237 results for “Calm-technology”

Can technology be humane?

NextNature.net
April 30th 2019

We must be mindful about how we engage with technology: what we use it for, why, and whether it helps us or hinders us. Sometimes our tech seems to be flowing in inhumane directions, and it feels beyond our power to redirect it. But humankind dams rivers, and alters the landscape in countless other radical ways: As we can redirect our technological growth—then why shouldn’t we direct it towards humans? 

Recently our Next Nature Fellows—people from different disciplines working in and around …

The path towards solar democracy with Marjan van Aubel

Meike Schipper
April 25th 2019

Solar cells are often considered an eyesore, used for their sustainability yet not for their beauty. Installed on roofs or in solar parks, they take up precious space. Well that’s about it to change if it’s up to solar designer Marjan van Aubel. With her innovative take on this intriguing technology, her goal is to turn solar cells into real objects of desire.

Marjan welcomes us in her surprisingly dark studio in the basement of a floating studio building. We …

Next Nature Gift Guide 2018

NextNature.net
December 19th 2018

The season of giving has come and to make sure you can find the perfect gift for your loved ones we have brought together a collection of Next Nature inspired goodies. Whether you need ideas for the office geek or your aunt from outer space: the Next Nature Gift Guide 2018 has you covered.

For the data-driven Meditator: Muse

We all know someone who could use a little help to relax. Muse translates your mental activity into the guiding sounds …

Why in the future, we will all wear one piece of garment

Ruben Baart
December 7th 2018

It's not an easy task to define the practice of designer Jasna Rok. Fashtech pioneer? Radical innovator? Visionary designer? ‘All of the above’ seems only appropriate. In fact, Jasna founded the first FashionTech design studio in Belgium, where she combines innovative technologies with interactive fashion and roams the planet to share her vision to disrupt the current fashion industry, but she doesn’t stop at fashion, the redefining of other traditional industries through the future of fashion and technonlogy is her …

In conversation with Teresa van Dongen, biodesigner exploring natural forms of artificial light

Kelly Streekstra
March 9th 2018

There was a time when flipping the switch, and seeing a glass bulb light up, was magical to anyone in the world. Today, the presence of a light switch in a room, is something intuitive, and perhaps even taken for granted. We spoke with Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen, who uses living organisms to power her lights. Having such a ‘living lamp’, means you’ll be taking care of small ecosystems of bacteria. In exchange, they will give you light.…

A phone that says “no” to little kid fingers

Rachel Metz
February 14th 2018

It may soon be possible for your phone to automatically figure out whether it’s you or your five-year-old who’s swiping the screen—and, if it’s the latter, block apps you want to keep off-limits to kids.…

Robotic Pillow Breathes to Help You Sleep

Charlotte Kuijpers
November 22nd 2017
A smart, huggable bed partner, who also improves your sleep quality. Sounds great, right? Soon, you might be able to order one yourself: Somnox is a soft robotic pillow that gently breathes as you hold it.

Animal Guided Mediation

Elle Zhan Wei
February 21st 2017
Animal Meditation uses meditation guiding sounds to to enable user to feel as if he is an animal.

Using Nanobots to Treat Depression

Alejandro Alvarez
September 22nd 2016
A team of scientists has developed a way to deliver drugs into our body using nanobots as vehicles and our toughts as controllers.

Shapeshifting Robotic Furniture

Ruben Baart
July 16th 2016
Robotic furniture for the young professional.
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We must be mindful about how we engage with technology: what we use it for, why, and whether it helps us or hinders us. Sometimes our tech seems to be flowing in inhumane directions, and it feels beyond our power to redirect it. But humankind dams rivers, and alters the landscape in countless other radical ways: As we can redirect our technological growth—then why shouldn’t we direct it towards humans? 

Recently our Next Nature Fellows—people from different disciplines working in and around the next nature theme—came together to discuss this pressing question and explore the grassroots of our upcoming research topic: Humane Technology.

Humane technology?

Humane technology is a rather ambiguous term that is open to several interpretations. It also raises the question if can technology be humane — it seems as if it’s a contradictory statement in itself.

The Oxford Dictionaries describes ‘humane’ “as to having a civilizing effect on people.” Humane technology then, refers to technology that takes society to a stage of development considered to be more advanced, by taking human needs as its starting point. Because why create technology that does not respond to how humans learn, think, and create and thrive?

With all respect to the future, we see two possible paths along which our co-evolutionary relationship with technology could unfold: the dream path and the nightmare one. We are at the turning point where we can either sleepwalk into our technological future, or contain it by building humane technology that safeguards our humanity and replenishes society.

Upgrading technology vs downgrading humanity

Many conversations about the future focus on the point where technology surpasses human capability and exceeds human vulnerabilities. Humane technology therefore requires that we understand our most vulnerable human instincts so we can design accordingly and protect us from abuse.

In his Letter to Humanity, NNN director Koert van Mensvoort writes about his concern about the questionable line between technology that facilitates humanity, and technology that deprives our human potential. “And I don’t see that as desirable, because I’m a person, and I’m playing for team human.” We must therefore envision a world where human needs and goals are incorporated into the very core of technology as they are built.

Six principles

In order for technology to thrive, we’ve taken a step towards creating a common vocabulary with six principles that should be at the core of developing humane technology.

  • Humane technology should feel natural, rather than estranging.
  • Humane technology should revive human intuitions.
  • Humane technology takes human values as its cornerstone.
  • Humane technology resonates with the human senses.
  • Humane technology should empower people.
  • Humane technology must improve the human condition.
  • Domesticated by the system

    Koert van Mensvoort wonders whether humane technology is about technological innovation or social innovation. The two seem to go hand in hand. William Myers thinks solutions and approaches towards technology are humane, although these are not technological.

