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Showing 4 posts tagged data

How can we know the size, composition, and atmospheric makeup of distant exoplanets? NASA explains the details in this Alien Atmospheres video. 

By observing periodic variations in the parent star’s brightness and color, astronomers can indirectly determine an exoplanet’s distance from its star, its size, and its mass. But to truly understand an exoplanet astronomers must study its atmosphere, and they do so by splitting apart the parent star’s light during a planetary transit. 

Watch more astronomy videos, including Measuring the Universe and The Hubble Ultra Deep Field.

via Boing Boing.

In a time of flat touch screens, Daniel Leithinger and Sean Follmer, with Professor Hiroshi Ishii of MIT’s Tangible Media Group, have re-focused on tactile digital interfaces by pairing a motion sensing input device with a table made of 900 physical “pixels” to create inFORM, a shape-shifting 3-D display. From FastCoDesign

It’s basically a fancy Pinscreen, one of those executive desk toys that allows you to create a rough 3-D model of an object by pressing it into a bed of flattened pins. With inFORM, each of those “pins” is connected to a motor controlled by a nearby laptop, which can not only move the pins to render digital content physically, but can also register real-life objects interacting with its surface thanks to the sensors of a hacked Microsoft Kinect.

With this budding technology, remote users could interact with physical objects from a distance, or digital content and data (maps, geographical models, architectural plans, etc) could be displayed and interacted with dynamically. Just imagine how this could work with a “higher resolution” — even just 2x or 10x the amount of “pixels” responding. How will you use it?

via FastCoDesign.

File under laser scanners, 3D printers and dinosaur bones… not so surprisingly a great combination, as introduced by Dr. Kenneth Lacovara of Drexel University:

"For years and years, vertebrate paleontologists have really been confined to working with the shapes, with the morphology, of bones and with skeletons, as you can see behind me here. And our hypotheses about how these ancient animals lived and moved was based on how we could put these bones together in the physical world.

"And now for the first time in the history of paleontology, we’re able to move beyond those methods and into this virtual landscape where we can test our biomechanical hypotheses in rigorous ways that were never possible before."

In February 2012, Dr. Lacovara’s paleontology department teamed up with the University’s engineering department to scan their fossils to make 3D models that could be made into fully working arms and legs. Wrap some engineered muscles around those… add more parts… and perhaps we’ve got the most accurate robot dinosaur ever made!

To read more, check out Printing dinosaurs: the mad science of new paleontology, from The Verge, July 2012.

How does the internet work?! The World Science Festival explains it…

The video lets you ride shotgun with a packet of data—one of trillions involved in the trillions of Internet interactions that happen every second. Look deep beneath the surface of the most basic Internet transaction, and follow the packet as it flows from your fingertips, through circuits, wires, and cables, to a host server, and then back again, all in less than a second.

via Vidque.

The WCF in the archives: Bobby McFerrin demonstrates the power of the pentatonic scale.