Posted in design and architecture, electronic imaging and displays, food, Optics

Pinhole pumpkin Camera

Three jack-o'-lanterns illuminated from within...
Smiling Jack-o-lanterns pose for the camera. Image via Wikipedia

Happy Halloween everybody! A little trick-and-treat to make for yourself this fine fall festival.

From NPR‘s Picture Show Blog:

Every year, this time of year, normal people nationwide gather ’round spreads of newspaper to carve glowing, ghoulish jack-o’-lanterns. And for about a month’s-worth of sporadic lunch breaks, we, too, have been carving a pumpkin … into a camera! Much to our amazement, it actually worked.

See the how-to video on NPR.

Their only advice: “The image from our first camera came out completely black because the camera was not sufficiently lightproof. we highly recommend this project if you can find a darkroom. Although it’s time-intensive, meticulous and, at times, a total pain, it’s worth it to watch the image emerge in the darkroom.”

Check out these other cool pumpkin cams they came across: one using photo paper and one using film.

Have other cool combinations of photography and pumpkins or other veggies? Share them here!

Posted in astronomy, communication and networking, electronic imaging and displays, engineering, medical imaging

Academic awards…for science!

From the Chronicle of Higher Education:

Paul E. Debevec may be the only research professor whose laboratory subjects have included Charlize Theron and Will Smith. The University of Southern California computer scientist is about to take another unlikely step—from academe to the Academy Awards, for special effects. His pixel wizardry has been featured in films such as Spider-Man 2 and Avatar.

On February 20, in a black-tie geek gala hosted by the actress Elizabeth Banks, of Zack and Miri Make a Porno, Mr. Debevec will pick up an award in science and engineering for his work on digital facial-rendering technology. The 38-year-old professor leads the graphics laboratory at USC’s Institute for Creative Technologies. In Avatar, a futuristic film set among the alien Na’vi people on the moon Pandora, Mr. Debevec’s techniques helped map the faces of live actors onto digital puppets, creating astonishing realism amid fantasy. Back on Earth, he sees applications for the techniques in higher education.

Read full interview

Posted in communication and networking, engineering, music

Les Paul: 1915-2009

I’m a little slow in getting this up, but THIS is indeed a cool story of a man who changed history by combining technology and music, and using one to improve the other.

The obit from Wired Magazine:

The Gibson Les Paul, like the Fender Stratocaster, was one of the defining instruments at the dawn of the Rock and Roll era of music. But the contributions to the music industry by that inventor whose namesake appears on that legendary Gibson guitar didn’t stop with just a solid body electric six string. An innovator, maker and hardware hacker, Les invented the tools needed to bring his ideas in music creation and production to life. And it’s a reflection on these contributions in which we mourn the passing of a legend.

Read the full story.

Posted in engineering, food

Turning the art of cooking into a robotic process

Literally. Leave it to the Japanese; I know they have a culture that is much more comfortable working side-by-side with machines, or letting machines do all the grunt work, but as an American who gets creeped out by her cell phone, I’d rather just boil my own noodles, thanks.

From Reuters:

Wish WordPress could host this type of video but it can’t, so you’re stuck with a link.