    Arne Hendriks wonders whether we even need technology to become more humane, and thinks that technology itself has no morality. In his view, ‘humane’ is an ethical debate (just have a look at the technology events that raised ethical concerns in the last two years).

    In a way, you could say that humane technology is about domesticating ourselves in relation to our (technological) surroundings. Technology not only alters our environment, it ultimately alters us. In an optimistic view, the changes to come will allow us to be more human than ever before.

    “And what about animals and other lifeforms?” Teresa van Dongen wonders. It’s a legit hesitation; ‘humane’ does imply solutions that puts human concern at the core of the solution. It’s therefore necessary to question ourselves what is meant with such an adjective. Does it mean that something respects human and non-human living actors? Or is it just related to humans? And what will be the purpose of this definition?

    Sure, humane technology hints at tech that is good for humanity, but when we speak about humane technology, we need to broaden the actors into the conversation — not only for ourselves, but for the planet as a whole.

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    Solar cells are often considered an eyesore, used for their sustainability yet not for their beauty. Installed on roofs or in solar parks, they take up precious space. Well that’s about it to change if it’s up to solar designer Marjan van Aubel. With her innovative take on this intriguing technology, her goal is to turn solar cells into real objects of desire.

    Marjan welcomes us in her surprisingly dark studio in the basement of a floating studio building. We laugh about the irony of the lack of light, which is her main source of inspiration. Sitting on her well-designed timber waste chairs, we talk about sustainable energy generation, solar democracy and the power of aesthetic design.

    Solar democracy

    Marjan has long been fascinated by colors and light. After graduating from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam she gained her MA at the Royal College of Arts in London and wrote her thesis on the characteristics of colors. Naturally, colors do not exist without light.

    The designer always thought of solar panels as an interesting technology, “because of the supposed simplicity of capturing the energy of sunlight on a surface. Step by step I learned more about it and eventually it led me to focus my entire creative practice on it."

    The Current Window - a modern take on stained-glass. Whilst the coloured panels of glass perform their traditional role, they also generate electricity from daylight which can then be used to power appliances indoors.

    Unfortunately, the threshold to solar energy is rather high when you live in the city. “I live in the city center of Amsterdam, where it’s hard to place solar cells or connect to solar energy.” To lower the threshold, Marjan integrates solar cells into objects that can be placed in and around the house, in front of the window or in a small garden.

    Her practice thus focuses on what she calls solar democracy. “I think about how to integrate solar cells into daily life and make them available for as many people as possible. It really is my mission.

    It is my mission to integrate solar cells into daily life.

    Cyanometer

    One of those objects is the Cyanometer - a work that utilizes crystals to direct sunbeams onto solar cells, increasing its efficiency. In 2017, Marjan won the Swarovski Designers of the Future Award, which provided her the chance to collaborate with Swarovski.

    Cyanometer takes its name from the 1789 invention which was used to measure the color of the sky. The solar crystal harvests energy during the day and powers itself by night. The stones used for the ring-shaped installation are opals, which scatter the light in the same way that the sky does.

    Detail of the Cyanometer Collection with Swarovski opals.

    It became a success and the collaboration continued. Just last week Marjan presented the new Cyanometer collection at Milan Design Week 2019. “We developed the Cyanometer into a product”, Marjan enthusiastically explains. “This collection includes 3 lights, standing, hanging and wall mounted, that are part of Swarovksi’s Chrystal Palace lighting collection.

    This development of innovative concepts into functional products is a strong characteristic of her work. “I do not design to simply tell a story. Instead, I want to reach a larger audience and create useful products.” In order to create feasible designs with solar panels, Marjan often collaborates with universities, scientists, architects and alike.

    Invisible visiblity

    Inspired by Next Nature’s Pyramid of Technology, Marjan aims to turn solar cells into an invisible and naturalized technology. “Right now, solar cells are a technology that are often placed upon an object, but are not integrated in it. I want solar cells to feel natural—because good design is invisible.”

    I want solar cells to feel natural—because good design is invisible.

    Still, visibility seems key to make solar cells into objects of desire. Marjan compares it to the way we relate to cars. “Cars are not just a way of transportation; they are a lifestyle. If you drive a Tesla, you are supposed to be a certain type of person.” The same relation could be established with technologies of energy generation.

    “At current we have electric outlets in our homes, but the energy is generated elsewhere. If you are connected to green energy, no one will know. It is only visible on your bill. Solar cells are a way to generate energy close to home, so we can we can experience it.” By making energy generation visible and attractively designed, it becomes part of a certain lifestyle.

    The Current Table, the first piece of furniture that is able to harvest energy indoors.

    Marjan’s Current Table is the Tesla among furniture. The table has an integrated solar panel with increased sensitivity, which makes the Current Table into the first piece of furniture that is able to harvest energy indoors.

    The design reveals the tension between the wish for invisibility and the need for visibility. “Of course, I did not want the Current Table to become a simple solar cell on legs. Still, it does need to be recognizable in some way. If people don’t recognize anything, it becomes too abstract.” The USB port that is included in the table makes it easier for people to recognize it as something they can charge their phones with.

    Power Plant

    Aside from products that fit within our direct living environment, Marjan wonders how solar cells can be integrated in different industries. Think about agrotechnology. The field is developing quickly, and new technologies are focusing on effective and fast production of our foods. However, minute climate control and lighting systems cost a lot of energy. And that’s where the solar designer comes in.

