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Tag Archives: Books

Voyage To The Heart Of Matter Pop-up Book Featuring CERN’s Large Hadron Collider

Voyage To The Heart Of Matter (Images courtesy The ATLAS Experiment)
By Andrew Liszewski

The majority of people who are afraid of what will happen when CERN’s large hadron collider is finally put into operation probably have no idea what it really is, or what it’s designed to do. But what better way to educate the masses on the intricacies of the world’s largest science experiment than through an intricately detailed pop-up book? That’s what made me the amateur surgeon I am today!

Voyage To The Heart Of Matter – The Atlas Experiment At CERN was written by Emma Sanders, though it’s probably the paper engineering skills of Anton Radevsky that will make this a must-have Christmas gift for everyone from amateur physicists to the scientists actually working on the ATLAS experiment. But since it won’t be available until the end of November for about $33, it might be cutting it a bit close for the gift giving season.

[ Voyage To The Heart Of Matter – The Atlas Experiment At CERN ] VIA [ Shiny Shiny ]

Mini Weapons Of Mass Destruction

Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction (Images courtesy Amazon)
By Andrew Liszewski

Take your cubicle wars past the archaic stage of just spitballs and elastic bands with John Austin’s book, Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction. It provides 35 different ways to effectively raid the office supply cabinet at work in order to protect your desk and all the innocent files who call it home.

Toy designer John Austin provides detailed, step-by-step instructions for each project, including materials and ammo lists, clear diagrams, and construction tips, for mayhem-loving MacGyvers. The 35 devices include catapults, slingshots, minibombs, darts, and combustion shooters. Build a tiny trebuchet from paper clips and a D-cell battery. Wrap a penny in a string of paper caps to create a surprisingly impressive “bomb.” Several of the projects even include variations where combatants mount laser pointer sights to their shooters to increase their accuracy.

~$12 from Amazon, office supplies not included.

[ Mini Weapons of Mass Destruction ] VIA [ Make ]

Electronic Popables Will Be The Next Generation Of Pop-Up Books – I Hope

Electronic Popables (Images courtesy Jie Qi)
By Andrew Liszewski

Who would have thought that someone would find a way to make pop-up books, aka the best type of book ever invented, even better? Well that’s exactly what Jie Qi, with assistance from Leah Buechley and Tshen Chew, from the MIT Media Lab have done with their Electronic Popables. The book uses traditional pop-up paper book mechanics but also integrates modern paper-based electronics for more “dynamic interactivity.” In other words it makes them even more awesome, as you can see in the video below.

[ high-low tech – MIT Media Lab – popables ] VIA [ Architectradure ]

Star Wars: Sounds – The Stories Behind The Effects

Star Wars: Sounds  The Stories Behind the Effects (Images courtesy becker&mayer)
By Andrew Liszewski

When it comes to Star Wars it’s usually the visual effects that get all the attention, but the films’ sound design and foley work are just as impressive. So it’s cool to see a new book from becker&mayer that specifically takes a look at the sounds created for the ‘science fiction’ saga.

The Sounds of Star Wars illuminates the audio universe of Star Wars by exploring the vision for an “organic” sound that George Lucas and sound designer Ben Burtt brought to the movies’ sound effects, as well as how these distinctive sound effects were achieved. The book features a state-of-the-art audio module that will easily allow readers to hear the sounds while learning the stories behind those sounds. Lavishly illustrated pages will include clear markers directing readers to listen to specific tracks as they view and read about the scenes.

There’s no release date or pricing info available just yet, but the 304 page book does include an embedded audio module loaded with more than 200 sounds from the films.

[ Star Wars: Sounds – The Stories Behind The Effects ] VIA [ TheForce.net ]

Concept Shelf Splits With Your Book Collection

By Evan Ackerman

No matter how much of a technophile you are, you’ll be hard-pressed to replace any of your books with a gadget. ::Cough:: And books, you know, just kinda pile up. In piles. Which is why some enterprising souls invented first the bookcase, and then the expandable bookcase, and finally this splittable bookcase, which lets you stuff an infinite amount of books into a finite (but expandable) amount of shelf.

It’s really rather brilliant. Since you try and cram everything ever written into the one single bookcase you own anyway, you might as well get once like this, which actually expands to accommodate it. There’s a hinge at the bottom, a split up the middle, and expander thingies hidden inside the hollow shelves. I imagine eventually the shelves will get completely horizontal, and instead of bookshelves you’ll have a book arc, at which point you can color coordinate your entire collection and have a book rainbow. And won’t that be special.

