Insect Illustrations by Will Scobie

September 30th, 2014 | Brain, Robot

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Will Scobie is an artist from Brighton who has worked for a whole host of companies including TED Talks, Skype, IBM, Vine, and Audi. This series of minimalist bugs is called “The Fly, the Spider & the creeper,” and I find it quite delightful. The illustrations are sort of a whimsical mix of technical drawings and graphic design.

Here’s a word from the artist:

“My approach to illustration plays with the idea of the continuous line, whilst maintaining a graphic simplicity and communicating an idea through a playful and optimistic perspective.”

You can pick up prints here or check out more work from Will at his site.

-RSB

“The Space Project” by Vincent Fournier

September 27th, 2014 | Space
Hydrolab Training, I.S.S., Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center [GCTC], Star City, Zvyozdny gorodok, Russia, 2007.

Hydrolab Training, I.S.S., Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center [GCTC], Star City, Zvyozdny gorodok, Russia, 2007.

The Space Project Vincent Fournier 4

Class Room, Arianespace, Guiana Space Center [CGS], Kourou, French Guiana, 200

“The Space Project” is an incredible series of photographs by Vincent Fournier, who hails from the little known country of Burkina Faso in West Africa. Vincent traveled around the world to capture space training facilities which were left mostly in a state of abandonment. You may have noticed that most countries seem to have shifted their interests away from manned space programs in recent years. After the lunar landing on July 20th, 1969, we just haven’t collectively wanted to exhaust the resources need to journey to Mars and beyond…

These photographs capture some of the beautifully faded glory of space programs around the world. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Apollo Control Room, John F. Kennedy Space Center [NASA], Florida, U.S.A., 2011.

Apollo Control Room, John F. Kennedy Space Center [NASA], Florida, U.S.A., 2011.

Ergol #4, S1B clean room, Arianespace, Guiana Space Center [CGS], Kourou, French Guiana, 2011

Ergol #4, S1B clean room, Arianespace, Guiana Space Center [CGS], Kourou, French Guiana, 2011

Space Helmet, Extravehicular Visor Assembly, John F. Kennedy Space Center [NASA], Florida, U.S.A., 2011

Space Helmet, Extravehicular Visor Assembly, John F. Kennedy Space Center [NASA], Florida, U.S.A., 2011

Mars Desert Research Station #2 [MDRS], Mars Society, San Rafael Swell, Utah, U.S.A., 2008

Mars Desert Research Station #2 [MDRS], Mars Society, San Rafael Swell, Utah, U.S.A., 2008

Mars Desert Research Station #1 [MDRS], Mars Society, San Rafael Swell, Utah, U.S.A., 2008

Mars Desert Research Station #1 [MDRS], Mars Society, San Rafael Swell, Utah, U.S.A., 2008

Plateau de Bure Observatory #3 [IRAM], Grenoble, F 78 French Alps, 2006

Plateau de Bure Observatory #3 [IRAM], Grenoble, F 78 French Alps, 2006

There are many more gems from “The Space Project” that you can find at Vincent’s website, here. I think he may be my new favorite photographer. If you are in Amsterdam before October 31st, definitely check it out.

-RSB

A Journey Through The Visual System

September 24th, 2014 | Brain

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Welcome to “A Journey Through The Visual System”! I made this video to promote brain awareness for the general public. As a neuroscience researcher, I’ve always believed it’s important to help people understand the complexities of the human nervous system. Thus, I hope this video can be appreciated by kids and adults alike, and something will be learned by all.

The project was inspired by the old Magic School Bus show I used to love as a kid. In the video, you will go on a 5-minute journey from the eye all the way to brain, learning the neuroanatomy along the way.

If you are feeling kind, you can vote for the video here (before Sept. 30th). This was submitted as part of a contest hosted by the Society for Neuroscience and BrainFacts.org.

Anyway, thanks for watching!

Here is the script for the video in case you missed something important:

“We begin our journey with the eye, specifically the iris, which gives the eyes its distinctive color. Now, the iris can be green, or blue, or brown, or black depending on the level of melanin which it contains. When the lights go off, the muscles connected to the iris contract, which makes the dark circle in the center of the eye, the pupil, get bigger. When the light goes on, the pupil gets smaller to allow less light to enter. This is how the eye adapts to light.

Ahh, that must be Ellie. She’ll be our tour guide on this journey through the visual system. Hi Ellie, how are you? To get a better look at the visual system, we’ll need some light. Let’s observe the anatomy of the eye in a little bit more detail. If we peel away the skin, we can see the arteries and veins, which supply important nutrients to the area. Next, we can see the surrounding muscles, which help move the eye in all directions. Now, let’s cut the eye in half to see how light enters the visual system. First, it hits the cornea, the protective layer of eye. Then, through the whole in the iris known as the pupil. Lastly, the job of the lens is to bend light to focus it correctly on the retina.

