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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  25 Aug 2014  |  Comments (6)

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I've solved the wallet thing for myself, I've got the perfect wallet for me. So whenever someone comes out with a new ultraslim wallet, I'm unmoved. But I just gave the Silo Mesh Card wallet a gander and am impressed at the thinking that went into it:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  25 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

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When most folks think of improving the design of a flashlight, they think of making it brighter or smaller. It's easy to overlook the average flashlight's central flaw: They emit a limited, circular patch of light that doesn't really jive with human peripheral vision.

On a trip upstate last year, I was looking for my runaway dog in the woods at night. While my LED flashlight was powerful enough to cast a far beam, having to trace that small circle of light over a wide swath of trees felt like painting a battleship with a toothbrush.

I'd have done better with a Morphalite flashlight, created by product developers Frank and Gary Wall. They've figured out how to create a lens that effectively refracts light into a 180-degree arc, enabling the user to scan a large patch of horizontal darkness in one go. Alternately one can rotate it 90 degrees and send the spread vertical, to better illuminate a trail one's walking down, for instance.

The Walls' DIY video below is, well, DIY quality, but that doesn't detract from the cleverness of the product's design, and their logic is unassailable:

Interestingly enough, engineer Frank discovered how to create the lens purely by accident. You can read the tale here.

Posted by erika rae  |  25 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Although the trophy itself is but a symbol for the prestige of the award, the statuette certainly provides a covetable physical artifact for those in the television industry. While you may not be interested in actually watching the broadcast tonight, you might appreciate the craft that goes into making the trophies everyone seems to gush over for a few days each year. After seeing the handiwork that goes into them, you might find yourself gushing, too.

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Maybe it's the exclusivity that comes with winning one of the golden gals, but I've always had this image that includes a super secret lab and the rarest of materials when it comes to the trophies. So it's refreshing to see the number of people involved in the process. While only one person gets to take home the statuette for good, there sure are a lot of hands that are put to work on each trophy, from ladling molten metal into the molds to final assembly and quality assurance.

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Posted by Kat Bauman  |  25 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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If you care about the power of free information, you may have heard of Outernet, an ambitious new project aimed at ending information inequality, eliminating censorship, and bringing data to distant places. The world may be well into the Information Age, but less than 40% of the global population has Internet access! That's bad for democracy, bad for innovation, and bad for business worldwide. What Outernet proposes is to take the heart of the Internet—free information—offline, and deliver it to anyone with a satellite dish using small cheap satellites, the existing geostationary satellite network, and simple hardware. It's a lot like a radio-transmitted library. As they put it, they offer "information for all from outer space. Unrestricted, globally accessible, broadcast data. Quality content from all over the Internet. Available to all of humanity. For free." For more details, check out LA Times' excellent infographics.

To get out of technical start-up talk and into people's hands, Outernet reached out to Code and Theory to help them level up. Why would an international humanitarian tech project work with a digital agency on prototyping? It's a good question, with an I.D. twist. To learn about building the Outernet satellite receiver and how Code and Theory helped, I spoke with Geoff Baldwin who heads their new but busy Industrial Design group.

Core77: Tell me about what you do at Code and Theory

Geoff Baldwin: I'm the director of Industrial Design. Code and Theory is known for its long history of doing digital design and interactive experiences. In the last 5 or 6 years we've become more known for digital agency of record for major brands, for doing social campaigns, and different digital advertising-ish things, so the idea was to build an Industrial Design team inside of this existing digital creative culture to do everything at once. To be able to design the thing, the interactions around it, and the story about it all from the same point of inspiration.

outernet-ctteam.jpgAll smiles

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Posted by Moa Dickmark  |  25 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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A few months ago, I was contacted by an organization called Women Engineers Pakistan, which introduces girls to the field of engineering and technology. Just reading the name made me curious. For those of you who don't know, I'm an architect, and I come from a family full of engineers and tech-heads. In other words, my choice of becoming an architect has never, at any point of my life, ever been questioned. I went to a technical high school in Uppsala, Sweden, always with the support of mom and dad, brothers and sister, my grandmother, aunts, uncle and most of all my wonderful grandfather. With 26 boys and 5 girls in my class, the male-to-female ratio was rather high, but my knowledge and competence was never questioned by anyone of the male gender. Not by teachers, nor by fellow students.

