend is to ensure you exclusively use Comic Sans for every email, message, and homemade birthday card you send them. Graphic designers hate the font, but the rest of the world still seems to enjoy its sense of whimsy, which is what inspired artist Jesse England to hack a typewriter with the Comic Sans typeface.

A laser engraver was used to create a new set of Comic Sans letters out of acrylic, which were then painstakingly glued onto the strikers of a classic old manual typewriter. And Jessie even went so far as to label the keys in Comic Sans using a vinyl cutter to create custom key covers. His dedication to the gag is commendable.
via Gizmodo

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Oct 20, 2014

3D printing helps build upper jaw prosthetic for cancer patient

posted by Larra Morris

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Using a CT scan to create a 3D reconstruction of the patient's face, Osteo3D printed a replica of the patient's mouth, complete with lower and upper jaw, the defect and his teeth. With the model able to simulate the movements of the joints and open properly, this negated the difficulties inherent in producing a mold from the patient's real-life jaw.

Using the 3D-printed replica as a template, a wax model was produced and adjusted for a snug fit. This was then hardened, fitted with teeth and handed over to the patient. Thanks to the new prosthesis, his chewing, swallowing, speaking and smiling are now said to be much improved.
via Gizmag

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Oct 20, 2014

Vibrating needles could make shots painless by tricking your brain

posted by Larra Morris

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Jabbing a steel needle into your flesh is not ever going to be fun, per se, but scientists have found a way to make it at least hurt a lot less. The trick is actually fooling your nerve cells with a small device that applies pressure and vibration. Here's how it works.

Popular Science reports on a study presented at this week's meeting of the American Society of Anesthesiologists. The 21 volunteers in the study were poked in the shoulder while various amounts of heat, cold, pressure, and vibration were applied. (One caveat, they were jabbed with a plastic needle that doesn't puncture the skin but causes needle-like pain because, well, ethical research standards.) The researchers found that a certain amount of pressure and vibration applied for 20 seconds before the jabbing was the most effective.
via Gizmodo

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