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Archive for February, 2009

Geniales Bauchmuskel Workout ohne Nackenschmerzen

Saturday, February 28th, 2009


Der Artikel haelt was er verspricht: Ein gutes Bauchmuskel Workout ohne Nackenschmerzen!




Viel Spass beim Trainieren! Gruss,

Heath Ledger wins the Oscar for best supporting actor as the Joker in Batman

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

Heath Ledger just won the Oscar! It is amazing. He is the first actor to receive an Oscar post-human! His family accepted the Oscar and called it a moment to celebrate, which it is! Congratulations, Heath Ledger!


My previous blog on the Joker:

The Oscars, an amazing event that speaks the international language of art ~ Penelope Cruz (Winner of the Oscar for best supporting actress, 2009)

A 3D Sonar Concept by looking at Echo-Location used by Bats

Monday, February 23rd, 2009

1. Reflection of project proposal:

I explained my idea of a 3D sonar by mimicking Echo-Location using cell-phone technology (Echo-Location used by bats to fly in the dark AND by blind people) to our team and my project partner. Of course, I had to explain my project, but he and the team were able to understand it right away (Presentation pics).

I did have a prototype, which certainly was not functionable at the time, but it was clearly understood what I was saying:

3D Sonar Prototype

My project partner designed a diagram through my description, which I enhanced to make the important parts come out in more detail:


Amber joined our team and she could immediately tell what was described in my project partner’s diagram.

2. Further concentration

Considering my concept and distilling it further, I find that the Biology how bats can navigate through the dark or even blind is the most fascinating fact about it. It also showed to be the most descriptive when trying to explain my idea. How bats can just easily navigate in the dark, without seeing anything:

Amazing Video studying bats (from 1955)

This is really the core concept of my idea to mimic this so-called Echo-Location, but use Cell-Phones to capture objects or even architecture, then use more than one cellphone to triangulate the position of the objects and display them through a visual system (could also be a non-visual system: shown in the Computer Game Darkgame – but be aware of the lack of documentation of the project).

As far as the use of such a technology is concerned one can imagine many scenarios for blind people being able to “see” their surroundings or for people with normal vision, such as

walking through a city in real-time, while still sitting on the plane
walking through rooms of a building (museums, hostage situations, ….),…

The following video shows a simulation of a building that is occupied by terrorists and the police can trace the position of each terrorist and captured individual in the building by matching the building plan to the collected 3D sonar data:


Further studies will include:

The Bathouse Project
Echo-Location used by Animals
Human Echo-Location)

Thanks! Best,

Snow Crash – Gargoyles

Friday, February 20th, 2009

So, I heart that Snow Crash is a must read for every MIT student. I purchased the book and I did some research on the infamous Gargoyles described in the book: and (see the image descriptions!)

Then I found this:

3rd Eye
This ultralight spherical video camera attaches to a headband, providing a third eye while biking, hiking, or during other activities. (LINK to Product Site)

I am sure there is even more out there, just came across the 3rd eye and the flickr picture and then THIS:

OTHER Body VS Human Stories and links:

1. Here is a feeling-WIFI project that I saw at the ARS ELECTRONICA in Linz, last year:
Constraint City
Vital Threads
presented at HOPE.


Good’ay! Yours, Daniel

Researching Hearing TO "See" like a Bat

Monday, February 16th, 2009

Through a class that I am taking at MIT I got really interested about our senses.
The class is called Networked Cultures: Collision – Body vs Network (

So, I started to…

Research HEARING:

Hearing (or audition) is one of the traditional five senses. It is the ability to perceive sound by detecting vibrations via an organ such as the ear.

In humans and other vertebrates, hearing is performed primarily by the auditory system: vibrations are detected by the ear and transduced into nerve impulses that are perceived by the brain (primarily in the temporal lobe). Like touch, audition requires sensitivity to the movement of molecules in the world outside the organism. Both hearing and touch are types of mechanosensation.

