Friday, March 30, 2007


By the year 2050, nearly 80% of the earth's population will reside in urban centers. Applying the most conservative estimates to current demographic trends, the human population will increase by about 3 billion people during the interim. An estimated 109 hectares of new land (about 20% more land than is represented by the country of Brazil) will be needed to grow enough food to feed them, if traditional farming practices continue as they are practiced today. At present, throughout the world, over 80% of the land that is suitable for raising crops is in use (sources: FAO and NASA). Historically, some 15% of that has been laid waste by poor management practices. What can be done to avoid this impending disaster?

The concept of indoor farming is not new, since hothouse production of tomatoes, a wide variety of herbs, and other produce has been in vogue for some time. What is new is the urgent need to scale up this technology to accommodate another 3 billion people. An entirely new approach to indoor farming must be invented, employing cutting edge technologies. The Vertical Farm must be efficient (cheap to construct and safe to operate). Vertical farms, many stories high, will be situated in the heart of the world's urban centers. If successfully implemented, they offer the promise of urban renewal, sustainable production of a safe and varied food supply (year-round crop production), and the eventual repair of ecosystems that have been sacrificed for horizontal farming.

[+ verticalfarm]
[+ soa architects]

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Thursday, March 29, 2007


This was unexpected, but is just waiting for a commercial application. You have to watch the video to believe it, but this restaurant in Japan has a goldfish tank…in the deep fryer.Because oil floats on water, despite the massive heat (163 degrees Celsius) the goldfish simply stay away from the surface and all is well. They eat the crumbs of croquettes and other fried foods that fall to the bottom, and can live in there for 5-10 years as they happily clean away, ignorant to the fact that certain death awaits any potential escapees.
This one is hidden away back in the kitchen where customers can’t even see it, but it could easily be made for display near the dining area for everyone to see. No word on whether they turn cannibal and devour their battered bretheren when they’re chucked in along with some potatoes.

via core77

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Wednesday, March 28, 2007


We present the jello printer, which enables to print shapes into jello. This is the first step to print food data in tangible and edible manner. Although the current system did not achive this goal, our system allows the user to easily deform and cut the shape to facilitate browsing, as well as tasting it. In addition, our system is capable to represent 3D height field. This feature makes it possible to interactively specify arbitrary cross-section to explore 3D structure. We present several examples that show how our technique represents shape information into jello media.Shigeru Owada, "Jello Printer", Visualization 2005, Interactive Demo lab SONY

[+ more]

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007


The average poster is just ink placed on sheets of tree pulp, using garishcolours, type and imagery to throw itself at passers-by in an attempt to sell their product or service – obliviousto the surrounding environment ( above: comparison between a clean poster and 1 week old poster that was located at a beach front).

These posters are designed to capture the poster’s local atmosphere through using an adhesive layer, passing dust, pollen and pollution usually unseen to the eye builds up to reveal the graphic. The gradual growth of the image allows it to form a relationship with regular foot traffic in that area.

[+ website]
via reluct



Move over Ferran Adrià. Northern China has its own version of molecular gastronomy: hand-pulled noodles. Well not quite, but the above clip of Chef Mark Pi is fascinating not only because of the sheer craftsmanship required to, er, pull off such a feat, but because of the science lesson the narrator gives.

Physicist Philip Morrison gives us noodle making as a way of discussing the size, particularly the thickness, of atoms. He states: "We approach the division of matter...by halving and halving and halving it again." This point is clearly demonstrated by Chef Pi's demonstration of hand-pulling dragon's beard noodles. After folding the noodles a dozen times he's created 4,096 ultrathin strands. Morrison points out that if the venerable chef had managed 42 times his noodles would have reached atomic thickness.

