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Architecture & Design Technology

Pablo Picasso’s “light drawings”

“Everything you can imagine is real,” said the legendary painter Pablo Picasso.

In 1949, photographer Gjon Mili captured the painter using a small electric light in a dark room to paint the artist’s iconic centaurs, bulls and greek figurines.

The chaotic images vanished as soon as they were created but thanks to Mili’s two separate cameras, Picasso’s timeless “light drawing” live on.

Thanks to today’s advancements in virtual reality, one can replicate Picasso’s moves using Google’s Tilt Brush application on the Oculus Rift. The app lets your paint in 3D space with virtual reality.

Photos by Gjon Mili for TIME, 1949

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Architecture & Design Technology

RIP Gary Starkweather, inventor of the laser printer

The inventor of the laser printer at Xerox, Gary Starkweather, has died at the age of 81.

When Starkweather first proposed the idea of a laser printer to his boss at Xerox, they shut his idea down. But curious and determined, Starkweather persisted because he was convinced of the possibility of making precise copies.

Starkweather developed the printer at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center beginning in 1969 before completing it in November 1971

Even more interesting his how the genius inventor did it. Writes the Wall Street Journal:

To avoid blurry prints, Mr. Starkweather had to find ways to direct laser pulses precisely. He devised a cluster of revolving mirrors and a lens to guide the light. One of his breakthrough ideas came while he was mowing the lawn; he turned off the mower and drove to the lab to test it out.

Xerox created the first-ever laser printer in 1969

The Xerox printer found itself in nearly every office and home eventually, making the company an absolute fortune.

We often forget how people we’ve rarely heard of impact our lives. Gary Starkweather was one of them, as was Evelyn Berezin who developed the world’s first processor.

The prescient Starkweather also issued a warning about the negative effects of our over dependency on technology. The WSJ writes:

Though he never lost his fascination with technology, Mr. Starkweather worried about some of the consequences. “We talk about productivity,” he said, “but I’ve watched people go from 40-hour weeks to 60-hour weeks.”

He disliked the pressure to stay digitally connected at all times. “A big question about the future of information technology,” he said, “is, ‘Do I get to stay human in the process?’ ”

RIP Gary Starkweather
Categories
Architecture & Design Nature Technology

A robot designed to take care of your plants

For $949, you could own a robot that chases the sun to keep your plants alive.

Technology company Vincross created the spider-like HEXA as a multi-functional robot. It turns out one of those functions is for the six-legged robot to take care of your plants for you.

With blueprints downloaded from the Vincross website, any HEXA owner could program their device to move around when the plant’s leaves need sun — plants grow toward the light — and shade.

The bot can even warn owners when the plants need to be watered.

Yet another reason for millennials to turn their apartments into “house jungles.” 

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Architecture & Design Technology

The floating un-Christmas tree

Are you looking to think outside the box this Christmas?

Look no further than the levitating un-Christmas tree, which features all the aspects of the traditional Christmas tree minus the pine tree itself.   

Photo: Twitter/boredpanda

Whether by virtual reality or a Harry Potter magic wand, the ability to minimize a Christmas tree into nakedness is a fascinating concept. As Leonardo Da Vinci said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”

PS: If you’re interested in building a floating Christmas tree, you can find the instructions here.

If you’re looking for other creative Christmas tree ideas, look no further than teasing people’s imagination by going through the roof! 

Through the roof Christmas Tree
Photo: Twitter/boredpanda
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Science Technology

Google achieves “quantum supremacy” with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor

Image via Google

Google confirmed that it has officially achieved achieved quantum supremacy with the 54-qubit Sycamore processor.

Writes Engineering Director Hartmut Neven on Google’s blog:

Today, the scientific journal Nature has published the results of Google’s efforts to build a quantum computer that can perform a task no classical computer can; this is known in the field as “quantum supremacy.” In practical terms, our chip, which we call Sycamore, performed a computation in 200 seconds that would take the world’s fastest supercomputer 10,000 years.

IBM has downplayed the innovation saying that the the classical computer can run the same simulation in 2.5 days.

Writes the IBM Research Blog, “We argue that an ideal simulation of the same task can be performed on a classical system in 2.5 days and with far greater fidelity. This is in fact a conservative, worst-case estimate, and we expect that with additional refinements the classical cost of the simulation can be further reduced.”

IBM also said that Google “failed to fully account for plentiful disk storage” in a traditional supercomputer to exaggerate the supremacy of its machine.

Both Google and IBM make valid points, with the objective takeaway being how quantum computing will make its way into everyday tasks and how much more potential there is in classical computing.

Either way, the 54-qubit Sycamore processor is a far cry from the 5MB hard drive that IBM released in 1956 that weighed over a ton.

Categories
Architecture & Design Technology

The cake server by Joseph’s Machines

Brooklyn-based inventor Joseph’s Machines makes comical DIY contraptions. His latest video shows a chain-reaction machine deliver him a piece of cake. It also includes a baby poking an iPhone, a string of melting butter, and a chandelier.

The video took 3 months to make. Piece a cake!

Joseph’s gadgets are inspired by the cartoonist and inventor Rube Goldberg who built complex, interconnected machines in the early 1900s. Today, people use the expression Rube Goldberg machine. to describe anything convoluted, from machines to politics.

Rube Goldberg’s Self-Operating Napkin (1931)
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Architecture & Design Technology

Meet the flying train, a hybrid train and plane

While Elon Musk is helping to combine hyperloops and space travel, the Russian architecture firm Dahir Insaat wants to build a hybrid train and plane that transports 2,000 people at a time.

The flying trains reach speeds up to 300mph, not much faster than the speediest train in the world, the 267 mph Shanghai Maglev.

Even if it looks like a giant lego piece, most people would still rather ride in it than sit in traffic.

Furthermore, we wonder how we’ll look at any concept of transportation once SpaceX’s vision to fly people across the globe in 30 minutes becomes a reality.

Categories
Science Technology

Connecting human brains to computers

Art by MattiasA 

“You could just think your query and download the relevant knowledge directly in your mind.”

Forget Ritalin. Forget Google and Evernote acting as our second brains holding all the information we can’t. And instead, prepare for brain implants where the mind melds with machines. We don’t even have to type, click, or touch anything. We just think and imagine commands.

As part of a clinical trial called “Brain Gate,” 13 applicants at Brown University have had a sensor placed into their motor cortex and so far have been able to control cursor movement on a screen. Says doctor John Simerall at Brown University building the neurotechnology device:

“Simply by imagining intuitive movements participants can immediately control a robotic device.”

Here come the cyborgs.