344 results for “Fake-nature”

Watch this lifelike robot fish swim through the ocean

Vanessa Bates Ramirez
January 7th 2019

Earth’s oceans are having a rough go of it these days. On top of being the repository for millions of tons of plastic waste, global warming is affecting the oceans and upsetting marine ecosystems in potentially irreversible ways.…

Adding a new dimension to marine restoration: 3D printing coral reefs

David Klinges
September 28th 2018

The local fishermen looked on skeptically. From the deck of a small motorboat, scuba divers grabbed odd chunks of ceramic – which could be described as rocky brains stuck on stumpy stilts – and plunged into the aquamarine waters. The dive team assembled the pieces as a few triggerfish circled around to investigate the commotion. After just two air tanks (about an hour each), they had locked all of the items together into the final product: an artificial coral reef.…

Interview: Designer Shahar Livne is geomimicing the future of plastics

Kelly Streekstra
April 18th 2018

What if plastics one day become a rare commodity that we desire and mine from the depths of the earth’s crust? By that time, plastic would be a rather different material. Shahar Livne offers a fast-forward to this next nature, by artificially geomimicing metamorphisms. She shares with us her speculative material: the “lithoplast”.

The Forgotten Plan to Coat Utah’s Delicate Arch with Plastic

Jack Caulfield
January 29th 2018
Arches National Park, located in Utah, is home to some of America's most beautiful rock formations. The most famous of them, Delicate Arch, has always been, well, pretty delicate. So much so that back in the 1940s, park rangers hatched a plan to preserve the natural monument - by coating it in plastic.

The Age of Rust

Van Mensvoort
October 3rd 2017
Meet the incredible new species "Petramosaurus Cavator" and discover its impact on our planet.

Replacing Fireflies with Lasers

Alec Schellinx
August 10th 2017
After mounting criticism from environmentalists, a firefly-themed park in China announced that the glowing bugs will be replaced by lasers.

Work Remotely in VR Nature

Julie Reindl
June 22nd 2017
Breakroom is a VR app that lets you fill your daily working tasks in a simulated nature surrounding, enhancing productivity and mental balance.

Rent a Rain Room

Elle Zhan Wei
May 24th 2017
Rent a rain room with simulated rain with a motion sensor to go through the rain without getting wet.

Robotic Animal Spies

Ruben Baart
April 24th 2017
BBC is using robotic animal spies to capture wildlife.

Turning Glass Bottles into Sand

Julie Reindl
April 1st 2017
A machine lets drinkers instantly turn their empty beer bottles into sand.
WP_Query Object ( [query] => Array ( [tag] => fake-nature [post_type] => post [post_status] => publish [orderby] => date [order] => DESC [category__not_in] => Array ( [0] => 1 )[numberposts] => 10 [suppress_filters] => )[query_vars] => Array ( [tag] => fake-nature [post_type] => post [post_status] => publish [orderby] => date [order] => DESC [category__not_in] => Array ( [0] => 1 )[numberposts] => 10 [suppress_filters] => [error] => [m] => [p] => 0 [post_parent] => [subpost] => [subpost_id] => [attachment] => [attachment_id] => 0 [name] => [pagename] => [page_id] => 0 [second] => [minute] => [hour] => [day] => 0 [monthnum] => 0 [year] => 0 [w] => 0 [category_name] => [cat] => [tag_id] => 91 [author] => [author_name] => [feed] => [tb] => [paged] => 0 [meta_key] => [meta_value] => [preview] => [s] => [sentence] => [title] => [fields] => [menu_order] => [embed] => [category__in] => Array ( )[category__and] => Array ( )[post__in] => Array ( )[post__not_in] => Array ( )[post_name__in] => Array ( )[tag__in] => Array ( )[tag__not_in] => Array ( )[tag__and] => Array ( )[tag_slug__in] => Array ( [0] => fake-nature )[tag_slug__and] => Array ( )[post_parent__in] => Array ( )[post_parent__not_in] => Array ( )[author__in] => Array ( )[author__not_in] => Array ( )[ignore_sticky_posts] => [cache_results] => 1 [update_post_term_cache] => 1 [lazy_load_term_meta] => 1 [update_post_meta_cache] => 1 [posts_per_page] => 10 [nopaging] => [comments_per_page] => 50 [no_found_rows] => )[tax_query] => WP_Tax_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( [0] => Array ( [taxonomy] => category [terms] => Array ( [0] => 1 )[field] => term_id [operator] => NOT IN [include_children] => )[1] => Array ( [taxonomy] => post_tag [terms] => Array ( [0] => fake-nature )[field] => slug [operator] => IN [include_children] => 1 ))[relation] => AND [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( [0] => wp_term_relationships )[queried_terms] => Array ( [post_tag] => Array ( [terms] => Array ( [0] => fake-nature )[field] => slug ))[primary_table] => wp_posts [primary_id_column] => ID )[meta_query] => WP_Meta_Query Object ( [queries] => Array ( )[relation] => [meta_table] => [meta_id_column] => [primary_table] => [primary_id_column] => [table_aliases:protected] => Array ( )[clauses:protected] => Array ( )[has_or_relation:protected] => )[date_query] => [queried_object] => WP_Term Object ( [term_id] => 91 [name] => Fake-nature [slug] => fake-nature [term_group] => 0 [term_taxonomy_id] => 94 [taxonomy] => post_tag [description] => A replica of real nature. Fake nature projects the illusion of life, be it plant or animal, on human-made or inanimate objects. Plastic flowers and robotic dogs are an example of fake nature. [parent] => 0 [count] => 344 [filter] => raw [term_order] => 0 )[queried_object_id] => 91 [request] => SELECT SQL_CALC_FOUND_ROWS wp_posts.ID FROM wp_posts LEFT JOIN wp_term_relationships ON (wp_posts.ID = wp_term_relationships.object_id) WHERE 1=1 AND ( wp_posts.ID NOT IN ( SELECT object_id FROM wp_term_relationships WHERE term_taxonomy_id IN (1) ) AND wp_term_relationships.term_taxonomy_id IN (94) ) AND wp_posts.post_type = 'post' AND ((wp_posts.post_status = 'publish')) GROUP BY wp_posts.ID ORDER BY wp_posts.post_date DESC LIMIT 0, 10 [posts] => Array ( [0] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 91461 [post_author] => 1790 [post_date] => 2019-01-07 17:06:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-07 16:06:48 [post_content] =>