Hearing about an organization like this and its origins was inspiring, and it takes more then a bit of willpower and skin on the nose (Swedish expression) to start something as groundbreaking and controversial in a country where female students are told that they should reconsider their choice to study engineering and start studying something more suitable for women...

In this interview, I've had the great pleasure of talking directly with Ramla Quershi, the co-founder of Women Engineers Pakistan. She recently moved to the U.S. to study engineering on a full Fullbright scholarship. So even though she's busy with the big move and getting her bearings, she set aside some time for this interview. I hope you get as inspired by reading this as I did from writing it.

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Core77: Tell us a bit about the organisation and the thoughts behind it.

Ramla Quershi: The organization is a budding startup, which looks to increase participation from Pakistani women in Pakistan in engineering. Women have always been by and large in domestic and agricultural jobs in Pakistan, and their participation in science and technology has been minimal. We realize that women make over half the Pakistani population and we're working to prevent that potential talent for technical prowess from going to waste. We're working with young girls at high schools to encourage them towards science and math

When did you start working on getting Women Engineers Pakistan up and running?

It started with a Facebook page last August. But it's wasn't until six months ago that we started working as an organization.

Why did you decide on starting WEP?

Throughout my engineering degree, I felt a nagging lack of women in this field. We were often discouraged by our professors that engineering is a 'big boy' area. It was disheartening to realize that there weren't many role models set out for us. So I created this organization to give women engineers a platform to represent themselves.

When the professors talked about it being a "big boy" profession, how did your fellow male students react to those sort of comments?

My fellow males knew that I was good at my studies, so they would often turn up for a group study option and ask me to explain things to them. So they had found out that the women in their class were just as good (some even better) engineers. Barring a few, many were courteous and encouraging. However, there were some 'go make a sandwich' sort of comments—but not many.

There must have been many ideas/incentives to make it go from an concept into reality, what were they?

Oh yes, there were. Initially it was just a Facebook page, but then it started getting attention, and I realized that I had hit a niche. We were contacted by the U.S. Embassy through the Facebook page for meeting with a NASA engineer coming to Pakistan. And i thought, 'Oh wow, not much representation for the women in engineering crowd.'

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Posted by Carly Ayres  |  22 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

GUR-IanStevenson.jpgIllustration by Ian Stevenson

Designer Célia Esteves first fell in love with the Portuguese tradition of rug weaving at an exhibition in her hometown of Viana do Castelo, in the north of Portugal. There she met—and got a tutorial from—an artisan who was creating rugs on a hand loom. Esteves left the exhibition smitten with the technique and determined to find a way to continue working with the traditional handcraft. "I found it so exciting and promising that I immediately wanted to share it with some of my illustrator friends," she says.

Luckily, Esteves has some very talented friends. She asked illustrators like André da Loba, Marta Monteiro and José Cardoso to create designs to be translated into woven rugs, and worked with the weaver she met at the exhibition to realize the project. The result is Rug by GUR, a remarkable pairing of contemporary illustration and traditional Portuguese rug weaving.

GUR-MartaMonteiro-JoaoDrumond.jpgIllustrations by Marta Monteiro (left) and Joao Drumond

GUR-JoanaEstrela.jpgIlustration by Joana Estrela

"The technique is very specific, and it can also be limiting," Esteves admits. "Sometimes it is not possible to do exactly what is designed." One of the challenges is the grid system required of the weaving, making it difficult to create continuous lines. Another is the material used, raw tirela, which is made of rags from used clothing, limiting the colors to what is available from nearby factories.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

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It rains a lot in the Pacific Northwest, which sucks if you're outside and are trying to write something on paper, as loggers once needed to. So in the 1920s, well before ruggedized tablets were invented, a guy named Jerry Darling created waterproof paper and sold it in notebook form to the logging industry.

Today the company Darling started has evolved into Rite in the Rain, which manufactures all-weather writing paper. Here's how it stacks up versus regular paper:

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Posted by erika rae  |  22 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

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Let me just start off by saying that I don't condone illegal forgery or theft—but I do think that someone who can put the art world in a tizzy with his own look-alike art without breaking any sort of law deserves some major props. Mark Landis is that man. And we're not talking paint-by-numbers, either. Landis's work may not follow the original mediums of his source material—he even mentions using colored pencils where a Sotheby's expert would cite chalk—but his work has been displayed in buildings around the country. Disguised as a philanthropist, Landis spends his time making obscure donations to organizations in order to have his work displayed.

