Spectrum: Beastcam Digitally Preserves Living Organisms

Plus, a new tech tool to help the colorblind see contrast in different colors and an outdoor vacuum aims to clean the air.

by / January/February 2017
The Beastcam captures high-resolution, full-color 3-D models of living organisms. digitallife3d.com

Digital Preservation: To ensure that detailed information is available about all of Earth’s creatures, scientists are using the Beastcam to capture high-resolution, full-color 3-D models of living organisms. Based out of the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, the Digital Life nonprofit initiative is partnering with scientists, zoos and nongovernmental organizations to access a wide variety of animals, with the end goal of documenting every living thing on the planet. The 3-D models are available for free online, with a handful already posted including the blacktip shark, emperor scorpion and birch fungus. Source: TreeHugger.com

Color Corrector

The colorblind have a new and easily accessible tech tool to help them see the contrast in different colors. Developed during a hackathon by two Microsoft engineers, the Color Binoculars app uses an iPhone’s camera to apply a filter to live images to increase the contrast between colors or adjust the image, making the colors easier to distinguish. One of the developers, who struggles with red and green, said the app helps him determine when food is cooked based on the changing colors.
Source: Fast Company

8 YARDS ... is the length of a new outdoor vacuum that aims to clean the air. Dutch inventors unveiled the device in October, saying it can suck in air from over four miles and treat 800,000 cubic meters of air per hour, filtering out 100 percent of fine particles and 95 percent of ultrafine particles. Classified as carcinogenic by the World Health Organization, fine particles are caused by emissions and industrial combustion. The system, made by the Envinity Group, could be installed on top of buildings to help purify the air in large cities. Source: Phys.org

Taking Flight


The future of streetlights may be less static. A new concept by UK insurer Direct Line would use drones to provide lighting on demand. Similar to ride-hailing services like Uber, users make a request for lighting via a mobile app and the Fleetlights travel to the needed location. The concept could help search-and-rescue teams or people who walk home from work in the dark. While Fleetlights isn’t planned for commercial development, the drones have been tested in Petworth, which has one of the most dangerous (and dark) roads in the United Kingdom. The tech was built on an open source platform so developers can continue to build on the concept. Source: New Atlas

Elaine Pittman Former Managing Editor

Elaine Pittman worked for Government Technology from 2008 to 2017.