Tag: design

Breakthrough In Self-Healing Materials

Marek Urban and his team wrote about how they were able to give self-healing qualities to polymers that are used in relatively inexpensive commodities, such as paints, plastics and coatings.

The next step is to go from making small amounts in a lab to producing large quantities.

It’s not available at the industrial scale, but it’s very close,” said Urban, who is the J.E. Sirrine Foundation Chair and Professor in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering at Clemson.

Researchers have been making small batches of self-healing polymers for the last two decades, but producing them on a commercial scale has so far been largely cost prohibitive.

Urban said he and his team took advantage of interactions between co-polymers that he likened to spaghetti strands with little brushes on the side.




The longer the spaghetti strands get, the more they become entangled, he said. The side groups interlock like two interlaced hands, making it harder to pull them apart, Urban said.

At the same time, they like each other,” he said. “So, when you pull them out, they come back together. It becomes self-healable at that point.

As simple as this may sound, these studies also revealed that ubiquitous and typically weak van der Waals interactions in plastics, when oriented, will result in self-healing.

“This discovery will impact the development of sustainable materials using weak bonding which becomes collectively very strong when oriented.

Plants self-repair naturally.

What’s significant about his latest breakthrough is that if a company wanted to bring the technology to market, it would no longer have to build a new factory to produce self-healing polymers, Urban said.

Urban estimated that increasing the scale to make polymers or paints by the hundreds of gallons could be done in six to 12 months.

For anybody who wants to make these types of self-healing materials, they would have to essentially design a synthetic process and scale it up,” Urban said.

The key is that the scale-up process would have to be precisely controlled. There is a huge difference between making something in the lab and scaling it up. We know the technology is available for them.”

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YouTube’s Miniplayer Arrives To Keep You Watching While Browsing

In March, YouTube began testing two video multi-tasking desktop features that served the same function: to help you browse while watching.

It was clear then that a miniplayer was on the way. And seven months after the strictly limited A/B trials, YouTube is opting to bring picture-in-picture (PiP) playback to more users, according to 9to5 Google, which spotted it on Safari for Mac and Chrome OS while logged in and in Incognito mode

A new “Miniplayer” icon has been added at the bottom-right corner of video tools on YouTube.com. Clicking it will shrink and slot the video in that spot with its window displaying the title and publisher, while also marking playlists.




Hover over it and you’ll see a play button and the option to jump backwards and forwards in a playlist, with the seek bar inserted at the bottom of the video.

Fire up a playlist and a chevron in the bottom-right corner lets you view a list of what’s upcoming with the ability to jump around. There’s also extra controls for repeat and shuffle for music playlists.

Starting up the miniplayer will take you to your last visited page. Or, if you visit a video directly, PiP will take you to the YouTube home page.

Meanwhile, the close button in the upper-right corner will exit you out of the minimized window. Clicking on the window itself, however, will take take you to the full video page, while a right-click opens an options menu.

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Trump’s Space Force Logos Are Just As Dumb As Space Force, According Professional Designers

According to astronaut Mark Kelly and plenty of other experts, Donald Trump’s Space Force is, simply put, a pretty dumb idea.

Nonetheless, last night the president’s reelection campaign released a slew of possible Space Force logos–and they’re right in line with the stupefyingly bad design Trump’s team is known for.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence announced the Space Force concept last June, proposing a new branch of the military that will be aimed at space.

We are going to have the Air Force and we are going to have the Space Force, separate but equal,” Trump said at the time. The idea was met with widespread derision from Kelly and others, for several reasons.

The United States already has a Space Command. It’s been around since 1982. Space defense is also one of the U.S.




Air Force’s core missions, which currently involves monitoring space from natural and third-country threats, protecting military satellites, and foiling Mulder and Scully’s efforts to unveil an alien conspiracy to take over Earth.

Before we get to the logos, let’s take a moment to breathe, because these logos aren’t official in any way. They weren’t created by anyone at the Pentagon, NASA, or any other federal agency.

They were created by the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign PAC. And, as Parscale notes, they’re going to be used to “commemorate” the Space Force with a new “line of gear.”

In other words, this is for merch. Still, let’s take a look.

The first logo is a blatant copy of the current NASA logo, aka the “meatball,” which was designed by NASA employee James Modarelli, in 1959.

The Trump knockoff replaces the classic mid-century typeface with an anachronistic 1980s font, which itself bastardizes the beautiful NASA Worm logo, from 1975.

Meanwhile, the swoop is now an inexplicable shade of mustard, and space itself is now a red state. I guess it’ll match the MAGA hats?

The second logo returns to dark blue, eliminating the delta wing but retaining the white orbital line and some of the “stars” of the NASA logo.

