Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Cool Hunting: Soft Sensors

More stuff on the go

Soft Sensors

A student crafts literally warmer and fuzzier computer interfaces

Lara Grant just graduated from the Interactive Telecommunications Program at NYU where she literally crafted out her own niche in "wearable technology."

"It's not a real major, just my interest," the 28-year-old Brooklyn resident explains.

Her thesis, Soft Sensors, fuses the digital world with physical experience by creating computer controls out of felt. With so much anxiety about an increasingly digital existence, her project refreshingly points out the potential for truly warm and fuzzy interfaces. Using soft circuitry, Grant made an array of felt housings that—when stretched, squeezed, prodded or poked—change the electronic resistance which feeds into a computer.

Possible applications are varied and aren't limited to just one field—ideas include video game controllers and reactive costumes triggered by a the movements of the wearer.

"There is a lot more exploration to do and these techniques from this project can be used in many different arenas," she says.

Grant, who has six years experience as a fashion and textile designer, sees Soft Sensors as only the beginning for what could be a new field of digital interfaces.

"The four felt sensors in this project is not the end to the means either, they are simply the body I found suitable as a first introduction to the techniques used to create them with."

Check out videos of some examples on Vimeo and track developments on her blog.

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Cool Hunting: Komforte Chockolates Tortilla Lime + Salt Bar

Komforte Chockolates Tortilla Lime + Salt Bar

Artisan chocolates meet savory south-of-the-border tang

Subtly crunchy and with its palate-challenging mix of salty, sweet and sour flavors, one of our office-mates put it best when she called Komforte Chockolates' Tortilla Lime + Salt bar a "super stoner snack." The treat expertly balances a difficult combo of tangy lime, small bits of tortilla chips and a rich milk chocolate base, all nicely punctuated by a hit of salt, even pleasing our tasters who initially thought they "would hate it."

Other reviews included "exotic yet approachable," and nearly all were taken by the "mouth melt" which comes from a soft texture that's closer to a ganache than traditional firm bars—and definitely speaks to the "comfort" side of the experience. The quality comes from Komforte's commitment to artisinal production methods, making their chocolates in small batches and sourcing all ingredients locally and nationally.

Their debut line also includes Ramen Noodle and French Toast, and all flavors start at $3 per bar, selling online as well as from retailers nationwide, which you can locate on their site.

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