Wednesday, February 28, 2007


What do you get when you add ordinary air or even an Alka-Seltzer to a spherical water drop in microgravity? Expedition Six NASA ISS Science Officer Don Pettit performs a series of microgravity experiments with water spheres and effervescent antacid tablets. You can find them all on youtube,tagged under microgravity.

Here we have a liquid film made of very little water stretched across a wire loop. We simply drop an effervescent tablet into the middle. You can see that the volume expansion is quite significant as chemicals in the tablet (baking soda and citric acid) dissolve in water and then react to form carbon dioxide gas. The resultant bubbles inflate the film.

The next time you're watching a pot of water boil, perhaps for coffee or a cup of soup, pause for a moment and consider: what would this look like in space? Would the turbulent bubbles rise or fall? And how big would they be? Would the liquid stay in the pan at all? Until a few years ago, nobody knew. Indeed, physicists have trouble understanding the complex behavior of boiling fluids here on Earth. Perhaps boiling in space would prove even more baffling.... It's an important question because boiling happens not only in coffee pots, but also in power plants and spacecraft cooling systems.

[+ fizzing]
[+ boiling]
via science.nasa.gov

Labels: , , ,


Until now, accurately measuring the amount of water to be boiled in your kettle has been all but impossible. The result? It is estimated that, on average, we boil twice the volume of water needed every time. Which means twice as much energy, twice as much time.With a 3kW kettle that’s the same as wasting the energy of around 50 light bulbs!
Your new ECO Kettle is different: the internal reservoir holds a full capacity of water ready for use, while the measuring button allows any quantity – from a single cupful to full capacity – to be released into the separate chamber for boiling.
The result? Exactly the right amount of water every time you boil –and no more waste.

[+ website]

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, February 27, 2007


Alright, this project isn't for the faint of heart, but nobody said stopping time would be easy. Inspired by the artwork of Shigeko Hirakawa, who does some modern-art style installations over in France, Nate True made his own time fountain. The basic principle of the "Time Fountain" involves fluorescent water for extra leet looks, and UV LED strobe lights that are timed in such a way to make the dripping water look like it's slowing down, stopping or even dripping backwards. It's probably best if we just show you the effect, so click on for the vid in glorious YouTube-vision and be amazed.

[+ more]
via makezine

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 26, 2007


Scientists are already manufacturing nano-sized vitamins that are easier for our bodies to absorb. In the future they hope to create 'interactive' food - food and drink that could change colour, flavour or nutrients on demand.
Meanwhile, top chef Heston Blumenthal is dreaming of Willy Wonka style sweets, with three different tastes in one. Supported by the University of Nottingham, he's even employed a research student who will investigate how nanotechnology could improve foods' flavour.

[+ article]

Labels: , ,


A feast...the Materia newsletter for february 2007 entered our mailbox, packed full of new materials, events and information. A Food for Design quickpick :

:: Noodle block : Lauren Moriarty designs and manufactures products which explore the potential of pattern, materials and 3-dimensional textiles. Her Noodle Block range of lighting, cushions and interior cubes came from a fascination for the effects that can be created when a pattern is put into repeat. Each structure can be squashed and bounces back to its original form. These are products with great visual and tactile appeal.

The Rubber Lace Panels reference the structure and patterns found in traditional lace and combine these with the use of laser cutting and industrial materials to create new textile forms.

[+ website]

:: Abalone in Lacquer : These panels are a product of a long history of decorative inlay technique indigenous to Vietnam. Duck egg shells are roasted, crushed and placed into a chestnut lacquer matrix on a marine plywood substrate. This composite is then rubbed by hand into a smooth polished finish under running water. This process takes 50 days to complete from start to finish. Abalone shells in the same chestnut lacquer matrix are also available. Colors include deep red, blue, and red dot . Applications include vertical and horizontal surfacing.

