15 Jan 2015

Just Landed

Using Processing and MetaCarta, this project maps travel routes by searching for the phrase “Just landed in” in Twitter updates and extracting the home city listed on a person’s profile page.

I’ve long been fascinated with maps, and being able to uncover and visualize global travel movements in 3D arcs from text updates is quite beautiful. The pulses in the arcs allows us to see the movement more clearly. Examining the maps shows the majority of the movement originating from North America, with not many flights mapped back to North America; this indicates that Twitter usage appears to be more concentrated in U.S./Canada, or perhaps that additional languages would need to be parsed to determine movements from other continents. Additional parsing would need to be done to determine movement from abroad to back home (North America). Also, the routes are plotted from west to east, when the airplane movement may not have necessarily traveled in that direction; this is likely a limitation of simply searching for the phrase “just landed in” and connecting location to the user profile’s hometown without additional directional information. The creator explained that he was inspired by a discussion with a friend to determine the spread of infectious diseases as well as the “Where’s George” project (that tracks the travel of dollar bills by having users enter the serial number and ZIP code). He concedes that much more work is needed to capture disease travel information accurately. But it’s a good and visually interesting start.


This project combines EEG signals with soft silicone inflatable air muscles. Brain wave activity is read and then translated to air pressure, causing these soft robot appendages to smoothly inflate and unfurl like tentacles. Seeing this soft robotic material bend and morph in varying contours is a pleasant contrast to the typically rigid material from which most robots are typically constructed, with many clear applications for more natural prosthetics for the severely disabled. New architectural possibilities are also enabled by this material. However, the collective appearance of this thing looks a bit like an alien sea-creature that is somewhat off-putting. Similar projects that influenced Furl include Slow Furl, a room-sized fabric installation that morphs and reacts to the presence of guests moving about in the room, and HygroSkin, a modular thin wooden skin that reacts to weather changes by contracting and expanding built in apertures without any electronics.