Is that food really organic? How much radiation is present? What’s your ideal climate? We discovered the Lapka Personal Environment Monitor and—in the name of sublime science visualizations—had to crown it as Inspirational Design of the Week. Via Uncrate:
The various components that make up the Lapka Personal Environment Monitor are useful — they can individually test for radiation, whether food is organic or not, electromagnetic fields, and climate — otherwise known as temperature and humidity. And yes, they connect to your iPhone using nothing but a simple headphone cable. But what’s really impressive is how they manage to be so stylish while being so unbelievably small.
The device is highly sensitive and responds to the invisible world of particles, ions, molecules and waves, so it can analyze your surroundings and smartly combine the results into guideline values for your comfort.
The Lapka is coming later this year ($TBA) and the company says that “the experience of being able to take precise measurements and the beautiful visualization of what’s beyond our perception are inspiring and addictive”. We can’t wait!
What are your favorite apps for visualizing or applying science in our everyday lives?
We’re always on the lookout for cool DNA developments! Did you catch this story via Science Now?
When it comes to storing information, hard drives don’t hold a candle to DNA. Our genetic code packs billions of gigabytes into a single gram. A mere milligram of the molecule could encode the complete text of every book in the Library of Congress and have plenty of room to spare. All of this has been mostly theoretical—until now. In a new study, researchers stored an entire genetics textbook in less than a picogram of DNA—one trillionth of a gram—an advance that could revolutionize our ability to save data.
A few teams have tried to write data into the genomes of living cells. But the approach has a couple of disadvantages. First, cells die—not a good way to lose your term paper. They also replicate, introducing new mutations over time that can change the data.
To get around these problems, a team led by George Church, a synthetic biologist at Harvard Medical School in Boston, created a DNA information-archiving system that uses no cells at all. Instead, an inkjet printer embeds short fragments of chemically synthesized DNA onto the surface of a tiny glass chip. To encode a digital file, researchers divide it into tiny blocks of data and convert these data not into the 1s and 0s of typical digital storage media, but rather into DNA’s four-letter alphabet of As, Cs, Gs, and Ts. Each DNA fragment also contains a digital “barcode” that records its location in the original file. Reading the data requires a DNA sequencer and a computer to reassemble all of the fragments in order and convert them back into digital format. The computer also corrects for errors; each block of data is replicated thousands of times so that any chance glitch can be identified and fixed by comparing it to the other copies.
Do you dig DNA as much as we do? Check out our DNA portraits, where art meets science.
Image: Scientists have found a way to store an entire textbook in the code of DNA. (John Goode/Flickr)
Light painting is a photography technique that involves moving a hand-held light source while the camera shutter remains open, and Brian Matthew Hart is a master of it. We loved these unique portraits for their modern yet hieroglyphic feel. Via Colossal:
Hart created a number of mosaics using individual exposures, the largest hand (below), part of an unfinished diptych, is made from 324 photographs! …check out his website for plenty more.
Given we’re big fans of fingerprint art, we’re all over this series of hand prints. We love the details on the fingertips and the uniqueness of each piece. Hart modelled these light paintings after real-life subjects, however the portrait below is simply called “right hand“.
What’s the best gift for the co-founder of Apple’s 62nd birthday? DNA Art from DNA 11, of course!
Steve Wozniak’s surprise birthday party was the hottest event in San Francisco last night. Woz spoke to the crowd alongside his present — the DNA Portrait we created for him. His DNA art was also transformed into a birthday cake thanks to our digital download feature.
How was Steve Wozniak’s DNA Portrait created? DNA 11 extracted his DNA from a simple cheek swab, then ran it through a gel and a process called electrophoresis in our lab. Smaller pieces of DNA move faster than larger pieces through the gel pores, so the result is a series of DNA strands separated from one another based on size, with the largest strands on the top of the gel and the smallest bands at the bottom. This process ensures the unique DNA extends into a unique order.
Fusion-io, where Woz is chief scientist, planned the surprise party. Guests secretly invited to the museum received pink boas, noise makers and a chance to test their skills on Tetris.
It was a real honor to create his portrait. Happy Birthday, Woz!
Photos via AllThingsD.com.