[+ website]
via materialexplorer

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 23, 2007


Another cool project from Domus, this time a "vertical cemetary" whose "commitment to quality is eternal." Though it looks like something out of Perdido Street Station, it's really a skyscraping extension to the Memorial Necrópole Ecumênica, "a vertical cemetery established in Santos in Brazil in 1983."
This futuristic, insectile extension "will create another 25,000 niches, set inside a 108-metre-high tower block that will complete the complex."It will be circled by birds, looming alien on the horizon.
The vertical cemetery is particularly widespread in Brazil and is also beginning to be used in other places: the Panteón Memorial Towers complex, which consists of 13 towers in a vaguely deconstructivist style, has recently been presented at Bogotá in Colombia and sparked debate concerning changes in funeral rituals related to the social changes that have taken place over the last 30 years. In the South Korean pavilion at the last Venice Architecture Biennale, the project The Last House by architect Chanjoong Kim (founder of System Lab) addressed the same notion, bringing it into line with more contemporary architectural styles and approaches and drawing on a zoomorphic language that echoed systems of vascular circulation. Architecture appears swift to take the opportunity to address a new area where death creates a market, on the borderline between consumerism and entertainment.

[+ more]
via bldgblog

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 21, 2007


Japanese “sound space designer” Kunihiro Tsuji will be presenting his MODAL Water Speaker at this year's Milano Design Week. The speaker system transmits sound via a resonance box filled with water. Tsuji was inspired by the human body, which is 70% water. "The loudspeaker is placed on top of the water surface as though floating. Its drop-shaped, transparent cone integrates in the aesthetic concept of the MODAL Water Speaker. The audio cable runs invisibly inside of one of the [support] legs and connects the MODAL Water Speaker to any kind of amplifier.".

[+ more]

via mocoloco

Labels: , , ,


Inventors keep coming up with new ways to exploit RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) tags. Now Kodak wants to use them to probe a person’s digestive system.

RFID tags are tiny radio chips that resonate with a single echo when hit with a radio trigger. Kodak’s digestible tags are harmless and intentionally fragile. The tags would be covered with soft gelatin that takes a while to dissolve in the stomach. After swallowing a tag a patient need only sit next to a radio source and receiver.

They stop working when exposed to gastric acid for a specific period of time, providing a subtle way to monitor a patient’s digestive tract.

Kodak says that similar radio tags could also be embedded in an artificial knee or hip joint in such a way that they disintegrate as the joint does, warning of the need for more surgery. Attaching tags to ordinary pills could also help nurses confirm that a patient has really taken their medicine as ordered.

via newscientist

Labels: , ,

Sunday, February 18, 2007


Martin Frey, a Munich, Germany-based experimental interface and interaction designer, has developed SnOil, a physical interactive display that utilizes ferrofluid, a liquid that reacts to magnetism. Frey has integrated SnOil with classic arcade game Snake (get it? snake + oil = SnOil) to illustrate game actions via the ferrofluid display. SnOil makes use of the ferrofluids magnetic sensitivity to selectively position and shape the fluid. This is done by electromagnets, which enable the appearing and disappearing of a magnetic field by switching the flow of an electric current.

[+ website]
via makezine

Labels: , , ,


The Exploratorium, wins the AIA award for the design of the "Wave Wall," a kinetic skin on the surface of the new Science Education Center at the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory (LIGO) in Livingston, Louisiana. The jury of principals from leading architectural firms said of the LIGO Science Education Center, “Form and function come together in an exciting and unexpected way in the design of this building where a dynamic exterior wall suggests its purpose: a science education center.”Wave Wall, a kinetic wind sculpture involving 120 27-foot-long pendulums installed across the entire 85-foot length of the center’s façade, was exclusively designed for the site by Exploratorium artists.

[+ more]
via core77

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 16, 2007


Designing bread, workshop avec Alexis Georgacopoulos exhibited in ECAL. Won the price of best school presentation.A baker of St-Etienne produced a serie of 200 of our parisian bread.

