Tasty Tech Eye Candy of the Week (July 20)
Synthesis Design + Architecture
Although we try to do it all, we simply can't cover all of the latest and coolest tech in the world. But we can give you a roundup of the most visually appealing. This week, we've pulled together a number of stunning images, including a robotic painter, the world's smallest jigsaw puzzle, shark-repelling wetsuits and dancing water droplets. Enjoy!
SOLAR POWER CONCEPT
A conceptual solar power charging station designed by Los Angeles-based firm Synthesis Design + Architecture won first place in a contest held by Volvo Car Italia. Called Pure Tension, the structure's design calls for a lightweight, high-density polyethylene mesh embedded with photovoltaic panels. Disassembled, the pavilion folds up into package that can be stored in a trunk.
Nickolay Lamm and M. Browning Vogel
Wi-Fi signals are invisible. But what what if they weren't? Nickolay Lamm and M. Browning Vogel offer several visualizations. In them, Wi-Fi waves undulate across landscapes in a variety of colors, such as red, yellow and green to show data transmitted over a band that's divided into different sub-channels.
University of Queensland
Paul Pounds from the University of Queensland and a team of roboticists created two different kinds of small, disposable drones to record atmospheric conditions. One looks like a paper airplane; the other resembles a large maple tree seed. Both contain on-board sensors and are able to self-steer toward a designated area to relay environmental data that could indicate potential for fire.
University of Konstanz
The robotic painter, E-David, which calls University of Konstanz in Baden-Württemberg home, uses a camera, computer vision software and a welding robot arm to masterfully paint any image provided. The robot has been programmed to create paintings in the style of Rembrandt and each one usually takes about tens hours to execute.
WORLD'S SMALLEST JIGSAW PUZZLE
Engineers at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology showed off a new manufacturing technique for making tiny molds. Their method allowed them to make molds that yielded jigsaw pieces as small as a grain of sand. The new technique reduces the cost of manufacturing and also gives the engineers some bragging rights.
Shark Mitigation Systems
ANTI-SHARK WET SUITS
An Australian research firm working with researchers from the University of Western Australia's Oceans Institute have developed two lines of wetsuit designed to protect divers and surfers from sharks. The black-and-white "Diverter" is designed to mimic unpalatable animals found in the ocean, which sharks do not eat. The blue-and-white "Elude," is based on what scientists know about sharks' perceptions of light and color. According the developers, the wavy pattern is supposed to hide divers in the water column.
An artificial island is being built off the coast of a real island in China in order to house a new art museum. The Pingtan Art Museum, designed by Beijing architecture studio MAD, will be made of concrete and local shells. When completed, it's expected to contain more than a thousand pieces of art. It's being built off Pingtan Island, which is along the east coast of the Fujian province, in proximity to Taiwan. A new city is also under construction nearby and officials hope both will encourage better relations with Taiwan.
Robin Ras, Aalto University
Scientists placed water droplets containing magnetic nanoparticles onto strong water-repellent surfaces and then bathed them in periodically oscillating magnetic fields. The result: dancing water droplets. The experiment wasn't just for fun, but intended to show that an oscillating magnetic field could transform static droplets into dynamic ones.
SOUND WAVES LEVITATE PARTICLES
Until now, scientists could levitate small objects using sound, but could not control and manipulate them. This week, a team from ETH Zurich, a university in Switzerland, found a way to slowly change the driving voltage on a machine with levitators, causing floating particles and water droplets to slide back and forth.
The Sugar Lab
3-D PRINTED SUGAR
At the Los Angeles-based Sugar Lab, founders Liz and Kyle von Hassein are 3-D printing geometric, architecturally inspired sugar sculptures to be eaten as treats or to be used for decorating cakes. Because the toppers are 3-D printed, they can be customized to each customer's needs.