You spend all day thinking about innovating in your career. How about applying that focus to everything else?
Can Jim Mason solve the developing world’s power problems with a temperamental machine that runs on garbage?
It is a challenge just to find the door to All Power Labs, an upstart alternative-energy concern in the industrial wastelands of far west Berkeley, California, and it’s not unusual for visitors to circle the block several times before realizing that the only way in is through a rolling gate with a small sign. Beyond that is what appears to be a scrap yard filled with old shipping containers and rusty hunks of metal. Welding torches spark and flare; walnut fragments litter the ground. And all around are iterations of APL’s main product, the Power Pallet, a contraption consisting of a large silver barrel on top of various other metal parts, all connected with pipes and hoses. It looks like something you’d use to cook meth. In reality, the Power Pallet is a small refinery, which converts biomass (nutshells, wood chips, corncobs) to hydrogen-rich gas, attached to a four-cylinder engine, which burns the gas to generate electricity. The weirdest part: It is, potentially, the most important and transformative energy product that no one has heard of.
"I tried to cast a wide net with this first batch—not just culturally and racially diverse, but pulling from history, fiction, and myth," Porath says. "Some are badass, some sociopathic, and some are just bizarre. The idea can be an umbrella for a lot of stories, and I wanted to see which ones people would react to."
… and did we mention that there are also lasers?
Making sure we live in a healthy world is a collective action problem. It doesn’t really work unless everyone—or at least a significant majority of countries, industries, and consumers—starts making radical changes in behavior. If that doesn’t work, one student designer envisions a future in which we resort to personal air quality drones.
Planned for the big United Nations climate conference in Paris next year, Naziha Mestaoui’s “forests of light” show is really two light shows in one. The first is the public show on the buildings and monuments, which will be made up of trees generated in 3-D. The second is the image of the show on mobile phones, augmented with “unique virtual trees” attuned to each viewer’s heartbeat.
"We live in sad times when material things, expensive or not, have become more important then our own lives," the photographer says. "I started feeling the need to capture that exact moment—the moment of the impact. I wanted to do it ironically, and play down the seriousness. I enjoy the idea of people becoming victims of their own obsessive and compulsive neurosis, but there had to be a comical side to tragedy. If laughter leads to only one moment of thoughtfulness I will have accomplished my mission."
The emotionally charged exhibition used wearable tech to recognize more than just great ideas.
A great piece of film will always elicit an emotional response, be it joy, discomfort, laughter, or a touch of melancholy. We’ve seen the trend in advertising, wherein brands are going right for the cockles of the heart with emotionally rich stories. But unless you shed a tear or break out in laughter, it’s hard for an outsider to know what you’re really feeling.
Saatchi & Saatchi tapped into those inner emotions with its New Directors Showcase—an annual selection of the best new directing talent that’s presented at Cannes—which it called Feel the Reel. Along with showing films, the NDS is famous for the accompanying grand theatrical piece. This year, the global agency network tapped wearable technology to mine individual emotional reactions to the work and visualize it for all to see. In short, if one of the 18 filmmakers’ films made you cry, it was visualized through a bracelet that changed color with your emotions.
“We literally monitored people’s individual reactions to what they were watching and not in a way that they can control,” says Andy Gulliman, Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide Film and Content Director and the curator of this year’s reel. “We’ve monitored their body and how their natural emotions react. We then created data from that, which gave us a response to what they’re watching. So if the brain is thinking that you’re going to cry, then that light comes on.”
A man takes the subway. Inside his brain, a countdown clock hits zero and a little person prepares for lift-off. The man sneezes. Ok, just watch.
There are only a handful of places where you can see a sunset on the water here on the East Coast. I mean, after all, the sun sets in the West. (This is regionalism at its most offensive.) Our options? A few islands off the coast and parts of Cape Cod.
Thank goodness, then, for artist and developer Joseph Gray, who has created a pretty facsimile for those of us who don’t have access to a shimmering, watery sunset. Infinite Sunset is his answer. Composed of a few simple horizontal bars of colors, including warm yellows and reds and blues, it evokes the appearance of a sunset seascape. The colors are chosen from an automated Google Image Search for the term “sunset,” which is then parsed for its color palette and presented on your screen. (Take that, California!)
Air-conditioning units are like the acne of apartment buildings. But not only are they ugly; they also demand quite a bit of electricity, which too often results in the burning of fossil fuels. In order to highlight the issue, one artist decided to make AC units unavoidable—by placing 45 of them in the bustling Serbian capital of Belgrade, where people couldn’t help but look.
"Some people got angry, because I put all this trash in the middle of the pedestrian area," she wrote. "Some people liked it, because you could chill out inside like in a little shelter and smoke or drink. Some others started a discussion about climate change on a Serbian blog. That’s why I love to work in public space, because you get an immediate response from passersby."
This multi-layered mural on the side of a building in Taiwan would probably make you dizzy even if it wasn’t moving like an animated GIF.
Artist “Red” Hong Yi wanted to pay tribute to Lionel Messi and other World Cup heroes by painting their portraits with just her feet and a soccer ball. Goal!
Finnish artist Jani Leinonen has set up a Hunger King installation in Budapest that draws attention to Hungary’s conflicting policies toward the rich and the poor. Visitors choose between getting in “rich” or “poor” lines, with signage on either side revealing stats about inequality in taxes and education opportunities, fines for vagrancy, and other points. The first 50 people in the “poor” line each day are greeted with a clamshell burger box holding the equivalent of about $15, the daily minimum wage in Budapest. Visitors to the “rich” line get a fake burger and fake fries, and an appeal toward activism.
An improbable new set of tools combines two state-of-the-art technologies that were created 1.8 million years apart: Prehistoric hand axes and 3-D printing.