Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Transitional objects

Filet From the series Hommage au Sol - accesoires de prolongement du corps, objets transitionels de perception

Marie-Claire Bevar works with textiles, transforms them, adds all kinds of other materials to them, turns them into objects which has been her passion and necessity since childhood.

After collaborating both in trade and in theater, she decided to create objects as part of a personal introspection expressing itself through propositions evolving around the theme of the body. Both in Hommage au Sol and in L'Avant-Bras, Le Lien, Le Trait d'Union on one side and in Artextilabo, a laboratory of experimentations.


Hommage au Sol focuses around the foot and its relation to the ground. It includes accessories extending the body, transitory objects of perception, photos, videos and written documentation.


L'Avant-Bras, Le Lien, Le Trait d'Union is a work in progress. First she experimented with materials and techniques proper to the theme. A first series of objects were created, and now the artist is reflecting on them, furthering her research and figuring out how to stage them and present them to the public.

Chatting with Paulina on transitional objects made me revisit its classical roots. And what a pleasure to re-read Jerome Singer and his wife Dorothy's -authors of the awesome house of make believe book- fascinating journal paper from which I quote:

One possible route to the beginnings of the creation of miniaturized virtual realities by the very young may emerge in the course of older babies’ or toddlers’ manifestations of what the psychoanalyst, Winnicott (1971), termed involvement with “transitional objects.” Early on many children become attached to a soft cloth or to some combination of an old crib blanket and a “plush” toy, a cloth bunny rabbit, bear, or lamb. The well-known Peanuts’ cartoons’ youngest character, Linus, carries a worn blanket around all day and clings to it tenaciously. Such behavior generally meets those criteria of play developed in the research of Smith and Vollstedt (1985), nonliteralness and associated positive affect. Actually, one might propose that the tenacity with which children cling to these objects even as they fade in color, shrink or become ragged, may reflect the very beginnings of an experience of autonomy (“my blankie”) and personal ownership, a primordial expression of our nearly universal adult sense of private property upon which whole societies and legal systems are constructed.

In Singer, Jerome L. & Singer, Dorothy G. (2006). Preschoolers' imaginative play as precursor of narrative consciousness. Imagination, Cognition and Personality 25 (2):97-117.

By Architectradure

Monday, November 26, 2007

The mix tape business

A come back for the mix tape business. After the tape with style we have the regular tape packaging that hides a usb key.

My favorite part is the usb mix tape's advertisement:
Stores up to 1 hour of high quality digital music - the same amount as you get on a C60 cassette tape. Perfect for creating your own unique compilation or mix ‘tape’. When you have 60 minutes you have to think carefully about what you are going to put on there!

Is the idea that by constraining the potential of a product, users will carefully consider the potential being given? This is a bit sad.
Or is the idea that this product is super conceptual and needs to offer the same amount of 60 minutes of music that is usual in C60 cassette tapes? In that case there is a nostalgic connection, but no innovation. At the end I like the metaphor effort in it, but I prefer the possibility to uniquely tailor my tape with style. The tailoring of the tape could take advantage of online digital art communities such as Open Studio!

A link to cool looking cassette tapes.

By Architectradure

Birthday invasion

Today it is my birthday's invasion!

Bio Battery Powered By Sugar

4 prototype bio battery units connected to Walkman for playback

Following up on my previous post kinetic vs electric toys by Sony, Sony also developed a bio battery prototype that generates electricity from sugar, similar to the method used in living organisms. Sugar is a naturally occurring energy source produced by plants through photosynthesis. It is therefore regenerative, and can be found in most areas of the earth, underlining the potential for sugar-based bio batteries as an ecologically-friendly energy device of the future.

As humans breakdown food for energy, the battery would generate electricity by breaking down carbohydrates or sugars through the use of enzymes. Since sugar is a natural energy source, the bio battery would be an environmentally friendly choice as it would dramatically reduce disposal issues with disposable batteries used today.

Test cells have generated up to 50 milliwatts, which is the highest for a bio battery of this type according to Sony. Currently, it produces just enough to power music play back on a memory-type Walkman. Thank you Got 2 be green for the source!

Friday, November 23, 2007

An intelligent bar of soap!

The Bar of Soap, created by Michael Bove, Stacie Slotnick and Brandon Taylor at the MIT Media Laboratory, is a handheld device that recognizes how it is being held and adjusts its functionality accordingly. For instance if you want to make a phone call, just hold the bar of soap like a phone!