    Teaming up with The New Institute, architect Emma Elston, researcher Yasmine Ostendorf, Physee and University of Amsterdam, Marjan developed world’s first self-powering greenhouse called Power Plant. The Power Plant harnesses the power of design to improve both food production and decrease energy consumption, creating the perfect environment for the plants of the future.

    The team implemented solar panels directly into the architecture of the greenhouse to simultaneously harvest both energy and food. As such, the Power Plant is fully able to power its indoor climate. A hydroponic systems pumps around nutrient water, which saves up to 90% water usage. The blue LED lights enhance leave growth and the red LEDs encourages the plants to flower. Utilizing these characteristics of colored lights in addition to sunlight, the Power Plant increases the yield up to 40 times.

    https://vimeo.com/275812869

    Again, the concept of solar democracy is central to the design. The Power Plant can be placed onto rooftops in order to grow the food directly where it is needed: the city. Local produce cuts out transportation costs and establishes a stronger connection between the people and their food. Marjan is now in conversation with parties in Shanghai and New York to implement Power Plant there.

    According to the solar designer, beautiful and effective design do not necessarily have to be opposites. She is constantly looking for the ultimate balance between form and function.

    Beautiful and effective design do not have to be opposites.

    “The angle of the Power Plant greenhouse is 39 degrees because in The Netherlands it is the most effective angle to capture sunlight. The plants are positioned diagonal because water only needs to be pumped upwards once, and it streams back down while watering the plants. These are the type of choices that I make continuously. I want efficiency, but there’s always a margin which allows you to play."

    Future energy

    What about the future of energy? “The ideal situation would be that we generate all of our energy from inexhaustible sources, such as wind and the sun. Energy could and should be free.”

    But before we arrive there, changes have to be made on a lot of levels. Solar cells have to be produced in less damaging ways that are CO2 neutral. Then, we could produce crops on demand and reduce food waste.

    “In essence, life is a very complex energy transition,” Marjan concludes. “Being sustainable is just like breathing; we don’t have a choice. We have to think about the source of our energy.”

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    The season of giving has come and to make sure you can find the perfect gift for your loved ones we have brought together a collection of Next Nature inspired goodies. Whether you need ideas for the office geek or your aunt from outer space: the Next Nature Gift Guide 2018 has you covered.

    For the data-driven Meditator: Muse

    We all know someone who could use a little help to relax. Muse translates your mental activity into the guiding sounds of weather to help you find focused calm. So now they can stop guessing if they are meditating correctly, and instead use real-time data to guide them.

    For the young genius: Da Vinci 3D printer

    Toys have evolved since the old days of wooden building blocks. Now you can print your own building blocks. In fact you can print your own anything with the Da Vinci 3D printer. This gift is perfect for kids with unlimited imaginations.

    For the risky investor: Cryptocurrency Christmas sweaters

    Did someone convince half your family to buy into Bitcoin last Christmas, only to see the price tank every single month of 2018? Well now you can make that person own their mistake by gifting them these ultra chic Christmas sweaters. Just keep Hodling until things start looking up again. Any day now...

    For the tech addict: Radiation blocking underwear

    Sometimes we spend a little too much time on our phones or laptops. Protect a loved ones sensitive area this Christmas and buy them a pair of radiation blocking underwear. No more nasty electromagnetic waves will interfere with your future family plans.

    For the sofa adventurer: Tee Tree lights

    Know someone who loves to talk about going camping but can never brave the cold winter camping? With these tee tree lights, now you can have all the atmosphere of being outside, from the comfort of inside your own home.

    For the light sleeper: Noise-masking Sleepbuds

    They look like tiny headphones, but Bose noise-masking sleepbuds are uniquely designed for sleep. They don’t stream music or have acoustic noise cancellation. Instead, they use pre-loaded, soothing sounds to cover up unwanted nighttime noises so you can hear relaxing wildlife noises in the busy urban jungle.

    For the book lover: Old Books chocolate

    As we consume more and more books on digital devices its always good to be reminded of the unique qualities of a physical book. By using tobacco, hazelnut, essence of leather, frankincense, Myrhh and oak smoked Welsh sea salt a single taste of this curious chocolate will transport you across space and time and have you reclining on a leather chair in an old library by the fireplace.

    For the kitchen busy-bee: Bees wax wrap

    This gift is perfect for that someone special who is always cooking in the kitchen and constantly surrounded by leftovers. Cut down on food waste and take a lesson from the bees with this reusable bees wax paper that will help keep your food fresh or longer.

    For the ultimate explorer: A trip around the moon

    Sometimes it's hard to find that perfect gift. But if budget is not an issue, then why not give the ultimate weekend away package around the moon. (may take longer than 48 hours) The first flight leaves in 2023 and has 8 places on it so be quick as these tickets won't be around fo long!

    For the futurist friend: 50 products from the future

    The NANO Supermarket book presents 50 nanotech products that do not exist yet. But may be on the market within 10-20 years: medicinal candy, programmable wine, interactive wall paint, or an energy belt that charges your mobile devices from your own belly fat.

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    It's not an easy task to define the practice of designer Jasna Rok. Fashtech pioneer? Radical innovator? Visionary designer? ‘All of the above’ seems only appropriate. In fact, Jasna founded the first FashionTech design studio in Belgium, where she combines innovative technologies with interactive fashion and roams the planet to share her vision to disrupt the current fashion industry, but she doesn’t stop at fashion, the redefining of other traditional industries through the future of fashion and technonlogy is her true mission.