Earth’s oceans are having a rough go of it these days. On top of being the repository for millions of tons of plastic waste, global warming is affecting the oceans and upsetting marine ecosystems in potentially irreversible ways.

Coral bleaching, for example, occurs when warming water temperatures or other stress factors cause coral to cast off the algae that live on them. The coral goes from lush and colorful to white and bare, and sometimes dies off altogether. This has a ripple effect on the surrounding ecosystem.

Warmer water temperatures have also prompted many species of fish to move closer to the north or south poles, disrupting fisheries and altering undersea environments.

To keep these issues in check or, better yet, try to address and improve them, it’s crucial for scientists to monitor what’s going on in the water. A paper released last week by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled a new tool for studying marine life: a biomimetic soft robotic fish, dubbed SoFi, that can swim with, observe, and interact with real fish.

[embed]https://youtu.be/Dy5ZETdaC9k[/embed]

SoFi isn’t the first robotic fish to hit the water, but it is the most advanced robot of its kind. Here’s what sets it apart.

It swims in three dimensions

Up until now, most robotic fish could only swim forward at a given water depth, advancing at a steady speed. SoFi blows older models out of the water. It’s equipped with side fins called dive planes, which move to adjust its angle and allow it to turn, dive downward, or head closer to the surface. Its density and thus its buoyancy can also be adjusted by compressing or decompressing air in an inner compartment.

“To our knowledge, this is the first robotic fish that can swim untethered in three dimensions for extended periods of time,” said CSAIL PhD candidate Robert Katzschmann, lead author of the study. “We are excited about the possibility of being able to use a system like this to get closer to marine life than humans can get on their own.”

The team took SoFi to the Rainbow Reef in Fiji to test out its swimming skills, and the robo fish didn’t disappoint—it was able to swim at depths of over 50 feet for 40 continuous minutes. What keeps it swimming? A lithium polymer battery just like the one that powers our smartphones.

It’s remote-controlled… by Super Nintendo

SoFi has sensors to help it see what’s around it, but it doesn’t have a mind of its own yet. Rather, it’s controlled by a nearby scuba-diving human, who can send it commands related to speed, diving, and turning. The best part? The commands come from an actual repurposed (and waterproofed) Super Nintendo controller. What’s not to love?

obotic-swimming-fish-SoFi-close-up-remote-control
Image Credit: MIT CSAIL

Previous robotic fish built by this team had to be tethered to a boat, so the fact that SoFi can swim independently is a pretty big deal. Communication between the fish and the diver was most successful when the two were less than 10 meters apart.

It looks real, sort of

SoFi’s side fins are a bit stiff, and its camera may not pass for natural—but otherwise, it looks a lot like a real fish. This is mostly thanks to the way its tail moves; a motor pumps water between two chambers in the tail, and as one chamber fills, the tail bends towards that side, then towards the other side as water is pumped into the other chamber. The result is a motion that closely mimics the way fish swim. Not only that, the hydraulic system can change the water flow to get different tail movements that let SoFi swim at varying speeds; its average speed is around half a body length (21.7 centimeters) per second.

Besides looking neat, it’s important SoFi look lifelike so it can blend in with marine life and not scare real fish away, so it can get close to them and observe them.

“A robot like this can help explore the reef more closely than current robots, both because it can get closer more safely for the reef and because it can be better accepted by the marine species.” said Cecilia Laschi, a biorobotics professor at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy.

Just keep swimming

It sounds like this fish is nothing short of a regular Nemo. But its creators aren’t quite finished yet.

They’d like SoFi to be able to swim faster, so they’ll work on improving the robo fish’s pump system and streamlining its body and tail design. They also plan to tweak SoFi’s camera to help it follow real fish.

“We view SoFi as a first step toward developing almost an underwater observatory of sorts,” said CSAIL director Daniela Rus. “It has the potential to be a new type of tool for ocean exploration and to open up new avenues for uncovering the mysteries of marine life.”

The CSAIL team plans to make a whole school of SoFis to help biologists learn more about how marine life is reacting to environmental changes.

Image Credit: MIT CSAIL

This article originally appeared on Singularity Hub, a publication of Singularity University.

