Thursday, August 30, 2007

Cooling down or heating up the body

At MIT, Tangible Media Research Group, we created Cool Me Down, a flexible fabric wrap with electronic heat pumps and metallic sinks that generates a cooling sensation. we originally designed the system for the treatment of schizophrenia within a care-giving facility. Conducting case studies at a local hospital, we discovered that this technology could be used to accompany usual treatment for other mental conditions.

Throughout the research I explored ways of heat synchronization with the body instead of triggering artificial heat independently from the body. I recently found a fascinating product CoreControl developed by researchers Dennis Grahn and H. Craig Heller.

Problem: "Overheating is a serious concern when exercising in hot environments, wearing insulative clothing, or during high intensity activity. CoreControl can be used to effectively remove heat from the body in a variety of settings."

Solution: "CoreControl TM powered by RTX cools you quickly and safely from the inside out. With patented, cutting-edge technology, it rapidly cools your body core first, unlike ice packs, vests, and misting fans, which cool you from the outside in. CoreControl enables you to consistently perform at your peak."

CoreControl diagram by Nigel Holmes, from Just Cool It's article in Stanford Magazine.

CoreControl's web site

Monday, August 20, 2007

Blow and light!

Wind to light: when the wind blows, the turbines produce light. Sweet!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

The hand free controller by nintendo

In 1989, Nintendo invents the hand free controller. A player controls the video game without the use of the hands, by using his/her neck muscles. Found on nesplayer. Exploration of physical limitations in game design is interesting, especially when in 2006 Nintendo invents the hand necessity controller, the popular Nintendo Wii.

Bit or byte?

Russian dolls revisited for the new era by Matryoshkus.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Mirror, mirror, tell me if I received an sms ...

A nice ambient way to check sms.

The +336+, designed by Robert Stadler of the French design group Radi Designers, is a mirror that is able to receive SMS messages sent from a mobile phone. The messages appear as luminous text, running on the mirrors’ surface when one gets close to the mirror. This clever piece of design is not affordable for most of us: this limited edition (of 20) costs $10,000! If this price tag is not a problem, you can purchase the mirror at Generate - Via The Style Files.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Brush and rince!

I stumbled upon this very fun project, a toothbrush that can redirect water from a faucet to your lips for easy rinsing.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

A nice place to hang out

Falling Garden, San Staë church on the Canale Grande, 50th Biennial of Venice, 2003

A nice place to hang out ... in 2003!

The Doge (Mocenigo) needed a church so as to be able to have a monumental tomb built for himself, the church (San Staë) needed a saint so as to be able to be built, the saint (San Eustachio) needed a miracle so as to be pronounced a saint, the miracle needed a stag in order to be seen, and we built the garden for the reindeer.
The visitors lie on the bed above the doge’s gravestone, and the garden thinks for them.

More info

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Recycled Jack-in-the-Box Camera

Arianna brought me back this awesome camera from Cuba, recycled Jack in the Box camera that is currently in hands of Yasmine who took this beautiful picture ...

Jealous computer: beware

A little flash back onto Electric Dreams (1984), in which a artificially intelligent PC falls in love with a cellist and discovers jealousy. A regular topic in science fiction, it is funny to see it in advertisement.

A viral campaign based on the premise that computers and other digital kinds of things can exhibit emotions, like jealousy. They certainly exhibit stubborness, insolence, daring-do, morose sorts of apathy moods, memory loss, short-term memory loss, deep depressions leading to suicide, and the occasional carbuncle and rash. Quite often. By Nokia to promote the NSeries and the N95. Via teckwondo.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Small, mobile, clever humanoid robots

The Personal Robots Group at MIT media lab is developing mobile humanoid robots that possess a novel combination of mobility, moderate dexterity, and human-centric communication and interaction abilities. The small footprint of the robot -roughly the size of a 3 year old child- allows multiple robots to operate safely within a typical laboratory floor space.

Robots in therapy

Interesting research on the investigation of the possible use of robots in therapy and education of children with autism

Ben Robins, Kerstin Dautenhahn, Rene te Boekhorst, Aude Billard (2004) Effects of repeated exposure to a humanoid robot on children with autism. In S. Keates, J. Clarkson, P. Langdon and P. Robinson (Eds.) Designing a More Inclusive World, Springer Verlag, London, pp. 225-236.

