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Tech Entrepreneurs Teamed-Up to Open the Seattle NFT Museum in January 2022



As the public focuses more on the digital empire, non-fungible tokens or NFTs have become a hot topic in the art and investing world. Recently, NFTs have caught the attention of wealthy investors and celebrities. Here is a piece of fantastic news for art lovers out there, who are curious about the NFT phenomenon. They will have a chance now to visit a physical museum in Seattle to understand this emerging art form. The Seattle NFT Museum, scheduled to open on January 14, 2022, will become the first museum dedicated to non-fungible tokens. 

The museum will feature coveted art collections and influential artists. It will also become a space for gathering enthusiasts and collectors in the digital art community. 

The Seattle NFT Museum (SNFTM) is the brainchild of Seattle entrepreneurs Jennifer Wong and Peter Hamilton. The founders are active in the startup community and former colleagues at the marketing firm Tune. 

Wong is currently the head of sustainability at the digital freight startup Convoy and an adjunct professor at the University of Washington. On the other hand, Hamilton is the former CEO at Tune and currently the head of commerce at the streaming television platform Roku.

In a chat with GeekWire, Wong said that digital awareness in Seattle is wider than in other places. She added that a strong NFT community is searching for more ways to share and build connections. 

“There is also a rising curiosity among the general public. The Seattle NFT Museum is open for anyone who has an idea about NFT and wants to learn a little more.” – Jennifer Wong.

Non-fungible tokens or NFTs are virtual certificates of ownership that are tracked as part of a blockchain computing network. NFTs have created a craze among collectors and cryptocurrency enthusiasts in recent years. From random internet memes to profound digital masterpieces, almost everything can become an NFT and are available to purchase for substantial amounts. 

NFTs are making a notable impact on art and digital possessions, with over $3.5B in sales recorded in 2021. The top three categories of NFT, such as collectibles, sports, and arts, will be the center of the Seattle NFT Museum. That is why the founders are passionate about providing an outlet for creators, artists, IP owners, and collectors to show their NFTs in a highly contextual and physical setting. 

Museum Goals: Inspiration, Education, and Community

Wong and Hamilton envision the museum as an actual brick-and-mortar location to further promote NFT in the Pacific Northwest. They revealed the three primary goals of the dedicated space: inspiration, education, and community. According to them, the said elements are not present in digital forums and platforms where they will showcase the NFTs.

Located at 2125 First Avenue, Seattle, Washington, the museum will feature more than 30 high-quality screens for showcasing digital art. The museum website considers the quality of the displays as the foundation of this immersive gallery. Likewise, the art on display is on the blockchain. They will be presented on loan from artists, creators, galleries, and collectors.

The innovative physical NFT gallery is an interesting twist compared to the initiative by Seattle-based Phosphene. Phosphene was launched as an online portal of sorts by tech expert Art Min and Kirsten Anderson, owner of Roq La Rue gallery.

The reliability and size of exhibitions will bring inspiration that smartphone scrolling cannot provide, Wong explained. Wong added that nothing compares to looking at art standing next to another person. 

The ultimate goal for building the museum is to make NFTs more accessible, promote digital arts and artists, and help people learn more about interpreting the emerging art form. 

Currently, Wong is personally reaching out with artists and, at the same time, curating for the museum’s opening shows. Meanwhile, Hamilton is managing Discord and collector communities. While the two call SNFTM a fun passion project, they still need help. In fact, they are currently recruiting talents for administration, curation, community management, and IT roles.

In addition to art display, the Seattle NFT Museum will also be open for the following activities:

  • NFT minting events
  • team-building workshops
  • conferences
  • fundraisers
  • holiday parties
  • photoshoots
  • and other events

Artists and Collections to be Featured by Seattle NFT Museum

Here are artists and collections to be featured during the opening of SNFTM:

  1. Headlining artist, Blake Kathryn: Los Angeles 3D artist with a futuristic aesthetic who has collaborated with Jimmy Choo, Lil Nas X, Vox, and Warner Brothers. Blake Kathryn will do a Question & Answer segment at the museum during the SNFT opening events. 
  2. Collector showcase, Bird Collection: The works owned by Aaron Bird, Seattle tech founder, and NFT collector, will be lent to the museum as its first exhibition. Bird previously founded two startups – Bizible Pienza.
  3. Seattle artist, Neon Saltwater: Seattle-based Environmental designer and 3D artist Neon Saltwater specializes in curating digital and physical rooms. Saltwater worked with various clients and collaborators. This includes Barney’s New York, Starbucks, Facebook, Target, and Seattle Art Museum, to name a few.
  4. Seattle artist, Charles Peterson: A photographer famous for his documentation of the Seattle grunge music scene of the ‘80s and ’90s. He recently entered the NFT scene by selling a collection of rock images. 
  5. Seattle artist, Robbie Trevino: He is a conceptual artist and Illustrator specializing in surreal and sci-fi illustration and design. Trevino has worked with Lucasfilm, Tool, DeadMau5, Magic the Gathering, Netflix (Love, Death, and Robots), Valve, Xbox, and more.
  6. Artist showcase, H+ Creative: The artist representation firm and visual services studio will showcase some of the most reputable NFT artists at the SNFTM opening.