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That's all good and well, but here's where it gets really interesting: Registrar Matthew Leininger caught on to Landis's trick and starting following his moves. While the eccentric forger's story is well-documented—Google his name and you'll get results from the likes of the New York Times and the The Daily Beast—a new, Kickstarted documentary presents the cat-and-mouse dynamic between the two as Landis convinces 46 museums in 20 different states to display over 100 pieces of his work. Art and Craft has the makings of a real-life manhunt thriller—think Catch Me If You Can sans the DiCaprio/Hanks draw and fewer costume changes. Check out the trailer:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  22 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

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We gave you a brief look at this awesome Lego Calendar project earlier in the year, but this is worth a closer look. The UK-based design studio formerly known as Vitamins (now called Special Projects) devised a physical calendar for their studio made out of Legos. Sounds simple, right? Been done before, yes? But here's the thing—this one can be synced to your iCal, Google Calendar or what have you. Check it out:

Since the syncing is one way—which is to say, moving a physical brick will eventually result in the online calendar being updated, but not vice versa—you might think that's a detriment. But Special Projects points out that it actually has an organizational benefit:

We're... working on what happens when someone remotely wants to change a date, perhaps they're abroad and need to modify something. Well the next time somebody in the studio uploads a photo of the calendar, they will get an email back immediately, asking them to actually move the bricks that have been modified. It sounds crazy, but this way you actually notice when something has changed, and you need to physically find a place to put the bricks you have removed—rather than a digital square quietly vanishing in the background on your computer screen.

The team—Adrian Westaway, Clara Gaggero, and Duncan Fitzsimons with the assistance of Simon Emberton and Julia Eichler—invented the clever system in 2012, and were hoping to be able to release the software earlier this year. "This is taking a little longer than expected," they write, but Adrian and Clara are still chugging away on the project. If you'd like to get updates, you can sign up here.

Posted by Kat Bauman  |  22 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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We're sad to note the passing of bold designer Deborah Sussman, who died on Wednesday at the age of 83 after a long battle with cancer. Sussman was a Brooklyn-born artist of many interests, known for colorful large-scale design work that often included whole built environments. Growing up in an artistic family, she was encouraged to explore many disciplines, attending Black Mountain School during the summers, and later studying painting and theater at Bard College.

Sussman first heard her calling "like thunder" at age 22 in the Eames' studio, where the refined combination of drawing and physical creation immediately attracted her. Her own work must have made a positive impact too - she worked for Eames for the next several years. As their Art Director her projects at the firm spanned graphics, print, exhibition layout, showroom design and film. She cut her teeth on both internal work and designing for clients like the Ford Foundation and IBM at the 1964 World's Fair.

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Posted by core jr  |  22 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

PhotoCall-SVALastDay.jpgLast day of the semester at SVA, photo by Jeffrey Zeldman

With the start of the fall term just around the corner, the smell of freshly sharpened pencils (er, stylii?) is in the air. While there's no denying the excitement of new classes, spaces and professors, not to mention old friends and hangouts, we know that you're really looking forward to getting your hands dirty and making those spaces your own over the course of the semester. After all, it's these signs of life—of being inhabited and used—that truly mark a time and a place in memory.

With that in mind, we're looking to feature your photos from bygone years. Whether you're a rising sophomore, a recent grad or a nostalgic alum, we want to see candid shots of you and your classmates in deep D-school mode. We want to know what your cafeteria looked like, how you hacked your dorm room, where you met your bestie, where you snuck cigarettes—and, of course, what the studio looked like the night before (or should we say morning of?) a deadline. You can even send us pictures of an awesome campus bathroom if you've got 'em.

Here are a few examples of the kind of thing we're looking for:

PhotoCall-PrattEngineRoom.jpgThe engine room at Pratt Institute, photo by George Estreich

PhotoCall-RISDNatureLab.jpgThe Nature Lab at RISD, photo by Emily Hummel

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Posted by Coroflot  |  22 Aug 2014

Work for littleBits!

littleBits is looking for an energetic, creative and talented Design Intern to work with them in New York, NY. The right person for this opportunity is a superstar maker with a great sense of aesthetic and experience with concept development and prototyping. The ability to convey the littleBits brand is a must as is being well versed in Adobe Creative Suite. This isn't just a go-get-coffee internship - it's your chance to get in on the ground level with a stipend and a chance at full time employment.