Incidentally, this vid comes from a 1987 PBS program The Ring of Truth: Atoms. I found another great and hilarious clip featuring Julia Child. Without giving too much away, all I'm going to say is it involves her isolating pure carbon.

via slashfood

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Thursday, March 22, 2007


A refrigerator is one of the biggest electricity consumers at home.
It works with refrigerant-generally Freon gas. When the refrigerant is liquid condition, it sucks heat so that the fridge does cooling. But it emits heat when gas condition. While refrigerant repeats gas-liquid condition, the compressor and condenser(long and thin copper/aluminum pipes at back of fridges) are heated up because gas has to evaporate this heat. To blow this heat, a refrigerator has to be placed 5-10 cm apart from the wall in the kitchen.

The idea of Hot Fridge is based on an experimental use of waste heat from a refrigerator and is inspired by Gudul (Ondol), the traditional under-floor Korean heating system.

By having its structure and condenser redesigned, the fridge is able to store not only cold food but also warm food. The condenser is on top of the fridge so that you can put and keep left-over food warm until next meal. Plastic shelves in door are changed to fabric net pocket bags that help cool air circulation and allow easy storing. Hot Fridge is easy to move so you can pull it to bring warm dishes on the dinner table. If you cannot finish all your pizza at lunch, put the pizza plate up on the fridge. The afternnon bite will be warm!

via wemakemoneynotart

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Tuesday, March 20, 2007


The Naica Mine of Chihuahua, Mexico, is a working mine that is known for its extraordinary crystals. Naica is a lead, zinc and silver mine in which large voids have been found, containing crystals of selenite (gypsum) as large as 4 feet in diameter and 50 feet long. The chamber holding these crystals is known as the Crystal Cave of Giants, and is approximately 1000 feet down in the limestone host rock of the mine. The crystals were formed by hydrothermal fluids emanating from the magma chambers below. The cavern was discovered while the miners were drilling through the Naica fault, which they were worried would flood the mine. The Cave of Swords is another chamber in the Naica Mine, containing similar large crystals.

[+ wiki]
via pruned

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Monday, March 19, 2007


Already a classic within "Form Follows Process" design,where we're studying objects whose productions result from a series of conditions instead of active choices. The garden is well looked after, all year round. Each season has its own colours, smells and waste. The hay of the summer, the prunnings and the leaves of the autumn, all of this can be used for non-durable furniture. Extrusion containers press the garden waste into endless benches which can be shortened to any length. It is up to nature to decide when it'll reclaim them back. Studio JURGENBEY for Droog Design 1999 [Ph: Marcel Loermans]

[+ website]

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Friday, March 16, 2007


Implant technology is already commonplace in the form of replacement surgery (artificial joints, pacemakers, etc). The Audio Tooth Implant (ATI) is the first commodity based in-body product. Augmenting our body’s communication skills it enables a form of telepathy.

A micro-vibration device and a wireless low frequency receiver are implanted in the tooth during routine dental surgery. The tooth communicates with an array of digital devices, such as mobile telephones, radio and computers. A dedicated device (also acts as the long-range receiver) is used to fully customise the set up for each individuals personal requirements.

Sound information is transferred from the tooth into the inner ear by bone transduction.Sound reception is totally discreet enabling information to be received anywhere at anytime.

[+ website]

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Thursday, March 15, 2007


We have found this interesting article on the history of metals foams by John Banhart and Denis Weaire.

By the end of the eighties there was a resurgence in metal foam research throughout the world. Japanese engineers at Shinko Wire Co. developed what is now known as the Alporas process. Norsk Hydro in Norway and Alcan Corp. in Canada independently developed a foaming process for particle-stabilized melts. In 1990 an old powder-compact foaming route developed in the late 1950’s by Benjamin Allen at the United Aircraft Corporation in Delaware was rediscovered by German physicist Joachim Baumeister and brought to a considerable level of sophistication at the Fraunhofer Laboratory in Bremen, Germany. These and other variants have been continually refined up to the present day.

