Made in Japan – Volume 29

Made in Japan – Volume 29

This week:
Todai LEGO Club, Infrared MIDI Accelerometer, “The Way Sensing Go” Installation by 4nchor5 La6, Trick Wall Paintings, Screen Painting, Visualizing the Length of the Large and Small Intestines, Snake-Like Disaster Camera, Summer Papercraft Mania, Stretchable Circuitry, Modding a Recorder to be 4 Meters Long.


Todai LEGO Club
The University of Tokyo, a.k.a. Tokyo Daigaku (Todai for short) is considered to be one of the premiere universities in Japan. But a group of their students also have a knack for LEGO building, as these shots from the Todai LEGO club show us (Japanese novelist Natsume Soseki is pictured above). They deliver glorious geek times geek awesome with this QR code made of LEGOs:

Infrared MIDI Accelerometer
Toucy Lab brings us this noise maker that takes accelerometer readings and transmits them via an infrared LED to a infrared reader module that then converts the accelerometer data into MIDI data that is then fed to Max/MSP to manipulate the speed of sample playback. Video at the link. A nice example of how to implement wireless communication in DIY devices. [via MAKE: Japan]

“The Way Sensing Go” Installation by 4nchor5 La6
Stuff like this is like catnip for a MAKE blogger. A Rube Golberg-ian mashup of Arduino, Processing, Max/MSP/Jitter, and a Playstation3, this is the thing that blog dreams are made of. This piece was produced by Daito Manabe, Kanta Horio, Motoi Ishibashi and Tomoaki Yanagisawa.

Trick Wall Paintings
Here’s a collection of clever wall paintings that are designed to trick viewers into thinking they are seeing something more than a painting. Found in train stations and shopping centers, these trick wall paintings create an aura of fantasy in otherwise mundane locations.

Screen Painting
After noticing a strange pattern that was left in the strainer screen after making some soumen, this DPZ blogger decided to take the screen medium to its logical artistic apex: Mario.

Visualizing the Length of the Large and Small Intestines
We’ve all heard about how long our intestines are, but do you really understand how long they are? To truly get a better idea of the length of the human intestinal tract, this author went to Tokkyu Hands to get some pipes that corresponded to the lengths of the large and small intestines. After stretching these hoses around town, the author puts them to the real test by runningsoumen and then beer through the pipe and consuming the results. Take-home point? 9.2 meters is a pretty long journey for all that food we eat.

Snake-Like Disaster Camera

Designed and made by research from the Tohoku University Graduate School, this 8m long fiber scope is covered with fibrous hairs which move the scope along when they are vibrated by tiny motors. This scope is designed to peek through piles of rubble in disaster areas such as collapsed buildings where rescue dogs and rescue workers would not be able to enter in order to look for look for survivors.

Summer Papercraft Mania
Fresh links to some hot papercraft sites.

Now with the hot summer months in full tilt (meaning bored children and adults alike trapped in air conditioned boxes watching Olympic softball), we’re seeing a number of papercraft sites on the net.

Brands like Nissan and Yamaha hope to score young fans with free papercraft versions of their vehicles, while Cannon (remember they make printers too) offers popular summer themes, like beetles.

Stretchable Circuitry
Also from Tokyo University, a discovery a tad more serious than LEGOs: Electrical wires made from carbon nanotubes that can be stretched to 170 percent of their normal size.

In a technological advance that opens up new possibilities in the fields of robotics and wearable computing, researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a stretchable, rubbery material that conducts electricity and can be incorporated into electronic devices.

In recent years, scientists have made advances in blending carbon nanotubes (good conductors of electricity) with polymers to make flexible conductive materials, but success has been limited because nanotubes tend to cluster together, causing the composite to harden when too many nanotubes are added. The University of Tokyo researchers were able to overcome this hurdle by mixing the nanotubes with an ionic liquid containing charged particles that keep the nanotubes evenly distributed and prevent them from clumping together. The result is a stretchable material that conducts electricity more than 500 times better than other commercially available carbon nanotube-polymer blends.


Modding a Recorder to be 4 Meters Long
In an attempt to give the recorder a beefier sound, this DPZer extends the length to a solid four meters (making it a little bit too long to take apart and fit in your school backpack). While conventional wisdom would dictate that longer pipe length equals a lower pitch, something strange has happened in the process here, because the resulting sound that comes out of this modded recorder is downright demented. Here the results here (2nd sound clip down).

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