Link About It: This Week’s Picks

Inflatable jungle gyms, action images from Sochi stitched together and predictions for the next big art cities in this week's look at the web


1. Sochi, Frame by Frame.

Whether it’s figure skating or downhill skiing, at times it’s difficult to tell just what’s going on on a physical level. To help demonstrate the intricate body movements of each athlete, The New York Times pulled together a stellar array of stitched together images shot at extremely high frame rates. In addition to witnessing the amazing feats in greater detail, we can finally see where the funny-faces-of-olympians meme may have come from.

2. Epic Inflatable Jungle Gym

Situated in the Viennese countryside, a massive string-supported jungle gym balances geometric sculpture with the nostalgia for childhood play-spaces. From Croatian-Austrian design studio Numen/For Use, “String Prototype” is still in development but entirely usable, with thin parallel ropes building an interior climbing grid. The structure can support multiple people at once, clawing and balancing their way along within a superficial white space that actually manages to distort the perception of internal scale.

3. Stockholm Design Week 2014

The annual furniture fair in the Swedish capital is a haven for Scandinavian design lovers and we couldn’t get enough of the sleek wares from this year’s show. Our friends at Sight Unseen went one step further this time, enlisting successful designer, photographer and former Swedish resident Katrin Greiling to trawl through the wide range of impressive collections on display. Greiling—now based in Berlin—flexes her sharp eye for design, focusing on geometric furniture and pieces that subtly incorporate folksy Scandinavian charm. Perhaps best of all are Greiling’s photos that manage to capture the beauty of the event and character of Stockholm without the convention center feeling of average fair coverage.

4. Underwater Record Player

Oakland-based artist Evan Holm’s “Submerged Turntables” installation is exactly what its name implies. However, the meaning behind goes much deeper. The sculpture offers a rather macabre commentary on society, and the fact that eventually everything will fall into ruin. “The pool, black and depthless, represents loss, represents mystery and represents the collective subconscious of the human race,” Holms says.


5. Phone Abstinence for UNICEF

Since 2007 UNICEF’s Tap Project has been getting kids in developing countries access clean water. This year, the organization challenges you to give up your phone for just 10 minutes—and if you do, their sponsor will provide one day’s worth of water for a child in need. The project aims to help well over 750 million people around the world gain access to life’s most vital liquid.

6. Building Robots Like Termites

In nature, termites build complex structures with amazingly little mental and physiological capabilities. This is what inspired Dr Justin Werfel of Harvard University to create unsupervised, autonomous robots capable of building structures. With lofty longterm goals, and some more manageable applications in sight, the worker-bots display a fascinating ability to carry out tasks.

7. Noisli

With the large number of open tabs we all operate with, stressing out at work is more of a matter of when than if. To help keep you centered, Noisli is a background noise and color generator designed for working and relaxing. It also has Text Editor for distraction-free writing, to pair with a handful of extremely convincing sounds—rain, thunder, wind and even coffee shop.


By trimming roughly 20,000 selfies (each drawn from five prominent cities across four continents) into a representative 3,200, researchers at Selfiecity have amassed findings about mood, frequency, gender and geography—building a profile of the internet users of each area. Using theoretical, artistic and quantitative methods, they’ve constructive captivating visualizations, an interactive photo-board and even an essay on the relationship between selfie and society. Do angry people tilt their heads in photos? The answer might just surprise you, as will the depth of this fascinating scientific undertaking.


9. Google Maps…The World

Project Tango isn’t the name of a covert CIA operation, but a new initiative from Google to “give mobile devices a human-scale understanding of space and motion.” Working with universities and research institutions, Project Tango (whose roots are actually in Motorola’s Advanced Technology and Projects group, which was one part Google decided to keep in their $2.9 billion sale to Lenovo) built a prototype Android smartphone with sensors that capture 3D motion and depth. By giving the phone the ability to map surroundings in 3D, this can extend the mobile world into our physical reality—for example, capturing the dimensions of your living room with your camera before a meeting with an interior designer, or knowing the exact aisle and shelf where the bulk toilet paper hides at your local Costco. 200 prototype dev kits will be given to professional developers who have greater ambitions than just writing 2D touchscreen apps to play around with.

