Archive for the 'Inspirational' Category

The Big Life Fix

I sketch, scribble, and make written notes almost every day.  Whether it’s as part of my job as a lighting designer or a subconscious doodle waiting for a train, doing something with a pen in my hand is something that I take for granted.  And most of us do too I’m sure.

Emma is a graphic designer with Parkinson’s disease which causes uncontrollable tremors, meaning that she can’t write or draw.

Designer and Technologist Haiyan Zhang and the team at Microsoft Research set about trying to solve this problem and the result is just incredible.

Emma’s story is just one of many that is addressed in the first episode of The Big Life Fix on BBC Two.  Watch it here.

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Robotica

Absolutely astonishing. The truly incredible story of a present day bionic man.

The remarkable and moving story of Les Baugh.  Robotica.

Les Baugh lost his arms as a teenager in an electrical accident and, with help from engineers at Johns Hopkins and their Revolutionizing Prosthetics program, has become the first bilateral shoulder level amputee to wear and simultaneously control two Modular Prosthetic Limbs.

Essentially, it is a robotic prosthetic that Les can control with his mind as if it were a real limb.  Wow!

It’s really amazing to see him, if he had a chance to use these more often he would be unstoppable.

The video is a little longer than I usually post, but it is totally worth watching the whole thing.  Enjoy.

01 April 2015

Another April Fools’ Day and another chance for companies to try and catch you out with increasingly believable and creative jokes, and this year was no exception.

With efforts spanning across the spectrum from the likes of  Kiss FM (who didn’t really seem to understand April Fools’ Day), to Santander who seemingly forgot and hashed together a last minute Photoshop effort (albeit not a bad idea!), to the usual big contenders that demonstrated superb efforts.

The Guardian
One of the first stories to break this morning was the announcement that former Top Gear presenter Jeremy Clarkson had joined the Guardian team backing the campaign for fossil fuel divestment.  Following the recent “fracas” Clarkson is hoping to “regain the trust of the British public” by “dedicating his time and financial resources to sustainable energy, road safety and forging mutual understanding and tolerance between people of different cultures and religions”.  Very good!

clarkson guardian


Google
As ever, Google lead the way in brilliant April Fools releases.  My day started with the introduction of com.google for a suitably confusing stunt before I even realised what day it was!

com google geek

 

com google bbc

Then building on the success of the Google Maps Pokémon Challenge last year the real winner of today comes in the form of Google Maps – Pac-Man.  Head over to Google Maps, click the Pac-Man icon in the bottom left et voilà!  I wonder how many hours people lost today playing that – it really is superb!

google maps pac man2

You can play anywhere in the world that has enough roads to constitute a level and, as Wired pointed out, the Taj Mahal even offers a Pac-Man-esque level layout.

google maps pac man1


Virgin

Another big name brand that took part today was Virgin.  After discovering that his great-great-uncle founded the city of Branson, Missouri, Richard Branson has announced that he is moving the Virgin Group back to the American city where it all began.

The plan includes moving Virgin America, Virgin Hotels, and Virgin Limited Edition.

A number of other jokes caught my eye throughout the day as well.

Marmite Clear
A mere 15 years in the making and we now have a clear version of everyone’s favourite love it or hate it spread.  Apparently, psychologists say “eating dark-coloured foods for breakfast can provoke feelings of negativity” whereas this “light” and “positive” version “will keep you feeling chirpy all day long”.

Marmite Clear


SketchUp

Google’s SketchUp announced an improved user experience with the addition of Adventure Mode.


Monument by Fabian Cancellara
Pro cycling Team Trek Factory announced a new scent for the top step of the podium with Monument by Fabian Cancellara aka Spartacus!  Prepare to smell like victory.

Monument

 

The Kimsicle
The rather disturbing “Kimsicle” was announced this morning as a new “buttock-enhancing” marshmallow ice cream lolly inspired by “Kim Kard-ass-ian” from The Licktators.

Kimsicle


Left-Handed Bike Horn

The When I Was A Kid toy store in Cambridge announced the development of a left-handed bike horn.  Available for a mere £5 “at last all cyclists are equal when it comes to their safety”.

left handed horn

 

Hailo Piggyback
For when a taxi is just too much why not get a piggy back around town?

Hailo
How many fooled you?

 

Bioluminescent Forest

I’ve seen projection mapping on lots of physical objects and defined surfaces before, but this is the first instance I’ve seen it interacting with nature and the result is really rather beautiful.

moss_dots

Photographer Tarek Mawad and animator Friedrich van Schoor spent six weeks on location to create the Bioluminescent Forest.  Immersed in nature it gives a glimpse into their imaginations if all elements of the forest had the ability to emit bioluminescent light.

As ever, worth hitting full screen on this one.

The drops of liquid light falling on the toadstools at around 2:15 is one of my favourite effects.

The final video is magical and ethereal mix, a “wonderland of blinking and twinkling organisms” that bring life to the more static areas of the forest.

Burning_Leaves

It must have taken high levels of patience to deal with the accuracy required, but the result is impressively worthwhile.

Ufo_Mushroom

They personified the forest to accentuate the natural beauty by creating luring luminescent plants and glowing magical mushrooms that speaks volumes to any visitor that enters the minds of the artists through viewing “bioluminescent forest”

Round_Mushrooms

Using pretty much just a laptop, a projector and a digital SLR camera “everything you see was created live, without any effects added in post-production”.

Toad

Behind the scenes footage can be seen here.

Sparked

Lately it seems that drones are encroaching on everyday life more and more.  From security and warfare, to sight-seeing, Amazon deliveries, and, of course, good ol’ fashioned fun.

The word “drone” often seems to have a somewhat negative connotation to it, though this video definitely proves otherwise.  It falls into the latter category I mentioned, albeit with a touch more finesse and coordination than your average RC helicopter user crashing into trees at the park.

any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic

Sparked was performed live with perfectly synchronised human and drone quadcopter interactions to conjure up the magic of lampshades flying into life around an electrician who is working late into the night.

No CGI.  No post-production.  100% live and awesome.

The production was a collaboration between the incredibly famous Cirque du Soleil (if you ever get the chance to go to a show then you must), ETH Zurich, and Verity Studios.

For more information on the technology they used, and how they came to use lighting integrated into lamp shades see the video below.

Great work all round.

The Putter

In the modern age of mass manufacture Shaun Bloodworth has eloquently put together a short film of the work at Ernest Wright & Son Ltd.

Specifically of Cliff Denton, The Putter.

 the Putter

(vb) a putter-togetherer of scissors

The company has been making scissors and shears by hand for over 100 years and you can bet that they’ll be the best pair of scissors you’ve ever owned.  And they’d probably last several generations too.

Who knew such beauty and perfection existed crafting a pair of scissors?

Via The Kid Should See This.

Fail Fast

I can definitely vouch for this.

fail_fast

Delete ‘failure’ from your dictionary.  Go run some experiments instead.

Fail Fast is part of James Greig’s A-Z Of Startup Lingo.


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