It features a strangely stylized 1940s novella version of a rocket, its powerful engine fumes symbolized by . . . an inverted “flammable” icon. An oddly kerned, Art Deco-tinged typeface completes this atrocity.

Here we have what looks like a poor misrepresentation of the retired space shuttle trying to escape the deadly embrace of a red space snake. Your guess is as good as mine on this one.

Perhaps the most absurd aspect of this project is the fact that the Trump-Pence 2020 campaign is asking people to choose a logo for a military branch that doesn’t exist, and probably never will.

Even if Space Force–and the further needless spending on the military-aerospace-industrial complex it would enable–is realized, its identity will be developed according to the Pentagon’s standard government-contracting processes.

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Here’s Why Steve Jobs Never Let His Kids Use An iPad

New York University professor Adam Alter, author of ” Irresistible: The Rise of Addictive Technology and the Business of Keeping Us Hooked ,” explains why Steve Jobs never let his kids use an iPad.

“teve Jobs in 2010 was on the stage at the Apple event releasing the iPad and he described it as a wonderful device that brought you educational tools.

It allowed you to surf the web, it allowed you to watch videos, it allowed you to interact with other people. And he basically said it’s the best way to do all those things.




Two years later when he was asked “Your kids must love the iPad?” He said “Actually we don’t allow the iPad in the home. We think it’s too dangerous for them in effect.”

The reason why he said that was because he recognized just how addictive the iPad was as a vehicle for delivering things to people.

That once you had the iPad in front of you, or when you took it away from the home with you, you’d always have access to these platforms that were very addictive. That were hard to resist.

So where his kids were very well adapted, well adjusted, may not have been prime targets for say substance abuse, they like everyone else, are susceptible to the charms of something like an iPad and what it delivers.

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Can The Stircle Unseat Coffee Stirrers And Reduce Waste?

Consider the Stircle.

A new invention that aims to reduce the amount of waste surrounding your morning cup of coffee by replacing those wasteful stirrers with a small machine that spins your morning joe to mix in all your cream and sugar.

Although what might be more interesting is to consider all the chatter the Stircle is stirring up.

That’s where Scott Amron comes in. He’s a product designer and inventor of the Stircle. When you talk with Scott, you can hear that he really wants to try and make a positive impact on the world.




For years it’s bothered me that you use a stick or a plastic stick to stir your coffee,” said Amron, “it’s not just about the trash. It’s about the waste.”.

Amron’s talking about all the resources that go into making, transporting and storing those stirrers. To him, those little sticks are a big problem.

So he invented a small countertop device that spins drinks around, stops, then reverse spins to mix them. Technically, according to Amron, the drinks aren’t just spun.

Because people don’t put the drinks in exactly dead center, the contents rotate and oscillate. Plus, since the sides of the cup angle upwards, there is another dimension to the mix.

Amron says he built the Stircle with large coffee shop chains in mind and that the device can be installed by the milk and sugar for customers to use, or behind the counter for other drinks that need mixing by the barista.

It requires a plug, and Stircles can be daisy chained, so multiple ones at a single location don’t each require a separate plug.

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This Is The Psychological Reason You Can’t Stop Checking Your Phone

Whether you’re waiting for a train, a friend or the kettle to boil, the likelihood is that you’ll kill those brief moments by mindlessly scrolling or swiping across your phone screen.

And as soon as your phone pings or buzzes, do you immediately check it to see what exciting form of attention you’ve just been paid?

Does it annoy you when you’re in a meeting, feel your phone vibrate in your pocket, but know you can’t check it?

It’s a compulsive urge that many of us find hard to resist.

But according to Sharon Begley, author of Can’t Just Stop: An Investigation of Compulsions, there’s a psychological reason behind this.




Research from the 50s seemed to suggest that because dopamine is pleasurable, it’s pleasure to which people become addicted. But now we know better.

What’s emerged in the last few years is that the dopamine circuitry actually predicts how much you will like something and how much pleasure it will give you. Then it calculates how much reality corresponds to the prediction or falls short.

The emerging idea seems to be that when reality falls short, we feel a dopamine plunge. That feels bad, so we keep trying to do something that will make reality live up to expectations.

“That, to me, fits in with compulsions because these things we’re doing really aren’t that pleasurable. Rather, it’s the dopamine fuel, pleasure, and reward circuit that’s making us feel bad.

So what we get addicted to is not the actual rush of, say the comment you just received on your latest Instagram, but rather the anticipation of it – most of the time, actually reading that comment doesn’t live up to our expectations.

According to Begley, this means “we feel driven and compelled to keep trying, like one of these days it’s going to feel great. If it never does, then you’re in this essentially infinite dopamine loop.

Gaming is one of the prime examples of how such an addiction works, and there’s an ethical debate in the industry about whether it’s right to consciously get people hooked.

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Meet ELIA, A New Tactile Reading System

The top row shows a standard alphabet. The middle row shows ELIA. And the bottom row depicts braille.