10. The Legographer

When professional long-exposure photographer Andrew Whyte decided to attempt his first 365 series, he wanted something that would be portable, spontaneous and fun. Lugging around his Nikon gear was out of the question, so he decided to make his iPhone 4S his camera of choice to photograph a LEGO figure every day of the year. The whimsical perspectives aside, what’s incredible is the quality of photographs he achieved from a phone that’s considered outdated in today’s terms.

11. Full-Metal Printer

The team behind the seemingly gravity-defying Mataerial—a 3D printer capable of churning out designs on any surface, including a ceiling—stunned the tech community this week with its next innovation, the MX3D-Metal. Housed in an industrial robot arm, the MX3D-Metal prints in a variety of metals at a staggeringly quick rate. Though the machine prints at slower rates than its non-metal counterparts, its structures are said to be strong enough to be built upon. To compensate for different metals, the machine adjusts its temperature and pressure output. Expect to see more of the MX3D-Metal across various fields, from industrial design to architecture.

12. Reflective Reindeer

While they might look like something straight out of Narnia, glow-in-the-dark reindeer (complete with shining antlers) will soon be a reality in Finland. In the winter months, some 4,000 collisions occur due to the indigenous creatures and expanding motorways. In an attempt to stop these accidents, reflective paint will be sprayed onto the antlers or fur of the deer to catch the attention of motorists. Researchers are currently refining the paint to ensure that its effective all year ’round, as well as safe for the animals and environment.


13. The (Skateboarding) Legend of Stan Smith

When Adidas dropped the Stan Smith reissues earlier this year, sneaker heads weren’t the only ones who took notice; the original tennis shoes inspired a sense of nostalgia in many circles. This week marked the launch of the specially designed skateboarding version of the shoe, featuring a video of Smith himself (along the Adidas skate team) outlining the tall tale of the tennis legend’s impact on skateboarding. The video’s authentic feel might dupe some unsuspecting viewers—we’re fairly certain the two-time Grand Slam champ didn’t invent the 360 flip—but if skate savant Mark Gonzales is involved, we’re happy to play along.

14. Pam + SUPER Sunglasses

Always ones to push the envelope in style and design, Australia’s PAM recently collaborated with SUPER Sunglasses with fun, vibey results that remind us that spring is just around the corner. Floating pot leaves disguised as sunflowers make up the repeated print, with a hidden message inscribed on the lenses that only become visible in steamy circumstances.

15. Our Future Art Capitals

Johannesburg and Beirut, Lagos and Bogota—beautiful, storied cultural centers, that are vastly different but unified by a new prediction. These will be four of the 10 biggest art cities of the future. According to a new book from UK’s Phaidon PRess, “Art Cities of the Future & 21st Century Avant-Garde,” the aforementioned—as well as New Dehli, San Juan, Sao Paolo and others—will surpass NYC, Paris and London as the cities we associate most closely with art. They’re already hotspots with ever-emerging scenes and strong arts support, making it valuable to keep your eyes on their development.

16. Barbican’s “Momentum”

In the 99 meter long Curve space within London’s Barbican gallery, United Visual Artist’s have installed 12 slowly oscillating light-bearing structures, forever shifting in the dark, smoke-filled space. Captured in a new, eerie promotional video, “Momentum” aims to call into conflict our understanding of natural and synthesized movement. Rounding out the sensory exploration, each moving element comes complete with a 3D-printed acoustic chamber, emitting a broad backing soundtrack. It certainly looks like one not to miss.

Link About It is our filtered look at the web, shared daily on Twitter and published weekly every Saturday morning.