The device senses the pattern of touch and orientation when it is held, and reconfigures to become one of a variety of devices, such as phone, camera, remote control, PDA, or game machine. Pattern-recognition techniques allow the device to infer the user's intention based on grasp. We are now adding display surfaces across the entire device so that buttons and indicators can be created where needed for a particular mode.

A portent of human augmentation

Greasy Spoon, 2007 by Brian Walker

In our cyborg world, I think it would be nice if prosthesis could mean expanding human skills or on a contrary re-creating fragile and powerless human sculptures.

Examples of prostheses

  • Researchers explored the ability of the skin to acquire and process information rivaling our senses of sight and hearing. The e-skin lab researches on tactile interfaces consisting both of sensors and actuators: wearable artificial skins as a navigation aid in space.
  • The Rheo Knee made by Ossur adapts to an individual's walking style by detecting 1,000 times every second the knee's position and the load applied to the limb. The user gets the proper amount of resistance for every step.
    Via wired
  • Victhom's urinary implant, a catheter-free, fully implanted pacemaker for the bladder. If trials go well, it could help 800 million people worldwide with bladder dysfunctions caused by spinal cord injury.
  • Durom™ Hip Resurfacing a joint replacement system that offers "freedom" of movement.
  • The cyberhand gives amputees the ability to use thought to move and grasp naturally, even to feel whatever the device touches.
  • A nanotechnology developed at MIT can "knit" together damaged neurons. Researchers have already restored sight to rodents and they believe the technique might also help repair injured spinal cords
  • Penn State developed the first fully implantable artificial heart, and in 2000 AbloMed acquired rights to further develop the technology. It is FDA approved only for emergency use and the company hopes to have broader approval by 2008. Eventually, researchers hope it can be a long-term solution for heart failure patients.
  • Current research on technological prostheses by Hugh Herr -director of the bio mechatronics group at the MIT Media Laboratory- transforms the perception a person wearing a prosthesis has of his artificial body part. While the mechanical properties of conventional passive prostheses remain fixed with walking speed and terrain, this research explores the prosthesis not just as a passive object, but also as an extension of the body. The prosthesis enables additional mechanical energy for forward propulsion of an ankle as well as controlling the ankle joint impedance.
  • The rehabilitation institute of Chicago made a biohybrid arm that allows amputees to move the prosthetic by thought alone.
  • For patients who have lost the use of their arms, scientists at the Cleveland FES Center are developing functional electrical stimulation systems.
  • Harvard and Massachisetts General Hospital researchers are developing an implantable artificial electrolarynx communication system for patients who have had a complete laryngectomy. The technology includes a neural interface and hands-free control of a natural sounding voice prosthesis.
  • Advanced Bionics made a cochlear implant that sends sounds directly to the auditory nerve instead of amplifying sound like a regular hearing aid.
  • IIP technologies and Intelligent Medical Implants made a retinal implant that bridges and replaces the processing function of a defective retina. Using it some blind persons can regain partial vision and orientation, even in unfamiliar surroundings.
  • A silicon hippocampus replacement could eventually replace damaged areas of the brain. Currently being developed by scientists at the University of Southern California.
  • Cyberkinetics created Braingate, a neuroprosthetic system with a patch that attaches directly to neurons in the brain to sense electrical signals. The sensor sends signals that can move a computer cursor or flip a switch.
  • Living bacteria have been incorporated into an electronic circuit to produce a supersensitive humidity sensor. Similar devices could one day be made that take greater advantage of living organisms, perhaps even using bacteria's energy systems to power electrical devices. Via We make money not art.
  • Microsoft Research filed a patent on power and data transmission through the human body. The human body is used as a conductive medium, which distributes power and/or data by coupling a power source to the human body via a first set of electrodes. In this case, the body acts as a computer network.

    Don't forget to check out the insightful Prosthetic Impulse: From a Posthuman Present to a Biocultural Future

    The prosthesis is not a mere extension of the human body; it is the constitution of this body qua “human.”
    —Bernard Steigler,Technics and Time

    Natalie Portman by freaking news.

  • Wednesday, November 21, 2007

    Toy or not toy exhibit

    An exhibition I should not have missed! Thankfully Etienne Mineur reported on it wonderfully: Toy Comix, an exhibition at the musée des Arts décoratifs.

    Modern mechanix

    Thank you Non stop robot!

    Serial robots

    Robots are making it in advertising! Hair cut and make up design by robots, Tiky Advertising, November 2007.

    Monday, November 19, 2007


    Contrasting delicate silhouettes with a massive robotic construction, this moving sculpture retro-projects goth-looking birds. Work by Jonathan Schipper and Amelia Biewald.

