I’m listening to the StarTalk podcast, “Science is Fierce” – where Neil deGrass Tyson does an episode on fashion in sci-fi. It’s fascinating stuff – talking about how sci-fi costuming gets incredibly dated almost immediately, because the best sci-fi costuming is simply today’s fashion, with only a little bit of ‘future’ mixed in. As it’s still mostly ‘of the time’, it dates just as quickly – Lieutenant Uhura’s gogo boots and miniskirt, for example!
I love things that glow; that flicker and twinkle, fade and pulse. Obviously then, I love LEDs! Soft circuitry and electronic clothing facinates me, but like great swathes of fashion, I’m convinced that they’re usually doing it wrong. The LEDs you see on clothing, frequently flashes, blinks or blinds – these LEDs I do not care for. How, and why, I made the gentle glowing LEDs above, is below.
- Unfortunately, not a photograph of my brain. Any free MRI’s gratefully accepted!
My mind is nearly overwhelmed by the sheer number of ideas bopping around in it – I’ll write them down here as a sort of pressure release valve:
Piezoelectric Energy Generation
Facinating stuff, inspired by fields of waving grasses in the wind. The sort of thing going around in my head is like this video of the beautiful, silky, wind-waveforms in crop fields. I only discovered today that wood is piezoelectric! As well as silk, bone, and other natural materials. Imagine breeding grasses for piezoelectric generation! From what I can see, they’ve not figured out why such natural materials would evolve to be piezoelectric generators, but the suspect it’s being used somewhere. My ideas are also inspired by hair/fur – each follicle connected to a nerve sending signals. I’ve got a piezoelectric element in the post, on the way here, to do experiments with.
(See previous post on colored silk). I’m not sure how the piezoelectric nature of silk works, but artificial silk doesn’t exhibit the same characteristics – we’ve not figured out that bit yet :)
3d Printing Stuff
Improving the design of my attempts at 3d printable vertical turbine blade elements. I’ve dabbled with this, but improvements can be made! Also, some new 3d printed containers for all the multitudes of game pieces that come with Mansions of Madness. So many little cardboard bits! Oh! And I also want to try a new version of the 3d printed spherical chocolate mold I was trying. I ate the (one and only) complete sphere I made today – I’l assembled it into a Cadbury’s style creme egg planet, with blue icing seas and green gel continents. I didn’t realize that the gel wouldn’t harden, so I only managed Asia, Africa and Europe. Australasia and the Americas were on the other side of the ball – sorry guys.
- Designing a new coat – there’s an Etsy shop that will custom make a coat, and I’m having a go of that.
- Getting a new Lilypad Arduino and some LEDs to potentially create some glowing appliqués.
- I’ve got Pokemon Black to play, and just received Okamiden through the post.
- Alpha Centauri is still whispering its planet-dream at me from the corner of the room too.
And that’s just today – a Wednesday. By the weekend, I’ll probably have more on the go!
Egg cups, dice, chocolate molds and sundries
I’ve had an operational 3d printer (a Thing-o-matic) for 10 days now, and already it’s changed how I look at, and how I live with, the world.
That sounds like a needlessly dramatic statement, but it’s really very close to the truth. Here’s how a 3d printer sneaks up on you, changes you, and gives you super-powers!
Illustration from 'First Men to the Moon' by Wernher von Braun
53 years ago, Wernher von Braun wrote a work of fiction called “First Men to the Moon”. In it, he described the training and equipment the main character John Mason goes though – and while many have written fiction on space exploration before and after, few can claim quite the expertise as von Braun – as he went on to be instrumental in building the Saturn V, and getting the United States to the moon.
The book came with amazing illustrations such as the one above, which Paleo-Future blog has been good enough to scan from this very out of print book. (There’s one more, and larger versions, at Paleo-Future). The diagrams, by Fred Freeman, speak of spacesuits of flexibility; tightly wrapped around wiry, dynamic astronauts – but those aren’t the boxy, bulky, almost comical suits that we’ve all seen. But fashion always comes around again, and maybe technology is catching up on Mr Freeman…