Augmented Sandbox: Realtime 3D Topographic Landscaping

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[ By WebUrbanist in Gaming & Computing & Technology. ]

gif-water-island

Simulating an amazing array of natural environments and phenomena, this dynamic playspace turns ordinary hand-sculpted sand into vividly colorful landscapes in the blink of an eye.

gif-volcanic-mountain

A real and working augmented reality sandbox, the system is designed to help educate students about earth sciences with a uniquely responsive and intuitive interface.

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A team of data visualization and earth sciences experts, mainly from the University of California, created the setup using a Microsoft Kinect camera coupled with topographic visualization software and a 3D data projector.

From rough prototypes to its present state, the project has come a long way in terms of the level of rendering detail and response speed.

augmented reality sandbox

Tapping into a familiar form of childhood play, the project “allows users to create topography models by shaping real sand, which is then augmented in real time by an elevation color map, topographic contour lines, and simulated water. The system teaches geographic, geologic, and hydrologic concepts such as how to read a topography map, the meaning of contour lines, watersheds, catchment areas, levees [and more].”

Of course, one can imagine an array of applications of this technology beyond classrooms and science museums, from Minecraft-style, construction-centric games to simulators and modeling tools for landscape architects and urban designers.

interactive 3d projected sandbox

More about this amazing project: UC Davis’ W.M. Keck Center for Active Visualization in the Earth Sciences (KeckCAVES), together with the UC Davis Tahoe Environmental Research CenterLawrence Hall of Science, and ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, is involved in an NSF-funded project on informal science education for freshwater lake and watershed science. The sandbox hardware was built by project specialist Peter Gold of the UC Davis Department of Geology. The driving software is based on the Vrui VR development toolkit and the Kinect 3D video processing framework, and is available for download under the GNU General Public License.”


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Origami Microscope: Fifty-Cent Design is Crazy Durable

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[ By Steph in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Origami Microscope 1

Not only is this a microscope made of paper, costing a total of fifty cents to produce, it can stand up to being thrown, stomped on and dunked in water. And it comes in a flat-pack of yardstick that takes just a few minutes to assemble. Foldscope by Manu Prakash has the potential to transform the way disease is identified and diagnosed in developing parts of the world.

Origami Microscope 3

Demonstrated in a 2012 TED talk, the Foldscope is about the size of a bookmark and based on the principles of origami. It has no mechanical moving parts and it’s cheap enough to disseminate for free and incinerate after use to safely dispose of infectious biological samples.

Origami Microscope 2

It might not seem like a lens this tiny would be powerful enough to identify samples of microbes like Giardia or malaria, but the unique optical physics of a spherical lens held close to the eye can magnify samples up to 2,000 times. The lens is about the size of a poppy seed and costs about 17 cents. It can be press-fit into a small hole in the center of the slide-mounting platform on the paper microscope body.

Origami Microscope 4

More sophisticated version have multiple lenses or even combinations of colored LED lights powered by a watch battery. Other additions include the capability to project images on the wall of a dark room. Prakash plans to give away 10,000 of the DIY origami microscopes to citizen scientists with the most inspiring ideas for their use. Prospective users can apply for a Foldscope kit by emailing Signup@foldscope.com.

 


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Home Ice: 12 International Antarctic Research Stations

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[ By Steve in Architecture & Public & Institutional. ]

antarctic research stations
Constructing a research station in Antarctica means thinking outside the box-like building but not TOO far outside… Great Scott it’s COLD out there!

USA: Palmer Station

Palmer Station Antarctica(images via: Christopher Michel and WHOI)

Built in 1968 on Anvers Island, Palmer Station is the only American antarctic base located north of the Antarctic Circle. The base’s activities focus on the study of marine life and most projects are seasonal in nature: the station’s resident population averages around 40 in summer but drops to 15-20 in winter.

Palmer Station Antarctica(image via: NASA)

But enough about the station, check out the photo above! In November of 2009, red-parka’d base personnel got together to send a friendly greeting to NASA’s DC-8 flying science laboratory flying overhead.

Ukraine: Vernadsky Research Base

Ukraine Vernadsky Research Base antarctica(images via: EYOS Expeditions, Wikipedia/Lewnwdc77 and Around This World)

Ukraine didn’t build the Vernadsky Research Base; the former Faraday Station on Winter Island was purchased from Great Britain in 1996 for the bargain price of one pound. The station’s main claim to fame is its bar, said to be the southernmost such establishment on earth, where thirsty and/or bored patrons can pay $3 a shot for vodka brewed on-site.

Ukraine Vernadsky Research Base Antarctica(image via: Rachel Lea Fox)

Now operated by the National Antarctic Scientific Center of Ukraine, the Vernadsky Station consists of nine buildings and can house up to 15 staff members. Full credit to Flickr user Rachel Lea Fox for the image above. Time for a new flag? Er, I wasn’t asking you, President Putin.