Participants: Isabelle Schwager, Abdelaziz Bousetta, Cédric Decroux, Yves Fidalgo, Cédric Fontana, Axel Jaccard, Philippe Michelot, Mohammed Nadini.

via fulguro

Labels: , , ,

Thursday, February 15, 2007


The next Doors conference (New Delhi) is right around the corner (Feb. 28 - March 4), so if you haven't booked your tix yet, get moving. The theme is "Juice: Food, Energy, Design" and here's the pitch:

Global food systems are not sustainable. Industrialised food consumes ten times more energy in production and distribution than enters our bodies as nutrition. In 'developed' countries, the food consumption of a single family generates eight tonnes of CO2 emissions a year.

People in industrialised countries - that probably includes you and me - eat between six and seven kilogrammes of food additives every year.

This madness is enabled by non renewable fossil fuel. But what to do? Doors 9 breaks the food systems issue into bite-sized design chunks. "If food production efficiency is measured by the ratio between the amount of energy required to produce a given amount of food, and the energy congtained in that food, then industrial agriculture is by far the least efficient form of food production ever practised. From farm to plate, depending on the degree to which it has been processed, a typical food item may embody input energy between four and several hundred times its food energy". Fact: In the USA, food traves an average oif 1,300 miles from farm to plate.

[Richard Heinberg, The Party's Over: Oil, War, And the Fate of Industrial Societies. Clairview, 2005].

[+ website]
via [+ core77]

Labels: , ,


A liquid below its freezing point will crystallize in the presence of a seed crystal or nucleus around which a crystal structure can form. However, lacking any such nucleus, the liquid phase can be maintained all the way down to the temperature at which crystal homogeneous nucleation occurs. The homogeneous nucleation can occur above the glass transition where the system is an amorphous—that is, non-crystalline—solid.

[+ wike]
[+ more]

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, February 14, 2007


Landscapes change when the weather changes, the light becomes different and the whole atmosphere changes. Rain makes everything beautiful, I can smell the surroundings. All materials seem to alter.

Solid Poetry is a concrete tile that reacts on water. It's a symbiosis between concrete and water. As the water flows onto the concrete tile, images or patterns will appear. We try to explore the possibilities for hidden design appearing as the environment changes. We applied techniques to an enduring and solid material, so that natural processes reveal patterns. Rain uncovers decoration on a city square. The possible applications of solid poetry are various: either at home in the bathroom, in the garden or public spaces like bus stops or pavements. All forms of solid poetry have in common that they change the whole setting; they are surprising and have a life of their own. With time the tiles change, usage leaves it traces and the patterns will be permanently visible.
Design by:Susanne Happle & Frederik Molenschot

[+ website]

Labels: , , ,

Monday, February 12, 2007


Self Propelled Liquid Droplets : When a liquid drop is placed on a surface held at a temperature much higher than the liquid’s boiling point (such as a drop of water in a very hot pan) it hovers on its own vapor cushion, without wetting the surface. This phenomenon is called film-boiling and occurs beyond a surface temperature called the Leidenfrost point (about 200 - 300 ºC for water on flat surfaces, depending on surface quality).Please take your time to check the other movies.Contact: Heiner Linke,Associate Professor
Department of Physics, University of Oregon.

[+ movies]
[+ website]

Labels: , ,


This idea from Nicolas Le Moigne consists in reusing PET and glass bottles. A PET closing piece is able to fit different shapes of bottles and to change it into a watering can.Photo: ECAL/Anoush Abrar

[+ more]
via Ecal

Labels: , ,

Thursday, February 08, 2007


A non-Newtonian fluid is a fluid in which the viscosity changes with the applied strain rate. As a result, non-Newtonian fluids may not have a well-defined viscosity.Although the concept of viscosity is commonly used to characterize a material, it can be inadequate to describe the mechanical behavior of a substance, particularly non-Newtonian fluids.

