Monthly Archives: January 2013

Take That, Lord Kelvin: Researchers Create Gas Particles Colder Than Absolute Zero

Absolute zero might not be so absolute anymore, according to a study published this week in the journal Science. A team of researchers at Ludwig Maximillian University in Germany are reporting that they have brought individual atoms of potassium gas from a few billionths of a degree above zero degrees Kelvin — long thought to be the lowest possible temperature — to a few billionths of a degree below that mark.

That may not sound like much, but in this case, a few billionths of a degree means a whole lot. Those degrees show that absolute zero, which was long thought to be the coldest temperature possible and representative of a state in which particles being measured possess no energy whatsoever.

Researchers super-cooled the potassium atoms by placing them in a lattice formation using magnetic fields and lasers to hold them in place, then shifted the polarity of the magnetic field suddenly. That turned the atoms from repelling to attracting one another, and turned the very low energy state of the gas into a very high energy one very suddenly. They then adjusted the lasers they were using to trap atoms, holding them more firmly in place — this time, when they adjusted the magnetic field, the atoms held their ground, and the temperature plummeted to below absolute zero.

The work could have implications down the line in generating exotic new materials that operate below absolute zero, but researchers are also excited by the promise the work holds for cosmology, as the sub–absolute zero particles appear to have some qualities that mimic dark matter and could help researchers unravel that seemingly unconnected mystery as well.

(via Nature, image via flickr)

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via Geekosystem


Here’s a Trio of Doom 3 Models Dancing to “Gangnam Style”

Some might say that PSY‘s massively popular “Gangnam Style” has already saturated the Internet, airwaves, and popular culture in general. They might be right, but there’s an argument to be made that we’re through the looking glass, people. We’ve gone too far. The only way to truly move up and out is through embracing everything that is “Gangnam Style” with open arms. PlayCanvas understands, as they’ve provided a trio of Doom 3 models dancing to “Gangnam Style” in WebGL. It’s pretty much the bottom of the Internet, and we couldn’t be more excited.

Sure, the Internet has had its far share of weirdness over the years, but this is probably high on my list of favorites. You can interact with it yourself here. First glance makes it look like the models are just doing their thing, but you can actually click on it to change your camera angle and it supports the standard WASD configuration, as well as the arrow keys, for movement.

The models will prance about regardless of anything else, but moving the point of view to within their path makes for a somewhat surreal experience. Oh, there’s also a mute button in the corner for those that just can’t do more “Gangnam Style” but find the idea of Doom 3 character models doing the dance amusing.

Those that have had entirely too much “Gangnam Style” might instead find themselves wishing they one of the signature Doom weapons handy.

(PlayCanvas via Hacker News)

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via Geekosystem

Really, really geeky wedding invitations


Being real, ultimate geeks, [Bill] and [Mara] didn’t want to settle for plain, paper-based wedding invitations. No, they wanted something cooler, and came up with their own DIY electronic wedding invitations.

Since they would be making the invitations themselves, [Bill] and [Mara] needed a simple circuit that could be easily mass produced. They turned to the classic microcontroller-powered blinking LED circuit powered by an ATtiny13.

The first order of business was producing 50 printed circuit boards for each of the invitations. For this, [Bill] picked up an Xerox Phaser laser printer off of ebay and a few sheets of copper-clad kapton film. The etch resist was printed directly onto the kapton film and etched in a bath of ferric chloride, effectively making a flexible PCB.

These circuit boards were soldered up and laminated between the printed invitation and the card stock cutter with the help of a Silhouette Cameo paper cutter. After the cards were assembled, the battery was wired up and the cards shipped out.

The microcontroller inside the card was programmed to be asleep most of the time, waking up only every few seconds to check a light sensor to determine if the card was opened or not. If the microcontroller sensed the card was open, the lights began blinking, making it one of the most memorable wedding invitations [Bill] and [Mara] will ever receive.

You can check out a demo of the invitations after the break.

Filed under: led hacks

via Hack a Day

3D Printed Fashion In Paris Show

\As part of Paris Fashion Week, 3D printing giants Stratasys and Materialise collaborated with noted 3D fashion artist Iris van Herpen on her “VOLTAGE” haute couture show. van Herpen has previously produced fascinating 3D printed fashions and this show continued with some startling and revealing designs. 
Two of the eleven pieces made by van Herpen were 3D printed, pictured here. One of these two pieces was designed with Professor Neri Oxman of MIT and printed by Stratasys. The other was designed with architect Julia Koerner.
van Herpen says: 
I feel it’s important that fashion can be about much more than consumerism, but also about new beginnings and self-expression, so my work very much comes from abstract ideas and using new techniques, not the re-invention of old ideas. I find the process of 3D printing fascinating because I believe it will only be a matter of time before we see the clothing we wear today produced with this technology, and it’s because it’s such a different way of manufacturing, adding layer-by-layer, it will be a great source of inspiration for new ideas.
The technology of 3D printing allows artists (and anyone) to create objects and fashion that are not possible using other techniques. Combined with the creativity of today’s artists, the power unleashed is formidable. 

via Fabbaloo Blog