Real Physics Renderer

January 29th, 2005 | Filed under: Products | 1 Comment »

Maxwell Render is a render engine still in its testing phases, but shows great promise in rendering realistic scenes. Maxwell claims to use physically accurate materials and lighting, so there’s little or no tweaking involved. Although it’s still an alpha release, the engine is capable of some unique processes, such as unbiased rendering (specifying an allotted time frame in which the rendering is to be completed) and spectral rendering. With a full version set to release in June 2005, you should definitely keep an eye out for this one. (The image above is a computer rendering)

Element Labs

January 29th, 2005 | Filed under: Fabrication Tech, Lighting | 1 Comment »

Element Labs is lighting company specializing in innovative lighting using LED technology. By embedding color LEDs in different casings and providing simple controllers to animate the surfaces, they have produced a whole line of dazzling lighting products.

NeoFlex is their alternative to traditional neon. By combining a plastic tubular casing and LED technology, they have harnessed the energy efficiency and longevity of LED lighting and significantly simplified the fabrication process.

The Versa TILE is simply a 10 square cm tile lit with color LEDs. When the tiles are assembled into an array spanning any imaginable area (as long as the controller can handle it), it produces a display with each tile representing 1 pixel. Imagine watching your 1600 x1200 display at 10cm per pixel? That would be 160x 120 meters or 525 x 394 feet!

via Element Labs

Pet Phone

January 28th, 2005 | Filed under: Products | 3 Comments »


Don’ you wish you could phone your pet whenever you feel like it or have your dog remind you to bring home some treats? Well now you can, with PetsMobility, a cell phone for your pet. If only it had a cross species translator, would this pet-phone not sound so ridiculous. Yet, I can still see this product becoming a huge hit. If my cat ever asks for a cellphone he’s going to have to do some chores and earn some allowance first!


Earthquake-proof Foam House

January 27th, 2005 | Filed under: Building Tech, News | 38 Comments »


The Federation of American Scientists (FAS), recently tested the stability of structures built with the combination of expanded polystyrene (foam), and cement board. This method of building maintains the rigidity needed, yet remains lightweight, so it can withstand earthquakes of magnitude 10. Remarkably, the structure doesn’t require any wood members to create a rigid frame. FAS is in the process of using this method to build an ‘elegant home’ .

via Federation of Amercian Scientists | New Scientist

Shrink Wrap Space Suit

January 27th, 2005 | Filed under: Fabrication Tech | No Comments »

Space Suit

Dava Newman and her associates at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) are designing a new Bio-Suit System for astronauts, which would incorporate life support systems into a electrospinlaced inner suit, making the suit a 2nd skin. The electrospinlacing technique, developed by the US army is a method of spray-on fabric which creates a more flexible and lightweight skin. The suit also incorporates ‘muscle wire‘ technology which could compliment one’s movement, essentially giving the the body extra strength. The MIT group is also looking into other remarkable skin technologies such as chameleon skins, morphing polymers, renewable energy skin, micro-actuator embedded skin . . .


Stackable Prefab

January 25th, 2005 | Filed under: Pre-Fab | 6 Comments »


Spacebox is a fully functional self contained prefab studio apartment (like cross between Kowloon and capsule hotels). Already with 4 locations in the Netherlands, this modular stackable housing could pop around you soon. The assembly is minimal and all the functions are built-in. Just stack them up and they’re ready to go.

via MoCo Loco

New AI with Cognitive Vision

January 25th, 2005 | Filed under: AI, Computing, Programming | 3 Comments »


CogVis, a new AI computer, developed by scientists at the University of Leeds in Yorkshire, UK, has demonstrated the ability to learn new games through audio and visual input. Considering half our brain involved in our visual process, this is a significant leap in artificial intelligence. AI has been struggling with processing visual information for a some time now. Take for example, video surveillance. There are current video surveillance systems in place which use computer detection, but still rely on the human brain. These computer systems simply detect motion or a change in scenery and send the video image to a human to determine whether the body which triggered the alarm is a human or a tumble weed.
By combining visual and audio attention and recognition, learning, and memory, CogVis could be the breakthrough in creating AI.

via New Scientist

Bridging the Remote OS Gap

January 23rd, 2005 | Filed under: Products, Programming | No Comments »


Synergy, for cross OS users, is a dream come true. It is a cross platform virtual remote controller. Say for example you have a PC desktop and Mac laptop. Wouldn’t it be great if you extend your input interfaces (mouse, keyboard) to your Mac laptop? “Synergy lets you easily share a single mouse and keyboard between multiple computers with different operating systems, each with its own display, without special hardware. ”
It’s licensed under GNU public license, so it’s free!

Design + Build

January 23rd, 2005 | Filed under: Building Tech, Fabrication Tech, News | No Comments »

shop cam obs

Bill Menking’s article on the future of design + build firms, points out the great advantages of being both the designer, fabricator, and researcher of materials and construction. He also points out a potential scenario in which a designer’s imagination could become limited by the shop’s fabrication capabilities.

via Architect’s Newspaper

Digital Bulletin Board

January 23rd, 2005 | Filed under: Products | 2 Comments »

the cafe table

The Café Table, by Philips merges intutive physical interaction with a sexy digital interface. There seems to be a wave of physical interactive user interfaces approaching the commercial market. Maybe going paperless is still in the running.

watch the video