    Graduated just three years ago, Jasna Rokegem already has a strong vision on the garments of the future and how it adds value to our daily lives. Her vision did not go unnoticed: she has been nominated as an Innovator under 35 by MIT Technology Review, received the award as a leading woman in STEM, she has been selected as Global Entrepreneur (subsequently representing Belgium at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit in India), and was recently invited over to the NASA Headquarters for a keynote lecture on her work, next exciting stop is SXSW in Austin, Texas. All the reasons for a sit-down with Jasna Rok to learn more about her foresighted practice, her partiality to space travel, Nokia, and more.

    How do you define yourself?

    It’s difficult to answer. All too often when people try to push me into a category, I seem to crawl out again. At our studio, we are pioneering in the field of combining innovative fashion with advanced technology. And by turning our concepts into working prototypes, our goal is to make the future tangible for a large audience —but also understandable— with the aim to open the debate on what our future may look like.

    The future is not fixed yet, but by speculating upon scenarios for what it might become, we’ll have time to tell which scenario emerges and finds its way into society. From the beginning, I have pushed boundaries with my work. This results in speculative concepts that on the one hand directly refer to what’s to come, but on the other hand are simultaneously ready for future applications.

    Photography by Ellie van den Brande

    Can you elaborate on your vision for the future of fashion?

    I have a very specific view on this: I believe that in the future, we will all wear one garment. This doesn’t just mean that I foresee a single piece of clothing that changes its color and shape, but rather how this piece of garment will relate to us as humans.

    However, by making such a statement, it usually upsets people. But, if I continue the conversation and give examples of my work —such as how a garment can change shape and color by means of brain waves, and how we, together with nanotech experts, have developed clothing you will never have to wash— this slants their views.

    And what about astronauts? They only wear one garment. They wear a space suit and do not have a whole wardrobe to choose from. It’s not that crazy.

    Clothing is a technology that, compared to others, has been around for a long time. What’s your view ‘clothing as a technology’?

    I consider clothing as an extension of ourselves. Just think of the amount of technology currently available to us. When applied smartly, we can work towards a future where we could wear our clothes as an interface to the outer world, able to receive responses to our inner most feelings. Clothing can therefore add a new dimension of interaction and the communication of self-expression, and how we deal with our identity.

    Can you give an example from your own work?

    Imagine if I, as a stylist, take a wanderer off the street and dress this person perfectly as if he were the CEO of a billion dollar company, you would probably believe it’s true, as he’s ‘dressed for the occasion’. With our first collection Fashion on Brainwaves we have completely tilted this idea of identity connected to what we wear and how we present ourselves just like we do on social media. The collection pieces provide neural feedback by measuring how the wearer feels - how relaxed or (un)comfortable they may feel: when feeling uncomfortable, the garment’s collar goes up and closes the wearer off from the outside world, so they can recenter first. There is no more pretending to be something you’re not.

    In other words, the brain displays who the wearer really is. Not just in terms of identity, but through giving real-time feedback. This way you can continuously optimize yourself, and in turn, it means that we’ll bring about an entirely new way of communicating where you convey information to other people without the words.

    After Fashion on Brainwaves came Mindlight, can you tell us a bit about that project?

    MindLight is a more practical future tool. It gives you real time neurofeedback on your state of concentration. Think about how in Sweden people work for 6 hours a day—instead of 8 hours—and are much more productive. So, with this smart jewel, you are able to train your brain to focus. Interesting for people who want to work less, but be more productive. In the future, this could be an alternative way to help people with attention disorders.

    Photography by Ellie van den Brande

    Needless to say that your work is technology-driven, where do you find the technologies you are working with?

    Sometimes it feels as if I’m an alien with sensors in my head. It may be weird to say, but I have ‘a feeling’ for new technology. My work often starts from the ‘what if’ question. I formulate a concept in my head, and only afterwards I start to think about where I can find the technology. If the technology is not around yet, I will look for the right partners who can build it for me.

    Tell us more about these partnerships.

    We only partner with companies that share our vision and are able to add their own specialized expertise to our collaborations in different fields, think sports, entertainment, sustainability, healthcare etc. By working closely with companies in the fields of science and innovation, we aim to blend fashion and technology, giving life to scientific based creations. Together, we are committed to building the most creative, innovative fashion & technology.

    You have recently worked with Nokia Bell Labs to “expand the possibilities of artistic expression and technical innovation for the future of wearable items”. What were the outcomes?

    Consider how today, everyone is talking about artificial intelligence. In contrast we’re now exploring the notion of emotional intelligence [to recognize, understand, influence and manage our own emotions and those of others]. Rather than focusing on the physical body, we focus on emotional intelligence.

    We have built the first prototypes of Emotion Identifiers and Simulators. With this we can detect whether the wearer feels angry, neutral or happy. We are already able to make this tangible, both through visual and haptic feedback. It certainly links to how we communicate today through emojis and photographs. But what if we can visualize, simulate, or maybe even transfer emotions in the future?

    Photography by Ellie van den Brande

    What do you need to bring your work to the market?

    Well, there are currently quite a few problems in the fashion industry as such. This means that if you want to change one part of the chain, you have to do this across the entire chain. This is exactly why we choose to work together with other industries: things go faster there.

    Do you have any advice for the fashion industry?

    We need radical innovation, and a new mindset. Be open to it.

    Where are you in five years?

    I want to go to the moon! As you may know, Space X has just sold its first tickets to a Japanese billionaire visionary who wants to take artists into space. I want to take my new project to the moon! I’d like to wear one of the Emotion Identifiers and Simulators, and leave one on earth. This way I can pioneer in intergalactic communication!