[post_title] => Watch this lifelike robot fish swim through the ocean [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => robot-fish [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-13 15:10:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-13 14:10:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=91461 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[1] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 91232 [post_author] => 1761 [post_date] => 2018-09-28 17:04:22 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-09-28 16:04:22 [post_content] =>

The local fishermen looked on skeptically. From the deck of a small motorboat, scuba divers grabbed odd chunks of ceramic – which could be described as rocky brains stuck on stumpy stilts – and plunged into the aquamarine waters. The dive team assembled the pieces as a few triggerfish circled around to investigate the commotion. After just two air tanks (about an hour each), they had locked all of the items together into the final product: an artificial coral reef.

The 3D-printed reef, installed at Summer Island Maldives resort earlier this month, is the first of its kind on any of the 1,200 islands of the Maldives. Each of the artificial reef’s ceramic components was 3D printed with a custom design and then fitted with coral fragments that developers hope will grow across the entire structure.

Left: Reef Design Lab’s newest Modular Artificial Reef Structure (MARS) in the Maldives stands 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) tall with a 4-meter square (13-foot square) footprint. Right: 3D printing reefs allows researchers to experiment with restoration methods, such as how coral fragments are attached to reefs (here, using zip ties).
Left: Reef Design Lab’s newest Modular Artificial Reef Structure (MARS) in the Maldives stands 2.5 meters (8.2 feet) tall with a 4-meter square (13-foot square) footprint. Right: 3D printing reefs allows researchers to experiment with restoration methods, such as how coral fragments are attached to reefs (here, using steel wire). Images by Alex Goad.

3D printers have become faster, cheaper, and more accurate in the past decade, allowing enthusiasts to develop neat trinkets such as toothpaste squeezers and custom pasta makers.  Australian entrepreneur Alex Goad had a more ambitious application: 3D printing coral reefs. He formed the not-for-profit Reef Design Labs (RDL) to apply the flexibility of 3D prints to coral restoration research.

“I started Reef Design Labs to support marine research, that’s the main thing we do,” Goad told Mongabay. “I was interested in ceramic and how it could be used as an ideal material for coral nurseries. So we gave it a go.”

A customizable approach to reef restoration

RDL calls its patented technique for 3D-printed coral formation Modular Artificial Reef Structure, or MARS. Instead of using steel or concrete, popular substrates for artificial reefs, RDL prints hollow blocks of ceramic, which can be molded into complex shapes, and fills them with concrete for stability. Divers bring these blocks underwater and fit them together like LEGOs to form a cohesive and resilient structure.

3D printing artificial reef structures may sound like a gimmick to draw attention, but Goad suggests several benefits of a custom-design reef mold. Coral begins its life cycle as drifting larvae that search for an unexposed place buffered from predators and water currents. 3D printing can replicate the intricate structure of existing reefs needed to foster new coral growth. Within minutes, the small alcoves and overhangs of the Maldivian MARS also began attracting curious fish; it may someday provide shelter to crustaceans, sponges and anemones to form a marine community.

A previous MARS installation, a few months after it was deployed, became the home for various marine species. Although 3D printing will not solve the global threats that reefs face, it can support targeted, small-scale restoration efforts.
A previous MARS installation, a few months after it was deployed, became the home for various marine species. Although 3D printing will not solve the global threats that reefs face, it can support targeted, small-scale restoration efforts. Image by Alex Goad.

“[Reef Design Labs] actually designed the structure based on the corals that are most widely growing in the Maldives,” said Aminath Shauna, a native Maldivian and spokesperson for Summer Island Maldives. “[The 3D-printed reefs] have all these contours and shapes that mimic the natural reefs, so that corals can easily attach themselves…which we can’t do just building regular concrete structures.”

Goad was not the first to construct 3D-printed reefs; another Australian, James Gardiner, paired up with Sustainable Oceans International (SOI) to sink blocks of sandstone amongst sections of a damaged reef system in the Persian Gulf in 2012. The advantage provided by MARS is convenient installation. Rather than using barges to transport beefy chunks of concrete out to sea, divers can slot a customizable set of MARS pieces together by hand to form a sturdy skeleton in shapes inspired by the native coral community.

A Tasmanian blennie takes shelter in one of Reef Design Labs’ 3D printed habitat panels.
A Tasmanian blennie takes shelter in one of Reef Design Labs’ 3D printed habitat panels. Image by Alex Goad.

Reef Design Labs has applied its technology to support other marine life as well. n June 2017, RDL supplied concrete reef units for Australia’s largest shellfish restoration, for which researchers sank more than 17,000 tonnes (18,740 US tons) of limestone near Yorke Peninsula and then released tiny oyster larvae to settle on the new structures. In April 2016, the lab teamed up with Riot Games to design marine sculptures, including a character from a popular online video game, as appealing hideouts for fish communities. The lab is now working with Volvo and Sydney Institute of Marine Science to create oyster habitat on seawalls. Each project’s design and implementation solicits input from marine biologists, who monitor the structures to assess which methods yield the most permanent habitats for corals and other reef organisms.

Reef Design Labs partnered with Riot Games to sink several structures to serve as fish hideouts in Moreton Bay, Australia. This is one of the sculptures, pm the day of installation and 15 months later.
Reef Design Labs partnered with Riot Games to sink several structures to serve as fish hideouts in Moreton Bay, Australia. This is one of the sculptures, on the day of installation and 15 months later. Images by Alex Goad.

The materials and methods of installation for an artificial reef must be carefully chosen and prepared, or the structure may do more harm than good for the marine environment. 3D printing also requires specialized equipment and expertise, and there is a ceiling to how much custom reef design can be scaled up. Goad acknowledges there are limitations to the practice.

