Shape Shop 3D Modelling Software

A nice 3D-modelling software is on its way, called Shape-Shop 3D. The interface looks very intuitive, drawing, creating and modelling is almost one and the same interaction pattern. The whole software can be downloaded for free. I wonder if they just called it shape shop for fun, or if they intented to make a pun on Photoshop?

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Tags: tools, 3d, modelling, creating, design
Dec_17:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Scribbler robot for kids to learn

The Scribbler-robot is a do-it-yourself learners suite for kids. The Roomba-like robot can hold a pen and leave a trace. You can learn to write things or just to play around. To code the robot, you can choose to use a graphical patching language, or turn into textual programming with PBASIC. Unfortunatelly I hadn't any hands on this yet, so I can't tell about the fun-of-use in that case. Robots that can write is an emergent topic, especially for beginners. Just check out the LMR writing challenge for more reading ant this topic.

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Tags: learning, kids, indoor, programming
Dec_11:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Christmas Toy Machine

Okay. Just because today is the 6th December, you get a nice Christmas card. It is a card of a cartoonist called Roy Doty from 1971 (see all cards here). I found this somehow charming and inspiring at the same time, so there you go:

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Tags: inspiration, card, machine, art
Dec_06:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Jollbot - Jump'n'rolling robot

A new kind of robot has been developed by Rhodri Armour, a PhD student from the University of Bath. It uses some kind of gravity-jumping technique, in combination with a sphere construction to move forward and change direction. The construction weight less than one kilogram. The ball-construction is quite stable, because the robot "can't fall on it's side".

Rhodri Armour says about the robot:

Others in the past have made robots that jump and robots that roll; but we’ve made the first robot that can do both. In nature there are two main types of jumping: hopping, like a kangaroo, which uses its fine control and direct muscle action to propel it along; and 'pause and leap', such as in a grasshopper, which stores muscle energy in spring-like elements and rapidly releases it to make the jump.
We’ve made a robot that jumps in a similar way to the grasshopper, but uses electrical motors to slowly store the energy needed to leap in its springy skeleton. Before jumping, the robot squashes its spherical shape. When it is ready, it releases the stored energy all at once to jump to heights of up to half a metre.

Tags: research, biomechanics, locomotion, jump, outdoor
Dec_05:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Modest Mouse - Dramamine

Hey, look. Aren't this robots?

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Tags: music, video, retro, vintage
Dec_05:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Hologram research

Now say what: Hologram research! You think visions from Star Trek are still far away? Then think twice. Because here we go with the latest insights into Hologram research.

The transparent pyramid - approach

The Cheoptics 360 is an invention from 2006 that was made by a team of Danish engineers and designers. It utilizes a four-sided transparent pyramid, so to develop a motion picture, that look "real" and "3D" from all point-of-views. So even if you wander around in the room.

The rotating mirror - approach

Much more charming is this here. It's a combination of a fast rotating mirror and a special projected animation from a videobeamer. In fact the computer generated animation of the computer is send through the beamer and synchronized to the rotation-speed of the mirror. The result is an optical illusion of a 3D-dimensional animation. I somehow really like this technique shown here, but you better not try to put your fingers into the hologram-animation. The researchers here used a special mirror, with a small degree of reflection. But maybe homebrewed experiments also could lead to some kind of selfmade hologram. Don't forget: at home you do it at your own risk!

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Tags: research, hologram, holodeck, display, 3d, indoor
Dec_03:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

Magnapinna Squid lives in the deepest ocean

Robotists take inspiration from nature and this is nature hidden deep below the surface. The Shell Oil Company shot this video of a Magnapinna squid with "elbows" in the deepest depths of a drilling site in the Gulf of Mexico.

The Magnapinna lives two and a half kilometers below the sea-surface and is mostly unattended by cameras. The video here was shot by a monitoring camera from a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) from the Shell Company, that was working on its site. Magnapinna seems very strange, though. It got "elbow"-like tentacles, with very long "feet", as well as strange elephant "ears". Scientists do not take this contact between working robot and squid as a significant scientific breakthrough, since the Magnapinna squid is known for longer. The story itself, nevertheless, got some unusual poetry at least we like to enjoy. Read the whole story at National Geographic.

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Tags: nature, sea, inspiration, research, biology
Nov_27:2008 .020200 Comments(0)

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