In 1829, Louis Braille published the first book introducing the braille system—and while the applications of braille have been immense, the system still relies on the outdated technologies of the 1800s.

This company created a modern, efficient alternative that’s incredibly easy to learn for people who have a visual impairment.




ELIA letters—known as ELIA Frames—leverage modern printing technology and design principles to optimize each letter’s design and create easily identifiable characters.

According to this company, ELIA Frames on the standard Roman alphabet, since roughly 70% of the world’s population uses it to read and write.

ELIA emerging from a specialized printer.

 

Each ELIA Frame features an outer frame (circle, square, house) and interior elements that combine to form the main characteristics of standard alphabet letters.

Currently, the employment rate among individuals with visual impairment is at an estimated 43%. For those who read braille, that rate soars to 85%. ELIA can have the same benefit for the 99% who can’t read braille.

A tactile ELIA skin on top of a standard keyboard.

ELIA Frames can be learned tactilely in as little as 3 hours—and visually in a few minutes—since the font leverages a previously established alphabet.

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First Wattway Solar Road Pilot In US Pops Up In Rural Georgia

The first Wattway solar road pilot in America has popped up in rural west Georgia.

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation, named for sustainable manufacturing pioneer Ray Anderson, is testing renewable technologies along an 18-mile stretch of road, and recently installed 538 square feet of Colas‘ Wattway solar road system near the border between Georgia and Alabama.

Part of Georgia’s Interstate 85 was named for Anderson, but as over five million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted yearly on that road portion alone.

Anderson’s family felt placing his name there didn’t honor his legacy, and began to look into renewable technologies to clear the air – so to speak.




Thus began The Ray, an 18-mile living laboratory for clean technologies, including not only the solar roads, but also a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station, and WheelRight, a system people can drive over to test their tire pressure, which could lead to improved fuel inefficiency.

The first Wattway solar panel pilot is part of The Ray near a Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point, Georgia.

According to Wattway by Colas, the average expected output for the 538-square-meter pilot is anticipated to be 7,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which will help power the center.

And these technologies are just the beginning. The foundation will also construct bioswales, or shallow drainage ditches filled with native Georgia plants to capture pollutants during rain.

In a right-of-way space, they’ll build a one megawatt solar installation. They’re working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to bring such ideas to life along the 18-mile road stretch.

Not only will several of their projects beautify the highway, but will generate clean energy and bring in money for investors. And other parts of the state have shown interest in building their own Wattway roads.

The Ray executive director Allie Kelly dreams of a day when highways will “serve as a power grid for the future,” but she believes that day is coming sooner than we may think.

She told Curbed, “We’re at a tipping point in transportation. In five to ten years, we won’t remember a time when we invested a dime in infrastructure spending for a road that only did one thing.”

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Your Burning Questions About the Olympic Torch, Answered

John Mark, the last runner in the 1948 relay bringing the torch into Wembley Stadium.

After 101 days of traveling by plane, train, automobile, Korean warship, zipline and even robot, the Olympic torch will finally reach the site of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Last Friday, a lucky honoree will use it to light the Olympic cauldron in a grand, symbolic start to the games.

While the blaze looks like any other, its origins are special: It was lit not with matches or a Zippo lighter, but with a parabolic mirror, echoing rituals from Ancient Greece.

To brush up on algebra, a parabola is a particular type of arc that is defined by the exact curvature of its sides.

Mathematically, these symmetrical curves all take some form of the equation, Y = X^2. Revolve a parabola around its axis, and you have the shape of a parabolic mirror.

Unlike most curves, which scatter incoming light in many directions, the reflected beams bounce from a parabola and all concentrate to one point, the focus.




These reflective surfaces are used in a number of devices to concentrate not only reflected light, but also sound or radio waves.

Satellite dishes, some types of microphones, reflecting telescopes and even car headlights benefit from the reflective properties of parabolic dishes.

In the case of the Olympics, when the sun shines on a parabolic dish, known to the ancient Greeks as a Skaphia or crucible, the rays all bounce off its sides and collect at one blazing hot point.

Put a piece of paper—or a gas torch—in that focal point, and you get fire.

A lone parabolic dish does a decent job heating things up, achieving temperatures of at least hundreds of degrees.

That’s really very easy to reach,” says Jeffrey Gordon, professor of physics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

Some may even be able to reach temperatures in the thousands of degrees, says Jonathan Hare, a British physicist and science communicator.

You can see the inner pilot light in the London 2012 torch through the perforations in the metal.

Hare has witnessed parabolic mirrors vaporize carbon, something that only happens at temps over 2,000 degrees Celsius

If conditions are absolutely ideal, light can be concentrated to match the same temperature as its source, Gordon explains. In the case of the sun, that means that the upper temperature limit when concentrating its rays is around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

No matter what you do, no matter how brilliant you are, you can never bring any object on Earth to a higher temperature [by concentrating sunlight],” says Gordon.