Hearing in animals

Not all sounds are normally audible to all animals. Each species has a range of normal hearing for both loudness (amplitude) and pitch (frequency). In species that use sound as a primary means of communication, hearing is typically most acute for the range of pitches produced in calls and speech.

Frequencies capable of being heard by humans are called audio or sonic. The range is typically considered to be between 20Hz and 20,000Hz. Frequencies higher than audio are referred to as ultrasonic, while frequencies below audio are referred to as infrasonic. Some bats use ultrasound for echolocation while in flight. Dogs are able to hear ultrasound, which is the principle of ‘silent’ dog whistles. Snakes sense infrasound through their bellies, and whales, giraffes and elephants use it for communication.

That got me to think about the last Batman movie and ultrasonic hearing of bats…

So you might think the Bat-Pod is the coolest gadget Batman has:


The Bat-Pod’s forward-swooping design allows the rider to steer with his shoulders. Currently only one stuntman in the world has the skills to drive it.
Courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures /TM, © DC Comics

BUT, here is the actually most amazing device idea:

3-D Sonar System

Since the Joker does not have a lair or a base, Batman must track the constantly mobile madman through the streets of Gotham. To do this he uses a cowl-mounted sonar device that triangulates the baddies’ cellphone signals and then renders the sound of their communication into a 3-D visual map.

So, the Joker is on the loose, he’s a hard man to track down and time is of the essence. Well, if you’re Batman you hack every mobile phone in Gotham to create a 3D sonar image of the city. Then, if his voice is picked up you triangulate his position Oh yeah, and the map can be fed straight into your cowl. Slightly unethical, but ace.

Video of the device through the sight of the viewer:


So, using Cellular Phones or another technology one could create 3D images of our surroundings, cities,…

To start this I created this FACEBOOK GROUP and REDWIRED GROUP (Austrian Social Network) to discuss the issues that might arrise, but also the positive sides of a device: It could be something interesting to be developed for blind people.

Real-World Counterparts, so far: Lidar and Sonar

Usually utilizing lasers, a Lidar system measures reflected light to find the range, dimensions and other properties of far-off objects. Sonar, of course, is the technology of bouncing sound waves off faraway objects to get a realistic picture of where those objects are. Combine the two, and you’ve got the 3-D system Batman uses to hunt his quarry.

Physical Boundaries still to be investigated

comment from

OK, I know it’s only a comic book movie, but still: sonar cell phones?

Work out the details. Let’s assume it is possible to force anyone’s cell phone to become an echo transponder (it maybe possible for all I know). The ultrasonic beep would have to be generated on the phone—cell phone transmissions have a notoriously low range: less than 10 kiloherz (kHz). The human ear can usually hear up to 20 kHz, and some people beyond that.

If the cell phone speaker can manage to generate the ultrasonic beep because Batman’s software completely took over the codec, then you still got problems. The sound goes out, and we’ll be nice and pretend it actually forms a nice sweeping cone, but when it comes back, it’s still coming through a crappy microphone and digitized by a cheap ADC. I’ll play nice and assume Batman was really smart and came up with a nifty software hack to perform the real-time compression of ultrasound. How does he know which direction the echo came from?

Sonar in animals depend quite heavily on being able to tell exactly where a sound came from. For bats and some birds, it’s the pair of ears on their head. For whales, they use their lower jaw and ears. These mechanisms allow them to precisely figure out direction as well as distance. A cell phone has a very limited ability to detect direction, not enough to give the detailed pictures in the movie. The microphones on cell phones are designed to be very responsive in a narrow band in front of it and almost deaf to anything outside of that band. So at best you’ve got a spotlight, but all you get back are a bunch of echoes that tell you nothing of the shape or direction. The microphone still can’t tell what angle the echo came in at.

The one part about that plot device that came close to reality was monitoring all that cell phone traffic for someone’s voice: there are rumors that the NSA’s ECHELON program can pick out voices of “parties of interest” from thousands of calls. Of course, I’m sure that’s just tin-foil hat thinking.

