Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Award-winning iPhone photos, an uncuttable material, the future of video calls and more from around the web

An Uncuttable Material Inspired by Abalone Shells

A new material called Proteus made from “ceramic spheres embedded in a cellular structure made of metallic foam” that’s believed to be uncuttable could revolutionize security. Inspired by abalone shells—which are composed of an essentially weak material that’s arranged in a manner that makes the shells super-strong—Proteus may be used in various ways, from bank vault doors to bike locks. After being tested with angle-grinders, water jets, drills and other tools, Proteus proved itself impenetrable. Fast Company explains, “The ceramic spheres inside the material vibrate so much that it blunts the tool attempting to cut through. As some of the spheres also break apart into small, hard fragments, those pieces act like rough sandpaper, further wearing down the tool.” Read more about this fascinating material and its potential at Fast Company.
Image courtesy of stickytoffeepudding/iStock

First-Ever Photo of a Solar System Like Ours

Images of exoplanets are extremely uncommon, but even more rare is an image of such a planet as part of a greater solar system like ours. Astronomers, however, have just shared one such photo captured by the European Southern Observatory’s Very Large Telescope. The picture of TYC 8998-760-1, located approximately 300 light years from Earth, reveals “a Sun-like star, orbited by multiple exoplanets.” This set-up is remarkably similar to our system within the Milky Way (where the Sun is orbited by planets, dwarf planets, many moons, and millions of asteroids, comets and meteoroids). It’s also inherently different. The sun in the image is described as a “very young version of our own” (at 17 million years old) and is orbited by “gas giants” (like Jupiter or Saturn) that are “320 times the distance we are from the Sun.” Despite the differences, the similarities prove to be fascinating, with lead researcher Alexander Bohn explaining, “The possibility that future instruments, such as those available on the ELT, will be able to detect even lower-mass planets around this star marks an important milestone in understanding multi-planet systems, with potential implications for the history of our own Solar System.” Read more at The Independent.
Image courtesy European Southern Observatory and Alexander Bohn

Kris Lemsalu Malone + Kyp Malone Lemsalu’s “Love Song Sing Along (Once Again With Feeling!)” Exhibit

Acclaimed Estonian artist Kris Lemsalu Malone (who represented the Baltic nation at 2019’s Venice Biennale) and her husband Kyp Malone Lemsalu (of the band TV on the Radio) have partnered once again, this time on an imaginative, immersive exhibition for Tallinn’s Kai Art Center. It’s a rebirth (and extension) of their KW Institute for Contemporary Art exhibit which shuttered early in Berlin because of COVID-19. For Love Song Sing Along (Once Again With Feeling!), the Brooklyn-based couple populate their own version of a creation myth with an array of characters—as eccentric sculptures and upon tapestries. As with their previous collaborations, Kyp has built the exhibitions soundscape, too. See more of the installation images at Kai Art Center’s site.
Image courtesy of Stanislav Stepaško

Japan’s New Earthquake-Proof Bullet Train

Commissioned by the Central Japan Railway Company to offer support during the now-postponed 2020 Olympics, the new N700S (Supreme) bullet train runs the roughly 250-mile stretch between Tokyo and Osaka. Though it can reach 224mph, it’s being capped at 177 for safety reasons—and it incorporates better brakes and running controls for slowing and stopping. Its makers also claim that the train is earthquake-proof thanks to an onboard power source and different running modes for adjusting to dangerous track. Read more about the speedy, safe train—which made its debut on 1 July—at Popular Mechanics.
Image courtesy of JR Central

Reincubate’s Camo App Elevates Your Video Calls

An app that essentially transforms your iPhone or iPad into a professional webcam for your Mac, Reincubate’s Camo elevates your (perhaps all-too-frequent) video calls. It works by streaming and processing camera data in the iOS app and sending it to your desktop instead of using the computer’s lower quality camera. Super-useful—especially for presentations—Camo works with everything from Zoom to Slack, Skype, Meet, Microsoft Teams, Chrome, Firefox, QuickTime, WebEx Teams and others, without special or complicated commands. The free option provides 720p video quality with a watermark appearing during calls, while the full version ($40 a year) offers 1080p video quality and the ability to adjust color, exposure, brightness and more. Read about the new app at Apple Insider.
Image courtesy of Reincubate

2020’s iPhone Photography Awards Winners

Entries in the 13th Annual iPhone Photography Awards spanned 140 countries and several generations of the device, from the iPhone 6 through the new 11 Pro. Dimpy Bhalotia (India), the talent behind the pictured “Flying Boys” shot, took the Grand Prize and Photographer of the Year awards, while first place went to Artsiom Baryshau (Belarus), second to Geli Zhao (China), and third to Saif Hussain (Iraq). There were also first, second, and third place awards given to photographers in 18 different style categories—from abstract to sunsets. Read more and see a handful of winners at Mashable.
Image courtesy of Dimpy Bhalotia

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily in Link and on social media, and rounded up every Saturday morning. Hero image courtesy of Stanislav Stepaško