Robotic skin can animate objects

October 22, 2018

Scientists at Yale University have developed a robotic skin that can be applied to inanimate objects seemingly bringing them to life. The elastic “skin” sheets are embedded with a variety of sensors and actuators capable of animating the legs of a stuffed animal or causing a foam tube to flex. This type of robotic technology …

Eco-friendly, acoustic panels made of hemp husks

October 18, 2018

Russian design studio Aotta presents a new sound-absorbing and lightweight panel made of hemp husks. A completely organic material, the husks are routinely disposed of as useless waste. That means the material is a cheap resource. Aotta’s hemp husk panels are a naturally porous membrane for absorbing sound reflections, and it can regulate the humidity …

Researchers investigate seeds’ natural “armor”

October 8, 2018

Biomimicry has revealed ways that nature can be copied to create new products and improve existing ones. Recently, a team of researchers from the University of New Hampshire in the U.S. has shown how the seed coats of certain plants could help in the development of flexible materials that are strong and resilient. An article …

Printing 3D sand: strength and design freedom in concrete

August 20, 2018

Researchers in Switzerland have fabricated a lightweight 80-square-meter concrete slab ceiling that uses 3D sand printing for its formwork. The ceiling consists of 11 segments of Smart Slab, which is 20 millimeters at its thinnest point and is reported to be less than half the weight of a conventional concrete ceiling, although even at half …

Giant space blanket serves a communal purpose

August 6, 2018

Moscow-based designer Alex Shtanuk will be contributing a piece of space travel nostalgia to the 2018 Burning Man gathering later this summer in the Black Rock Desert of Nevada, while giving festival attendees a place to escape the desert heat. A giant “space blanket” will provide a casual place for festival goers to find a …

Functioning QR codes are woven into a jacket

July 23, 2018

Artist Julie Helles Ericksen has created a jacket with QR codes woven into it that can access digital information as the wearer shares it. According to Ericksen, “We communicate to others through what we wear, what we post on social media and what we choose to hide. We curate ourselves to present different versions.” Ericksen …

Wearable controller tracks hand and finger gestures

July 10, 2018

A hand-wearable device called Kai enables the wearer to control any digital device by tracking hand and finger gestures. Human augmentation start-up Vicara has created the device, a smart band that fits over the hand, that’s meant to increase productivity. Kai features gesture-based computer interaction technology that is compatible with any bluetooth-enabled device, including laptops, …

Facial recognition technology used in adidas display

June 25, 2018

Adidas has commissioned designer Behnaz Farahi to create a display case with the ability to “read” facial expressions and respond to them. According to the designer, the emotive display called “Mesolite” was designed to showcase an adidas concept shoe. The name is a reference to Mesolite crystals, which it closely resembles in its appearance. The project is …

Textile art pays homage

June 19, 2018

Textile artist Tamara Kostianovsky’s latest creations, a series called Tree Stumps, uses strips of fabric gleaned from her late father’s clothing. The intricately layered detailed forms are an allusion to her father’s body returning to the environment after his passing. Kostianovsky was inspired by Andean people who believe that Mother Earth is embodied in the surrounding …

Fabric has user-controlled color and pattern function

June 11, 2018

The College of Optics and Photonics (CREOL) at the University of Central Florida (UCF) announces that it has produced a fabric that allows the user to change the color or pattern of the fabric via smartphone. According to the university, CREOL’s ChroMorphous technology can be applied to large, woven fabrics and cut-and-sewn textile products. Each …