“People assume that 3D printing is going to be some magic thing that is going to save the coral reefs – obviously not. This is to be used for small coral nurseries. I was interested in how MARS could help this cause: a permanent structure that had complexity and would allow other reef species [besides corals] to have a home.”

MARS acts as a platform for targeted research on optimal coral farming methods. Prints can be tailored to specific experiments, for instance testing how different techniques of attaching coral fragments affect growth. Such research may help scientists better understand and adjust to the threats faced by coral reefs.

Coral bleaching threatens reefs worldwide

Corals face a number of threats globally, such as white band disease, coral skeletons dissolving from ocean acidification, and coral bleaching, the last of which has especially affected the Maldives. Warm ocean temperatures stress corals and cause them to eject the algal cells living inside them, which they rely on to produce energy. Prolonged separation kills both coral and algae, leaving nothing but a bone-white skeleton.

A bleached staghorn coral in the Maldives after the 2016 El Niño.
A bleached staghorn coral in the Maldives after the 2016 El Niño. Image by Aminath Shauna.

“[T]he ecological impacts of bleaching are near-instantaneous and can be severe,” reported Drs. Christopher Perry and Kyle Morgan, who quantified coral loss in the Maldives in 2016. “Such events thus have the capacity to also drive very rapid, and potentially severe, declines…in resultant reef growth potential.”

The Maldives is the largest atoll in the world, a geologic formation composed of thousands of years of coral growth. The nation also boasts the world’s 7th largest reef system — but this is quickly changing.

In 2016, a tremendous El Niño event, a shift in global wind and precipitation patterns that naturally occurs every two to seven years, caused the waters of the Indian and Pacific Oceans to dramatically heat up. This shock of warmth, combined with continually increasing global temperatures, disrupted one-third of the coral cover in Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, and killed an estimated 75 percent of the coral cover in the southern Maldives.

Shauna recalled the summer of 2016 distinctly.

“There’s a reef that we would go for snorkeling near Male [the Maldivian capital],” she said. “It’s a beautiful reef, one of the most healthy reefs that I’ve seen near the capital city. And within a week, we saw it go completely white.”

Corals benefit coastal communities in the Maldives and beyond because they attract fish (and tourists), and they protect coastlines from storms and erosion. The Maldives is particularly vulnerable to sea level rise: the nation’s highest peak on Addu Atoll rises a whopping 2.4 meters (8 feet) above sea level. Shelves created by coral growth act as a wall that buffers the impact of waves, reducing constant flooding as well as erosion of beaches, of which there are precious few left in the Maldives.

“I remember in 2016, when we were swimming it felt like we were in a bath,” Shauna added. “And it’s not just 2016…every year it is warmer, and with the El Niño, the coral don’t have time to recover.”

Optimism despite dire global conditions

Research and creative approaches to reef restoration are a glimmer of hope in the face of global threats that have already destroyed much of the world’s coral ecosystems. Ecologists have identified some corals that thrive in warm waters and others that partner with unique algae to resist high temperatures.

Arjan Sierink inspects the coral reef farm he initiated at Summer Island Maldives, on a budget of not more than $1,000.
Arjan Sierink inspects the coral reef farm he initiated at Summer Island Maldives, on a budget of not more than $1,000. Image by Alex Goad.

Goad maintains optimism in the toughest of times. “What really keeps me going is how much research is occurring. There is work on understanding heat-tolerant corals and identifying the genetic make-up that resists warming climates…there are also groups looking at how to start coral farms en masse.”

The charisma and flexibility of 3D printing will not do much to help reefs if ocean temperatures continue to rise to levels at which corals cannot survive. Yet technology like RDL’s can facilitate research to understand how we might adapt to climate change, so Goad is experimenting with approaches to address issues that coastal communities face.

“We’re starting to look into 3D modular design as a wave-breaking technology [to prevent storm damage and flooding]. That’s really interesting because there’s a real need for that in a place like the Maldives.”

An interlocked MARS reef structure, upon installation and as marine life begins to colonize it.
The interlocked pieces of a MARS reef structure, upon installation and as marine life has begun to colonize it several months later. Image by Alex Goad.

Goad said he hopes this work will engage researchers and local communities, demonstrating how easy coral restoration can be and inspiring others to follow. “Installing the structures underwater, it’s really fun. Everyone was just loving it.”

And those skeptical Maldivian fishermen scrutinizing the installation? “Now,” says Goad, “they’re starting their own coral nurseries.”

This article is published in partnership with Mongabay.com. Read the original story here.

[post_title] => Adding a new dimension to marine restoration: 3D printing coral reefs [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => coral-reefs [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-12-10 17:40:55 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-12-10 16:40:55 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=91232 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[2] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 81354 [post_author] => 1510 [post_date] => 2018-04-18 11:35:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-04-18 10:35:27 [post_content] => What if plastics one day become a rare commodity that we desire and mine from the depths of the earth’s crust? By that time, plastic would be a rather different material. Shahar Livne offers a fast-forward to this next nature, by artificially geomimicing metamorphisms. She shares with us her speculative material: the “lithoplast”.We sat down with Shahar Livne, an Israeli-born designer who graduated from the Design Academy in Eindhoven. This week, she is showcasing her work at the Milan Design week. We spoke about her research into metamorphism as a design tool, and how this led her to envision the future of plastics. 

