3D Printing? That’s So Last Month!

This technology is inFORM, a new project that can reproduce digital content physically in 3D and which allows a user to interact with an object without being in its presence.

The latest invention, built by students from the Tangible Media Group in the MIT Media Lab, is a computer-operated device that manipulates actuators and linkages to move a set of pins, allowing it to change shape 3-dimensionally, as if it were moving on its own. The system is a “Dynamic Shape Display” that can render 3D content physically, so users can interact with digital information in a tangible way.

Created by Daniel Leithinger and Sean Follmer with the guidance of engineers, software developers, and Professor Hiroshi Ishii, inFORM users can highlight portions of the pin-board and raise them up without actually touching them.

In simpler terms, inFORM can easily connect with the physical world around it, moving objects on a table’s surface with the swipe of a hand, and even mimic the hand’s shape. The concept uses an overhead depth camera to track a users movements, or other 3D objects placed underneath it, which then triggers the pins on the board to move independently in real-time.

Of course there’s a video…!

Researchers said the system has the capability of allowing someone on the other end of a video conference call to have a “strong sense of presence and the ability to interact physically at a distance,” almost as if they were physically there.

“InFORM would allow 3D modellers and designers to prototype their 3D designs physically without 3D printing,” the inventors explain. “The traditional sort of interaction design and device design sort of assumes for a very static way of interacting and this [inFORM] device can change its physical form very quickly and that means that we need to come up with new ways that we interact with technology,” Follmer said.

inFORM contains 900 small motors which control each pin on it. Every pin works to render objects in 3D, and each motor costs anywhere from £15-20.

Sources – Boston Magazine / Memolition


Lump Of Fat Has Use!

Men Across World Worried At News!! 😉

Giant Fatberg Found Under London Has Surprising Use
Smelly grease that piles up in sewers can be useful

Photograph © Thames Water

The name alone was enough to make us want to see for ourselves. Fatbergs, the giant collections of grease, oil, and fat that clog the sewer system under London’s streets, were getting out of hand, the result of decades of people washing things down their drains that they’re not supposed to. It all ends up in the tunnels, along with the other usual things that run through raw sewage tunnels.

When I toured London’s sewers earlier this year with National Geographic video producer Spencer Millsap, what we found was a potent cocktail of smells. Fungus covered every surface of the tunnels. The humidity was so great that our camera’s lens instantly fogged up. Running around our feet was a shallow river colored an earthy, brown hue (exactly why you think).

But the fatbergs were the main attraction, the bobbing piles of gunk that simply refused to be washed downstream and were slowly stopping up the sewer system.

The smells instantly rushed back this week when London’s water authority announced that it had discovered the biggest fatberg yet, a 15-ton mound about the size of a school bus. Thames Water, the public utility that manages the sewers, gave it the historic and oddly momentous title of being “the biggest berg in British history.”

A 2nd fatberg, this time ABOARD a London Bus…

Unimpressed were dozens of nearby residents, who complained to the sewer authority that they couldn’t flush their toilets—the fat had reduced a pipe nearly two feet (0.6 meter) in diameter to only five percent of its normal capacity. When sewer workers—well-paid ones, as all sewer workers are in London—went to investigate, they found the blockage.

The process of removing the fat, they later realised, would take more than a month.

Despite the disgust, as well as the inconvenience, there’s actually some good news about fatbergs. Made of dense fats and oils, the structures are highly caloric, which makes them helpful for producing energy.

Rob Smith, a man with the enviable title of London’s “chief flusher,” told us that simply removing the fat and burning it in a turbine can produce more than 130 gigawatt-hours of energy each year, or about enough to power 40,000 London homes. The city plans to put the 15-ton berg to the same use, creating some very real cracks in the term clean energy.

While they’re still around, fatbergs have a strange pull on the city’s tourists. The day we took our cameras down under, a couple on the street asked how they could arrange a tour as well. Paris actually offers a tour of its centuries-old sewers, as does Sydney, which raises the question of when an enterprising entrepreneur will market a tour of the world’s dirtiest sewers (walk where Napoleon once relieved himself!).

London’s bigger concern is how to stop fatbergs from forming in the first place. Earlier this year, Thames Water started a campaign using the phrase “bin it, don’t block it” to remind people to capture their fat and grease and avoid washing it down the drain. Restaurants are the biggest producers of grease, and some have now set up fat traps under their sinks to catch congealed substances before they enter the sewers.