In anticipation of the Seattle NFT Museum opening, tickets are already on sale since December 3 for the January 14 and 15, 2022 opening weekend events. Don’t miss the chance to meet NFT artists, collectors, and icons in the digital art community. Visit   SeattleNFTMuseum.com for more details about tickets and reservations.

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Amputees Feel Touch Anew Thanks to New Bionic Arm



Researchers in a Cleveland clinic have successfully engineered a new bionic arm for patients with upper-limb amputations. The prosthetic arms developed by the scientists from the Lerner Research Institute allow amputees to feel the vital sensations of touching once again. According to new findings, the “bionic arms” let the wearers feel, behave, think, and function like a person without the amputation.

The scientists designed the bionic arms to interface directly with the motor and sensory neurons of the patients. This, in turn, gives them a high level of control and accuracy. What made the project more outstanding was the hardware used.

The researchers made the bionic arms with commercially available hardware. It’s to hopefully counter the high prices usually associated with new technologies. Associate professor Paul Marasco from Lerner Research Institute’s Department of Biomedical Engineering stated that today, the technology used to create artificial limbs had reached a mechanical roadblock. 

It reached its peak during the Second World War. And so, the bionic arms we know today are those that are unable to provide many intuitive sensations. They give very little help to everyday lives, such as the closing and opening of the hands.

The Prosthetics of the Future

The new bionic arms are an excellent blend of metal with realistic skin tones. The futuristic-looking arms translate data to and from the amputee’s brain through high-tech robots around half the size of a matchbox. The arms are able to turn thoughts into actions and contact the brain to send sensations that correspond to that intended action.

The futuristic arms passed several metrics to prove their benefits over traditional artificial limbs. These metrics also indicate the bionic arms’ ability to copy the mechanics of one’s natural arms and bring back the unconscious reflexes. The bionic system offers three crucial functions—intuitive motor control, intuitive open and closing of the hands, and touch and grip kinesthesia.

Before and After

Traditional prosthetic limbs are unable to recreate seamless movements, such as picking up a cup of coffee. This task is something any groggy person can do on a typical breakfast. This is something we do without much thought as the nerves in our arm muscles respond automatically to our choices.

The researchers tested the bionic device on two subjects using unprecedented analytical tools. The excitement went high when the team discovered that the subjects went back to their reflexive behaviors pre-amputation. It included intuitive grip and natural eye movements. Finally, the amputees were again able to focus their sights away from the limbs.

How The Bionic Arm Works

The futuristic arms consist of three major components: the bionic arm, tiny but powerful robots that act as a control center, and the realignment of nerve endings. Researchers do surgery to take nerve endings from the amputee’s healthy part of the arm.

The researchers place the bionic arm on the amputation site, where mini-robots are fitted into a socket. The robots press on specific areas to stimulate the nerve endings when the wearer engages the arm. The researchers added a buzzing feature to the muscles to generate the perceptual illusions of complex hand movement.

Instead of creating the limbs from scratch, the scientists modified the prosthetics limbs that are available off the shelf. Their aim was to fast-track the development and send them to rehabilitation clinics as soon as possible. This also allows for a more cost-effective option than the traditional prosthetic arms.

Furthermore, the bionic arms were designed to cause less pain and injuries than the traditional ones, which is as less advanced. Marasco is hopeful that in the future, these futuristic arms will offer more comfort at less of the price.

For more tech and science news, read more here at Owner’s Mag!

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Adobe Inc. Aims Upstart Canva In Push For Video, Meme Creators



Adobe Inc. is broadening its effort to serve outside the main clientele of design professionals to protect its long-standing industry control against growing competition from upstarts. The maker of Photoshop in December 13 launched Creative Cloud Express. It’s a suite of products making it easier for video meme creators to create graphics and other digital content. It is an extension of Spark, introduced in 2016 with a similar objective but more limited in capabilities. 

“This is an interesting and important start of a long journey for the company,” disclosed Mr. David Wadhwani, Adobe’s chief business officer and concurrent digital media executive vice president.

Adobe is one of the world’s 30 most valuable companies. Plus, they’re the leader in the market for creative software. Their products such as Photoshop and Illustrator remain primary tools for graphic design experts. That authority has helped drive a tremendous stock rise of more than 500% in the past five years. Unfortunately, the software giant is under new pressure from closely held Sydney-based graphic design company Canva. At present, Canva is valued at $40 billion.