Material narratives through metamorphism

“I’m a material designer. I’m interested in the philosophical and cultural aspects of materials. I aim to use them to tell a story.” One of the many materials that may tell a story, are rocks. “Over time, rocks go through a lot of transformations inside the Earth.” One of these transformations, is metamorphism. “This is a natural process, resulting in natural rocks, through which I am uniquely able to tell a story.”The Earth’s history is told by the rock-layering of the earth’s crust. Humanity is uniquely present in that story, by leaving a global mark on our technosphere. The most prominent material-marker of humanity, are plastics.[caption id="attachment_81355" align="alignnone" width="640"] A lithoplast rock made by Shahar Livne[/caption]

Exploring plastics

“Plastic is the first man-made material that we have changed on a molecular level. Plastics are made from the natural material of oil, and were developed to imitate and enhance nature." “I drew upon an essay by Koert van Mensvoort, and was particularly inspired by the concept of Hypernature. I think plastic is a hypernatural material. With plastics, we’re able to model and control nature.”Plastics are made to be durable, and may survive much longer than we had imagined. There is no place in the world that is free from plastics anymore.” Despite our efforts of recycling, and cleaning up the oceans, plastics will most likely be a future fossil. Shahar dares to accept this scenario and explores what this future may look like.
"Plastic is a hypernatural material"
Nature is already taking plastic into itself. At some point, plastic hybridized with natural materials.” The first example of this hybrid material, are ‘plastic conglomerates’. These are nature-made-rocks that harbor pieces of plastic within them. These have gone through the earliest stages of the rock-cycle, similar to the process by which dead shellfish pressurize into limestone, making up the iconic white cliffs of England. However, it's possible that materials like rock or plastic stay within the earth’s crust for longer. This is when the natural process of metamorphism takes place. Under high pressures and temperatures, limestone may turn into marble, or charcoal turns into diamonds.“I wondered, could plastics last through the full rock-cycle? So, I started talking to geologists. They agreed that our plastics will most probably one day be metamorphosed.”“That vision of the future, is what grasped me. That’s how I got to my speculative material version of the future. A newly created material: the lithoplast.”
"Nature is already taking plastic into itself. At some point, plastic hybridized with natural materials"
[caption id="attachment_81362" align="alignnone" width="640"] Shahar shares: “I had never expected that people would be so eager to touch the lithoplasts. The moment they pick it up their faces are almost always fully surprised. People expect a heavy material like a stone, but plastic is a lot lighter.”[/caption]

Presenting the future of plastics

“To make the lithoplast, I’m geomimicing something that doesn’t happen in nature just yet.”“In natural settings, I expect that all kinds of plastics will metamorphose together with other minerals. To mimic this, I mix the plastics with minestone and marble dust. This distinguishes my method from 3D printing, where you can only use certain types of plastics and have to divide them yourself.”“To mimic metamorphism, I have access to a huge press. This machine can expose my mix to such high pressures and temperatures that the material completely changes. The material stretches, and becomes malleable.”Malleability is a celebrated characteristic of plastics; you can make it into any form you like. “However, the timespan for molding plastics in traditional methods, industrial plastics and 3D printers, only lasts a few seconds. This time-frame makes plastic inherently a machine-made material.”
"In the future, we may rediscover this beautiful material of our wasted plastics, and start mining them"
“What I discovered, is that through my method of metamorphism, the lithoplast stays malleable for much longer. We think this happens due to the mixture I use.  This unique aspect allows me to mold the material by hand - as if it is clay. This interaction with the material, is much more like craftmanship.” Her next-material may envision a goldsmith of the future: the plastic smith!Her work envisions a more positive view on our waste culture. “What I think will happen, is that we will reach a point where we won’t be able to make plastics anymore. At that point, we may rediscover this beautiful material of our wasted plastics, and start mining them.”“When I tell people that I’m not recycling plastics, but envisioning a far future with fossilized plastics in it, some people may get angry. I think that makes sense: many of us put a lot of effort into recycling our plastics, we simply don’t want to see our plastic waste become a part of nature. I want people to start thinking differently about plastics, on a larger timescale.”[caption id="attachment_81363" align="alignnone" width="640"] The malleability of the lithoplasts, allows Shahar to hand-make objects, like a craftsman.[/caption]

Milan design week

Shahar is excited to present her work during Milan design week. She’ll be doing two exhibitions as part of her metamorphism research. “Firstly, I’m invited by the organization of Ventura Future to exhibit in their collection on future materials and technologies. Here, I will be treating the lithoplasts like clay, and make vases with them, that either are ‘rough’ or really ‘fine’. So, the vases change in meaning from looking really natural to looking really synthetic.”“I’m also exhibiting with Dutch Invirtuals, a design collective. One of their exhibits is exploring the future of mining, and is part of the exhibition “Mutant Matter”. Here I will present the lithoplast like altars, to illustrate the idea that we could also be worshipping plastics instead of wasting them.”

