Small World In Motion

Nikon have recently announced the winners of their Small World in Motion video competition this year (separate to their Small World Photomicrography competition) and the results are genuinely stunning.

If I didn’t know otherwise I would have said that any number of them could be human-made CGI or generative algorithms, but these are all genuine real life moments captured on film using varying techniques and degrees of magnification.

All of the top five chosen are worthy of their place, but my favourite is actually the entry that was awarded 2nd place – Perspiration on a human fingertip by Tsutomu Tomita and Shun Miyazaki.

It was recorded using stereomicroscopy and shows between 5x and 40x magnification of a fingertip, to the point where you can actually see individual droplets of sweat appearing on the surface of the skin.  Incredible!

See the top five and all honorable mentions from 2017 here.

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Robots Vs Music

Nigel Stanford‘s AUTOMATICA, a superb Robots Vs. Music video demonstrating that robotic arms are good for more than just automotive assembly lines.

Mesmerising to watch full screen, especially the pair of arms on the piano and then the keyboard solo (from 2:47).

Get the album here and watch the behind the scenes testing here.

Classic Toys Stamp Series

The latest stamp collection from Royal Mail has been released and it commemorates 10 classic British toys from the last 100 years as designed by creative agency Interabang.

I have very little to add to what Design Week have already published on these, other than wow – aren’t these just a stunning collection of stamps!

Each stamp is beautifully laid out, evoking pure nostalgia and childhood memories capturing what these toys were all about.

Each of the toys was sourced in the original packaging from the likes of eBay (and private collectors) and formed a prime source of inspiration for each stamp.

A mix of apt photography with period style graphics and text makes them an absolute joy to look at.

“The stamp design is about the toy, but capturing the essence of the world of the toy as well.”

Interabang director Adam Giles

If you have to push me for a favourite I’d have to say Spirograph, though both Meccano and the Stickle Bricks aren’t very far behind.

Fantastic job, Interabang!

The Classic Toys stamp sets are available from Royal Mail and in Post Offices, with the presentation pack top of my list!

Matchbox Cars 1965

Regular readers will know that I love a behind-the-scenes look at manufacturing processes, whether that’s Apple or a pair of scissors.  But it’s even more true when it comes to a product that I’ve owned many of during my childhood.

I’m also willing to bet that most people (certainly in the UK at least) have owned, played with, or collected many a Matchbox car over the years (they now look like this by the way).

My Dad was an avid collector with hundreds, if not thousands, of models so Matchbox is a very familiar brand that fills me with nostalgia even today, so this insight into their design process and production line is fascinating.

No 3D renders or CAD, just drawing boards and handmade wooden prototypes as part of the design process and production line to show how they were manufactured in mid-60s Hackney, London.

Many thanks to British Pathé for posting this online.

Cockpit Timelapse

With the number of flights I’ve taken this year well into double digits this incredible timelapse really resonated with me.

Not that I’m ever likely to see this view from a plane, so it’s all the more brilliant that pilot (and film producer) Sales Wick decided to capture it on a redeye flight from Switzerland to Brazil and share online.

And in case you overcome the pure awe of viewing it (full screen and HD a must!) and you wonder which areas you might actually be flying over he has kindly overlaid the information!

For those of you paying particularly close attention those moving specks of light are not always other planes, some are indeed shooting stars!  Stunning!

Full info on the video and recording technique on the Beyond Clouds site here.

Endless Loop

Wow this might be the longest period of time without a blog post in the last few years – 6 weeks!  Both work and personal life has been incredibly busy and so apologies to those of you eager for more Inspirational Geek!

I’ll ease back into it gently with a simple but utterly mesmerising GIF of a robotic arm and a toy train.  Don’t worry if you have a pang of mild panic each time the train looks to run out of track – you’re not alone.

And if that isn’t enough then there’s a 10 minute (higher quality) video version of the endless loop here from its creator Christian Schürch.

Enjoy!

Analogue Loaders

Loader icons are a frustrating necessity in the digital world.

Most OS or computer programmes require them in one form or another to let you know that whatever it is you have asked the software to do is actually being done or processed.  But a lot of the time they represent a “digital limbo”, offering little information into the actual progress of the task and often just implying that your computer has crashed.

Borne from the frustration of this, Raphael Vangelis (who admits to spending of his life “swearing at the computer because it’s crashed or isn’t working”) created this incredible animation, capturing well known loader icons and turning them “into something analogue and playful”.

The result is an homage to all the lost time we collectively spend in digital limbo in the hopes of sudden development on our screen.

How many can you recognise?

I got about half of them.  The rest I either didn’t recognise in time, or was simply mesmerised by the detail involved in crafting each one!

Be sure to take a look at some of Raphael’s other work, and of course the making of video for Analogue Loaders (which reveals the answers to what each of the icons where).

I certainly do not have the patience or tenacity involved for such detailed stop motion animation.  Bravo, Raphael!


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