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DNA collected from YOUR trash made into 3D printed portraits

Posted by admin on Jun 19, 2013 in geekery, random, technology

3D DNA shot ZaraStone c2013

3D Printed heads created from DNA sampling in NYC. Artist Dewey- Hagborg working with Russian Police to solve crimes.

Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg’s 3D portraits are unnerving. They were made using DNA samples she extracted from discarded cigarette butts and chewing gum. She collected these samples from public spaces in New York City. Basically, that means that any of her portraits could be YOU, as collecting DNA from public spaces is currently 100% legal.

So, what’s the process- how exactly does one go from trash to these realistic 3D portraits?

Dewey-Hagborg uses her background in science to extract DNA from the samples she collects in Brooklyn’s GenSpace lab. She then uses genetic markers (taken from single nucleotide polymorphisms) to map out physical attributes such as eye color and skintone. Once she has the results back, she maps out the face with 3D modelling software, and then sends that to get printed on a 3D printer.

There are currently no laws around public usage of DNA collected from a communal area.

heather dewey hagborg studio

“It is not likely be legislated for twenty years,” said lawyer Philippa Loengard, Assistant Director of the Kernochan Center for Law, Media and the Arts. “This area is so avant-garde. However, if a drivers license was in the public garbage no one has a right to open credit cards with it, and this analogy could be used for collecting DNA from cigarettes in the trash.” Read more…

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Re-Mission 2: Fighting cancer, The Video Game

Posted by admin on May 21, 2013 in news, random, technology

remission 2 the game cancer

A video game to help kids beat cancer –  what’s not to like?

Re-Mission 2 is a video-game for cancer patients and their families. It’s an interactive way to kick cancer nasties, score some points and basically demonstrate that joysticks do have a therapeutic benefit. It consists of six games, all which let you tackle different types of cancer, using familiar gaming tools such as bombs, guns and um, healthy blood cells. Available for MAC, PC and iPad, they’re free to play online, download and share.

A lot of data backs up the theory behind the games, a key emphasis being  the idea that positive motivation helps kids stick to a treatment regimen, as positivity lights up different parts of their brain (hey, they did brain imaging to prove this). There is even an argument that game players had higher levels of chemotherapy in the blood stream, suggesting a physiological as well as mental improvement.

The sincerity behind the premise of the game can’t be questioned. Re-Mission 2 is unreservedly pro-recovery, pro information and pro-control. I like the idea for many reasons. It’s great to make cancer patients- especially children- deal with their disease in a light hearted way, and the overpowering message here is that it just takes perseverance, time and aiming practice to beat it.

cancer fighter game

Problem is, not all cancers ARE curable and I’m a little concerned that this gives false hope to some who are living with a terminal cancer. It also – and I say this as a former cancer patient- feels slightly simplistic in some ways, as it’s cool to get to level 2 by killing the evil cells, but the reality was far more painful and needle heavy.  I totally get they want to encourage people, but it’s hard to play an animated game and feel it doesn’t trivialize the pain in some way. Yes, I realize it’s easy to say this without offering an alternative, but sometimes in the back slapping and ‘it’s so good they made this’ moment we forget that it’s not always the perfect fit. Read more…

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Selfless portraits lets you doodle strangers Facebook profile photos

Posted by admin on Apr 7, 2013 in geekery, news, technology

selfless portrait watercolor

Think DrawSomething meets Facebook meets weird blind date and you’ll have a vague idea of what Selfless Portratits are. I say vague, as it’s hard to define- the app is still in its infancy so what you see now might evolve into something completely different. The basic premise is that  you login via Facebook and agree to draw a picture of someone else.

They could be anywhere in the world, and you get a glimpse of their Facebook Profile photo and need to create an artistic replica within 48 hours. In return, someone, somewhere will do the same for you- but likely not the person you’re sketching. It’s a pass it forward system – if you fail to upload your Dali-esque stylings, then your subject gets assigned another artists and you lose out on seeing someone else interpret that cheesy selfie you’re currently so proud of.

Screen Shot 2013-03-02 at 3.51.42 AM Read more…

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Outgrow.Me is a store for ALL Kickstarter success stories

Posted by admin on Mar 19, 2013 in news, random, technology

outgrow me kickstarter

It seems that everyone has a Kickstarter or crowdfunding program at the moment, and though you’ve heard of the big BIG success stories, what about all the people with smaller goals and mini-dreams? Sure, not every project gets funded, but many that reach fulfillment only asked for small sums to let them kickstart their idea. These are the guys that DON’T get massive media attention, and pretty much drop off the radar when they’re done.

Outgrow.me seeks to solve this problem- and yes, I realize it’s a problem you might not have know you had which makes it even more genius (or does it create the problem? Must ponder…).

Their website dedicated to highlighting fully funded projects POST Kickstarter.

What they offer is a one stop shop to sorting through funded projects, something that is mucho difficult on Kickstarter, and  lets you see what they’re up to now. Outgrow.me also syncs in data from other crowdfunding sites, including IndieGoGo.