The future of the lithoplast

In the future, Shahar hopes to publish her research on metamorphism in book form. Her graduation research will be a part of this. “This research will explore our perceptions on the natural-born and man-made, our cultural uses of plastics, and I’ll research the idea of craftsmanship.” Her favorite part of her designs, lies in the dialogue it invites. “I'm now developing a methodology on material research and design, whilst doing my residency at the ‘materials experience lab’ at TU Delft. I realized that what I like most about my materials such as the lithoplasts, is how I can ask people lots of questions with it.”“One of my favorite questions I like to ask people about my work is: 'If we are natural, and we are making plastic, then is plastic not a natural material?' Think about it.Thank you Shahar Livne, for sharing your viewpoints with us! We are looking forward to your exhibit in Milan, and the many more next-materials you may make. [post_title] => Interview: Designer Shahar Livne is geomimicing the future of plastics [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => interview-shahar-livne [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-04-20 10:53:30 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-04-20 09:53:30 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=81354 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[3] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 80198 [post_author] => 1425 [post_date] => 2018-01-29 11:22:50 [post_date_gmt] => 2018-01-29 10:22:50 [post_content] => Arches National Park, located in Utah, is home to some of America's most beautiful rock formations. The most famous of them, Delicate Arch, has always been, well, pretty delicate. So much so that back in the 1940s, park rangers hatched a plan to preserve the natural monument by coating it with plastic.

The fragile monument

Arches has had problems over the years with its famous attractions eroding and eventually collapsing. An arch is a fragile formation, and one that is always going to collapse eventually on a long enough timescale. For instance another of the park's attractions, Wall Arch, collapsed back in 2008. This kind of change is an inevitable part of nature, but obviously a problem for the park's custodians.That's why back in 1947, park employee Russ Mahan, worried by the conditions of Delicate Arch's leg, raised the alarm. Mahan believed that the arch's collapse must be imminent and his concerns led the park service to begin a seven-year effort to find a way of saving it.

Plastic arch?

