Friday, August 31, 2007


The Stirling engine is a heat engine that is vastly different from the internal-combustion engine in your car. Invented by Robert Stirling in 1816, the Stirling engine has the potential to be much more efficient than a gasoline or diesel engine. But today, Stirling engines are used only in some very specialized applications, like in submarines or auxiliary power generators for yachts, where quiet operation is important. Although there hasn't been a successful mass-market application for the Stirling engine, some very high-power inventors are working on it.

A Stirling engine uses the Stirling cycle, which is unlike the cycles used in internal-combustion engines.

:: The gasses used inside a Stirling engine never leave the engine. There are no exhaust valves that vent high-pressure gasses, as in a gasoline or diesel engine, and there are no explosions taking place. Because of this, Stirling engines are very quiet.

:: The Stirling cycle uses an external heat source, which could be anything from gasoline to solar energy to the heat produced by decaying plants. No combustion takes place inside the cylinders of the engine.

The movies above show some examples of stirling engines running on just hand heat and a cup of warm water.

[+ wiki]

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Erin Hayne and Nuno Gonçalves Ferreira of the Visual Reference Studio have completed work on their first collection of thermochromatic furniture, stools and benches that change colour when touched. Colour-changing crystals are activated in response to heat, so sitting or touching the pieces will leave an imprint of various body parts, but just until the piece cools down. Black furniture turns blue and red turns violet, but the variety of temperature fluctuations will bring about a range of shades. The Swamp Collection is inspired by the flora and fauna of the Mississippi cypress swamp, where the studio is located.

[+ website]
via mocoloco

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Roots is a dreamlike screen that follows an old persian image: a bush growing heads. – In a green and brownish fluid iron crystals grow steadily...Bubbles ascend like jellyfish. Branches break off and sink to the dark ground. They start to dissolve and become thick clouds hovering over the scene.

Sound and Electricity
Electricity is pulsed through the whole Sculpture. It is the key to the constant transformation. Growth changes the flow of the current. The modified flow changes the growth. Software and Hardware leave the next step to the material. The voltages at each wire are put through a resonance filter and thus transformed into sound. The 4/4 pulse results in a sublime rhythm.

Utopian Screen
The installation is based on the model of a chemical computer by Gordon Pask in the early 1950s.
It was open to the environment and it managed to grow to a configuration which was able to distinguish between different frequencies.
Roots refers to a time when the big synthesis and simulation of image, sound, thinking and memory was soon to be started.

[+ website]

Labels: , , , ,

Monday, August 20, 2007


Last week we had a very nice,tastefull diner at Oud Sluis, one of the top 50 restaurants in the world. We very enjoyed the taste palet of the dishes. The chef, Sergio Herman is an inspiring person not only by his food, but also how he looks at everything around the eating experience. If you want to know more what we ate, click on the link to our flickr photos.

[+ Oud Sluis]
[+ flickr]

Labels: , ,

Thursday, August 09, 2007


No one's even sure what to call it. "Claytronics," "synthetic reality" and "programmable matter" have been proposed. "Dynamic physical rendering" is the label Intel uses. Its an emerging field of engineering concerning reconfigurable nanoscale robots ('claytronic atoms', or catoms) designed to form much larger scale machines or mechanisms. Also known as "programmable matter", the catoms are said to eventually have the ability to morph into nearly any object, even replicas of human beings for virtual meetings.

Cameras would capture the movement of an object or person and then this data would be fed to the atoms, which would then assemble themselves to make up an exact likeness of the object.

Professors Todd Mowry and Seth Goldstein of Carnegie Mellon University came up with the idea based on "claytronics," the animation technique which involves slightly moving a model per frame to animate it.

"We thought that a good analogy for what we were going to do was claymation - something like the Wallace and Gromit shows," Dr Mowry told BBC World Service's Outlook programme.

"When you watch something created by claymation, it is a real object and it looks like it's moving itself. That's something like the idea we're doing... in our case, the idea is that you have computation in the 'clay', as though the clay can move itself.

"So if it was a dog, and you want the dog to move, it will actually move itself. But it is a physical object in front of you - it's not just a picture or hologram or something like that."

Ok, the nanokrispies idea is merely a sketch but maybe a small step closer towards a new world of "programmable food" concepts. So lets dream and just add "imilk" to our krispiesbowl and watch robotic characters grow out. Once they've finished assembling, get exercise and nutrition by hunting and eating them.

[+ wiki]
[+ nanokrispies]

Labels: , , , ,

Friday, August 03, 2007


The interior of an 18" square x 1" piece of Plexiglas was charged to 2.2 million volts (MV) using a 5 MV particle accelerator. A layer of excess electrons become trapped deep inside, When discharged, the excess charge escaped with a bright flash and a loud bang. The hot, lightning-like discharge created thousands of microscopic fractures inside the acrylic, resulting in a branching "Captured Lightning" sculpture (or Lichtenberg Figure).

The branching, self-similar patterns observed in Lichtenberg figures exhibit fractal properties. Lichtenberg figures often develop during the dielectric breakdown of solids, liquids, and even gases.

Two-dimensional (2D) Lichtenberg figures can be produced by placing a sharp-pointed needle perpendicular to the surface of a non-conducting plate, such as of resin, ebonite, or glass. The point is positioned very near to, or in contact with, the plate. A source of high voltage, such as a Leyden jar (a type of capacitor) or a static electricity generator, is applied to the needle. This creates a small electrical discharge to the surface of the plate.

Another type of 2D Lichtenberg Figure can be created when an insulating surface becomes contaminated with semiconducting material. When a high voltage is applied across the surface, leakage currents may cause localized heating and progressive charring of the underlying material. Over time, branching, tree-like carbonized patterns are formed on the surface of the insulator called electrical trees. These may ultimately bridge the insulating space, leading to catastrophic failure of the insulating material.

[+ wiki]
[+ more]

Labels: , , ,