Clothing that adapts to hide you whatever your surroundings are
By David Hambling
Posted 01.12.2012 at 11:12 am 13 Comments
Camouflage works by confusing the brain. Disruptive patterns obscure a form’s outline, making objects less likely to stand out. But camo has a weakness: No pattern works for every environment. Special Operations Apps, a software design firm in Wilmington, N.C., has developed a process to make site-specific camouflage.
In 1736 the Swiss mathematician Leonhard Euler ended a debate among the citizens of Königsberg, Prussia, by drawing a graph. The Pregel River divided the city, now Kaliningrad, Russia, into four sections. Seven bridges connected them. Could a person cross all seven without walking over the same one twice?
One of the hallmarks of living things is self-replication, the ability to make new copies of biological structures. Scientists have harnessed this ability in several ways, using DNA and viruses to organize materials for things like solar panels. But inducing artificial self-replication, which would enable new types of self-fabricating materials, has proven more difficult.
As modern mathematicians go, few were better known or more celebrated than Benoit Mandelbrot. The father of fractals died late last week at age 85, prompting reflection on his contributions to geometry and our understanding of natural phenomena.
Face-recognition technology is already helping surveillance cameras pick out individual faces of suspects, and even smartphone apps may soon allow you to ID strangers on the street. Future lovers who want a bit more privacy could soon paint on anti-face-recognition camo that protects against such electronic eye intrusions.
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.