Norway: Troll Research Station

Norway Troll antarctic station(images via: Norwegian Polar Institute, Wikipedia/Islarsh and Reuters, Alister Doyle)

Constructed in 1990 and expanded 15 years later, Troll Station is Norway’s only year-round antarctic science base… problem? The Norwegian Polar Institute operates 8-person capacity Troll Station, which is located in the Norwegian antarctic dependency of Queen Maud Land. Troll Station is built on a bare rock outcrop poking through the ice cap and since the region is considered to be a “desert” in meteorological terms, heavy snowfalls and wind-blown drifting are not major concerns.

Norway Troll Station Antarctica(image via: Epoch Times/Heiko Junge/AFP)

As is the case with all antarctic research stations, accommodations at Troll Station are both limited and spartan… even if you’re Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg.

Belgium: Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station

Belgium Princess Elizabeth antarctic station(images via: Treehugger, International Polar Foundation and Architects24)

Belgium’s futuristic Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station opened in February of 2009 and claims to be “the world’s first zero emission polar research station.” The 16-person capacity station draws electric power from solar panels supplemented by a network of nine wind turbines.

Belgium Princess Elisabeth Antarctic Research Station bicycle(image via: IRM)

Though sunlight is unavailable for months at a stretch, Princess Elisabeth Antarctica Research Station’s location backing onto the rocky Utsteinen Ridge in Queen Maud Land exposes it to howling gales measured at up to 300 kph (190 mph). Calmer days are much appreciated by station staff. He’s rollin’, don’t be hatin’.

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Walking on Water: Fun Non-Newtonian Fluid Experiment

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[ By Steph in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Walking on Water Experiment 1

When you step into a pool of water, you fully expect your foot to fall right down to the bottom, unless you’re under the delusion that you’re the savior of mankind. But if that water has just the right mix of cornstarch in it, you’ll just sort of bounce along the surface. Film company WeAreKix teamed up with Mach by Hong Leon Bank to fill a pool with 8,000 liters of non-Newtonian fluid for an event that makes science fun.

Walking on Water Experiment 2

A slight blue tint to the fluid makes the illusion more complete; it really does look like a pool of cloudy water until you witness the surreal sight of someone trotting along the surface like it’s no big deal. Of course, you have to tread lightly and quickly, or you might actually break through and get sucked into the sticky fluid like the little kid in the video.

Walking on Water Experiment 4

Walking on Water Experiment 3

The event took place in Kuala Lumpur and offered a party-like environment to explore the science of non-Newtownian fluid. Visitors ran, jumped and even rode their bikes across the surface of the pool.

Walking on Water Experiment 6

Walking on Water Experiment 7

Mythbusters carried out a similar experiment, trying out all sorts of possibilities before settling on non-Newtowntian fluid made with 1,000 pounds of cornstarch.

Bonus feature: liquid mountaineering – the art of skipping like a stone on the surface of the water, using special shoes to get extra steps before you slip below the surface.


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[ By Steph in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

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Walking on Water: Fun Non-Newtonian Fluid Experiment

Bild

[ By Steph in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Walking on Water Experiment 1

When you step into a pool of water, you fully expect your foot to fall right down to the bottom, unless you’re under the delusion that you’re the savior of mankind. But if that water has just the right mix of cornstarch in it, you’ll just sort of bounce along the surface. Film company WeAreKix teamed up with Mach by Hong Leon Bank to fill a pool with 8,000 liters of non-Newtonian fluid for an event that makes science fun.

Walking on Water Experiment 2

A slight blue tint to the fluid makes the illusion more complete; it really does look like a pool of cloudy water until you witness the surreal sight of someone trotting along the surface like it’s no big deal. Of course, you have to tread lightly and quickly, or you might actually break through and get sucked into the sticky fluid like the little kid in the video.

Walking on Water Experiment 4

Walking on Water Experiment 3

The event took place in Kuala Lumpur and offered a party-like environment to explore the science of non-Newtownian fluid. Visitors ran, jumped and even rode their bikes across the surface of the pool.

Walking on Water Experiment 6

Walking on Water Experiment 7

Mythbusters carried out a similar experiment, trying out all sorts of possibilities before settling on non-Newtowntian fluid made with 1,000 pounds of cornstarch.


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Fluid Art: 17 Fantastic Fountains and Water Sculptures

The grace and beauty of flowing water, along with its ability to induce calm, are the biggest reasons we're drawn to artful displays of H2O. Click Here to Read More »»


Fluid Designs: 12 (More) Water Vehicles to Float Your Boat

From futuristic to astonishingly low-tech, these 12 boat and watercraft designs - including a flying sailboat and a pumpkin canoe - are slick and surprising. Click Here to Read More »»


Walk on Water: Hydro-Floors Hide Secret Swimming Pools

Pools displace space. But what if you could have the best of both worlds: a usable space or surface replaced by a body of water when you want it? Click Here to Read More »»


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