It’s time to enter the eye. Ellie has her jetpack and now we’re looking at the surface of the inside of the eye. The optic nerve on the right is where all the nerve fibers leave the eye heading toward the brain. Let’s follow Ellie has she heads toward that dark spot in the distance. This is the fovea centralis, a small pit in the retina responsible for our sharpest, clearest vision. Foveal vision allows us to do things like read books, or drive cars, or play video games.

Now, let’s look at a cross-section of the retina to see how neurons respond to light. Light is absorbed by rods and cones, which are specialized photoreceptors. This starts a chain reaction, which excites the bipolar cells and then subsequently the ganglion cells, to send electrical signals off toward the brain. The amacrine and horizontal cells work to modulate the circuit.

Ok, we’ve successfully made it out of the eye, and now it’s time to head back toward the brain. Visual information flows along the optic nerve like a river of electricity. At the optic chiasm, the signals split such that images from the left visual field head to the right brain, and images from the right visual field head to the left brain.

After the optic chiasm, the visual signals make a quick stop at the lateral geniculate nucleus, or LGN. The LGN is organized into 6 layers, which all receive extensive feedback control from higher visual areas.

From the LGN, the visual signals travel along optic radiations back to the visual cortex. The cortex is where we use the signal that originally came from the eye to construct our visual reality. The billions of neurons in the human brain work to encode and process the information. Information is sent forwards and backwards. See, the beauty of the visual system is that everything we see is affected by our memories, and our feelings, and what we’ve seen before.

Well, that concludes our journey through the visual system, see you next time.”

-RSB

“Outbreak” – Paper Sculptures by Rogan Brown

September 15th, 2014 | Brain

Paper sculpture Outbreak Rogan Brown 2

“Outbreak” is a series of incredibly detailed paper sculptures by Rogan Brown. The interconnected amalgam of cells and pathogens took about 4 months of tedious work to complete.

Rogan discusses a bit of the process here:

“I want to communicate my fascination with the immense complexity and intricacy of natural forms and this is why the process behind my work is so important. Each sculpture is hugely time consuming and labour-intensive and this work is an essential element not only in the construction but also in the meaning of each piece. The finished artifact is really only the ghostly fossilized vestige of this slow, long process of realization. I have chosen paper as a medium because it captures perfectly that mixture of delicacy and durability that for me characterizes the natural world.”

Paper sculpture Outbreak Rogan Brown 3

Paper sculpture Outbreak Rogan Brown 4

Paper sculpture Outbreak

Paper sculpture Outbreak Rogan Brown 1

Outbreak (2014 handcut paper 147x79x20cms)

I would most certainly be driven mad after one day trying to craft the paper into such delicate patterns. This brings to mind a Calvin Coolidge quote I would like to share:

“Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent… For more from the artist, head over to his site.

-RSB

Bubble Planets by Santiago Betancur Z

September 4th, 2014 | Space

Santiago Betancur Z Bubble Planets 1

Santiago Betancur Z is a Colombian visual artist who has done creative work for animated short films, TV commercials, and video games. These wonderful psychoactive photographs were made by placing soap bubbles against dark surfaces to generate prismatic light in the shape of spheres. Giant gas planets, Jupiter or Saturn, seem to emerge from the images.

Santiago Betancur Bubble Planets 2

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Santiago Betancur Bubble Planets 4

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Santiago Betancur Bubble Planets 3

On his website, Santiago lists directly under his name, “Art is the science of beauty,” something we can appreciate greatly here at RobotSpaceBrain.

You can find more from the artist at his site.

-RSB

Voyage D’Hermes by Moebius

August 27th, 2014 | Space

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Moebius, also known as Jean Giraud, was a world-renowned French artist, cartoonist, and writer. Back in 2011, he created this series of fantastical illustrations for the clothing botique, Hermès. The series, titled Voyage D’Hermes, never actually appeared in any advertisement for the company’s perfume line (possibly because they contain absolutely no reference to the Hermès brand). But who cares, these otherworldly scenes are simply incredible! The work features soft pastels, floating orbs, and alien creatures to create a sort of “Space Western” environment.

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Voyage D’Hermes 3 Moebius

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Moebius, who passed away back in 2012, had a wonderfully productive life. He contributed storyboards and concept designs to numerous science fiction and fantasy films, including Alien, Willow, Tron (1982), The Abyss (1989) and The Fifth Element.

If you are unfamiliar with his work, I suggest checking out a few of his books. Both Arzach and The Incal are highly recommended, but his most famous work is probably the Blueberry series, created with writer Jean-Michel Charlier, which features one of the first anti-heroes in Western comics.

Hope you enjoyed these. I’m sure they will inspire many creative types for years to come.

-RSB

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