Category Technology

E-Reader with butterfly wings

Qualcomm Mirasol color e-ink display

Qualcomm has recently been trying to advance e-reader technology, though they’ve been getting their inspiration from a rather unique place: butterfly wings. Their Mirasol color e-ink display uses “tiny mirrors to refract light in a way that is reminiscent of irridescent butterfly wings.” It’s not quite up to par with let’s say, a Retina display, and the colors are a bit washed out, but it’s still interesting to see technology being inspired by nature.

Get the full run down over on Technology Review.

An intense look at the making of the visual effects of ‘Prometheus’

An intense look at the making of the visual effects of 'Prometheus'

As you could possibly tell from my recent review of Prometheus I’m mildly obsessed. After watching the film Kyle and I did so much research the next few days after seeing it, but I think we only get like 60% of the film. That’s a part of the excitement, in my opinion! This article from FX Guide doesn’t answer the questions to the plot, but it does give you the rundown of how the visual effects were created. Before you click the link, be warned that the article is filled with a ton of spoilers, so be sure to see the film before reading it.

In the history of modern visual effects films there is a small handful of universes worthy of religious veneration: the bed chamber in 2001, the hover cars of Blade Runner, the initial flyover from Star Wars and of course, the fallen broken ship of Ridley Scott’s Alien. This last hallowed and sacred site is known to all serious visual effects artists, but for a select few artists at companies like MPC, Weta Digital and Fuel, they got to rebuild and reimagine these ‘consecrated’ assets – the map room, the ship and of course the pilot’s chair from Alien. The film has erupted a blogosphere of arguments over the meaning or symbolism these objects have in a creationist tale of mankind, but virtually without question even the harshest critics of the film have applauded the stunning visual effects of Prometheus.

Google Glass: Every step you take they’ll be monetizing you

Google Glass: Making money from everything you do

Google yesterday revealed a product they’re working on called Google Glass. It’s the notion that the phone is a primitive tool and that there’s a better solution, namely a headset. The problem is, it’s Google behind this project. I think the idea of having an object that replaces your phone is a smart and obvious one, but I don’t think it’s a minimal Geordi LaForge visor. In all practicality, it’ll be a contact lens, then replacing your eye all together with something cybernetic, but that’s a whole different story.

What the video above entails is that you’ve got a heads up display, something you see in video games all the time. The HUD is a way to quickly access all of your information at a glance. My problem with this whole thing is what Google would do with your information, namely, selling it. I don’t trust Google anymore and I think a lot of people feel the same way. Could you imagine ads popping up on this thing when you based by Target? Oh wait, someone already made a video about it. I can’t think of anything more horrifying than my vision being blinded by a banner advertisement.

When I buy an iPhone, or any Apple product for that matter, I don’t worry about them collecting my personal data to sell to advertisers. If they collect data, I’d assume they used it to make my experience better, not to increase their net worth. But that’s also because Apple is primarily a hardware company while Google is an ad powered search company. Gmail is used to gather information and sell advertisements, as is Google Search, same with Google Chrome and Maps. I use all of these services daily because they’re the best, but I still can’t help feeling gross about it when I think about it for an extended period of time.

Plus there’s the fact that this is made by the same company that made Android, a fragmented mess of an operating system which is whored out to all the carriers. What’s to say this experience would be any better? They certainly haven’t proven themselves yet. John Gruber tweeted the video below yesterday, which I feel would be a much more accurate version of what the experience of Google Glass would be like. Enjoy.

Immateriality as material: Visualizing the unseen aspects of our world

Immateriality as material: Visualizing electromagnetic fields full of data

Immateriality as material: Visualizing electromagnetic fields full of data

Immateriality as material: Visualizing electromagnetic fields full of data

Data is beginning to flow from of everywhere these days. As mobile devices continue to spread we’ve slowly and steadily begun mapping our world, through our own eyes. We’ve got geotagging and image sharing networks, but what about the stuff we can’t see, abstract things like electromagnetic fields? Anthony Dunne and Fiona Raby have taken this idea and created these beautiful visualizations, which are like spatial holograms of bubbling information. I find the idea of visualizing things we can’t see an extremely interesting field. It’s like when you see maps of wind currents, we know it’s there but you can’t quite see it. There’s also the idea of emotional cartography, a term I think that was coined by Christian Nold, which can tell you things like the emotional states of people in a certain geographic area.

For the last 2000 years we’re a people who’ve relied upon geographical maps to determine our next location, but what if that changes in the next 100 years? What if instead you navigate based on your personal interests? We’re soon approaching a breakdown between the physical and digital worlds, so much so that I think one day we may have to come up with a new word for it all. It’s fun to dream up potentials for the future, and important to start making them reality.

Immaculate Pay with Square icon by Robert Andersen

Immaculate Pay with Square icon by Robert Andersen

Browsing through Dribbble earlier and came across the designer of the new Pay with Square icon, Robert Andersen. I was simply going to tweet “OMG MY BRAIN EXPLODED” but I feel like Robert’s work deserves more love than that.

The image is detailed beyond belief, I can’t imagine where he even started with this. Referencing the holograms you find on credit cards, Robert has created a piece of art that I would absolutely frame on my wall. What’s wonderful to me is that he put so much detail and love into this icon, something that most people (non-designers) won’t give a second thought to. So please take a second, click the image above to see the large version, and soak in the details in this labor of love.

To see more of Robert’s work I’d suggest checking out his Dribbble account. If you get jealous easily you probably shouldn’t click that.

Rechner, a gesture based calculator app

Rechner, a gesture based calculator app

Technology is allowing us to push the boundaries of how we do common tasks like using a calculator, as evidenced by Rechner, a gesture based calculator app for the iPhone. Designed by Berger & Föhr, Rechner allows you to swipe left and right to add and subtract, swipe down to open a menu for options such as multiplication or division, and swipe up for equals. It seems almost counter-intuitive to the way we currently do math, with dedicated buttons for each of these tasks. But when you watch the video it’s actually quite remarkable how easy it is to use this app, and how you could potentially work faster on it. It’s great to see people experimenting like this, shifting paradigms of how we normally work.