If you have an undergraduate or Master's Degree in, Industrial Design, Physical Computing, Product Design, Architecture, Mechanical Engineering and are very well versed in the design process, from brainstorm to iteration to final product/project with a focus on user experience, Apply Now.

Posted by Jeri Dansky  |  21 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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Being an organized traveller involves packing just the right stuff—and for most end users, that involves electronics. After deciding which devices to take (laptop, tablet, smartphone, etc.) the end-user also needs to decide how to keep them charged.

If the travel is international, that often means packing one or more adapters. For those who are traveling to multiple countries and want an all-in-one adapter rather than individual ones, there's this universal travel adapter from Kikkerland, which works in more than 150 countries. At 8 × 5 × 0.6 inches, it's flatter than any other such converter. And at 2.4 ounces, it's very lightweight. The two downsides: The two parts both have projections that could snag something else in the luggage. And while the converter comes with instructions showing you how to make it work in each country, they may be too complex for some end-users. But some end users have noted with delight that using this adapter felt like playing with a Transformer toy.

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The 4-in-1 adapter from Flight 001 is notable for its use of color-coding; the colors of the adapters match to a list of 150+ countries, and to a map. This will be less attractive to colorblind end users—but the parts are also labeled (EU, UK, etc.), and the color-coded list also allows for matching by shape. The adapter is small, measuring just 2.25 x 2 x 1.5 inches, and it weighs just 4 ounces.

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When we first wrote about Twelve South's PlugBug back in 2011, a commenter said, "Great product but does me no good when I travel to Europe." Well, that's been fixed with the new PlugBug World. As with the older version, the PlugBug World attaches to a MacBook power adapter, converting it to a dual-charger for both the MacBook and an iPad or iPhone—and it will charge that iPad faster than the factory-supplied charger. But the PlugBug World also has five attachments which allow it to work around the world. It measures 2.44 x 2.57 x 1.14 inches, and weighs 3.5 ounces. One minor quibble: An end user noted that the U.S. adapter plug isn't retractable like the Apple adapter plug is.

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Posted by Ray  |  21 Aug 2014  |  Comments (7)

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When it comes bicycles, we're often inclined to say nay. Call us snobs/cranks/grouches or what have you, but we are generally of the opinion that you don't go reinventing the proverbial human-powered two-wheel conveyance. Here's a new one that (if nothing else) offers a new approach to an integrated locking mechanism.

Starting with the notion that any lock can be broken, Juan José Monsalve, Andrés Roi and Cristóbal Cabello have designed the "Yerka," a bicycle frame that features an integrated lock—i.e. the bike cannot be ridden if the lock is severed. Where many of the past Oregon Manifest entries (for which a lock is required per the brief) explored concepts that were integrated into the main triangle of the frame—Tony Pereira's version was deemed worthy of first place in 2009 and 2011—the Chilean engineering students have opted to build the shackle into a main tube. I don't condone locking to trees, but kudos to the team for developing a working prototype:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 Aug 2014  |  Comments (2)

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Last week, we published a piece on the Bottlass packaging design in which I was critical of the concept. We were since contacted by Kyung Kook, the Vice President of Bellevue-based Innovative Design Service Inc., the company that produced the design. In his response, Kyung rebutts several of the points made in the original entry, and has included photographs showing that the Bottlass is, in fact, in production. Kyung's response is printed below.

Frankly, I was very excited to see the [Core77] post about our design, "Bottlass" and am pleased that someone was interested enough to share his take on our design. I believe this is a valuable opportunity to look at our design from a different perspective.

First and foremost, the design phase I of Bottlass is actually being manufactured and sold in South Korea at this moment.

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The product based on our design was made available to the public in Korea since April of this year. The material used is called eco-zen, a type of enhanced plastic.

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Secondly, I am aware that opening the container may cause a bit of hassle. But this can be easily fixed. If we print instructions on the container, informing the drinker to set up the container before holding it in place and pulling off the seal, this should bypass the inconvenience. It may take a bit more steps than the conventional bottles or cans, but the excitement and satisfaction gained from Bottlass's unique design will do more than justice.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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So your kid draws all over your expensive carpet with a handful of Sharpies. You're so infuriated that after giving him a time-out, you need to go outside to carve some sand patterns in your Zen garden just to cool off. Well, if only you had access to the designs of Yuta Sugiura, a professor at Keio University's Graduate School of Media Design, you could cleanly ameliorate both situations.

