Very nice interactive showing the trajectory of Comet ISON. Move through space in 3d, start and stop the timeline and even switch to Earth perspective to see where the comet will be in the sky. I especially like that they show the planets rotating as they orbit the sun–because the timeline is moving many days per second, it’s like the planets are spinning tops.

Sun Moon Scope.

If you just can’t stand simulations and want to see the real thing–that is, Earth, viewed from space–check this out:

Watch Earth Spin From Your Browser

With the aid of Russian space authorities, Vancouver-based UrtheCast (pronounced “earthcast”) will launch two cameras into orbit today (Nov. 25) with the immediate goal of streaming images of the Earth back home in near-real time.

UrtheCast

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Take a Kinect, capture topographic info and translate to a grid of fast-responding actuators to reproduce the 3d shape. Obviously limited to rolling landscape forms, but nice to see it in action. Basically, a robotic version of the classic pin-impression toy.

What if each column was made of individual cubes, and each cube could slide side-to-side in the XY plane? What if you made each column out of a flexible cable, able to be bent and manipulated by electric current?

inFORM from MIT’s Tangible Media Group.

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Must-See Video: 3-Sweep is the Fastest Way to Get 3D from 2D That You’ve Ever Seen – Core77.

Really: Must-See. An experimental method to extrude 3D shapes from 2D images by providing just a few hints to the computer. Watch the whole thing. It will give you the unmistakable sensation that the future is upon us.

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abkebabs Map of Europe 1000 AD to present with timeline – YouTube.

 

Fascinating, as most maps are to me. Fun video, but more useful as a slider to see what things looked like on a specific year.

Reminds me of play Risk on the Mac Plus with the AI at full speed. There’s an emulator for those of you who really need a retro fix.

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Tridiv | CSS 3D Editor.

My eyebrows have yet to come down after playing with this thing. A web-based model-making app, all in CSS. You owe it to yourself to take a look at this for even just two minutes.

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Welcome to National Atlas Streamer!.

Thanks to the USGS, an interactive map that lets you trace streams and rivers to their outlets. Click on a blue line and trace it upstream or down. Impressive.

Try clicking on the Chicago River and take a look at the long, improbable red line going all the way down the Mississippi, instead of quickly dumping into Lake Michigan. For those of you who don’t know the story, check out 99% Invisible’s feature. And subscribe to their podcast if you haven’t already.

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Watch fifty disco balls create a room full of beautiful static mapped out with 3D modeling | The Verge.

Kyle McDonald and Jonas Jongejan’s Light Leaks. Projectors shine on disco balls, and a camera maps where the reflections are in 3d, allowing them to program full-room projections.

How and what else.

I love the idea of breaking pixels apart. It’s like DLP smashed. Now, what if instead of mirrors you used prisms? Instead of discrete dots, how about smeared light, i.e. vectors?

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Mathematical Impressions: Making Music with a Möbius Strip: Scientific American.

Visualizing chord permutations in space. It involves drawing on a bagel with a Sharpie and then squishing it. Honestly.

Mathematical!

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Disney’s Aireal lets you feel the imaginary | The Verge.

Puffs of air (like smoke rings) create a tangible interface for you and your video games. (It’s more sophisticated than I make it sound.) From Disney, with video.

Also from Disney:
Disney Research » Computational Design of Mechanical Characters.

A (relatively) simple tool to replicate complex 2D motion with cranks and gears. It’s so smooth it made me sit upright so I could see the rotating ellipses better. The implications? You can 3D-print gears to create toys that move as naturally as you want them to. Yes, there’s a video demonstrating this.

And just for good measure, if you haven’t seen the game Disney Infinity, go take a look now. It’s probably unlike any video game you’ve seen before. (There’s Wikipedia, for those of you who want the quick read.)

Interesting.

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Ikeas new AR app superimposes furniture into your empty room | Digital Trends.

Very clever, using the catalog cover as the reference point to determine view angle and scale. Watch the video.

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