    Need more Jasna in your life? Good! To our Dutch friends, Jasna will star in the upcoming Tegenlicht episode on Future Fashion, which airs coming Sunday, 9 November at 9pm on NPO2. To our US friends, catch Jasna in March 2019 at the stage of SXSW, here she will present the first prototype of Emotion Identifiers and Simulators. Want to help Jasna to the moon? Join Next Nature Network and let’s make this thing happen, together!

    [post_title] => Why in the future, we will all wear one piece of garment [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => interview-jasna-rok [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-18 15:13:50 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-18 14:13:50 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=91635 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 80810 [post_author] => 1510 [post_date] => 2018-03-09 13:06:20 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-03-09 12:06:20 [post_content] => There was a time when flipping the switch, and seeing a glass bulb light up, was magical to anyone in the world. Today, the presence of a light switch in a room, is something intuitive, and perhaps even taken for granted. We spoke with Dutch designer Teresa van Dongen, who uses living organisms to power her lights. Having such a ‘living lamp’, means you’ll be taking care of small ecosystems of bacteria. In exchange, they will give you light.How exactly Teresa’s living lamp needs caring, has changed over time. Her first light installation was needy like a baby. Her latest design became more like a pet, and the next generation, should be really easy to keep; like a plant. Teresa tells us her story; of her living lamps, the power of design, and of the future of light.

    Swinging waves of light

    Graduating from the Design Academy in 2015, Teresa caught bioluminescence from the skin of octopi and injected this into her first light installment Ambio. An aesthetic, yet interactive design, having a triangular frame balance two weights; one of which attached to a glass reservoir keeping bioluminescent bacteria. The other invites the spectator to interact with the work; once you gently swing this lamp, organisms will flow back and forth through the reservoir for 10 minutes. Whilst moving, these organisms perform their magic: emitting a blue glow of light, reminding you of an ocean wave.[caption id="attachment_80821" align="alignnone" width="640"] Ambio, glowing blue light emitted by bioluminescence[/caption][caption id="attachment_80822" align="alignnone" width="640"] In continuing the Ambio project, Teresa created One Luminous Dot. In this installation, Ambio lamps were hanging all across the ceiling, endlessly reflected in a big space with mirrors, inciting the feeling of being deep in the ocean, looking up at the movements of the waves, or perhaps the surreality of space.[/caption]Designing a lamp that is 'alive' quickly stuck to Teresa: “As soon as I discovered that people liked the idea of a lamp that was ‘alive’ through bioluminescent bacteria, I started imagining a whole new generation, which would be much brighter, having people taking care of it at home.”This aspect of care, needing to nurture the 'living' in the lamp, is an interaction that she explicitly includes in most of her designs. Teresa believes that, taking care of the things around us, we may end up finding them more valuable. “Some things we take for granted. If we push that button the light goes on. But it's already so magical that we have electricity flowing through the building,” the designer said. By taking care of something that's alive, in turn receiving light, we may both appreciate the power of nature as an energy source, and realize that we should not take technology (like light) for granted.However, taking care of this lamp was kind of like taking care of a baby: “I realized that this project wasn’t really meant for a consumer, it had too many boundaries: the organisms were too complex.” While exhibiting her designs, maintaining such organisms was already a full undertaking: “I often gained help from two biotech students from the Delft University of Technology, and sometimes we had to build a small laboratory in my atelier. While exhibiting abroad we brought all the lab stuff into an AirBnB, recreating a little lab there."[caption id="attachment_80824" align="alignnone" width="640"] Teresas mobile 'living lab' to nurture the bioluminescence in the run towards exhibitions.[/caption]

    Sparks of life that bring you light

    We fast-forward through Teresa’s portfolio, to arrive at her latest project, Spark of Life, bringing the living lamp a step closer towards a consumer-friendly version. A hanging lamp, with 4 glass compartments lacking an electricity plug. And don’t be fooled by the hint to a light bulb: this lamp is roughly the size of a soccer ball.Moving beyond bioluminescence, this time Teresa chose another type of organism. “Spark of Life is powered by living organisms, but in this case the organisms are not directly emitting light themselves; they’re excreting electrons. The lamp channels these electrons in the connected electrical circuits to LEDs, providing you with an artificial light, made by living organisms. It's much less work to maintain such organisms as they're much stronger; this design needs to be fed with a teaspoon of acetate every two weeks, and some new water every month."[caption id="attachment_80865" align="alignnone" width="640"] Spark of Life is home to ecosystems of electro active bacteria.[/caption]For the development of this lamp, Teresa collaborated with the University of Gent's laboratory, where scientists work with these organisms and knew the bacteria emits electrons, which in turn, could be harvested as an energy source. “However, they were surprised to learn that, using only one batch of bacteria, I managed to keep 4 LEDs alight for 24/7, for the duration of an entire year! They’d expected this to work, but perhaps for a few weeks.” Teresa explains. “When I first presented Spark of Life, the scientists brought their families to see the work. Their work is often too dense and scientific, which makes it is hard for them to talk about it at the dinner table with their kids. My design could be considered a small visualization of the power of these organisms.”With Spark of Life, Teresa won the Keep an Eye grant, a price to stimulate recent alumni of the Design Academy Eindhoven. The price ensures Teresa to continue to develop the project towards a more consumer friendly product.

