Category Archives: technology

Colour Changing Chalice

Not only a tongue twister, this colour changing chalice left scientists in knots as they struggled for decades to understand how it worked. Known as the Lycurgus Cup, it is both the only  figural example of a type of vessel known as a ‘cage-cup’ and the only complete Roman glass object made from dichroic glass.
Lycurgus Cup is made of dichroic glass and appears jade green when lit from the front. © Trustees of the British Museum

Lycurgus Cup (4th century AD) is made of dichroic glass and appears jade green when lit from the front. © Trustees of the British Museum

What is so fascinating about this chalice is that is changes colour depending if light is shone from the front or back. This colourful secret intrigued scientists and it wasn’t  until 1990 they attributed this colour change to nanotechnology.
The Roman artisans “impregnated the glass with particles of silver and gold, ground down until they were as small as 50 nanometers in diameter, less than one-thousandth the size of a grain of table salt.”  When light hits the metal nanoparticles, the electrons in the metal are excited in ways that alter the colour depending on the observer’s position.
Lycurgus Cup is made of dichroic glass and appears blood red when lit from the back. © Trustees of the British Museum

Lycurgus Cup is made of dichroic glass and appears blood red when lit from the back. © Trustees of the British Museum

I stumbled upon this beautiful chalice in a recent Smithsonian Magazine article as it seems scientists are tamping into this 1,600-year-old “technology” to create “super­sensitive new technology that might help diagnose human disease or pinpoint biohazards at security checkpoints”.
If you’re like me and want to see the real thing you need to get yourself down to the British Museum.

Video

Clothing of the Future

Just discovered this funny video highlighting what fashion designers in 1939 predicted for the year 2000! What makes it even more funny is that when you sit back and think about it nothing has changed. Well, okay we’ve moved on a bit as we’re not predicting the exact same things and our predictions are a little more sophisticated (to keep up with the times) but on a general level we’re still forecasting wearable tech – functionality embedded in our clothes through technology.

Google Glass getting fashions stamp of approval at Diane Von Furstenberg Spring 2013 / via Getty

Google Glass getting fashions stamp of approval at Diane Von Furstenberg Spring 2013 / via Getty

Yes, in this video they talk about wearable tech – “an electric belt will adapt the body to climatic changes” and male outfits will be fitted with a phone and radio. Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know wearable tech has been a big deal the last few years with everyone predicting it’ll be the next big thing. Now tech giants have entered the arena this “future” may be closer to reality with the launch of Google Glass next year.

So, if wearable tech does take off what will our future be like? Well CNN recently imagined such a thing and after consulting some experts this is how a day in 2015 pans-out.

Ever wanted to know when someone wwas staring at you? Now you can with Ying Gao's two dresses made of photoluminescent thread and eye tracking technology. The dress becomes "alive" when it detects a spectator's gaze.

Ever wanted to know when someone was staring at you? Now you can with Ying Gao’s two dresses made of photoluminescent thread and eye tracking technology. The dress becomes “alive” when it detects a spectator’s gaze.