The project, which never actually came to fruition, certainly led to an odd place. Among the ideas proposed were strengthening the weak leg with a cement collar and coating the whole arch in plastic. A park official called Bates Wilson got as far as ordering some appropriate silicone blends before the idea was abandoned. The weather, Wilson said, would have caused the material "to turn white, or scale off, or both".It's probably for the best that the plan didn't get any further than that. In fact, we'd know nothing of the scheme if it weren't for the detective work of park ranger Jim Stiles, who dug up an old file labeled "The Delicate Arch Stabilization Project". Stiles told the curious story on his blog.Schemes like this might seem silly to us now, but perhaps it's only the prospect of spoiling the arch's natural beauty that bothers us. These days, our advertising is covered in thoroughly fake depictions of nature, and our real nature is often itself artificial - think of plastic flowers, for instance. The story of Delicate Arch, still standing on its own to this day, begs the question: do we care about nature, or only what we think nature must look like?Source: Motherboard [post_title] => The Forgotten Plan to Coat Utah's Delicate Arch with Plastic [post_excerpt] => Arches National Park, located in Utah, is home to some of America's most beautiful rock formations. The most famous of them, Delicate Arch, has always been, well, pretty delicate. So much so that back in the 1940s, park rangers hatched a plan to preserve the natural monument - by coating it in plastic. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => utah-delicate-arch-plastic [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2018-02-01 00:37:57 [post_modified_gmt] => 2018-01-31 23:37:57 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=80198 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[4] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 77589 [post_author] => 4 [post_date] => 2017-10-03 10:01:54 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-10-03 08:01:54 [post_content] => Meet the incredible new species "Petramosaurus Cavator" and discover its impact on our planet in this short mockumentary by Aber and Mattei. Thanks Chloé. [post_title] => The Age of Rust [post_excerpt] => Meet the incredible new species "Petramosaurus Cavator" and discover its impact on our planet. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => the-age-of-rust [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-10-02 07:24:11 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-10-02 05:24:11 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=77589/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[5] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 76628 [post_author] => 1419 [post_date] => 2017-08-10 10:00:27 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-08-10 08:00:27 [post_content] => Oh look, a firefly…or is it a laser? Firefly-watching festivities are immensely popular in China and each season from the end of May until October draws flock of tourists. These events involve the release of tens of thousands of these glowing bugs outside their natural habitat. The East Lake Peony Garden, located in Wuhan (the capital of Hebei province) is China’s first firefly theme park. Yet, although the park itself is populated by some indigenous fireflies, many of them are not what they seem.For Chinese millennials releasing fireflies has also become a romantic trend. Hence fireflies are readily available on numerous online shopping platforms and can be shipped virtually anywhere in the country. These practices endanger the species, as fireflies do not adapt well to new environments and tend to die quickly after having been set free.Now that concern over environmental and ecological threats are increasingly being heard and acted upon, this year’s firefly festival, organized by the above mentioned East Lake Peony Garden, decided to take a somewhat radical move: the bugs will be replaced by laser lights. The festivities will continue as in previous years (the show must, after all, go on), but the planners’ message is clear: no fireflies will be harmed in the production of this season’s show! The world’s first firefly-friendly firefly-watching show for firefly lovers (minus the fireflies): all pleasure, no harm. By using “artificial” fireflies, the park furthermore hopes to educate visitors on the importance of maintaining a healthy ecosystem and protecting fireflies. Source: Sixth Tone [post_title] => Replacing Fireflies with Lasers [post_excerpt] => After mounting criticism from environmentalists, a firefly-themed park in China announced that the glowing bugs will be replaced by lasers. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => replacing-fireflies-with-lasers [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-09-07 21:07:27 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-09-07 19:07:27 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=76628/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[6] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 75822 [post_author] => 1317 [post_date] => 2017-06-22 06:59:58 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-06-22 04:59:58 [post_content] => Wide icy glacier landscapes, juicy green forests, deep blue lakes, that sounds like an ideal office setting. The reality usually looks quite different. Spaces in the middle of traffic jams, without plants and with artificial lights; that's what we usually get. Even though it is scientifically proven to be everything but productive and balancing. This problem could be solved thanks to an Icelandic company that provides the ideal work environment with the help of virtual reality.We have come a long way from walking through the savannah to the days when we spend most of our time in gray office buildings, behind a desk. Still, looking at nature has a big impact on the renewal of our cognitive capacity. The app Breakroom immerses you in a computer generated environment simulating those organic worlds, while allowing you to keep on with your working tasks.A Japanese garden, an ice cave or an autumn forest, within seconds you can travel to your favorite surrounding while working on your Google Sheets.Source: Newyorker. Image: Uploadvr [post_title] => Work Remotely in VR Nature [post_excerpt] => Breakroom is a VR app that lets you fill your daily working tasks in a simulated nature surrounding, enhancing productivity and mental balance. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => ideal-office [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-07-03 10:46:29 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-07-03 08:46:29 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=75822/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[7] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 75034 [post_author] => 1324 [post_date] => 2017-05-24 19:50:30 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-05-24 17:50:30 [post_content] => Do you love that have a romantic walk under the rain, but can’t wait until the next time the clouds decide? No problem, you can rent a rain room.Rain Room is an installation developed by Random Internationals and currently on display at MoMA. It is a room with simulated rain and motion sensor technology, so that the viewers can go through the rain without getting wet. It has gained international fame, people have waited up to ten hours just to experience the installation. In China, the concept has already been copied by a theme park where a replica of the rain room will be permanently opened.What’s so special about reenacting the rain inside a room? The fascination comes from how a daily natural phenomenon is remade indoors. We’ve likely all seen rain, but never indoors (or did we?). And especially not rain that stops where you walk. It is like rain 2.0. We imitate nature to our romantic needs, turning it into art and culture. But most importantly, once you’ve had enough, you can switch it off - a power we don't have with nature, yet.Source: Creators. Image: LA Times [post_title] => Rent a Rain Room [post_excerpt] => Rent a rain room with simulated rain with a motion sensor to go through the rain without getting wet. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => rent-rain-room [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-05-31 10:38:12 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-05-31 08:38:12 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=75034/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[8] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 73625 [post_author] => 873 [post_date] => 2017-04-24 12:22:25 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-24 10:22:25 [post_content] => Behold a new breed of robotic animal spies (not to be mistaken with real animal spies). Developed by the BBC to capture wildlife, these " anatomic spy creatures" use computerized motors to mimic the natural movement of their real-life counterparts and blend into their newly adopted habitats on a mission to capture animal emotions.For their new show Spy in the Wild, BBC set out to observe how wild creatures really behave in their natural habitat, while at the same time helping a team of scientists to better understand animal locomotion. Using an army of robotic animals embedded with hidden cameras, the documentary series takes a plunge into the world of wild dogs, monkeys, crocodiles, lemurs, prairie dogs and more. It's a five part series, and the first three episodes are titled LoveIntelligence and Friendship.So tune in and meet Spy Prairie Dog, Baby Spy Crocs, Spy Adelie Penguin, Spy Bush Baby and many other colorful creatures.Story via BBC. [post_title] => Robotic Animal Spies [post_excerpt] => BBC is using robotic animal spies to capture wildlife. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => robotic-animal-spies [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-25 12:23:28 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-25 10:23:28 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=73625/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[9] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 72411 [post_author] => 1317 [post_date] => 2017-04-01 10:06:55 [post_date_gmt] => 2017-04-01 09:06:55 [post_content] => New Zealand is famous for its old nature: mountains, beaches, rivers, lakes and a lot of national parks to be protected. Newzealanders also do love beer, but obviously not the trash that is left behind after evening drinks at the beach. For that reason the New Zealand brewery DB Breweries designed a device that immediately turn empty glass bottles into sand!Yes sand! Handy right? At the same time it recycles the bottles and counteracts the global shortage of sand. Two-thirds of beaches on the planet are lacking the natural source. You would think that there is way to much sand on our planet, as deserts are constantly growing. The problem with desert sand is that it is to small and round to be used for constructions and this is the sector that uses most of the needed resource.In the case of New Zealand, the sand obtained with the bottle-to-sand device goes to leading producers of concrete and to big construction companies around the world, to be used to build houses, roads, cycle paths and a lot more. With the supply of these construction companies, the dredging of sand from beaches should be by passed. Dredging beaches is the main reason for the sand shortage. Sand clock is ticking so lets hope the rest of the world will soon also be able to recycle their used beer bottles!Source: Mashable. Image: Inspiration Room [post_title] => Turning Glass Bottles into Sand [post_excerpt] => A machine lets drinkers instantly turn their empty beer bottles into sand. [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => turning-glass-bottles-into-sand [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2017-04-01 10:07:08 [post_modified_gmt] => 2017-04-01 09:07:08 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=72411/ [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 1 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 ))[post_count] => 10 [current_post] => -1 [in_the_loop] => [post] => WP_Post Object ( [ID] => 91461 [post_author] => 1790 [post_date] => 2019-01-07 17:06:48 [post_date_gmt] => 2019-01-07 16:06:48 [post_content] =>

Earth’s oceans are having a rough go of it these days. On top of being the repository for millions of tons of plastic waste, global warming is affecting the oceans and upsetting marine ecosystems in potentially irreversible ways.

Coral bleaching, for example, occurs when warming water temperatures or other stress factors cause coral to cast off the algae that live on them. The coral goes from lush and colorful to white and bare, and sometimes dies off altogether. This has a ripple effect on the surrounding ecosystem.