    Bringing the next generation of natural light to your home

    Teresa gives us a first peek at some models of the continuation of the Spark of Life. She’s now exploring how she may be using glass and reflecting materials to amplify the light of the LED’s. At current, the organisms themselves are not strong enough (yet) to light a whole room. What's more, up until now, the lamp does not have an “off”-switch.“The organisms will be housed inside a separate reservoir, perhaps like an aquarium, in which the microbial fuel cell is generating energy from the electrons of the bacteria, making it easier to maintain as well. But, taking care of the lamp should be something like taking care of your plants. The idea is that the owners find a low-maintenance routine, like the ease with which you’d water your plants."This project may finally be able to move from the exhibition room, to the living room. Here, she hopes that her designs incite conversation, or as Teresa put it: "becoming that one object in the home sparking interest."[caption id="attachment_80867" align="alignnone" width="640"] Lumist: Visualizing lost energy[/caption][caption id="attachment_80868" align="alignnone" width="640"] "Energy is a precious commodity, but often we don’t notice when it’s wasted. I looked for a way to use the heat lost by halogen lamps and created Lumist – a lamp and humidifier in one. The heat from the bulb keeps the surrounding water just under boiling point, and therefore causes the water to evaporate. More water is constantly provided by the adjacent reservoir. By capturing the contradictory traits of water and light in glass, I visualize this otherwise lost energy."[/caption]

    The power of design

    Conversations, like the ones envisioned in her next design generation, are to inspire people to think about the hidden wonders of nature. According to Teresa, “there are many secrets in nature that remain almost unknown, and developments in the field of science often stay within the laboratory.”“I like to take 'the scientific' that seems complicated from the outside, and bring this closer to the people.”Spark of Life is an eloquent example of Teresa is opening these doors. “Electro active bacteria are not a new thing; they have been researched for over 20 years.” Scientific research in this field often has large goals, think cleaning up waste water, harvesting energy, or cleaning oil stains in the ocean. However, “these are complex goals that take time before they are implemented and can reach the people.” Teresa sees this as the gap where her designs come in. “My end result does not have to correlate with the end result of scientists.”
    There are many secrets in nature that remain almost unknown
    Design, to her, serves a particularly powerful tool to express the unknown. Comparing it to written words, the language of science, Teresa explains: “People oftentimes think that we can express everything by just speaking, but considering we have evolved with many more senses than just speaking and hearing, I think some things are not necessarily better - but richer - if they’re translated into a tangible form. You can reach that through design.”

    A future of living light?

    It appears to be a trend, perhaps even the next energy source: drawing energy from living things, that is. We see it in the work of ECO coin award winner of 2018's Sandra Rey from Glowee, who wants to use bioluminescence to light our streets, and in the practice of Ermi van Oers, who draws energy from plants to generate light. Although Teresa identifies with this trend, she takes a different approach: “I want to design an intimate experience with the person owning the lamp, and create something tactile and inspiring, nearly like an art piece”
    I want to design an intimate experience with the person owning the lamp
    Yet, whether or not bioluminescence will play a role in scaling up sustainable light sources in the future, is not certain to Teresa. “From my designs I have learnt that these organisms, even when modified, need lots of care and energy; I’m not sure if this can be managed on such large scales”. However, she doesn’t see this enough to criticize: “Sandra Rey wants to celebrate the power of nature, and present the beauty of bioluminescence and challenge its limits all the way; I’m with her!”

