All items from Web Urbanist

Cat VR: Feline Virtual Reality Technology Aims to Amuse Animal Companions

[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

A new PVRR (Pet Virtual Reality Research) technical brief targets the hundreds of millions of global kitties who might enjoy a romp through a virtual playscape. For starters, be sure to watch the compelling promotional pitch below:

Isobar, the brainchild of this operation, boasts their brain-monitoring and emotion-measuring capabilities. Thee brief reports that they have partnered with Zoos Victoria to detail the stakeholders and potential benefits of their emerging tech. After all, they ask: why should only “big cats” get to have all of the fun?

Trash Bot Game & Professor Water Wheel: Gadgets Devour Floating Plastic Waste

[ By SA Rogers in Gadgets & Geekery & Technology. ]

Plastic pollution is worse than ever, with scientists recently announcing horrific levels of micro plastics found in Arctic sea ice, but innovative new ways of cleaning it up may give us a sliver of hope in this fight. A familiar googly-eyed sight in Baltimore for years now, floating plastic-cleaning devices known as ‘Mr. Trash Wheel’ and ‘Professor Trash Wheel’ are set to spread to new cities. Meanwhile, an environmental startup called Urban Rivers is gamifying pollution cleanup with a remote trashbot anyone can control from the internet.

Art That Breathes: 17 Living Creations Made with Plants, Bacteria & Insects

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Alternately beautiful and disgusting but nearly always fascinating, works of art that use nature in place of more traditional media raise questions about the power and responsibility of human dominance over our natural surroundings and the other species living on Earth. These living, breathing works of art might be innocently pretty, like modified flower petals or arrangements of colorful mushrooms, or they might feel a little more sinister, making controversial use of living mice, insects or bacteria swabbed from human orifices.

What’s your take on the use of living things as art? Do you believe the message justifies its potential death, even if it’s a bonsai tree or an ant?

Philodendron Xanad by Ruben Bellinkx

Rolling Out the Green Carpet: Grass Circle Transforms Madrid Public Square

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Marking the 400th anniversary of the Plaza Mayor in Madrid, a grassy circle measuring over 35,000 square feet was rolled out to create seating space for over 100,000 visitors across a four-day celebration.

The famous European square is framed by historic rectilinear architecture, beautiful in itself, but by adding a fresh layer of greenery, artist SpY provided space for locals and tourists to relax and mingle.

From above, the green dot stands out against its reddish surroundings, while, on the ground, it becomes not just a frame for interaction but also a point of conversation about local history.

Architectural Anomalies: The Crooked Witch-Proofed Windows of Vermont

[ By SA Rogers in Culture & History & Travel. ]

Why do so many houses in Vermont have these strange crooked windows tucked under their eaves? The fact that they’re called ‘witch windows’ should tell you a little something about their origins. The site of only one witch trial in its day, Vermont wasn’t an epicenter of witchcraft hysteria like Massachusetts, but fears of supernatural trickery were strong enough to influence an architectural trend that carries on into the 21st century.

Witch Window

if you just see one of them and don’t know about the phenomenon, you may think you’ve spotted a bizarre renovation fail, but they’re set this way on purpose. Made with conventional portrait-style windows, they’re simply set into the wall at a diagonal. The reasoning? According to legend, witches can’t fly in on their broomsticks when the window isn’t straight. Hoping not to scare off potential buyers, realtors in the state have taken to calling them ‘Vermont Windows.’

Drag and Drop Housing: 12 Fast-Deploying Prefab Designs with Modern Style

[ By SA Rogers in Architecture & Houses & Residential. ]

You could receive delivery of your brand new home on the back of a truck, watch as they plop it down on the building site, press a button and allow it to self-deploy within minutes. That kind of instantaneous residential building process is now a reality thanks to a recent proliferation of pop-up prefab housing, built off-site and then assembled in a tiny fraction of the time it takes to build a conventional structure. Energy-efficient, modern and often surprisingly stylish, some of these homes are even designed specifically for cash-strapped millennials who can’t afford market-rate apartments.

LaunchPod Solar-Powered Prefabs for Millennials