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Digital Cultures: Week In Review

July 27, 2015 - The digital revolution leapt from its screens and into the physical world this week, as a host of wearable, readable and playable gadgets made the digital world tangible. From musical sculptures to a giant, malicious Pac-Man, here’s what you need to know.

 

The Digital week in short

·      3D printing is on the rise in high-quality French restaurants (for more, here’s an article on Maddyness). The machines are generally used to make decorations out of chocolate or sugar, but as the technology advances, they could take on more uses.

· Uppler, a one-year-old Parisian company, recently added the 2000th company to their network of fashion businesses (read about it on Rude Baguette).  While many fashion startups connect businesses to clients (B2C), Uppler aims to connect fashion businesses with other businesses (B2B), making it unique in the fashion world.           

· Pixels,” a big-budget blockbuster in which Earth is invaded by giant video-game characters, hit theaters this weekend. Inspired by French director Patrick Jean’s acclaimed 2011 short film of the same name, “Pixels” shows how prominently the digital world figures in our thoughts. 

· Canberra Immo wants to be France’s first crowdfunding portal for real estate ventures. In an interview posted on Maddyness, the company’s founders explained their plans to have professionals and novices investing side-by-side to renovate and promote underused buildings. The company will also invest in small businesses connected to the real estate sector.

 

The Tangible Digital: digital tech that’s wearable, readable, playable

 

Much digital innovation takes place inside circuit boards or across the airy beams of a WiFi network. But recently, some adventurous souls have endeavored to give the digital revolution a physical presence.

French art students Bertrand Lanthiez and Chloé Curé have created an interactive book that combines glossy photos of Iceland with matching sound files that play when you turn the page, making for a complete and immersive experience. If you can’t make it to Reykjavik this year, Hvísi – Whispers of Iceland is the next-best thing.

And while you’re stuck at home, you might as well listen to some tunes — with a twist. Reify, a New York based company, prints intricate 3D sculptures that visually represent individual songs. View a sculpture through the camera on your iPhone using the company’s “Stylus” app, and you’ll see a pulsing animation synchronized to the song. The company’s work is on display through July 30 at the New Museum’s NEW INC incubator showcase.

Another neat project that uses your smartphone to integrate physical and digital components is the ePawn Arena. It’s an NFC-enabled game board that can identify and communicate with individual game pieces separately and in real time, enabling multiple players to compete on the same board using their smartphones to control pieces. The board hasn’t entered production yet, and lead designer Christophe Duteil has launched a crowdfunding effort to support his team’s efforts.

In keeping with ePawn Arena’s sci-fi vibe, British studio THE UNSEEN has unveiled a headpiece that changes colors according to your brainwaves and a cloak that change colors in response to to your ambient environment. The headpiece, called THEUNSEENSWAROVKSI, contains 4,000 Swarovski crystals that light up in different patterns and colors depending on what’s going on inside your head. The cloak, called AIR, responds to wind, UV rays, humidity and other environmental factors by recoloring itself using a combination of chemically reacting inks. 

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