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[28 Feb 2012 | 2 Comments | 13,666 views]
Nth Degree Makes Flat, Flexible, Printed LED Lights

 
I’m starting to worry that I’m turning into an ostrich.
I’m territorial and ill-tempered. I’m fighting a strange desire to eat shiny objects. And when I get scared, I find myself hiding my face as though not seeing whatever is scaring me will make it go away. And this may or may not be related: I’m developing a strong aversion to light bulbs.

Image courtesy http://www.ostrichheadinsand.com/
A company called Nth Degree Tech may be able to help me out with that last problem. They’re seeking to replace light bulbs with their first commercial product, …

FIRE »

[23 Jan 2012 | One Comment | 5,470 views]
A Glue That Sniffs up Pollution!

 
I feel quite strongly that pollution is an evil and nefarious menace; it kills plants and animals, probably causes cancer, and coats everything on your street-facing balcony with a layer of dark brown powdery sludge that means you have to toss heavy buckets of water over your white metal patio furniture anytime you have guests over. I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.

1952 | London Smog – Image courtesy ptkeepcalmcarryon.blogspot.com
Anyway – as I mentioned, I am deeply opposed to pollution in many of its forms, and I’m thinking of founding …

FIRE, WATER, WOOD »

[10 Nov 2011 | No Comment | 11,930 views]
New Fully Stretchable OLED Will Make You Crave Taffy

 
Yesterday I bent over in the attempt to tie the absurdly bright purple shoe laces on my almost offensively bright purple sneakers and made a startling discovery: I’m not as flexible as I used to be.  In fact, the overwhelming tightness of my hamstrings makes your standard British upper lip look positively floppy; and as I fired up my smartphone to schedule some emergency yoga I was reminded that I had yet to share an amazing new fully stretchable OLED display recently developed at the University of California, Los Angeles, …

FIRE, WOOD »

[19 Jul 2011 | 3 Comments | 7,226 views]
Color-Change Tech for Lenses could turn Buildings into Chameleons!

Say what you will about the 1990’s, the decade produced some severely under-appreciated and entirely too short-lived cultural moments: I mean, Hammer pants? Titanic? Come on – you know you loved it!  Another phenomenon of the 1990’s that in some ways is slightly less exciting than the OJ Simpson trial, but which has stayed with us to this day is: green-tinted glass.

Image courtesy metaefficient.com
No one knows exactly how it started, but I imagine that sometime in the 1990’s, an architect somewhere in the world specified green-tinted glass for the …

EARTH, FIRE »

[3 Jun 2011 | One Comment | 6,374 views]
Glowcrete: Luminescent Concrete by Vergelabs

There’s something magic about things that glow – they’re suprising and delightful.  Think of that moment at the aquarium when you turn a corner and encounter a darkened tank illuminated by a school of luminous fish darting hither and yon, or nights spent staring up at a bedroom ceiling covered with constellations of glowing stick-on stars.
VergeLabs, an architecture and design practice based in the United Arab Emirates founded as a partnership between Ginger Krieg Dosier and Michael Dosier, brought some of that magic to concrete with their development of Glowcrete.

Image courtesy Vergelabs
The researchers used phosphorescent …

FIRE »

[31 May 2011 | No Comment | 4,444 views]
Material Animation: ETH Experiments with Electroluminescent Foil

If you were laboring under the misapprehension that it might be safe to take off your protective brain-encapsulation helmet, don’t: the 2010/11 MAS class at the chair for CAAD, ETH Zürich, supervised and tutored by Manuel Kretzer and Ruairi Glynn and supported through Lumitec AG and Ulano Corp, have been working on a new project that has the potential to blow your mind.  Last October I wrote about Shape Shift, the group’s experiment with a electro-active polymers (read more here), and if you enjoyed that project the odds …

FIRE »

[22 May 2011 | No Comment | 2,723 views]
Get the Glow: Duo-Gard Lumenatrix Backlighting System

I have a secret theory, based on anecdotal evidence supplied by my over-active imagination, that glowing architectural surfaces encourage people to spend more money.  I wonder why glowing, shiny objects are so alluring to human beings? It’s not like we have gizzards.  At any rate, if glowing surfaces do encourage people to open their wallets and part with the brass, it is quite a good thing because artificially illuminated glowing architectural surfaces cost a great deal to construct AND require supermegakilotons of energy to run.

Image courtesy thenewyorkgreenadvocate.blogspot.com
The Lumenatrix Backlighting System …

FIRE, WOOD »

[11 May 2011 | No Comment | 2,821 views]
Want to Wear your Kindle? E-ink can Now Print on Cloth!

Most of the time reading ebooks on my phone or tablet makes me happy as a lark, and I love that these devices can do a million things AND store all my books. In fact, there is only one circumstance related to the consumption of ebooks that prevents me from skipping about gaily with a song on my lips: reading books on my phone makes me irritatingly pale.  First, may I say that I am aware that the sun is evil and that reading by the pool without wearing copious …

FIRE, WOOD »

[2 May 2011 | One Comment | 4,520 views]
New Color-changing Microsensor Material Detects Volatile Organic Compounds

When I think about a gas mask, for some reason my mind flits to a memory of a series of drawings by British sculptor Henry Moore, which I encountered at the Hirshorn while wandering through the Smithsonian one afternoon during college. The London Underground functioned as a shelter during WWII, and Moore made a series of dark gray moody drawings that convey his experiences sleeping in the tunnels along with thousands of other Londoners at the height of the Blitz.  I’m not really sure if any of the drawings actually depicted people wearing gas masks, but that feeling …

FIRE »

[27 Apr 2011 | No Comment | 2,739 views]
MIT Scientists Enlist an Army of Viruses to Improve Solar Cell Efficiency

For a long time I believed all viruses to be evil due to their pernicious habits: causing common colds, infecting people and spreading influenza and other viral diseases, and wiping out hard drives with grim efficiency.  A group of researchers at MIT decided to give viruses a chance to show a softer side, and they found out that “going viral” can benefit solar cell technology by improving its efficiency by one third.
Scientists have been working with carbon nanotubes (essentially, rolled up sheets of graphene) to encourage solar cells to convert …

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