    Friday, November 16, 2007

    A love story

    Swarovski makes heart pendants that hide a computer key! A key to millions of love letters, pictures and all that, for a modest crystal price and that you can share between your neck and your laptop.

    Robotic furniture design part II

    The Meeraboo FL-1 a floor lamp with white curvilinear shapes fused with linear components, teardrop shaped feet on thin white legs, and illuminated golden interiors!

    I wrote about Victor Vetterlein's work on robotic furniture design. He recently sent me his latest explorations. Same color palette!

    The Meeraboo FL-1 floor lamp is 60 inches (152.4cm) in height, and 24 inches (61 cm) wide. The body of the lamp is fiberglass with a high gloss white finish. The interior is gold leaf. An electric cord passes through a rear leg of the lamp to supply an internal adjustable light source, and a removable panel on the side of the lamp provides access to the inside. The FL-1 is designed to cast light downward in order to reflect light off the floor plain.

    Wednesday, November 14, 2007

    Fancy masks

    So you are working on your precious mold, lots of polyurethane threatens your life, you need a mask. These masks are for you: the high fashion protection!

    Tuesday, November 13, 2007


    An insight into John Maeda's shoe design for Reebok

    The king of simplicity is revisiting the new frontier in business competition.
    John Maeda' shoe design accompanies Reebok's trend for mass customization and brings his perspective on what can be done on the shoe "canvas".

    In mass customization, firms have thrown away the old paradigm of Mass Production by creating a variety and customization through flexibility and quick responsiveness. This is a new logic more suited to a world in which stability and control can no longer be maintained.

    Tech outfit communication

    A costume that controls a video presentation by truth dare double dare

    A zipper that turns on/off the light!

    Or Rainbug, a raincoat that relies upon the natural gesture of the young wearer to interact and transform butterflies into flowers!


    Airbed, an artificial lung and breathing mattress, is constructed from clear polythene and chromed waste plugs. It is a hybrid object borrowing language from the bedroom and the bathroom. An intermittent air supply feed into one end of the mattress bringing the bed to life. Audible bursts of air are sent down a plastic windpipe, mimicking a sleeping body.

    Sunday, November 11, 2007

    The Dumpster

    The Dumpster is an interactive online visualization that attempts to depict a slice through the romantic lives of American teenagers. Using real postings extracted from millions of online blogs, visitors to the project can surf through tens of thousands of specific romantic relationships in which one person has "dumped" another. The project's graphical tools reveal the astonishing similarities, unique differences, and underlying patterns of these failed relationships, providing both peculiarly analytic and sympathetically intimate perspectives onto the diversity of global romantic pain.

    Web site

    Friday, November 09, 2007

    Accordion Hero II

    If you are tired of the guitar, here is an accordion's version!

    Monday, November 05, 2007

    Circoripopolo goes airtistique!

    One of the nicest web project I have ever seen. Two actors find their space on the web!

    Tactile video

    In reference to High touch visual

    Things don't change

    Picture from Here


    Photo by James Bowskill

    A phone that seems to come out of L'Odeur de la papaye verte (Cyclo).

    Photo by Patrick Gries

    This one is more for a need that I witness around me! Adjustable isolation space by Robert Stadler.

    Apparently one can notice a need for blocking out all peripheral sensory distraction while talking on the phone, hence the Auger-Loizeau's Isophone.

    Thursday, November 01, 2007

    Making Things Talk

    I cannot wait to read Making Things Talk, Tom Igoe's new book on Practical Methods for Connecting Physical Objects. It seems a lovely source of cute projects with ready-to-use technical resources. NearField opened a few pages of the book for us.

    After taking classes in sensors and electronics at MIT, this semester I take Physics 123 at Harvard University. I recommend this class for any mechanical/electrical/software engineer, designer and researcher who wants to get a deeper understanding of physics related to electronics and to develop an intuitive relationship to electronics. It is the equivalent of 3 full time classes, because two days of the week and the week end are devoted to the class laboratories and assignments. Intensive but productive! This is one of the most valuable class I took in a long time. I hope after that class that all my things will talk!

    "A lab-intensive introduction to electronic circuit design. Develops circuit intuition and debugging skills through daily hands-on lab exercises, each preceded by class discussion, with minimal use of mathematics and physics. Moves quickly from passive circuits, to discrete transistors, then concentrates on operational amplifiers, used to make a variety of circuits including integrators, oscillators, regulators, and filters. The digital half of the course treats analog-digital interfacing, emphasizes the use of microcontrollers and programmable logic devices (PLDs)."