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Futuristic Sleep Mask “Napz” Enhances Sleep by Electronically Stimulating Lucid Dreams



Last week’s London Design Festival featured a prototype for a futuristic sleep-aid. During the Digital Design Weekend at the V&A museum, one of the highlights was Digital Futures UKMX. The event is a two day cultural exchange between designers, artists, makers, and engineers from the UK and Mexico. The event centered around themes of innovation, collaboration and civil awareness. The aim is to enhance each community by learning from the other.

One of the projects presented was by Octavio A. Martinez Garcia, a Mexican robotic engineer who works for COCOLAB. He showcased a prototype for a product called Napz, a sleep mask created to help gain access to more efficient sleep. The mask is made from infrared sensors, Neo Pixels, and the Arduino Lilypad. The invention does not just simply help to attain better sleep, but does so by allowing the user to actively lucid dream, a state of dreaming in which one has control over his or her actions. He states:

“The prototype is an eye mask designed to measure REM, using LED lights to gently stimulate you and bring you to the border of consciousness and unconsciousness so you can begin to play with your dreams. Today people get a lot less sleep, and of a much worse quality. Napz is a wearable device intended to schedule lucid dreams and thus produce actual rest and better patterns of REM sleep. Its interface allows the programming, design, and analysis of dreams. As everybody is different the device needs to be calibrated to each individual. The inspiration came from my own experience of lucid dreaming.”

(via The Creators Project)


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Plant Sculptures Reflect Complicated Relationship Of Human Beings With Nature

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French artist Emeric Chantier’s recent series of plant sculptures provides a strong reflection on the place of human beings in nature, as well as our role as both internal and external elements of nature. His series of plant sculptures depicts skulls, weapons, and human faces amongst others. The striking way he has put together his work in both inspiring and terrifying in the way that it illustrates the gentle balance of man and nature, as well as our role within nature and the struggle of equilibrium between manmade objects and the environment.

His work is put composed of dried plants, combined with industrial and household items held together with molding and glue. His combination of materials makes for a very visual depiction of the merging of man and nature. The carefully knotted branches in the sculptures form winding masses of matter in a way that looks almost painful. His pieces including industrial materials translate the deep melancholy associated with the suffering and destruction of our environment and the ways in which we impact our environment.

His use of the skull and the heart in his work also brings in another level of symbolism in the tradition of still life paintings. Here his work addresses the beauty and tragedy of nature as related to death, as in the ends she delivers, and the ends we bring to her. The three dimensional aspect of Chantier’s work really brings the urgency of our deteriorating relationship with nature into the foreground.

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Monika Horčicová’s Symbolic Wheel Of Life Created Out Of Marching Skeleton Legs

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The wheel of life represented by 29 walking skeleton legs and feet. Monika Horčicová is a Czech artist who uses 3D printing to come up with the base of her sculptures. The legs are made out of plaster composite, molded and then casted into polyurethane resin. The legs are then assembled into one piece.

Symbolists, Buddhists and probably many more cultures and art movements have been using the wheel of life. It is the representation of the cycle of life and death. Usually depicted next to the Lord of Death; the wheel turns under his will. Birth and suffering, joy and sadness, alternatively march together. Thus, each of us has the liberty to interpret the meaning of life through the wheel. In this case, Monika Horčicová chooses to emphasize its morbid features.

By using skeletons, she takes a stand, and doesn’t give us the choice but to picture life as inevitably dark and painful. The direction, clockwise or counterclockwise, is important when looking at a wheel of life. Usually we are not given the choice but to visualize it going clockwise. Here, the artist has not set the orientation. As we move around the sculpture, we are free to give it our own meaning.
Although death is predominantly present, we can choose to imagine the course of life going backwards. Our experiences and our knowledge as we move forward, are what make our inner self grow; allowing us to encounter the possibility of an indefinite renewal. (via Empty Kingdom).

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The Unlimited Hand- Virtual Reality Armband Brings Simulation From The Screen To Your Hands


Tokyo-based startup H2L is currently in the process of developing the Unlimited Hand, a virtual reality armband. This armband is designed to merge man with machine in such a way that the user feels like they touching onscreen objects. The armband itself is a slick, discreet white band that can be worn on the users arm. It would allow users to “simulate bodily encounters” with elements in the virtual world. This is possible due to the inner workings of the armband which is composed of a haptic sensor, which monitors and reacts to movement as well as a series of electronic muscle stimulators (EMS) which simulate the feelings associated to touch.

An interesting component of this armband is that it is also meant to simulate the feeling of pain, which would bring up a series of ethical questions concerning the limits and potential of such a piece of technology. The immersive nature of the process ties in well with questions of interactivity and art, and with a device of the sort, the possibility of creating interactive artworks would be expanded on many levels.

The impact of such a device on different art forms is interesting to think about, in the way that it would allow a full immersion of the senses. A full immersion of the senses in the virtual world would be a fascinating combination of science and art and would allow us to push the boundaries of both disciplines.


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Photographer Rachael McArthur Creates Eerie, Victorian-Influenced Still Lifes Exploring Veiled Family Secrets

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Rachael McArthur is a Toronto-based artist whose photography explores the fascinating crossroads of modernity and classical culture, with a particular focus on the family structure. Featured here is an ongoing project called A Family Façade, which examines domesticity and social identity through a Victorian lens. Throughout the images—each with an intentionally staged appearance—McArthur captures the gilded debris of aristocracy and repression: ornamental coffins filled with flowers, pipes and alcohol bottles arranged like cherished knickknacks, and lockable suitcases containing old family photos and letters. Pulled between beauty and contrivance, each photo produces a tension of arbitrary decoration and the muffled underbelly of familial memory and secrets.