However, other comments say that it still might be possible…

Other cool Batman gear:

A Sonar Company:

I will look into this further! Have a good one! Yours,

Charles DARWIN toDAY

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

Today is Charles Darwin Day! Today, is Charles Darwin’s 200th birthday!


Charles Robert Darwin (12 February 1809 – 19 April 1882): WIKIPEDIA

So, when one thinks about Charles Darwin, you think about Galapagos and reptiles, huge reptiles – maybe exciting, maybe not….

BUT, I have heart something way interesting on an Austrian radio channel lately:


A descendant of Lieutenant John Lort Stokes, who accompanied Charles Darwin on his voyage around the world aboard HMS Beagle, is planning to rebuild the famous ship. David Lort-Philips, a scientist from Lawrenny, Pembrokeshire, and his partner, commercial yacht master Peter McGrath, have started the Beagle Project Pembrokeshire. They are working on the £3,300,000 plan to recreate a full-size version of HMS Beagle. Mr. Lort-Phillips plans on having the ship ready by 2009 to celebrate the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth. Construction is expected to take about 14 months to complete. If the funds are raised, the new Beagle will be built by shipwrights in Milford Haven.
The new Beagle will be a fully functioning ship but with a modern interior and will sail with a crew of university professors, science professionals, and students to undertake scientific research around the world.

The 2009 HMS Beagle will be a sailing replica of the ship Charles Darwin boarded in 1831. She will be built of larch and oak planking on oak frames. Unlike the 1831 Beagle, her 2009 descendent will have diesel auxiliary engines, radar, GPS navigation, satellite communications and modern safety equipment. Her design will be approved by Germanischer Lloyds and she will be certified for Category A – unrestricted ocean sailing.

The replica Beagle is not intended to be a museum ship; she will be equipped with laboratories and equipment to allow contemporary, original research. This is not only in keeping with Charles Darwin’s legacy but also creates an opportunity to engage students and teachers in the excitement of real scientific discovery.

The Beagle will spend 2009 – 2011 circling the world in Darwin’s wake, making similar landfalls and undertaking shore expeditions. She will host two perpetual DNA-based projects that together will explore both macroscopic and microscopic biodiversity and offer opportunities for sustained formal curriculum links during the voyage and beyond. The Beagle will also host shorter, one-off researcher-led projects targeting specific localities along the voyage.

I whish I could join this! I have also found a couple of cool Darwin links on their blog, for the Darwin fans! ;_) Enjoy, I will see you on the Beagle! Best,

DARWIN DAY links (from

  • Science News for Kids treats us to an essay on Darwin, but didn’t mention that as a kid he spent a lot of time doing amateur chemistry in a garden shed, blowing stuff up and getting the nickname ‘Gas’.

  • Michael Goldfarb in the Global Post starts his piece with pics of the mockingbirds and a great write up of the Darwin exhibition at the Natural History Museum, saying if you read one thing on Darwin….

Soymilk is healthy – Thank god!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2009

After reading this GERMAN (sorry,…) article, I am happy again. All those rumors about soy being unhealthy dont feel to good. With this article, I feel much better though, while eating my muesli with soy milk:



So, for all non-german speaking readers:

Soy products are good for you! – I am glad especially, because I can continue to avoid drinking milk in other countries than home (our austrian milk is just the best)! However, soy supplements are not, because of increased levels of bad ingredients.

Have a good day! Best,

Have a good day!

CINEATRIX goes into the final round at MLA2008

Monday, February 9th, 2009

Wow, I was amazed when I opened my mail and this wonderful certificate looked at me:


Great! I submited the concept of CINEATRIX ( last year and was happy to find out that it got so far at the MLA (more info about the MLA award – german site).

A lot of the cool videos that we made through this joint-project between MIT, iPressl and Kimeki can be found right on this blog in the left column or on youtube via “cineatrix, ipressl”.

And that is how much fun we had:

It is a good day to be proud! Best,