Introduction In this paper we discuss lessons learnt from our previous study, and introduce a new approach, heavily inspired by therapeutic issues. A longitudinal study with four children with autism is presented. The children were repeatedly exposed to the humanoid robot over a period of several months. Our aim was to encourage imitation and social interaction skills. Different behavioural criteria (including Eye Gaze, Touch, and Imitation) were evaluated based on the video data of the interactions. The paper exemplifies the results that clearly demonstrate the crucial need for long-term studies in order to reveal the full potential of robots in therapy and education of children with autism.

Video of this research by BBC


Monday, August 06, 2007

USB - rechargeable batteries

Nice idea. Knowing that many of us carry a laptop everyday, it makes sense to use it for charging batteries!

UsbCell can be found here.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Meta Market

Created by genius Burak Arikan, Meta Markets is super fun.

It is a continuous stock market, up and running 24/7, like a living organism. It has many markets each composed of different values generated by people's products in networked public spaces. Current markets are open to all members for trading and for offering their own products to public (IPO). We select markets based on their popularity and accessibility through APIs. More markets will be added in the future.

If you want to join, let me know I am selling invitations (private message me in "comments").

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Fashion of hope and fear

Hope and fear is the external manifestation of the internal desires and paranoia that are adrift in America by Philip Toledano.

Thursday, August 02, 2007


Talking about fashion, this garment is absolutely awesome. Pillowig by Joo Youn Paek.

"Pillowig" is hand made wearable pillow comforting trieness of people in daily lives, enabling users to sleep comfortably whenever and whenever they’d like. When user test is done in public spaces - subway, airplane, library, class room and laundromat, viewers commented: “I would like to have it for my trip.”, “Very funny.” “This is practical, but a laugh, too." I made 50 limited editions and sold 47 pieces at the exhibition of the work and gained “Pillowig” fans. Two months later fans did a group performance piece at the Old Palace, Seoul.

Digital, mechanical and eletronic fashion show

Amanda Parkes just gave me the booklet she designed for Unravel, a technology-driven fashion event at Siggraph 2007 this year. A premiere. I am so lucky to share an office with the curator and fashion chair of this event!

"Unravel" brings together the works of international designers and artists to present innovative and interactive works in computational and conceptual couture, socially conscious fashion, science-inspired from, and new technologies in textiles.

If you attend the event in San Diego, California, you will see:

· Solar Bikini by Andrew Schneider. A solar film bikini that charges your iPod! (With a USB connection!) The suit is a standard medium-sized bikini swimsuit retrofitted with 1" x 4" photovoltaic film strips sewn together in series with conductive thread. The cells terminate in a 5 volt regulator into a female USB connection

Solar Bikini

· Walking City and Index of Indifference by Yin Gao, projects that I particularly love! Dresses respond to their physical and acoustical environment, the ethereal garments just breath ...

Walking City

· Intimate Controllers by Jenny Chowdhury. A platform where video games are played by couples touching each others.

· Smoking Jacket by Fiona Carswell. The jacket has a built-in pair of lungs on the front. As the wearer smokes, the lungs fill up with the exhaled cigarette smoke and begin to gradually darken over time.

Smoking Jacket

· Hacking Couture, a web portal that allows the launching of new fashion aesthetics by the continuous contribution of users of the site, giving an exploratory spin to the traditional design process in fashion, allowing a collective collaboration in means of self-expression and the enhancement of creativity by the application of the concepts of Open Source.

· Self-Sustainable chair by Joo Youn Paek, a conceptual garment that motivates users to consistently switch between walking and sitting as a loop behavior on the street. The balance between exercise and rest would be maintained by wearing this suit.

Self-Sustainable chair

· Muttering Hat & Talk to Yourself Hat by Kate Hartman.
Muttering Hat A pair of muttering balls are tethered to the hat. They may be stuck to your ears, so that all other noise is obstructed by the mutterings, or they may be detached, providing the opportunity to escape from the mutterings or to share them with a friend.
Talk to Yourself Hat Through the use of a communication system embedded in the hat, you may speak outloud to yourself while retaining the right to a somewhat private conversation.

Muttering Hat

· Knitter's Tapestry by Daniela K. Rosner and Kimiko Ryokai.

An experimental dress knit with recordable magnetic tape that travels with the knitter and captures the knitter's experience as she knits.

Knitter's Tapestry

Knitter's Tapestry - detail

· Solar vintage, we will become silhouettes by Elena Corchero, a collection of accessories for the eco-fashion-minded in which technology meets tradition.

Solar Vintage

· Jacket Antics by Barbara Layne and Studio subTela, that feature unique texts and designs scrolling through the LED array on each of the backs.