An inexpensive, non-toxic sample of a non-Newtonian fluid sometimes known as oobleck can be made very easily by adding corn starch to a cup of water. Add the starch in small portions and stir it in slowly. When the suspension nears the critical concentration - becoming like single cream in consistency - the so called "shear thickening" property of this non-Newtonian fluid becomes apparent. The application of force - for example by stabbing the surface with a finger, or rapidly inverting the container holding it - leads to the fluid behaving like a solid rather than a liquid. More gentle treatment, such as slowly inserting a spoon, will leave it in its liquid state. Trying to jerk the spoon back out again, however, will trigger the return of the temporary solid state. A person moving quickly and/or applying sufficient force with his feet can literally walk across such a liquid (see video link above).

Shear thickening fluids of this sort are being researched for bullet resistant body armor, useful for their ability to absorb the energy of a high velocity projectile impact but remain soft and flexible while worn.

A familiar example of the opposite, a shear-thinning fluid, is paint: one wants the paint to flow readily off the brush when it is being applied to the surface being painted, but not to drip excessively.

[+ wiki]

Labels: , , ,

Wednesday, February 07, 2007


The Q-Drum, a low cost rollable water container for developing countries.The burden of fetching water, invariably over long distances by cumbersome and far too often, unhygienic means, is all too evident in rural Africa.The idea of the Q-Drum originated in response to the needs of rural people for clean and potable water, as well as easing the burden of conveying it.

The solution had to be simple, water in adequate quantities is by far too heavy to carry, by rolling the water in a cylindrical container and not carrying it seemed to be the only solution. The container had to be durable, and breakable handles & other attachments would simply not do - in many parts of Africa even a hammer & a nail are scarce commodities.

The Q-drum is user friendly and the uniquue longitudinal shaft permits the drum to be pulled using a rope run through the hole. There are no removable or breakable handles or axles, and the rope can be repaired on the spot or replaced by means available everywhere, such as a leather thong or a rope woven from plant material.

The Drum is manufactured from Linear Low Density Polyethylene through either rotational or blow moulding and has a high compatibility with foodstuffs and water. It's durability has been proven by Kaymac Rotomoulders via a 3 metre drop-test filled with water as well as extensive actual use in rural areas of South Africa and Angola.With the Q-drum, even a child can pull 50 litres of water over flat terrain for several kilometres without undue strain, and could shift the burden of water collection away from adult women to children and reduce the existing burden on the children at the same time - they play with it and love to fetch water.

[+ website]

Labels: , , ,


The "isolation unit" is defined as a principle of personal relativity, but not as a concept of unit.The work is not just the object being created as a product itself; it develops with the simple view that the circumstances surrounding the work are the important elements of the design.

Teruhiro Yanagihara :: Products and Space Designer

1.SLANT, glass 2006
2.PUT IT, post-it clock, 2006
3.COVER IT, flower webvase 2006

Not much to add... just brilliantly simple!

[+ website]

Labels: , ,

Monday, February 05, 2007


Wood can be incredibly flexible...Ian Gonsher's exploration of wood's elastic properties led to this flexible fruit bowl made of laser-cut wood joined in an accordion-style band.

[+ website]

Labels: , , ,

Friday, February 02, 2007


This is an acoustic levitation chamber dr. David Deak designed and built in 1987 as a micro-gravity experiment for NASA related subject matter.
The 12 inch cubed plexiglas Helmholtz Resonant Cavity has 3 speakers attached to the cube by aluminium acoustic waveguides.
By applying a continuous resonant(600Hertz) sound wave, and by adjusting the amplitude and phase relationship amongst the 3 speakers; I was able to control levitation and movement in all 3 (x,y,z) axis of the ambient space.
This research was used to show the effects of micro-gravity conditions that exist in the space shuttle environment in orbit, but done here on Earth in a lab.

[+ wiki]

Labels: , ,