Beautiful 3-D Lighting Sculptures Made From Engraved Acrylic Slides and Illuminated by LED Lights

Crystal Ball
Crystal Ball

Vancouver-based Blue Pine Studio has created wonderful 3D-illusion light sculptures made from engraved acrylic slides and illuminated by LED lights. The sculptures come in an array various eye-catching designs that use 16 different colors and 4 different lighting modes, which can be controlled with an included remote.

The lighting part is made of clear acrylic, known for its excellent light transmission properties. Where the acrylic piece is engraved light shines through. The approximate overall dimensions of the lighting piece are 150x160mm (exact dimensions depend on the selected design). The lighting base is made of two parts: the lower part is made of solid pine and the upper part is made of plywood. Both parts are machined with CNC milling machine then sanded and finally coated with a clear coating. All the works involved in this project including design of 3D forms, engraving of the acrylic piece, machining of the lamp base, sanding, coating, and assembly are done by Blue Pine Studio in North Vancouver.

The project was successfully funded through Indiegogo in September 2014 and now three of the most popular designs, “Crystal Ball“, “Buckeye Butterfly” and “Octopus“, are currently available in the Laughing Squid store for a limited time.

Base and Control
Base and Remote


Buckeye butterfly
Buckeye Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly
Monarch Butterfly


images via Blue Pine Studios

Valve Announces the Source 2 Engine, Steam Link, and SteamVR at GDC 2015 in San Francisco

HTC Vive Headset
image via HTC

As part of their presence at the GDC 2015 conference in San Francisco, Valve has officially announced the Source 2 engine, Steam Link, and SteamVR–the last of which is specifically being used in conjunction with HTC‘s Vive headset.

Two new technologies are part of the VR release – a room scale tracking system codenamed Lighthouse, and a VR input system. “In order to have a high quality VR experience, you need high resolution, high speed tracking,” said Valve’s Alan Yates. “Lighthouse gives us the ability to do this for an arbitrary number of targets at a low enough BOM cost that it can be incorporated into TVs, monitors, headsets, input devices, or mobile devices.” Valve intends to make Lighthouse freely available to any hardware manufacturers interested in the technology.

The Steam Link is a device for streaming Steam content from a PC to a monitor or device on the same network. Though the device initially appeared on Steam itself, it has since been removed for reasons unknown.

Steam Machines, Windows PCs, Macs, and Linux PCs will be able to take advantage of a new product announced at GDC called Steam Link. Designed to extend your Steam experience to any room in the house, Steam Link allows you to stream all your Steam content from any PC or Steam Machine on the same home network. Supporting 1080p at 60Hz with low latency, Steam Link will be available this November for $49.99, and available with a Steam Controller for an additional $49.99 in the US (worldwide pricing to be released closer to launch).

Steam Link
image via Steam Database

Those interested in more information are directed to a Steam Universe page which appears to be mostly a placeholder at this time.

via Steam Database

‘In Service of Nothing’, A Dark Animated Short Imagining a Retired Sean Connery Version of James Bond in Modern Times

In Service of Nothing is a dark animated short film written and directed by Tyler Gibb and produced by Adi Shankar, the man behind the gritty POWER/RANGERS short, that imagines a retired Sean Connery version of the super spy James Bond struggling to make his way through life in modern times. The entire animated short is presented as a “pre-visulation motion storyboard.”

Shankar explains the thought process behind In Service of Nothing on YouTube:

I always wondered what would happen to James Bond in his old age and in our borderless world. I’m not referring to the Bond we’ve seen in recent films, that incarnation is closer to Jason Bourne meets Batman. I’m referring to the swanky, alcoholic, serial killer, with mommy issues that we saw in films like Dr. No and Goldfinger. How would he find a sense of purpose in a self absorbed and impersonal modern world once his license to kill has been revoked?

In Service of Nothing

image via Adi Shankar

via Fast Company

Whether Humans Should Try to Colonize Venus Instead of Mars

A recent episode of PBS Space Time asks the question “Should we colonize Venus instead of Mars?” Host Gabe Perez-Giz looks at the hazards of trying to colonize Mars and compares them to those of trying to colonize Venus. The idea is currently being considered by NASA for the potential High Altitude Venus Operational Concept (HAVOC) mission, which could send solar-powered airships to Venus.

Perez-Giz also suggests that the reason there is more interest in Mars than Venus is “surfacism” as word he made up to imply that humans only seem interested in exploring the surface of a new planet, rather than floating in its atmosphere.

NASA produced a concept video showing how the HAVOC mission could work.

‘The Final Frontier’, A Short Video Tracing the Musical Roots of the ‘Theme from Star Trek’ Back to Beethoven

In the “The Final Frontier,” a short video by CBC Radio, host Tom Allen charts the musical origins of Alexander Courage’s iconic “Theme from Star Trek back through a number of hugely influential classical composers, including Mahler and Beethoven.

Now if ever there was an artist that was interested in sampling before there was sampling, it was Mahler. He took inspiration from anything and everything. Nothing was sacred.

submitted via Laughing Squid Tips