This week in engineering and design delivered Nike self-lacing sneakers for a great cause, a wind turbine made for typhoons and hurricanes, and an MTV Cribs-style tour of a 3D printed house and vehicle.
This week Nike CEO Mark Parker announced the launch of the limited-edition Nike Mag sneaker. Nike announced 89 pairs of the Nike Mag shoes will be raffled off, in an effort to raise millions of dollars for the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. How can a shoe raise that much money you ask? Well, they are functioning replicas of the self-lacing sneakers (featuring individually response “power laces”) that Fox wore as Marty McFly in Back To The Future, Part 2, shoes that have been dream objects of sneaker fiends since 1989, hence only 89 of them being raffled.
We also learned this week that a Japanese engineer named Atsushi Shimizu designed a new type of wind turbine that can harness energy from large storms. The new turbine looks like a huge, upright egg beater, making it able to withstand typhoons (or hurricanes, depending on where you live) and turn their destructive power into usable energy. The turbine remains standing even when assaulted by intense winds and rain, thanks to an omnidirectional vertical axis and blades with adjustable speeds.
3D PRINTING NEWS
This week the US Department of Energy took us on a tour Oak Ridge Nation Laboratory’s Additive Manufacturing Integrated Energy (AMIE) project, connecting a 3D printed building and vehicle, showcasing a new approach to energy use, storage and consumption. The video tour itself is a throwback to MTV Cribs, but the message behind it is innovative, asking further questions about future projects and potential biomaterial.
We also discovered this week that researchers at Northwestern University developed a 3D printed bone made of ceramic and polymer materials that can encourage bone to regrow itself once it’s implanted. Although it has yet to be tested it on humans to date, they were able to use their creation to repair a monkey’s skull and to fuse rat spines. The synthetic material called “hyperelastic bone” gets it name from it’s flexible and strong nature, not being prone to chipping or breaking, unlike other bone graft materials, which are typically brittle.
This week Mastercard’s “Selfie Pay” arrived in Europe. You heard that right, meaning people can now verify online purchases with selfies. The company’s “Identity Check Mobile,” allows users to verify their identity with a fingerprint or selfie instead of a long-winded password. The process consists of downloading the app and taking a photo so the service can create a digitized map of your face. It’s then stored on Mastercard’s servers and used as a reference point whenever you want to complete a new purchase online. Of course, it’s possible that someone could simply print a photo of your face, so to get around that problem the app will ask you to blink before confirming each transaction, to ensure in fact you are human.
VIDEO OF THE WEEK
This week we found a video from Lund University of a wealthy person’s house in the ancient city of Pompeii being partially recreated with 3D imaging. By combining traditional archaeology with 3D technology, researchers show the house, right down to the correct paint color and in some cases, what sort of surfaces these ancient people walked on. The level of detail they are able to obtain within the video is amazing since Pompeii was destroyed by volcanic ash from Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD.