Philips Hue ’16 Million Moments’

My mate Lucy Tcherniak has just mastered her most recent piece of work, for consumer tech giants Philips and their Wi-fi enabled lighting range Hue – which are remote control light bulbs that can augment the mood of a room via your mobile phone:

The blurb:

Discover just some of the millions of ways to use light with Philips Hue. from helping you relax or concentrate to reminding you of that perfect sunset or bringing a bedtime story to life. it can even tell you if it’ll rain later.

Earlier this year, Ars Technica ran a piece on the Hue’s free to use API & SDK, which have expanded the usefulness of these genius devices through third-party apps such as IFTTT. The article describes the full spectrum of 16 million colours, indicated below:

Philips Hue Full Spectrum

Now, of the available 16 million colours, Lucy chose to feature just 16 in her film, which highlighted at least a few cool use-cases for the Hue range. For example, adjusting from yellow to white light to improve concentration while studying, or the reverse when settling in for a quiet night on the sofa, sampling the colours of a vase of flowers to suit the room they’ll live in, reminding you to take an umbrella in the morning, or making home media more immersive for the viewer.

I can think of a few more, such as adaptive to music streaming from my Sonos, or as an alarm system for a gradual morning wake up, or flashing blue when I have a Twitter mention during a TV show. Cool system, cool advert. Not sure when it will appear on screen but I think it might make it onto a few people’s Xmas lists. I’ll certainly be asking for one!

Philips LivingColors Gen 3 Aura Black 70998/30/PU Colour Changing Mood Lamp with Remote Control  is £49.99 on Amazon.

50 Years of the LED

Today is the 50th birthday of the first practical LED, an invention built on an understanding that has transformed our lives: enabling cheap, mass-produced and very hardy display and lighting technologies.

A while back, GE produced a great piece of branded content featuring its inventor, Prof. Nick Holonyak, where he offers some insight into the moment that his light emitting diodes were first conceived:

He leaves us with the advice to “Learn more, do more, build more, reveal more”, which doesn’t take a physicist to know is just brilliant advice for life, for ‘inventors’ of all kinds.

“And you know what? This isn’t the end!”

Are You Ready For Your Close Up, Miss Colada?

BevShots have discovered what you’d call a niche: they take your favourite alcoholic drink, crystallise a single droplet of it in an airtight container, photograph it at 1000x under a microscope, and then sell the resulting image on a printed canvas.

And man, are these things selling! Since August last year BevShots estimate sales of over 20,000 prints ($24.99-$549). The product is aimed at the ‘hedonist with a mind for science’ segment: those who appreciate good photography, laboratory conditions and a damn-tasty cocktail now and then.

Here’s my favourite image, the classic Vodka and Tonic:

The shots are taken in Florida State University’s chemistry department, where founder Lester Hutt developed the approach, which can take up to three months to produce an image.

Lester says:

“What you can see in the magnified pictures are the crystalised carbohydrates that have become sugars and glucose. With my background in chemistry, I saw the potential in these kind of pictures and am so glad to be able to offer them up as art works. It is a pleasure to show people what makes up their favourite drinks and how beautiful it can look.”

Most alcohols are blends, with varying levels of carbohydrates, sugars, acids and glucose, so each shot taken is entirely different from the last. Some favourite drinks are so pure that when they crystallise  into their component parts, they fall apart or don’t dry out properly. So, not unlike the perfect Margarita, they’re pretty hard to get ‘just right’, sometimes taking up to 200 attempts.

Here’s some more of their work – click through for the full images or visit BevShots.

I’m thirsty! Who’s for a drink?

3D Printing in Iron Man 2

3D printing was used to great effect in Iron Man 2. Jason Lopes, a systems engineer at Legacy Effects, talks about using Objet Geometry’s 3D printing technology. The printer uses an ink cartridge of powdered plastic to print an ultra-thin layer, which is then “cured” using ultraviolet light and swabbed with paint as a finishing touch. From concept to prototype, the process takes mere hours.

Audi in Trafalgar Square

The London Design Festival has commissioned Clemens Weisshaar and Reed Kram to design this year’s Trafalgar Square installation. The installation titled OUTRACE consists of an immense mechanical octopus assembled from six industrial robotic arms on loan from Audi’s production line. Custom software developed by the designers will allow members of the public to temporarily take over the installation and render text input as light traces drawn by the synchronized mechanical tentacles. The resulting light paintings will be recorded using specialized high definition video equipment and published online.