But, of course, conditions are never ideal. First, some of that heat is lost to the atmosphere.

Then, some is absorbed into your reflective surface, and still another fraction is scattered away due to imperfections in the mirror.

The parabola is a good concentrator but not a perfect concentrator,” Gordon adds.

Gordon’s research is focused on pushing the limits of sun concentration to the max.

A backup Olympic flame from the Vancouver Games

Using multiple concentrating mirrors, his lab has achieved temperatures of nearly 3,000 degrees Celsius, applying the heat for a range of feats, including a sun-powered surgical laser and a reactor for creating nanomaterials.

But now, at some truly blistering temps, he has a different problem.

We start to destroy everything,” he says.

In the case of Olympic torch lighting, the issues are somewhat more mundane. For one, there’s the potential for clouds.

In the days leading up to the modern torch lighting ceremony at the ancient temple of Hera in Olympia, the organizers light a flame in a parabolic dish, just in case clouds obscure the sun on the day of the ceremony.

The preparedness proved useful at this year’s event, which took place on the drizzly morning of October 24, 2017.

The original torch used in the Berlin 1936 Games.

People have practiced the concentration of the sun’s rays for thousands of years. The most famous example of solar concentration comes from 212 B.C. during the siege of Syracuse, Greece.

The Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes used the parabolic mirror, so the story goes, to deter a fleet of approaching ships, crafting a solar death ray using panels of what was likely polished bronze.

Though there’s reason to doubt the veracity of these somewhat fantastical claims—including a failed MythBusters’ attempt to replicate the feat—the ancient Greeks did have a handle on the magic of these special curves.

The first torches used in the games were modeled after ancient designs, writes Chapoutot. Built by the Krupp Company, Germany’s largest armament producer, each one only burned for 10 minutes.

The torches used today have come a long way.

In recent years, organizers have opted for high-tech features to keep the flame lit, no matter the weather.

This year’s torch, dreamed up by Korean designer Young Se Kim, has four separate walls to ensure the flame can withstand winds up to 78 mph.

It also has a tri-layered umbrella-like cover to prevent rain from extinguishing the blaze. It can even withstand temperatures down to -22 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to its internal circulation system.

If the flame goes out en route, support is always nearby with backup fire lit by parabolic mirror to swiftly relight it. Though the flame has averted major disasters this year, its robot transporter almost tipped over.

Organizers rushed to right the bot, preserving the flame.

So during last friday’s opening ceremony, as the Olympic cauldron is lit, take a moment to appreciate the fire that roared to life under a glowing bath of concentrated rays of sunlight.

As Greek archaeologist Alexander Philadelphus described during the planning of the first torch relay, the warm glow wasn’t lit by modern mechanics, but rather came directly from Apollo, “the god of light himself.”

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U.S. Bank Stadium In Minnesota Has Interesting Technology

With construction now complete, U.S. Bank Stadium will soon open its doors.

Those doors might not be what the stadium is most known for, but maybe they should be.

Since the beginning, all the way from design through construction, the stadium’s clear, see-through roof has been the headliner grabbing all the attention.

Which has caused the stadium’s doors to sort of slip under the radar. Which is kind of incredible.

Because on any other stadium, they’d be the star.




Passing through a door like this is like nothing else you’ve ever experienced,” Berg said.

Doors are about transition. You go from a bright sunny day like today, to a dark interior. [But] that’s not what these doors are like. You don’t know whether you’re inside or outside.

“It’s the absolute absence of contrast. That confuses you.

Rotating on hydraulic pistons, they are the five largest pivoting glass doors in the world, 55 feet wide and ranging from 75 to 95 feet high, consisting of 30,000 square feet of glass from Owatonna, attached to door frames manufactured in Tennessee, and weighing, altogether, 40,000 tons.

The Vikings initially thought the NFL might need to create a new policy for their first-in-the-league doors, similar to the one for opening and closing retractable roofs.

But the NFL informed the Vikings in May that its existing retractable roof and wall policy applies: The Vikings must make a decision — doors open or doors closed — at least 90 minutes before kickoff.

As for the factors that will go into that decision? The Vikings are planning to do some testing to determine what happens when the doors are open. Any wind, or other impact?

I think they might have an effect,” Berg said. “Certainly the architects know that there’s a ventilation effect, to having the doors open.

“I suppose there’s a chance that that might affect the game, [for example] the flight of a field goal kick.”

If that ever happens, no doubt the doors would surpass the roof as the U.S. Bank Stadium’s most famous feature.

Well the doors are a little underrated,” Berg said.

Berg’s book is available for pre-order right now from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, or the Vikings website.

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