Sugiura headed up the research team that produced "Graffiti Fur: Turning Your Carpet Into a Computer Display." Three clever devices can put images that you've either drawn or captured onto a plain ol' carpet, Sharpie-free and completely reversible:

Sugiura's team—which was comprised of researchers not only from Keio, but from the Nagoya Institute of Technology and The University of Tokyo—presented "Graffiti Fur" at this month's SIGGRAPH in the Emerging Technologies & Studio Collaboration category.

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  21 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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In a previous life, I rendered bottles for a living, and as I was doing it without rendering software, I was always happy when the assignment called for glass and bummed when it called for PET. PET bottles always had crazier shapes, and the amount of reflectivity required to get the material to read was a PITA.

I thought of this while watching illustrator Marcello Barenghi's YouTube channel, specifically this illustration of a Heinz ketchup bottle, which clearly reads as PET:

Obviously a hyperreal illustration and an ID rendering are two different things, as the latter's more concerned with form, gesture and emotion than cold accuracy, but Barenghi's understanding of light, texture and surfaces is unparalleled. So much so that while his channel is called "How to Draw," it might as well be called "Things Most of Us Wouldn't Want to Render by Hand." Like this ruby:

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Posted by hipstomp / Rain Noe  |  20 Aug 2014  |  Comments (2)

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We think of factories producing iPhones, IKEA flatpacks and Infinitis, and as ID'ers we have an idea of what those production lines look like. But chances are you've never been inside a factory that makes cakes and desserts. Unifiller Systems, Inc. is a company that creates cake-decorating machines and food processing equipment, and their "sizzle reel" is pretty fascinating:

Once you've seen those machines above in action, it makes sense that circular cakes would be filled and iced on a turntable. But how do they get the filling into rectangular cakes, which don't have rotational symmetry? Surprisingly, for sheet cakes they use a "split and fill" technology that slices the cake horizontally while simultaneously injecting the filling (see it in action around 0:28):

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Posted by erika rae  |  20 Aug 2014  |  Comments (1)

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When it comes to shared spaces, amenities such as public charging stations aren't necessarily a priority when there's tax money to be spent. So, like any designer looking to contribute to the greater good, Paris-based industrial designers Sylvain Chasseriaux, Léa Bardin and Raphaël Pluvinage chose to solve the problem an innovative way. Their solution: Taking on these moments of inconvenience with a guerrilla campaign of boldly painted, machine-made items aimed at providing life-hacks that are quite literally hidden in plain sight.

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Their series, Fabrique-Hacktion, ranges from tiny tabletops for folding chairs, hand-crank phone chargers, discarded newspaper stations and a tool for easier change-grabbing from vending machines, among other tools.

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Aside from providing an unexpected convenience for passersby, Chasseriaux hopes to create "an involvement of people in their public and collective space through installing 'grafts'—complementary objects—which support a usage and practice while improving or questioning current urban systems and furnitures." Check out the video below to get a glimpse into the entire series of gadgets:

Each one of the items comes with instructions for making your own. (You can check out the how-tos on the project's website.) The team also put together a map, tracking where the objects are placed.

A couple of the apparatuses caught my eye in particular. Check out the making/function of these fantastic four:

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Posted by Christie Nicholson  |  20 Aug 2014  |  Comments (0)

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One of the stranger (and little known) facts of nature is that our living cells are electric, or can carry electricity. Every thought, feeling and movement we have comes from an electric spark. And we find this in complicated beings like us, as well as in the most basic forms of bacteria. But there is something that bacteria can do that no other living thing on Earth can: Consume pure electricity for their own energy. Sounds Frankensteinian but it's real.

Scientists have been luring all sorts of bacteria deep in rocks and mud with electric juice. And they've found that these creatures are eating and then excreting electrons. Now this isn't all that crazy, considering that, as I mentioned, we are made of electric pulses. And this process is fueled by food (specifically ATP, the molecule that provides storage for energy.) Electrons can and are taken from every food we eat, and they are carried by molecules throughout our bodies—this is a necessary process for life.

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The difference and extraordinary thing about bacteria is that they don't need the "food" middleman. They consume pure electricity! Just like our (non-living) laptop plugged into the wall. (Think of this next time we consider how far removed we think we are from robotic devices.)

But what are the practical implications for innovative designers? Scientists have been able to grow all kinds of what they are calling "electricity breathers" in areas where you might not find other life forms. Researchers are saying this opens up a previously unknown biosphere. A biosphere of very useful, self-powered helpers.

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