You can support people you love, browse active ideas and buy actual real life stuff– it’s like Etsy but with added crowdsourcing kudos.

ostrich-pillow-2

A listed project: Ostrich Pillow– get a great power nap/ look weird – $99

It’s pretty cool to be be able to browse through  a range of interesting products and artwork, which in some small way you feel like you’ve helped create. Read more…

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Kerrie Luft 3D Printed shoes: High Tech style

Posted by admin on Mar 14, 2013 in style, technology

kerrie luft shoes pink

3D Printing is this years buzzword; a brand new way of thinking about how mainstream products are created and manufactured. It was  even referenced by President Obama in his Feb 2013 State of the Union address. He said, “3D printing that has the potential to revolutionize the way we make almost everything”.

True, 3D printing is pretty unique in that it truly allows the creative process to actuaize itself  going from concept to product with a push of a button (and some technical stuff).  British shoe designer Kerrie Luft is using this technology to blend style with 3D printing.

kerri luft shoes

kerrie luft ny

3D printing might be really hot right now, but it’s not that new to Kerrie Luft. She first came to public attention in 2011 when her line of shoes won the British Fashion Fringe award; all featuring heels that were 3D printed. Luft is now looking at launching her own line of shoes- and with support from mentors such as Lulu Guinness and Patrick Cox (who she interned with) it looks like she’s on to a winner. Read more…

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Three Brand new Weird High Tech ways to lose Weight in 2013

Posted by admin on Jan 16, 2013 in beauty, news, technology, Yum

Weightloss products come in many weird and wonderful forms, but the latest inventions to hit the market takes the cake- literally, in some cases. They have to be seen to be believed, so enjoy the surreal thoughts that went into the creation of these unusual weightloss aids.

HapiLabs Weightloss Electronic HAPIfork

We all know that eating too fast isn’t ideal- think trapped wind, bulging waistbands and yogurt on your top (OK, that last one might be just me). Ideally we’d all slow down a little and chew our food properly.. or we could just invest in the brand new electronic HAPIfork to help us do this. The HAPIfork is designed to monitor your eating habits and its LED lights will glow if it thinks you’re eating too fast.

Details on your fork to mouth intake will stream via Bluetooth to the related app (or you can upload via USB) so you can be fully shamed when going onto your dashboard and seeing how quickly that Ben and Jerry’s got demolished. The HAPIfork (which can also be a HAPIspoon with the  forthcoming adapter) measures fork mouthfuls per minute, intervals between servings and length of meal, and the plan is that you’ll eat more slowly, and that your whole life will be generally more HAPI. Sorry, that was too much of an easy pun. On the other hand, you could just work out, eat less, and save the fork money for a personal trainer. Up to you…

Price TBD from HapiLabs

The Reverse Feeding Tube : AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System

Think of it as bulimia IN REVERSE and you’ll start to see why this is mind boggling. Created by the guy who invented the Segway- yes I don’t get the connection either– the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System is a feeding tube in reverse.

In REVERSE.

Basically, the idea is that you scoff that McDonald’s SuperSize and wash it down with a large milkshake then use the AspireAssist Aspiration Therapy System to extract 30% of the food you’ve just chowed down on. The process isn’t particularly fun or dignified as it involves creating a small hole- or ‘port’ in your stomach where you can attach a pump to and then pump out the food you’ve just eaten. To start the process, a small tube is inserted into your tum, and 20 minutes after you’ve eaten you thread this tube through the SkinPort valve (also known as hole in your stomach) and remove the food into the toilet bowl. Read more…

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Ten Must Have Free New York apps for newbies

Posted by admin on Oct 15, 2012 in lists, news, technology

AlmostZara has now gone international, and I’ve moved my main residence from London to New York City. After going through the various stages of culture shock- meeting after midnight is normal, everyone takes home leftovers from restaurants and my monthly metro card is a quarter of the price it is in London– I’ve been getting to grips with local apps.

A hardcore cellphone junkie, I can’t live without my handset, and in a new city making sure you have the most relevant and useful apps is a must. The following apps are the ones that have become invaluable to me in the last few months, and they help me manage everything from transport issues to finding out cinema times. This might sound pretty basic, but most of these are ones that I had to be told about by my peers- a search through the Android marketplace proved pretty useless in helping me narrow down the apps I needed for everyday life.

In no particular order here are my top ten apps for navigating New York City.

Embark NYC

The New York metro is many things- 24 hour, air conditioned, and full of crazy people offering you candy for $3. What it doesn’t have is any easily accessible maps for the system- unless you like holding a broadsheet to your face as you work out where the C train is (Clue: There is no C Train-FAIL!) Embark NYC is a free app, and its wonderfulness lies in its basic simplicity. You have the whole NYC Metro stations at your fingertips, you can zoom in and out with finger swipes and it’s great to work out just where the different trains interest. If you want to be more advanced you can set it to calculate different journeys for you and to alert you to the best route, but I prefer it for its simple navigation and basic layout. It beats Google Maps and the MTA app by miles, and though it’s basic, that’s just what makes it so wonderful. Did I mention it’s free? Read more…

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