Warmer water temperatures have also prompted many species of fish to move closer to the north or south poles, disrupting fisheries and altering undersea environments.

To keep these issues in check or, better yet, try to address and improve them, it’s crucial for scientists to monitor what’s going on in the water. A paper released last week by a team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) unveiled a new tool for studying marine life: a biomimetic soft robotic fish, dubbed SoFi, that can swim with, observe, and interact with real fish.

[embed]https://youtu.be/Dy5ZETdaC9k[/embed]

SoFi isn’t the first robotic fish to hit the water, but it is the most advanced robot of its kind. Here’s what sets it apart.

It swims in three dimensions

Up until now, most robotic fish could only swim forward at a given water depth, advancing at a steady speed. SoFi blows older models out of the water. It’s equipped with side fins called dive planes, which move to adjust its angle and allow it to turn, dive downward, or head closer to the surface. Its density and thus its buoyancy can also be adjusted by compressing or decompressing air in an inner compartment.

“To our knowledge, this is the first robotic fish that can swim untethered in three dimensions for extended periods of time,” said CSAIL PhD candidate Robert Katzschmann, lead author of the study. “We are excited about the possibility of being able to use a system like this to get closer to marine life than humans can get on their own.”

The team took SoFi to the Rainbow Reef in Fiji to test out its swimming skills, and the robo fish didn’t disappoint—it was able to swim at depths of over 50 feet for 40 continuous minutes. What keeps it swimming? A lithium polymer battery just like the one that powers our smartphones.

It’s remote-controlled… by Super Nintendo

SoFi has sensors to help it see what’s around it, but it doesn’t have a mind of its own yet. Rather, it’s controlled by a nearby scuba-diving human, who can send it commands related to speed, diving, and turning. The best part? The commands come from an actual repurposed (and waterproofed) Super Nintendo controller. What’s not to love?

obotic-swimming-fish-SoFi-close-up-remote-control
Image Credit: MIT CSAIL

Previous robotic fish built by this team had to be tethered to a boat, so the fact that SoFi can swim independently is a pretty big deal. Communication between the fish and the diver was most successful when the two were less than 10 meters apart.

It looks real, sort of

SoFi’s side fins are a bit stiff, and its camera may not pass for natural—but otherwise, it looks a lot like a real fish. This is mostly thanks to the way its tail moves; a motor pumps water between two chambers in the tail, and as one chamber fills, the tail bends towards that side, then towards the other side as water is pumped into the other chamber. The result is a motion that closely mimics the way fish swim. Not only that, the hydraulic system can change the water flow to get different tail movements that let SoFi swim at varying speeds; its average speed is around half a body length (21.7 centimeters) per second.

Besides looking neat, it’s important SoFi look lifelike so it can blend in with marine life and not scare real fish away, so it can get close to them and observe them.

“A robot like this can help explore the reef more closely than current robots, both because it can get closer more safely for the reef and because it can be better accepted by the marine species.” said Cecilia Laschi, a biorobotics professor at the Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies in Pisa, Italy.

Just keep swimming

It sounds like this fish is nothing short of a regular Nemo. But its creators aren’t quite finished yet.

They’d like SoFi to be able to swim faster, so they’ll work on improving the robo fish’s pump system and streamlining its body and tail design. They also plan to tweak SoFi’s camera to help it follow real fish.

“We view SoFi as a first step toward developing almost an underwater observatory of sorts,” said CSAIL director Daniela Rus. “It has the potential to be a new type of tool for ocean exploration and to open up new avenues for uncovering the mysteries of marine life.”

The CSAIL team plans to make a whole school of SoFis to help biologists learn more about how marine life is reacting to environmental changes.

Image Credit: MIT CSAIL

This article originally appeared on Singularity Hub, a publication of Singularity University.

[post_title] => Watch this lifelike robot fish swim through the ocean [post_excerpt] => [post_status] => publish [comment_status] => open [ping_status] => closed [post_password] => [post_name] => robot-fish [to_ping] => [pinged] => [post_modified] => 2019-01-13 15:10:20 [post_modified_gmt] => 2019-01-13 14:10:20 [post_content_filtered] => [post_parent] => 0 [guid] => https://nextnature.net/?p=91461 [menu_order] => 0 [post_type] => post [post_mime_type] => [comment_count] => 0 [filter] => raw [post_category] => 0 )[comment_count] => 0 [current_comment] => -1 [found_posts] => 329 [max_num_pages] => 33 [max_num_comment_pages] => 0 [is_single] => [is_preview] => [is_page] => [is_archive] => 1 [is_date] => [is_year] => [is_month] => [is_day] => [is_time] => [is_author] => [is_category] => [is_tag] => 1 [is_tax] => [is_search] => [is_feed] => [is_comment_feed] => [is_trackback] => [is_home] => [is_privacy_policy] => [is_404] => [is_embed] => [is_paged] => [is_admin] => [is_attachment] => [is_singular] => [is_robots] => [is_posts_page] => [is_post_type_archive] => [query_vars_hash:WP_Query:private] => 64def8023242a4393e27db1c8cf5ab56 [query_vars_changed:WP_Query:private] => [thumbnails_cached] => [stopwords:WP_Query:private] => [compat_fields:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => query_vars_hash [1] => query_vars_changed )[compat_methods:WP_Query:private] => Array ( [0] => init_query_flags [1] => parse_tax_query ))
load more