    Natural forms of artificial light

    To conclude, Teresa highlights how innovations in artificial light are starting to mimic the patterns of natural light. “We are realizing how the colors of light have an effect on our hormones. There's a natural cycle in your day; in the evening the light of the sun turns red, which works through to our hormones and gets us sleepy. In the morning the light is blue, waking us up. TL and LED lights to that end, can be blue or yellow, and influence our health as we are often exposed to such lights via our screens and in our work environments." Furthermore, our lighting systems in the future may resemble full-spectrum light. Back to the incandescent light?In Teresa’s view, the future of light involves two things. Living lamps can fuse nature with artificial light, making our technological environment a bit more humane. And at the same time, artificial light is seeking to become more like natural light. “To have these two developments go hand in hand, is quite beautiful," Teresa says. "And it's going so fast! I believe we will get there, soon.”_________________________Looking for more interviews? Join NNN and we will keep you in the know on everything next nature, all around the world! [mc4wp_form id="72385"] [post_title] => In conversation with Teresa van Dongen, biodesigner exploring natural forms of artificial light [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => interview-teresa-van-dongen [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-25 10:03:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-25 09:03:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=80810 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 80576 [post_author] => 1552 [post_date] => 2018-02-14 17:37:11 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-02-14 16:37:11 [post_content] => It may soon be possible for your phone to automatically figure out whether it’s you or your five-year-old who’s swiping the screen—and, if it’s the latter, block apps you want to keep off-limits to kids.That’s the vision of researchers at the University of South Carolina and China’s Zhejiang University, who’ve created an algorithm that can spot whether your kid is accidentally trying to, say, order from Amazon without your knowing.There are already plenty of activity-monitoring apps that aim to control what kids do on phones, but parents need to add them and turn them on, and they could be disabled by tech-savvy children. The researchers figured that automated age-range detection would make it easier for parents to hand their phones over to curious children without worrying that the kids will stumble upon an inappropriate website or get into a work e-mail account.Xiaopeng Li, a graduate student at the University of South Carolina, coauthored a paper on the work that will be presented at a mobile tech conference next week. He says the researchers observed two big differences between how children and adults swipe phone screens.Since kids have smaller hands and shorter fingertips than adults, they often touch a smaller area on the screen and make shorter swipes. Children also tend to swipe their fingers more sluggishly across the screen, and they are slower to switch from swiping to tapping.To get hard data on these differences, the researchers built a simple app and asked a group of kids between the ages of three and 11—and a group of adults between 22 and 60—to use it. The app had participants unlock an Android phone and then play a numbers-based game on it, so that the researchers could record a variety of taps and swipes. They also tracked things like the amount of pressure applied by a user’s finger and the area it encompassed.The researchers used the resulting data to train an age-detecting algorithm that they say is 84 percent accurate with just one swipe on the screen—a figure that goes up to 97 percent after eight swipes.To make the approach even more effective, Li says, the team wants to incorporate indicators such as a user’s movements (trackable using a smartphone’s accelerometer), since the researchers also observed that kids’ hands seemed to shake more than adults’ when holding phones. The algorithm hasn’t been built into a phone yet, but it looks like a really promising way to ensure that little fingers don’t tap in the wrong places.This story orginally appeared on Technology Review.  [post_title] => A phone that says “no” to little kid fingers [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => lock-phone-kids [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-14 17:37:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-02-14 16:37:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=80576 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 78037 [post_author] => 1433 [post_date] => 2017-11-22 10:00:41 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-11-22 08:00:41 [post_content] => A smart, huggable bed partner who also improves your sleep quality. Sounds great, right? Soon, you might be able to order one for yourself: Somnox is a soft robotic pillow that gently breathes as you hold it.Although still in its prototyping phase, Somnox is a startup by students from Delft University of Technology, in The Netherlands. They designed Somnox based on a research showing that the exposure to calm breathing soothes our brain and helps us fall asleep. While holding the smart pillow, your breathing rhythm will slow down to adapt to its rhythm.Contrary to a large number of sleeping and relaxation smartphone apps, Somnox doesn’t require the use of a screen at night. The sight of the white-blue light emitted by monitors, may prevent our brain from releasing melatonin, and counteract the exact reason why you pick up your phone.Rather than simply listening to a relaxing tune, Somnox provides a much more tactile, sensory experience. It can also interpret whether the user is awake or in a deep sleep, and respond accordingly. This way, the pillow can help people who are frequently awake throughout the night drift off again.Maybe lying next to a person with perfect sleeping skills could have the same effect on your state of relaxation. But Somnox could be a nice second option. This smart pillow will not disturb your nighttime with sleep-talking, abrupt movement or trips to the bathroom, and it definitely won't snore. And in the morning, you'll just need to plug it in the nearest wall socket.Source: Dezeen [post_title] => Robotic Pillow Breathes to Help You Sleep [post_excerpt] => A smart, huggable bed partner, who also improves your sleep quality. Sounds great, right? Soon, you might be able to order one yourself: Somnox is a soft robotic pillow that gently breathes as you hold it. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => robotic-pillow-breathes-help-sleep [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-11-20 16:01:44 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-11-20 14:01:44 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=78037/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 71718 [post_author] => 1324 [post_date] => 2017-02-21 08:53:56 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-02-21 07:53:56 [post_content] => Are you practicing meditation? If you do that as a habit, you might already be experiencing the wide-known benefits of it. Meditation brings peace and love to our mind and soul. It's good for relaxation and it helps us to be more connected with the world and ourselves. And it’s about to get even better.Former climate change and human rights adviser Jon Leland, together with his team, brought Animal Meditations to life. Animal Mediation is a meditation aid that works with sounds. It aims to help meditators to momentarily transform into an animal body and soul and see the world through its eyes.For example, you’ve probably seen a clip of a sloth hanging from a tree in a morning sun, surrounded by singing birds. He’s observing how the dew on a leaf glowing with the sun rays, flickering the surface. That leaf is making him hungry. Now, you are that sloth. You could feel the sensations of this experience with detailed, layered sounds designed by the creators of Animal Meditations.Or, imagine being a Layman albatross flying cross the surface of an immense ocean. When you spread your wings of 3.4 meters wide, feeling the wind passing you by and how it let you glide. This might bring you a brand new type of freedom.The creators of Animal Meditation explains their purpose to reconnect us with animals with the recreation of experiences while offering a sanctuary of calmness and blessing from being. So that we can identify ourselves with other animals living on earth and feel the urge to take care of them, just like we do with ourselves.https://soundcloud.com/animal-meditationsSources: Creators, Animal Meditations. Image: Travel Channel  [post_title] => Animal Guided Mediation [post_excerpt] => Animal Meditation uses meditation guiding sounds to to enable user to feel as if he is an animal. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => animal-guided-mediation [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-02-23 09:46:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-02-23 08:46:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=71718/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 67029 [post_author] => 874 [post_date] => 2016-09-22 12:02:03 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-09-22 10:02:03 [post_content] => Keep calm and carry on; don’t worry be happy; just stop being sad! If we could treat depression just by saying corny catchphrases or repeating mantras, life would be easier. Well, now we are a step closer to this scenario, but instead of saying a phrase you have to do math.A team of Israeli scientists has developed a new way to efficiently deliver drugs into our body using nanobots as vehicles and our toughts as controllers. They were inspired by the fact that Encephalopathy (EEG) can detect certain signs of abnormal brain activity, so they used this to reverse engineer EEG in order to control nanobots.To do this, they first trained an algorithm to differentiate when the brain was resting and when it was doing math calculations. This algorithm was part of software that controlled an electromagnetic coil that could be heated up affecting the receptive nanobots. Then they injected the nanonbots carrying a fluorescent drug into cockroaches. After this they put the insects inside the coil. This way when the subject started to make calculations the nanobots inside the insect were activated and then they could turn them off just by taking a break.Process of mind controlled nanobotsTheir main goal of the research is to create a wearable that constantly monitors the brain of patients with mental disorders. When it detects an abnormal sign it activates the previously injected nanobots carrying the drugs so they can do their job in a very efficient and precise manner. Making the healing process seem natural and improving the life quality of patients.This is not the only application for this new technology, it could avoid overdoses and treat new brain conditions, but beyond the medical sphere there are many fields were it can be applied. As Shachar Arnon, one of the authors of the experiment, puts it: “Imagine if you could deliver the exact amount of alcohol that you wanted to keep you in a happy state but not drunk. Kind of stupid, but this could happen”. The same principle could be used to change the way we wake up, or sleep, or how recreational drugs are used.And for the patients who don’t like math and love inspirational quotes, the algoritm could also be trained to respond to happy thougths and phrases, giving a new significance to positive thinking.Source: Plos. Image: Cary Wolinsky [post_title] => Using Nanobots to Treat Depression [post_excerpt] => A team of scientists has developed a way to deliver drugs into our body using nanobots as vehicles and our toughts as controllers. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => positive-thinking-nanobots-treat-depression [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-10-20 10:42:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-10-20 08:42:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=66027 [menu_order] => 27 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 64951 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2016-07-16 14:57:21 [post_date_gmt] => 2016-07-16 12:57:21 [post_content] => Moveable walls and multifunctional components, the in-house architectural robotics from Ori combines functionality with design. Ori, deriving from origami, is a line of connected smart products, developed by MIT Media Lab in partnership with designer Yves Béhar. Designed for micro-studios with less than 28 square meters of space, Ori transforms the space with a single push on the button. Aiming at young professionals paying high rents in urban centers, Ori houses a media center, storage space, a bench, a fold out desk, and a bed. It’s morphing time!Robotic furniture for the young professionalRobotic furniture for the young professionalRobotic furniture for the young professionalRobotic furniture for the young professionalSource: Ori Systems [post_title] => Shapeshifting Robotic Furniture [post_excerpt] => Robotic furniture for the young professional. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => shapeshifting-robotic-furniture [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2016-07-19 12:37:38 [post_modified_gmt] => 2016-07-19 10:37:38 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=64951 [menu_order] => 161 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 110688 [post_author] => 367 [post_date] => 2019-04-30 15:28:31 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-04-30 14:28:31 [post_content] =>