The growth of Canva is driven by the expanding market for design software beyond the historic professional customer base. A wider audience, including video meme creators, influencers, small business owners, and marketing executives, are now looking for tools to create content quickly. Users also want software that allows them to share their content on various platforms like Instagram and Facebook. Moreover, it is a market that Adobe is expected to reach as high as $41 billion in 2023. 

These days, youngsters are three times more likely to say they want to be YouTube stars than astronauts, according to Wadhwani. He said there is a paradigm shift in how people engage over digital media and encourage them to create content. 

The launch of Adobe’s new set of products come along with their acquisition of ContentCal at an undisclosed price. ContentCal is an answer to the changing trends in the design software market as well as Canva’s increasing popularity. The six-year-old UK-based social marketing startup allows users to collaborate, share, plan, and publish digital content to generate social media engagement. 

Chris Ross, an analyst at Gartner, said that he is surprised that it took them a long time to do the expansion. He added that Canva had massively validated the design software market. 

As previously reported by Bloomberg, Adobe will offer a free version of the new product suite. It will have pre-installed templates and a subscription option, including more tools. Users who have paid more than $20 a month for Creative Cloud, a set of products that includes Photoshop, can also access it for free. 

However, crucial to Adobe’s revenue growth within this market will be the ability to convert free users to the paid version and into more expensive offerings.

David Wadhwani told Bloomberg is concerned about increasing engagement as they add features into products. If it does, then Adobe will double down. The company will grab this unique opportunity to start testing the functionalities and usefulness of Creative Cloud. Adobe has been experimenting with that already. In October, for example, the software maker introduced a test of a fully web-based version of Photoshop and Illustrator.

Let’s see what other values this new suite of products will add to help video meme creators in the coming months. 

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Meet the Man Who Bred Lettuce for Astronauts in Space



Growing lettuce in space might sound absurd, but this is not a story of fiction. As strange as it may sound, some vegetables like peas and radishes are already being cultivated in space. In fact, the first food grown in space was the potato in 1995. But when Frank Morton first made his patented red lettuce, Outredgeous, he did not expect it to become lettuce for astronauts in space. Be that as it may, imagine his shock when he found out his lettuce was being grown by none other than NASA astronauts in space.

Growing lettuce in space is no small feat, but for humanity’s greatest minds, they had a helping hand from a humble hobbyist.

The lettuce affair

Frank Morton is a prolific lettuce breeder. His love affair with lettuce and plants started over 40 years ago. Since then, his leaves have greatly impacted the food community and other vegetable enthusiasts. His love for lettuce has kept his business alive through the years. 

The story of the red lettuce started in 1981. Morton had grown red romaine and green lettuces and decided to save the seeds for growing the next year. When he finally harvested the batch, he saw magical red-colored lettuce over a sea of ordinary green ones. That was his very first and accidental cross. 

Since then, he has fallen in love with the Mendelian craft of cross-breeding and genetics. Taken in by curiosity, Morton began to deduce how the genes of the red pigment dominated over the green one. He also wanted to know how to get frilly leaves, like a salad bowl with green lettuce. 

From there, he began his experiments on the lettuce heads and how deep of a red he could get it too. Morton says that he eventually grew the lettuce in such a deep red color that many gardeners mistook it for beet. “It was just uncanny,” he remarks, hence the name Outredgeous.

Soon enough, Outredgeous seeds became available for the public through Maine-based business, Selected Seeds.

But little did Morton know that he would create the first lettuce grown in space.

A peculiar trait

When he contacted NASA a good decade after his seeds were released for consumption, scientists revealed that his seeds presented an interesting quality. It turns out the scientists were finding a vegetable that would not spread E. coli around the space station. He, in turn, inevitably created lettuce for astronauts in space.

This would prevent the plant from making crew members sick and infecting other vegetables like arugula and kale. Plus, the Outredgous had “less microbial growth” on its leaves, making it the perfect vehicle for a space salad. From there, NASA scientists did their magic and cultivated the seed in the great beyond’s vegetable garden.

Aside from that, it also serves as a way for scientists to discern the kinds of microorganisms in space. 

A mixed bag

For years, astronauts have only had to rely on fruit mixes and other pre-packaged food for nutrients. Lettuce for astronauts in space seemed like a faraway dream. But Outredgous, and possibly other kinds of cross-bread greens, have proven that fresher and healthier options for astronauts are possible.

The lettuce may not be the first vegetable grown in space, but its growth is vital to the progress of space food.

Today, Morton is, as expected, still experimenting on different kinds of plant breeds. He is currently setting his sights on the iceberg variety. On his progress, he says it is of “bright red on the outside,” but he wants a pinkish center.

All these bring a space salad closer and a more interesting life out in space to reality.

For more interesting stories, read more here at Owner’s Mag.

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