Two methods for foaming metals were used in those early days, and they are still current today. In the first of these, gas is injected continuously to create foam. In the second method, gas-releasing propellants are added to the melt, akin to the blowing agents of the plastic foam industry or indeed the yeast of the baker.(see the images mentioned above) aluminum was found to be particularly amenable to foam production.

[+ article]

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Wednesday, March 14, 2007


Toyama Bay is the habitat of the world-famous glowing firefly squid, which surface in large numbers every spring in a phenomenon that has been designated a special natural monument. Peak firefly squid season means big catches for fishermen and brisk business for sightseeing boats that provide close-up views of the magical action. Early in the morning, after 3 AM, sightseeing boats depart the Namerikawa fishing port (Namerikawa is also home to the world’s only museum dedicated to the firefly squid) in Toyama prefecture, making a short journey to fixed nets located about 1 to 2 km offshore. As the fishermen haul in their nets, the light emitted by the firefly squid causes the sea surface to glow a cobalt blue, evoking squeals of delight from the tourists.Toyama Bay’s firefly squid fishing season opened on March 1 and is expected to continue until the end of June. Sightseeing boats are scheduled to run until May 7.

[+ wiki]
via pinktentacle

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Tuesday, March 13, 2007


OMA developed foam as part of their work for Prada. Foam is a poly urethane cast of an aggregrate condition between solid and void. It is both a regular and irregular structure of spongelike consistency that can be cast in stages from hard to soft, and from transparent to opaque. It forms a substance that can be used to build objects as well as entire spaces a further interpretation of solid and void.
Foam was developed beginning with an architectural model using a regular cleaning sponge. Because the visual effect of this backlit texture was very intriguing, OMA initiated an extensive search to recreate this material in 1:1 scale. Vincent De Rijk made hundreds of prototypes in order to test the hole sizes, percentages of openness, translucencies, depths, colors, etc. In its multiple and varied manifestations, Foam offers a new definition of functional and visual properties between artificial and natural, irregular and regular, transpararent and opaque, translucent and solid, flexible and rigid qualities in the design of interior environments.

[+ images]
[+ OMA]

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Monday, March 12, 2007


BASF wanted to showcase the versatility of Ultrason® polymer, which has many material features and can be used where conventional plastics cannot. The role of IDEO’s designers was to design products out of Ultrason® that would convince designers and manufacturers that this material had broad potential as a form-giving material that could be easily machined using traditional processes. The designs also needed to inspire new thinking around how people use and interact with objects and their surroundings. By linking the material to five common household objects, IDEO also chose to demonstrate Ultrason’s appeal to end users—the people who ultimately determine the desirability of any consumer good. One of those objects is this toaster, designed by Nicolas Inchaurrondo & Stefan Koch (BASF AG), and Alexander
Grots, Leif Huff, Miguel Cabra, Thomas Brisebras, Todd Pelman & Vicky Arndt

Challenge: When designing heat carrying household objects designers are normally constrained, as they have to keep surfaces and circuitry away from heat or electricity, so users avoid burnt fingertips or short-circuits.

Solution: The aesthetically designed concepts (a hairdryer, lampshade, toaster, kettle and a clothes hanger) are made of Ultrason polymer, which is heat resistant up to 220° Celsius and has great insulating capacities, making it safe to touch while the product is in use.

[+ ultrason]
[+ ideo]

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Friday, March 09, 2007


All it takes is some german engineering + beercans. Random Screen is a mechanical thermodynamic screen that the user can’t control and that functions without any electricity. Conventional tea candles illuminate and generate the changes on the 4x4 pixel screen.Each individual pixel of Random Screen is an independent unit. Core components are a projection foil, a modified beer can and a small tea candle.The candle serves as a source of light; at the same time, the warmth it gives off sets the modified beer can in motion. The can, modified into a sort of freely rotating fan mounted above the candle, can spin around freely. The candlelight shines through a window cut in the beer can onto a projection surface and makes the pixel light up. Depending on how fast the fan spins, it gently turns the respective pixel either on or off. The larger the candle’s flame, the brighter the pixel shines and the faster its switching frequency. The candlelight is diffused on a second projection foil in the middle of the pixel box in order to generate as little shadow-flickering as possible on the projection surface. The individual pixel boxes stacked on top of and next to one another form the Random Screen. The modularity of the pixels allows the screen surface to be expanded at will, and this construct’s simple components make it easy for others to copy.

