Find of the Day: 17 August 2016

If there is one architect whose work requires little in the way of dramatizing to reveal its poetic power to a wide audience, it is Tadao Ando. The Japanese minimalist is known for architecture that combines a quiet atmosphere with bold, almost theatrical forms in exposed concrete, his most iconic works packing a visceral punch that is arguably unparalleled in contemporary design.

Despite this fact, the estate agent in charge of selling Tom Ford’s Ando-designed Cerro Pelon Ranchhas cranked up the drama to even more epic levels in his recent movie, designed to capture the imagination and the heart of potential buyers. Kevin Bobolsky has pulled out all the stops to promote this striking residence, now on the market for a reported $75 million dollars.


A new paper released by MIT Media Lab introduces DuoSkin, a temporary tattoo technology that enables people to create interfaces on their own skin. Inspired by metallic “flash tattoos,” the team designed the technology with an eye towards aesthetics and accessibility, so that DuoSkin would be something people want to wear as well as a cool toy. Using gold leaf, the engineers were able to make three classes of DuoSkin that function as inputs, outputs and communication devices. The input devices can be used as a trackpad or controller to, for example, change the volume of music playing. Output devices display data, such as your body temperature or what emotion you’re feeling. The communication devices can incorporate technology like NFC chips, so that data can be kept in your tattoo and read by phone or other sensors.

DuoSkin is incredibly appealing to look at and its applications are almost endless. It’s not hard to imagine a party host casually stroking her stylish gold tattoo to turn up the music, or an experimental musician playing songs controlled entirely via designs on her body. The future is going to be really cool. Watch MIT’s video below to learn more.
Tattoo MIT.gif

In French, déjà vu literally translates to “already seen”, and describes the phenomenon of having the strong feeling that the experience you’re having right now has already been experienced by you in the past.

It’s clearly not a glitch in the Matrix, but scientists have been struggling for centuries to explain what prompts a feeling of déjà vu – and why. But now a team of neuroscientists just might have an answer.

Deja Vu.jpg

Is that a piece of bark in your drink? A bug, maybe? Nope. It’s a tiny water-purifying tablet powered by the sun.

The device comes from scientists at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford University’s Institute for Materials and Energy Science. It measures 1 centimeter by 2 centimeters, about the size of half a postage stamp, and decontaminates water fast using a readily available resource — visible light from the sun’s rays.

The invention could let hikers (and later, people living in developing countries) clean their water quickly without resorting to other power-fueled methods, such as the tried-and-true tactic of boiling water, or an ultraviolet wand, which requires charging.

Other devices harness the sun’s rays to decontaminate water, but only use UV light, which typically takes anywhere from several hours to two days to work, according to the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Sciences and Technology’s Solar Water Disinfection initiative. The Stanford tablet, on the other hand, takes minutes.

Stanford tablet.jpg

Pencils aren’t just for the SATs. It is the go-to drawing tool of the carpenter and the architect, the cartoonist and the painter. We used pencils when we learned math in elementary school, and a graphite-filled piece of wood remains the implement of choice for anyone who needs to make a mark that is not permanent.

The pencil’s journey into your hand has been a 500-year process of discovery and invention. It began in the countryside of northern England, but a one-eyed balloonist from Napoleon Bonaparte’s army, one of America’s most famous philosophers, and some of the world’s most successful scientists and industrialists all have had a hand in the creation and refinement of this humble writing implement.

 Sharpen your trusty no. 2 and get ready to take some notes. This is the story of the pencil.
Pencil 2

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