McArthur is particularly interested in how the body can be used to project a constructed (and often idealized) identity. In the Victorian era—not unlike today—materiality and the cohesion of the familial unit were a means to manifest an air of “success” and contentment. This is seen in McArthur’s adorned sculptures; well-dressed and surrounded by beautiful, antiquated objects, they appear deceivingly calm and graceful, provided for in every material way. The absence of faces and limbs, however, tells a different story; without eyes or hands to express the figures’ emotional worlds, the viewer sees the beautiful objects for what they are—superficial, gaudy façades that merely upholster an unsettling truth.

Layer after layer of meaning can be unraveled from McArthur’s works as she examines the historical and present-day significance of family and identity. Visit her website, blog, and Instagram to learn more about her work.

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Jonathan Bréchignac’s Meticulous Ballpoint Pen Drawings Inspired By Muslim Prayer Rugs

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Intricate patterns, lines and geometric motifs drawn with a Bic, a classic French ballpoint pen. Jonathan Bréchignac, head designer of the JoeAndNathan studio based in Paris fills rather large white pages with complex drawings. The first few ones of his ‘Carpets’ series were meant to represent by their sizes, shapes and ornaments; a Muslim prayer rug.

Jonathan Bréchignac takes about six to eight months to complete a design. He painstakingly depicts directly on paper. He traces directly with no draft before hand. What he designs is directly inspired by Muslim art and architecture. He smoothly blends traditional non-figurative Arabic patterns to modern motifs and elements from French Roman, traditional Japanese, Native American and Mexican culture.

Why does he uses a Bic? A Bic is a typical french pen with a fine point which allows to write and trace minuscule details. It’s cheap, effective, lasts long and has been used for decades from French students to workers in factories. It’s the equivalent to a yellow pencil for Americans.

There’s no rush or deadline when Jonathan Bréchignac starts working on a piece. He likes the idea of dedicating some of his precious time to a long process achievement. In his field, making sketches and pitching ideas can take quite a long time and can be thrown away in a matter of seconds. The idea behind the Muslim rug drawings is to create a long lasting and pleasurable work of art. (via Design Boom).

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Stunning Hand Crafted Glass Sculptures Mimic The Magnificent Power And Beauty Of The Sea

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New Zealand artist Ben Young’s most recent work is a series of hand crafted glass sculptures. Upon first glance, it is immediately possible to distinguish the sea as his main source of inspiration. His work consists of a collection of glass sculptures mainly revolving around the theme of water. The colors, patterns, and shapes present within his work are both in color and in form vivid and depict undulating curves and ridges similar to waves.

The sculptures, having been executed on glass emphasize this and work in perfect harmony with the shades of blue, green, and turquoise of the glass which perfectly mimic the colors of the sea. His work represents a fascinating combination of abstract geometrical forms, topography, and even the human body. Through these sculptures, his background as a boat builder and his affinity for surf shine through.

The lines, ridges, and circular shapes in his work give the sculptures additional complexity and detail. The fluidity and translucence of his sculptures add to the beauty and tranquility of his pieces to the extent that one might get lost in them. The way he has managed to transform the glass makes it almost impossible to remember the fact that it is a solid material. The fluidity of his sculptures is truly stunning to the extent that they almost look like they are made up of water, rather than glass.

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Christo Dagorov’s Captivating Drawings Of Lips Reveal Hidden Worlds When You Go In For A Kiss

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Christo Dagorov’s drawings are beautifully crafted with detail and precision. With a bird’s-eye view landscape that mimics cracked lips, a forest that’s tree trunks create the illusion of small teeth, and perfectly shaped bodies as pursed lip crevasses, his illustrations truly come alive. The work is hauntingly graceful, yet captivating and complex.  Each piece is paired with a precise, one word title, allowing every drawing to become of moment of inquiry.

For example, his drawing titled Aspiration depicts a city. Here we may see a desire for or missed connection to the urban world. Or, perhaps, he is he glorifying the amount of ambition it takes for a city to be built — a sort of homage to the achievements of man.

Next there is Authenticity, illustrating trees with exposed roots. Is this simply a statement that nature is utterly and unarguably the most authentic entity?

Indiscretion shows a figure behind bars, hinting, perchance, at the recklessness of lawlessness. Or, even further, the general rashness of humanity.

The drawing Negligence portrays snakes and jellyfish — animals that can poison. Maybe this drawing acts as a warning for those who neglect either themselves, the purity of nature, or their own relationships with others.

However, Dagorov’s use of lips provoke greater meaning than just that of his titles. Lips have various powers. They have both the power to speak and to seduce. We can use our lips for acts of good, acts of lust, as well as acts of harm. Paired with these sinful versus virtuous words — are the lips creating a platform for which both darkness and light can be portrayed on equal playing ground?

Or, perhaps these lips suggest a discussion of language. Are they used as a means to hint at the the subjective nature of semantics? If language is something that simply comes from ones lips, what does it truly mean? If history proves anything, it is that language is single handedly one of the most dangerous devices of them all.

Christo Dagorov’s work is aesthetically complicated with perplexing purpose. Every drawing demands attention and reflection. For more of his work you can find him here. (via Faith is Torment)

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