    We must be mindful about how we engage with technology: what we use it for, why, and whether it helps us or hinders us. Sometimes our tech seems to be flowing in inhumane directions, and it feels beyond our power to redirect it. But humankind dams rivers, and alters the landscape in countless other radical ways: As we can redirect our technological growth—then why shouldn’t we direct it towards humans? 

    Recently our Next Nature Fellows—people from different disciplines working in and around the next nature theme—came together to discuss this pressing question and explore the grassroots of our upcoming research topic: Humane Technology.

    Humane technology?

    Humane technology is a rather ambiguous term that is open to several interpretations. It also raises the question if can technology be humane — it seems as if it’s a contradictory statement in itself.

    The Oxford Dictionaries describes ‘humane’ “as to having a civilizing effect on people.” Humane technology then, refers to technology that takes society to a stage of development considered to be more advanced, by taking human needs as its starting point. Because why create technology that does not respond to how humans learn, think, and create and thrive?

    With all respect to the future, we see two possible paths along which our co-evolutionary relationship with technology could unfold: the dream path and the nightmare one. We are at the turning point where we can either sleepwalk into our technological future, or contain it by building humane technology that safeguards our humanity and replenishes society.

    Upgrading technology vs downgrading humanity

    Many conversations about the future focus on the point where technology surpasses human capability and exceeds human vulnerabilities. Humane technology therefore requires that we understand our most vulnerable human instincts so we can design accordingly and protect us from abuse.

    In his Letter to Humanity, NNN director Koert van Mensvoort writes about his concern about the questionable line between technology that facilitates humanity, and technology that deprives our human potential. “And I don’t see that as desirable, because I’m a person, and I’m playing for team human.” We must therefore envision a world where human needs and goals are incorporated into the very core of technology as they are built.

    Six principles

    In order for technology to thrive, we’ve taken a step towards creating a common vocabulary with six principles that should be at the core of developing humane technology.

  • Humane technology should feel natural, rather than estranging.
  • Humane technology should revive human intuitions.
  • Humane technology takes human values as its cornerstone.
  • Humane technology resonates with the human senses.
  • Humane technology should empower people.
  • Humane technology must improve the human condition.
  • Domesticated by the system

    Koert van Mensvoort wonders whether humane technology is about technological innovation or social innovation. The two seem to go hand in hand. William Myers thinks solutions and approaches towards technology are humane, although these are not technological.

    Arne Hendriks wonders whether we even need technology to become more humane, and thinks that technology itself has no morality. In his view, ‘humane’ is an ethical debate (just have a look at the technology events that raised ethical concerns in the last two years).

    In a way, you could say that humane technology is about domesticating ourselves in relation to our (technological) surroundings. Technology not only alters our environment, it ultimately alters us. In an optimistic view, the changes to come will allow us to be more human than ever before.

    “And what about animals and other lifeforms?” Teresa van Dongen wonders. It’s a legit hesitation; ‘humane’ does imply solutions that puts human concern at the core of the solution. It’s therefore necessary to question ourselves what is meant with such an adjective. Does it mean that something respects human and non-human living actors? Or is it just related to humans? And what will be the purpose of this definition?

    Sure, humane technology hints at tech that is good for humanity, but when we speak about humane technology, we need to broaden the actors into the conversation — not only for ourselves, but for the planet as a whole.

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