Touch & go

Easy Monitoring


Students at Brigham Young University created a pretty genius way for parents to keep an eye on their newborn’s vitals while they sleep. Owlet is a little bootie that fits comfortably onto babies’ feet, and includes sensors and an accelerometer. It connects to an app on parents’ smartphones, giving a visual read-out of the baby’s oxygen level, heart rate, skin temperature, sleep quality, and sleep position. The project was recently successfully crowdfunded, and plans to share essential gathered data with researchers working on SIDS.

Silken House


Studies in MIT Media Lab’s Mediated Matter group have led to a silkworm-created structure reminiscent of a geodesic dome. After researching the behaviors and patterns of silkworms, the group created a CNC program based on their findings which wove together a base frame with overlapping threads. 6500 silkworms were then released onto the structure and guided with light to reinforce the form, covering it with silk. See the incredible process video here.

Musical Play


Artist and designer Francois Chambard teamed up with UM Project to create a collection of 12 sculptural theremins, each of which has its own lovely character. The theremins all have the requisite antenna, knobs and interior electronics, constructed of wood and metal, with pops of color and engaging flourishes. All will be on display, and will be periodically performed, at Judith Charles Gallery, NYC through November 10.

Heartbeats Unlock Doors

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Soon you may never have to remember a password again. Nymi is a new bracelet device that measures and syncs with your unique pulse, connecting via bluetooth to various locked electronics (computer, car, phone, etc) – virtually unlocking them with your heartbeat. Put it on, and it registers your electrocardiogram (EKG), synching it with a connected smartphone app that authenticates you, allowing for access to your devices. The future is not far away – it will be available for purchase in 2014.


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Government websites are typically hard to navigate, loaded down with information and legal speak. So its refreshing to see New York moving in a direction toward usability, with the launch of the new this month. The site has slimmed down much of the information into more digestible sections, directing users quickly to 311 links and resources. Immediate information that impacts residents is much more accessible – all the fun stuff about parking, garbage collection, school closures, and updates on the MTA.

Rove Where You Want To

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When traveling, many of us have happened upon a cafe or shop that turned out to be amazing – but the next time we’re in the area, have trouble remembering exactly where it is. Rove is a new app that may help solve this issue – turn it on, and it passively & privately tracks where you go, how you get there, and how long you stay. Add notes or photos to places you want to remember or share. Its a great new kind of travel journal.

Found History


A wonderful resource of vintage photography is being published on a daily tumblr, as National Geographic celebrates its 125th anniversary with “Found.” Many of the photos are unpublished or have rarely been seen, providing a great historical glimpse into various cultures and pastimes (image above of Rio de Janeiro, 1955). If you fall in love with something – much of the imagery can be purchased in print form here.

Sound to Light

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“Murmur” is an installation that shows sounds in beautiful, enlightened visual form on a wall. Created by collaborators Chevalvert, 2Roqs, Polygraphik and Splank, the device allows users to talk, mumble, sing into a cone connected to an LED strip, which leads to a wall. As sounds are directed into the cone, in response lights travel up the strip to produce a reactive light show on the wall. Check out Murmur in use here.

Skin Temps


When checking for a fever, we innately feel someone’s forehead for heat. This is because the skin’s temp gives a great read on what’s going on with the rest of the body, saying “something very meaningful about your physiological status and health.” To measure that  – a research team at the University of Illinois has developed an electronic tattoo, which attaches to the skin and accurately reads changes in temp. The gold wire electronic stamp attaches to the skin with water, and has embedded sensors that watch how heat flows through the bloodstream.

Color Train


Japanese artist Yuri Suzuki created a wonderful installation this summer at Mudam Luxembourg. Endearing little robots, programmed to follow a black line track, play different musical tunes when passing over user-colored regions. Giant rolls of white paper were laid down, along with markers and a number of the “Color Chaser” robots, each a simple white form on wheels, with different speaker shapes. As the bots pass over different colors, they play a variety of sounds – from drums to bass and melodies.


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