· Kameraflage(TM) by Connor Dickie, a display technology that is invisible to the naked eye, yet is visible when imaged with a digital camera.

On this picture, the thunder-cloud has a lightening-bolt appear in the photograph

· Negociation by Daniela Kostova, Galina Kumanova, Olivia Robinson, a wearable interactive video system that combines textiles and technology to explore concepts of identity creation, presence and absence, integration and estrangement in different political and cultural environment. The wearers of the suit merge with the visual environment they inhabit.


Negication' still during a performance: The persons seem to disappear.

· Cherry Blossoms: When War Comes Home by Alyssa Wright addresses the disparity between human suffering and perception of that suffering.

A mapping technology that transports one into the world of another, Cherry Blossoms gives witness to the tragedy of war. A backpack is outfitted with a small microcontroller and a GPS unit. Recent news of bombings in Iraq are downloaded to the unit every night, and their relative locations are superimposed on a map of Boston. If the wearer walks in a space in Boston that correlates to a site of violence in Baghdad, the backpack detonates and releases a compressed air cloud of confetti, looking for all the world like smoke and shrapnel. A technology for empathy, Cherry Blossoms honors the human cost of war.

Cherry Blossoms, a cloud of confetti, each confetti showing the name of a civilian who died in the Iraq war and the circumstances of his/her death.

· Shutters by Marcelo Coelho and Steve Helsing, is a soft kinetic membrane for environmental control and communication.

It is composed of actuated louvers (or shutters) that can be individually addressed for precise control of ventilation, daylight incidence and information display. By combining smart materials, textiles and computation, Shutters builds upon other façade systems to create living environments and work spaces that are more energy efficient, while being aesthetically pleasing and considerate of its inhabitants’ activities.

· Bracelets and Reconfigure, two projects by Leah Buechley.

Each bracelet, woven on a traditinoal bead loom out of beads, conductive thread and surface mount LEDs, is a 5x10 display matrix that can be programmed with animations like cellular automata and scrolling text. I strove to make the bracelets lovely with the electricity on as well as off; the most recent versions are almost as thin and flexible as traditional beaded jewelry, controlled with surface mount electronics and soft circuitry and powered with flexible Lithium-ion batteries.

Reconfigure is a platform for interactive performance. A reconfigurable costume consists of a torso piece and an assortment of sensing appendages that can be snapped to the torso. Sensors in the appendages include muscle flex sensors, accelerometers, bend sensors and touch sensors. Sensor data is relayed to a computer, via a bluetooth module embedded in the torso, where it can be used to control or generate music, video and other multimedia content.

· Peau d'Âne by Valérie Lamontagne. Peau d'Âne, a fairy tale from Charles Perrault, is reinterpreted by giving life to the 'impossible' dresses that a young princess orders her stepfather to thwart marrying him.

Peau d'Âne

Technical diagram of Peau d'Âne.

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Video modeling

Two papers on video modeling. One for pretend play with toys, one for perspective taking, both for autism. Video modeling is a way for children to observe, imitate and learn the skills and behaviors of their peers.

Using video modeling and reinforcement to teach perspective-taking skills to children with autism by Linda A LeBlanc, Andrea M Coates, Sabrina Daneshvar, Marjorie H Charlop-Christy, Caroline Morris, and Blake M Lancaster (2003)

We evaluated video modeling and reinforcement for teaching perspective-taking skills to 3 children with autism using a multiple baseline design. Video modeling and reinforcement were effective; however, only 2 children were able to pass an untrained task, indicating limited generalization. The findings suggest that video modeling may be an effective technology for teaching perspective taking if researchers can continue to develop strategies for enhancing the generalization of these new skills.


Using video modeling to teach pretend play to children with autism by Rebecca MacDonald, Michelle Clark, Elizabeth Garrigan, Madhuri Vangala.

Children with autism often fail to develop the rich repertoires of pretend play seen in typically developing children. Video modeling is a teaching methodology that has been shown to produce rapid acquisition of a variety of skills in children with autism. The purpose of the present study was to use video modeling to teach thematic pretend play skills to two preschool children with autism. Scripted play scenarios involving up to 17 verbalizations and 15 play actions by toy figurines were videotaped using adult models. A multiple probe design within child across play sets was used to demonstrate experimental control. Children were shown the video model two times and no further prompting or reinforcement was delivered during training. Results indicated that both children acquired the sequences of scripted verbalizations and play actions quickly and maintained this performance during follow-up probes. These findings are discussed as they relate to types of play and the development of extended play repertoires in young children with autism