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Design a Scarf With Your DNA

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dot one

All humans have 99.9 percent of their DNA in common with each other, but that doesn't mean we don't have unique traits and appearances. That mysterious portion of a percent is part of what makes each person easily distinguishable from the people around them. While .1 percent seems like a pretty measly amount, consider that humans share 50 percent of their DNA with bananas, and about 84 percent of their DNA with dogs. When your DNA is only about 16 percent different from something that eats out of the garbage, .1 percent suddenly seems like a lot.

Dot One wants to take advantage of that sliver of unique information and turn it into an interesting visualization. The London company takes customer DNA and illustrates it as a blocky design on posters, family trees, scarves, and tartan. 

English designer Iona Inglesby created this company as a celebration of what makes people unique. With a simple cheek swab, costumers can submit their DNA to be represented on Dot One's products. The company uses a genetic testing facility called AlphaBiolabs for their profiling. Once the sample is submitted, lab techs can scan for stretches of genetic code known as Short Tandem Repeats (STRs). STRs vary in a unique way from person to person and are often studied for forensic cases or paternity tests. 

AlphaBiolabs uses 23 STRs from each genetic sequence to create a unique fingerprint that they claim is completely different from anyone else on Earth. They then turn that information over to Dot One, who matches each STR with a numerical value, based on its molecular characteristics. Each number is matched with a color and the pattern is created. In this way, the company manages to turn cold numbers into something much prettier. The resulting scarves are colorful and personal, making an excellent fashion statement for the colder weather. 

[h/t: WIRED]

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Scott Jarvie
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Design
Optical Illusion Rug Creates a Bottomless Void in Your Floor
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Scott Jarvie

Artist Scott Jarvie doesn’t believe home goods need to be warm and inviting to earn a spot in the house. That’s certainly the case with his mind-bending void rug: When viewed from a certain perspective, the interior design piece inspires feelings of dread rather than comfort.

According to designboom, Jarvie achieved the rug’s bottomless black hole illusion using clever, two-dimensional design elements. To people standing directly over it, the item resembles a shaded crescent moon cupping a flat black circle. But adjust your position, and the simple rug morphs into a stomach-turning void in the middle of your living room floor.

If the circular rug isn’t trippy enough, Jarvie also made a rectangular runner that can turn an entire hallway into an empty pit. Neither rug is something you’d want to forget you own on a midnight trip to the bathroom.

Void rug optical illusion.

Jarvie’s art isn’t limited to floor rugs that trick the eye. The Scotland-based artist’s creative furniture and home decor includes laundry balls, a cling wrap dispenser, and a chair made from 10,000 plastic drinking straws.

Void rug optical illusion.

Void rug optical illusion.

[h/t designboom]

All images courtesy of Scott Jarvie.

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Courtesy Umbrellium
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These LED Crosswalks Adapt to Whoever Is Crossing
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Courtesy Umbrellium

Crosswalks are an often-neglected part of urban design; they’re usually just white stripes on dark asphalt. But recently, they’re getting more exciting—and safer—makeovers. In the Netherlands, there is a glow-in-the-dark crosswalk. In western India, there is a 3D crosswalk. And now, in London, there’s an interactive LED crosswalk that changes its configuration based on the situation, as Fast Company reports.

Created by the London-based design studio Umbrellium, the Starling Crossing (short for the much more tongue-twisting STigmergic Adaptive Responsive LearnING Crossing) changes its layout, size, configuration, and other design factors based on who’s waiting to cross and where they’re going.

“The Starling Crossing is a pedestrian crossing, built on today’s technology, that puts people first, enabling them to cross safely the way they want to cross, rather than one that tells them they can only cross in one place or a fixed way,” the company writes. That means that the system—which relies on cameras and artificial intelligence to monitor both pedestrian and vehicle traffic—adapts based on road conditions and where it thinks a pedestrian is going to go.

Starling Crossing - overview from Umbrellium on Vimeo.

If a bike is coming down the street, for example, it will project a place for the cyclist to wait for the light in the crosswalk. If the person is veering left like they’re going to cross diagonally, it will move the light-up crosswalk that way. During rush hour, when there are more pedestrians trying to get across the street, it will widen to accommodate them. It can also detect wet or dark conditions, making the crosswalk path wider to give pedestrians more of a buffer zone. Though the neural network can calculate people’s trajectories and velocity, it can also trigger a pattern of warning lights to alert people that they’re about to walk right into an oncoming bike or other unexpected hazard.

All this is to say that the system adapts to the reality of the road and traffic patterns, rather than forcing pedestrians to stay within the confines of a crosswalk system that was designed for car traffic.

The prototype is currently installed on a TV studio set in London, not a real road, and it still has plenty of safety testing to go through before it will appear on a road near you. But hopefully this is the kind of road infrastructure we’ll soon be able to see out in the real world.

[h/t Fast Company]

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