Festo Builds A Bionic Kangaroo

Festo Bionic Kangaroo

Biomimetics, the imitation of the models, systems, and elements of nature for the purpose of solving complex human problems, will be a huge field in the years to come. We’ve seen it in science fiction films and slowly but surely we’re starting to see it in real life. To that end, Festo, a robotics company, has made a bionic kangaroo.

On the artificial kangaroo, Festo intelligently combines pneumatic and electrical drive technology to produce a highly dynamic system. The stable jump kinematics plus the precise control technology ensure stability when jumping and landing. The consistent lightweight construction facilitates the unique jumping behaviour. The system is controlled by gestures.

Bobby Solomon

April 15, 2014 / By

Zack Dougherty’s Tech Art Reflexive GIFs

Zack Dougherty GIF Art Portland 7

Zack Dougherty GIF Art Portland 9

Of course the best way to comment on the current state of art and technology has to be through a GIF. What other form could it take? A website? A painting? No: a GIF. (Or perhaps a single channel video on a flat television, a la Brian Bress?) Portland artist Zack Dougherty is colliding classical art with very forward focused technologies that come together in retro future GIFs. They’re mesmerizing and dark, perhaps admonishing the dwindling talents of contemporary artists.

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April 7, 2014 / By

Is Google The Most Innovative Company of 2014?


A few weeks ago Fast Company published an article naming the 50 most innovative companies of 2014, claiming that their “staff has spent more than six months gathering and analyzing data.” Landing at the top of the heap was Google, the worlds leading search engine operator who uses our information to sell display ads to corporations. Here’s Fast Company’s take on Google.

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Bobby Solomon

March 17, 2014 / By

3D printed vessels created from distorting algorithms

M Plummer Fernandez - Digital Natives

M Plummer Fernandez is a South East London artist who uses computers to push the boundaries of industrial design. I came across these pieces he made titled Digital Natives where 3D scanned a series of traditional objects and then abstracted and distorted them, turning them into new objects.

Everyday items such as toys and a watering can are 3D scanned using a digital camera and subjected to algorithms that distort, abstract and taint them into new primordial vessel forms. In some cases only close inspection reveals traces inherited from their physical predecessors. These are then 3D printed on a z-corp printer.

Vessels are arguably the lowest common denominator for man-made objects across all cultures, these objects however have no storage function other than to embody the stored digital data that describes them.

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Bobby Solomon

February 3, 2014 / By

Peek, An Unconventional Calendar App

Peek-Photo7 edit There are so many calendar apps on the App Store, its no wonder people tend to just stick to the stock Calendar app. Some are swiss army knives of calendar editing with their variety of tools for management and input while some just look pretty. Finding a preference can be exhausting.

The new app Peek, from San Francisco/Tallinn-based Square Mountains, makes that process easier. It has nearly all the granularity a calendar nut asks for – while wrapped in a colorfully minimal, gesture-based design. And though it’s designed for a specifically mobile purpose, Peek might be as close as it gets to a well-rounded calendar app.

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January 31, 2014 / By

Technology & Law & Order

Jeff Thompson Law And Order Technology 1

Don’t know why but I’ve recently taken to starting from the beginning and watching Sex & The City thanks to HBO GO. Aside from embarrassing hair and questionable habits, a big thing that has drawn me into the show is its use of technology. The girls are constantly calling their voicemails to see if anyone called them and Carrie’s laptop is an increasingly less bulky black proto-Macbook. It’s a funny moving time capsule.

Artist Jeffery Thompson has noticed this too—but in Law & Order. That show is one that has been on longer and has spanned into all sorts of spinoffs, covering everything from juries to special victims. What L&W has that S&TC doesn’t is a more urgent need to use technology, that they need these machines to help solve crimes and therefore must include them in more episodes. Thus, Thompson figured that he would study the over ten year tenure of the show as a better time capsule—and he’s logged every computer screen on the show.

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January 29, 2014 / By

Squarespace Logo offends designers, rationality goes out window

Squarespace Logo

Earlier today Squarespace launched a new feature to their site called Squarespace Logo, a WYSWIG editor that allows people to create their own logos. Within minutes my Twitter stream (of mostly designers) was a flood of snark and anger, some claiming that the company had “badly fucked up” and that it “perpetuates design as throwaway“. Of course, as designers, everyone had to start using the logo maker to make “Fuck you Squarespace” logos, because that’s constructive. Deep breaths everyone, deep breaths.

Historically, most forms of art have some sort of “disruption”. Digital cameras turned everyone into a photographer, Photoshop turned everyone into a designer, and now Squarespace is stealing the food from your children’s mouths. Here’s what’s really happening. They’ve created a tool that let’s non-designers and people who don’t know designers create a simple mark for their business. This is a tool for people who don’t have the money to hire people like us to make them fancy logos. Hell, maybe they don’t even have the fancy taste level we designers have. And that’s ok.

A big part of being a designer is being confident in your skills and knowing that people will hire you for those skills. If you feel like a computer program can do the same level of work that you’re currently doing maybe that’s a signal to brush up on those skills? I think this tweet by Derek Huber sums things up rather nicely, “They may have the tools, but that doesn’t give them taste that we, as designers, sharpen and hone”. Well said.

Let’s keep on doing what we’re damn good at.

Bobby Solomon

January 22, 2014 / By

Matthew Williamson’s Emoji GIFs

Matthew Williamson Emojo Gif Art 1

Emojis are bomb dot com. Who doesn’t like emojis? Show me that person and I will show them a light slap to the side of the head because emojis are the best. How else would I drunkenly text that I am enjoying drinking red wine without a yellow sunglass wearing face and a cartoonish glass of wine? Emojis, dudes and dudettes.

Artist Matthew Williamson must agree because he shares some crazy emoji artwork online. These aren’t just creations made in honor of emojis: these are off-the-wall, batshit crazy .gifs that collide emojis at each other in the funniest of ways. They are incredibly recognizable and are effortlessly cool: there is nothing to dislike about Williamson’s emoji .gifs.

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January 22, 2014 / By