The Lexus Design Awards, which began four years ago, puts forth a noble and valuable effort to search for valid ideas worth nurturing. Teaming up young designers with successful and thoughtful designer mentors, the projects chosen for the awards are given careful consideration and encouragement so those with idea have

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DNA molecules can store information many millions of times more densely than existing technologies for digital storage — flash drives, hard drives, magnetic and optical media. Those systems also degrade after a few years or decades, while DNA can reliably preserve information for centuries. DNA is best suited for archival applications, rather than instances where files need to be accessed immediately.

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What the research says is that the brain does process information in different ways, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a “visual learner” can’t learn by listening, or even that they’ll learn poorly. There is precious little research that says a student will learn ‘more’ if taught ‘their way’–especially if all students are ultimately assessed the same way in the end.

But that doesn’t mean that learning modalities aren’t real. Processing new information in different ways has different effects on how we understand that information. We might benefit from seeing something first, then touching it next, then listening to someone explain it, then seeing it again, and so on. It’s not a linear process.

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The Columbia team, which includes research engineer Daniel Sims BS’14 and postdoctoral researcher Yonghao Yue, designed and fabricated a flexible lens array that adapts its optical properties when the sheet camera is bent. This optical adaptation enables the sheet camera to produce high quality images over a wide range of sheet deformations. Sims will present the work at the International Conference on Computational Photography (ICCP) at Northwestern University in Evanston, IL, May 13 to 15.

 

“Cameras today capture the world from essentially a single point in space,” says Nayar. “While the camera industry has made remarkable progress in shrinking the camera to a tiny device with ever increasing imaging quality, we are exploring a radically different approach to imaging. We believe there are numerous applications for cameras that are large in format but very thin and highly flexible.”

 

If such an imaging system could be manufactured cheaply, like a roll of plastic or fabric, it could be wrapped around all kinds of things, from street poles to furniture, cars, and even people’s clothing, to capture wide, seamless images with unusual fields of view. This design could also lead to cameras the size of a credit card that a photographer could simply flex to control its field of view.

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The Amphibian SCUBA diving simulator, a research project from the MIT Media Lab, lets users experience the underwater world through a high presence virtual reality system. The system includes a motion platform, Oculus Rift head-mounted display, snorkel with sensors, leg-motion sensors, and gloves that enable motion detection, temperature simulation, and physical feedback of objects. Captured sensor data is fed into a processing unit that converts the users physical motion into virtual movement in the Oculus app.

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