Currently this bookshelf is just a concept, but I bet you could hammer together something comparable if you put your mind to it.

VIA [ Design Blog ]

Metaio’s Augmented Reality Books

Metaio's Augmented Reality (AR) Technology (Image courtesy Wired Gadget Lab)
By Andrew Liszewski

Here’s a 21st century take on those pop-up books that fascinated us as kids. Instead of using intricately designed and engineered origami contraptions to make a 3D world pop out of a book as you turn the pages, a company called Metaio uses a run-of-the-mill webcam (I’m sure it has a minimum resolution requirement) and a custom piece of camera recognition software to make a 3D world appear on your computer’s screen. The company’s Augmented Reality technology was recently shown off at the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany with an upcoming interactive 3D book called Aliens & UFOs which superimposes planets and alien spacecraft on the page when the book is held up to the webcam.

Metaio's Augmented Reality (AR) Technology (Image courtesy Wired Gadget Lab)

What’s particularly neat about Metaio’s Augmented Reality technology is that it doesn’t require any special tracking markers to appear on the page. Instead, the exact dimensions and layout of the page is what the software uses to track its position in 3D space and perfectly superimpose the objects in real-time. So in other words, the book’s layout has to be 100% complete before the software portion can be written. But imagine how cool it would be to get an Augmented Reality IKEA catalog in the mail that allows you to see a 3D layout of the room and furniture on your PC?

[ Metaio ] VIA [ Wired Gadget Lab ]

Arthur C. Clarke’s Last Work – The Last Theorem

The Last Theorem (Image courtesy Amazon.com) By Andrew Liszewski

While fans of Arthur C. Clarke are still mourning his passing (myself included) his last book appropriately titled The Last Theorem will be published on August 1. Co-written by Frederik Pohl, at least part of the novel deals with the logistics and challenges behind staging the first lunar Olympics. (An idea that’s come up in previous Clarke books like ‘The Hammer Of God.’) Since Arthur C. Clarke often wrote about the practicalities of living and traveling in space (rather than just “wild fantasy”) tackling something as unique as a lunar Olympics seems like a fitting last work for the author.

And if you don’t think you can wait a couple of more days for the book to be released (Amazon has it listed as being available on August 5 for $17.82) the Telegraph has published an excerpt from the novel which you can read here.

[ The Last Theorem ] VIA [ Slashdot ]

How To Traumatize Your Children Book

How To Traumatize Your Children (Image courtesy Perpetual Kid)
By Andrew Liszewski

There are countless books that will supposedly teach you how to properly raise your kids, but only one that takes the opposite approach. How To Traumatize Your Children is part of the ‘Self-Hurt Series’ of books and includes chapters that cover everything from narcissistic parenting to being your child’s best friend to the convenience of neglect and even how to enjoy the legacy of trauma you’ve carefully crafted. Because let’s be serious, what’s the point of putting all the time and effort into traumatizing your kids if you don’t end up becoming pseudo-famous thanks to a tell-all book or movie-of-the-week 30 years later?

At 192 pages with full color illustrations the book should provide more than enough guidance to keep your son or daughter living in your basement well into their 40’s. You can get it from Perpetual Kid for just $10.

[ How To Traumatize Your Children ]

Dixau Text Scanner Wikifies and Googlizes Your Reading

Dixau

By Evan Ackerman

Reading is such hard work without the internet at your disposal to cross reference anything that you don’t immediately understand. Until now, people had to read books while at the computer if they wanted to look stuff up, manually typing it in to Wikipedia or Google. It’s horrible, I know. The Dixau text scanner from Korean company Unichal makes is so that you only have to be next to the computer. It contains a little camera that is able to take pictures of text, recognize the characters, and then provide on-screen explanations via search engines.

The Dixau may seem totally superfluous (especially for $90), but what I think it’s designed for are Korean students who want to be able to translate words from English scientific texts on the fly. And with that in mind, it really could be useful even for native English speakers trying to decipher English scientific texts. I mean, I majored in geology, which is perhaps not the most technical of disciplines, and I still swear that half of those words were made up just to confuse people.

[ Dixau (In Korean) ] VIA [ TechPin ]