Archive | technology RSS feed for this section

Information Bartering. Privacy and Social Media for you and me.

30 Jan

A is to B as C is to D. (deep breath, here we go)

Language is more powerful than the “duh facebook and the internet is not private” delegation supposes. The status update that made me comment on this is, if I may paraphrase [putting up a comment to claim ownership your boob shot photos is like writing a sentence on your cigarette pack to prevent cancer].
The topic as a whole is interesting on several fronts, which I will get into, but I’d like to unpack this statement a bit before moving on.
First is the wrongness of the conflation of the relation between legal statements and intellectual property rights and end user agreements, and the effect of a statement on, shall we say an activity and its closely correlated physical effects, i.e. smoking and cancer. Continue reading


Nuit Blanche 2011 coverage

12 Oct
Suited up for the future.

Suited up for the future.

How can a public spectacle help to shape our ideas of how we interact with nature, space and cities? Can it really offer a tangible route for creative alternatives to transportation, civic engagement and an investment in how we live with a less harmful impact on the natural world? These questions have been on my mind for years, and in the context of Kindle Project, it has recently become relevant. As we set out to explore the most current incarnations of unique collaborative efforts on the blog these past two months, we came across one such effort that got our attention. Flightpath Toronto took place on October 1 as a part of Toronto’s Nuit Blanche, where for one sleepless night the city was transformed by hundreds of artists for the sixth annual sunset-to-sunrise celebration of contemporary art.

Gorgeous renderings of an inflatable utopia from the recent past.

5 Feb

Hylozoic Ground goes to Venice

24 Jun

Hylozoic Ground, by Philip Beesley and his team, is a collection of works that explore a new kind of architecture, one that is characterised by lightness, flexibility and sensitivity, literally. The installations are made of thin transparent or translucent polymer arranged into delicate webs and appendages that not only respond to the immediate surrounding (i.e. to your presence, or moisture in the air) but also communicate this response to each other over its network, so that each stimulus response ripples out from the stimulus location. In other words, the Waterloo based architect is trying to make architecture more like a living thing, and already he has created somehing that represents a living architecture.

Videos and more images and the rest.

Continue reading

Augmented Reality maps from Microsoft

2 Mar

Baby steps toward a non-uniform 3D cell packing to model bone structure.

27 Jan

Since before I started studying biomimicry I’ve been interested in the structure and strength of bone. From the first time I saw an image of a cross section of  the femur, I’ve understood that the shape and arrangement of the bone and its holes gives bone its strength.

I feel like I’ve been working towards something with everything I’ve been doing, at least in terms of materials and software research.

I’ve been reading a lot about surface subdivision, with voronoi diagrams (we’re going to get sick of them quite soon I think) fractal patterning etc. There has been a lot of work on modeling complex surfaces that are made of individual, non-uniform pieces, particularly in architecture. I would even venture to say that experimental architecture today has succumbed to glossy, spiky, morphed and twisted “render wank”.

The following are my baby steps toward understanding the computer modeling process enough to successfully model bone. Since all the examples that I can find are architectural, you’ll forgive the fact that I too am dabbling in glossy morphed render wank.

Continue reading

Wind, Water and Sun – Power for Gadeokdo

26 Jan

Research for supplying power for the largest island in Busan, Korea.

As part of our design philosophy for the master plan for Gadeokdo, Korea, we feel it important to address issues of energy production, fresh water and waste treatment, and also food security.

Below is some research into renewable energy for the island development. My conclusion is that tidal stream power would be the best solution for this location, given its geography. Wind turbines would require too much space on the island, and we would prefer not to have spine of the island bristling with fans. Solar is too expensive and the return is not high enough, considering that we are already basically building the infrastructure in the water for all the buildings. Given that, the extra cost of tidal power generation is negligible, and will have long term benefits, not only energy saving and the environment, but also it would help further Korea’s experiments in hydro power generation.

Continue reading

Generative Design

15 Jan

I first learned about genetic algorithms used in design from a lecture on design research. The name of the firm escapes me now, but they designed various interactive objects and placed them in homes to see how people live with information. One such object was a television set that picked up the radio signals of planes that passed overhead, and showed on a 3D revolving globe the flight path of that plane. The aerial for the set was designed by NASA, using a genetic algorithm to find the best possible configuration for the aerial.

Continue reading

SHIFT – A work in progress.

23 Dec

I’m working on a draft of an article for Shift, from the OCAD Student Press

This is going to be an epic deja vu for my thesis, and redemption. I finally get a chance to put together a cogent interpretation of all the research and thinking that went into my thesis project. The draft is below, and it’s still very early alpha stage.


Man’s principle gift, and the only thing that distinguishes it from
other animals, is his ability to tell stories. The first words created
the world. Ancient stories gave meaning to the stars.

The following is a work of fiction. Any similarity to any person, or to any actual events, or institutions is intentional and
anything but coincidential.

In 1937 the future of airships came crashing to the ground in a fiery, smoking ruin, amid the famous cries of “oh, the humanity!”.

Since the Hindeburgh crash in Lakehurst Naval Station, New Jersey, only the ghosts of these once important vehicles are seen: floating vestiges of the past above the Super Bowl, or largely ignored, hawking electronics above Queens and Manhattan. A few are still ferrying tourists on harbour tours and over vineyards for wine tastings, but they are largely seen as curiousities, if seen at all. In most of my conversations with people with airships, the first reaction is perplexity, then incredulity.

But everyone I have met agrees with me eventually, that airships are needed in this world again.

Continue reading

Environmental Health Clinic

11 Dec

In November I had the opportunity to visit and speak at the Environmental Health Clinic in NYU’s Steinberg school, which is run by Natalie Jeremijenko.  The clinic deals with regular people’s concerns about the health of the environment, and through a consultation, they devise various experiments and interventions to both measure the health of the environment. The photo above was taken immediately after the talk. I had been drafted into the Imaginary Airforce to retrieve a dead woodpecker for examination. Why are we triking across Manhattan to retrieve a dead woodpecker? I’m just a draftee they don’t tell me these things The X Clinic or Environmental Health Clinic is researching bird wings to better build a flight simulator to allow people to experience flight viscerally again.  As commercial flight is a completely insulated experience, so simulated flight via the Strap on Flight Trainer [sorry I have a huge problem with this name. I think wearable is a much less alienating name.  I get the point, of course, but I don’t think it adds to the project] is experienced completely via the body, on a one to one basis.  That we should experience things physically should not be anything special, but these days the technological and digital mediation of experience is getting such that purely physical experiences are becoming academic.

I had a short discussion with Natalie about methods to construct this flight trainer in larger numbers.  The current design is fine for a beginner, but I also see limitations on finer controls. Control surfaces should be operated via the fingers in an advanced model, and perhaps a skin and bone construction.  I will try to find some time for modeling and prototyping in the New Year.