[+ website]

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Tuesday, March 06, 2007


"Polytop" is a RANGE of a mass customized coffee tables: each table is different but similar without changing the cost of production: the generative automaton processs for each single entity is starting from the same base frame (according to material and standart sheet size); the code is first plotting a number of pts (according to user specifications) to create a pt cloud onto which is running a customized 2.5D Voronoi; here speculating further onto the use of Vornoi diagrams within the field of design, theverymany is looking at optimization within the production process (more of problem caring than problem solving): only 3 axis require for the CNC cut (though the use of a taper tool allows smoother transitions), reducion of the amout of cuts (each cut is used on both side of the line) and reduction of waste of material : within the production process, every cut out is used to produced an n+2 layer within the vertical section: with one sheet of material you can therefore produce at least 3 to 5 layers.

[+ website]

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Monday, March 05, 2007


Another beautiful algorithmic artwork by Eno Henze. Designer own descriptive words : "Every real thing forms the nucleus of a multidimensional sphere, that constitutes it’s appearance. Besides it’s factual part, it’s „it is what it is“, every thing manifests itself in an ideal space through connections, references and deliminations. These connections may be historical, functional or significative, and they are fundamental to our perception of the reality of of every thing. Yet, accessing the factual is impaired by layers of ideal representation. Every factual nucleus is enclosed by shells that maintain an economy of exchange and delimination with it’s environment. From a makroscopic perspective the things of reality form an ocean of spheres – the Reality Foam. Rendering the Reality Foam „per se“, the denuclified reality, is an attempt to visualize the structure of our perception, or rather a formal approach to our creation of reality."

[+ website]
via ionio

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Sunday, March 04, 2007


FogQuest is an innovative, international, non-governmental, non-profit organization, which implements and promotes the environmentally appropriate, socially beneficial and economically viable use of fog, rain and dew as sustainable water resources for people in arid regions of developing countries. FogQuest plans and implements water projects for rural communities in developing countries. They utilize innovative fog collectors as well as effective rainfall collectors to make optimum use of natural atmospheric sources of water.

[+ website]

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Thursday, March 01, 2007


David Benjamin and Soo-in Yang of ‘The Living’ Architects presented their recent work at the Interactive Architecture event which Ruairi Glynn organised at Eyebeam last month. They have just released 2 lovely little books called ‘Life Size‘ 1 & 2 which explore the possibility of creating open source design processes. The first volume of Life Size includes ‘DIY directions for making a responsive kinetic system, an energy self-sufficient display, and a collapsible framing structure out of weak materials.’ & the second volume of this series includes essays by Yoseph Bar-Cohen, Livia Corona, Holly Kretschmar, Seth Mnookin, William Wu and SISYPHUS.

Whats most interesting for me about David and Soo-ins work is their methodology they call "flash research," which they define as an architectural research project with a budget under $1000 and a ninety-day timeline, expected to result in a fully functioning, 1:1 scale prototype. To me this seems a challenging approach that forces you to consider low tech solutions rather than spending a fortune on answering problems often with unsustainable answers.

David and Soo-in run a graduate class at Columbia Architecture school where with their students, they continue to experiment with these ideas of rapid experimentation often in the context of responsive & kinetic spatial design. Check out their website where you can find out more about their projects such as living River Glow, a network of pods that act as an interface between the water quality of the river and local inhabitants awareness of environmental conditions and Living Glass, a silent transforming and transparent surface that responds to inhabitants proximity.

[+ website]
via interactivearchitecture

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