Yet having seen a berg up close makes us wonder if simply making people confront what their grease and fat are actually doing in the sewers might change their behavior. And not just seeing it, but smelling it too.

“You never forget your first time in the sewers,” one of the junior sewer sweeps told me. He was right. After fully sensing exactly what happens under our feet to keep our streets clean, we were ready to head back to the street level.

“You’ll never be so grateful for fresh air,” the same guy told us. The smell of the bustling city street above us was indeed like perfume.

Source: NatGeo

New Home Nest


Kenwood House is a fine example of the work of Robert Adam, who remodelled the place between 1764-73 and designed much of the interior. The mansion was originally built in 1616 and remodelled for William Murray, who made the pivotal court ruling in 1772 that made it illegal to own slaves in England. Kenwood House contains the Iveagh Bequest of paintings and eighteenth-century furniture. Paintings include one of Rembrandt’s finest self-portraits, Vermeer’s ‘The Guitar Player’ and Gainsborough’s ‘Countess Howe’. The location is every bit as important – Kenwood House is set in lovely grounds at the top of Hampstead Heath. Kenwood House is closed for repairs until autumn 2013.

I say: Kenwood House is fantastic. If you’re ever in London, later than late this year, go and visit. They’re giving it a makeover at the moment:


…but it is well worth the trip to Hampstead, which is one of London’s most interesting, diverse, and crowded area for art, literature, nature and STUFF.

So… Kenwood House.

The detective work on the original paint samples has been done by English Heritage’s experts, alongside Crick Smith of University of Lincoln, a conservation company that has also worked on the St Pancras Hotel, Osborne, and HMS Victory.

“What the paint analysis revealed was radical and unexpected, both on the outside and the inside,” says Dr Jeremy Ashbee, English Heritage’s Head Properties Curator. “We wanted to recreate the rooms as they would have appeared to [owner] Lord Mansfield,” said Ian Crick-Smith. “It’s not enough to go on drawings. Adam produced a variety of proposals for Kenwood—we wanted to identify the one that was actually executed.”

Visitors to Kenwood will be astonished by the changes to the old colour scheme that has been there since major (and what English Heritage now knows to be inaccurate) redecoration was carried out 40 years ago. The exterior will only change subtly—at the front entrance, the old cream colour has been replaced with a sanded paint finish, scored into rectangles to look like stone. “We worked hard to get the right effect,” says Jeremy. “The old gardenia-coloured paint had to go, but we had to make sure the new surface really did look like stonework, so we did a lot of trials.”

Inside, the transformation is even greater. Gone is the gold of the gilding that once criss-crossed the library, replaced by Adam’s original white. “The colour palette is really different, much more restrained—the richness of the gilding has given way to the white,” says Jeremy. You can now follow in the footsteps of Lord Mansfield’s visitors, along the elaborate trail of shades that Adam designed. First, you arrive in the hall with its green and blue shades only subtly changed. From there you pass through the staircase hall, which now has a lighter shade of blue. The ante-room, once a creamy, sandy yellow, is now apple green. At last, you would have been introduced to your host, Lord Mansfield, in the library, with its bright greens now a sombre, darker green, and that gilding turned monochrome white. No other Adam house follows this precise colour scheme.

Hoorah for English Heritage – other updates are being made too.

It isn’t just the paint that has been changed at Kenwood, but the whole visitor experience, to make it more family-friendly. “Throughout the house, there will be refreshed visitor information,” says Dr Susan Jenkins, English Heritage’s Senior Curator for London and East, “In the housekeeper’s room and the orangery, there will be activities and displays for visitors with young families, including a dolls’ house and a Story of Kenwood interactive exhibit. The original furniture was sold from Kenwood in 1922, when the Mansfield family moved out. Where possible, the original furniture designed by Robert Adam is being acquired and reinstated. The rooms are being furnished to reflect the first inventory taken in 1796,” says Susan.

All veh-ry exciting!

Vertigo / Watch Out Below

The world’s highest and longest tunnel-to-tunnel bridge has opened to traffic in Hunan province, central China. The Aizhai suspension bridge links two tunnels 1,176 metres apart, carrying traffic 355 metres above the foot of Dehang Canyon. Construction of the bridge started in October 2007 and its main sections were completed at the end of last year. It is designed to help ease traffic in the mountainous region, where queues are common due to the narrow, steep and winding roads.


Photograph: Top Photo Corporation / Rex Features

more pictures…