A pretty interesting method for reading someone’s mind is the subject of this video. Basically the researchers have studied the brain activity using an MRI while showing the participants a number of videos. They then used the brain activity they collected while the participants were watching different videos and made a composite video based on averages. While it is not perfect mind reading, you can see some resemblance to the original input. Regardless it is fascinating and could lead to a number of fascinating new and wonderful things. Here are some links that discuss the project more thoroughly:
In this demo they use the front facing camera on the iPad to track a person’s head, as the person, or screen, is moved around, the image is adjusted to give a three dimensional effect. Pretty nifty. What magic effects can be done? Will someone ever secretly build an iPad into a table surface for magic purposes?
Raised by lightning bolts, these factory workers assemble decks of playing cards at speeds that are downright astonishing! Of course, Dan and Dave Buck might be able to provide some competition, if they ever put their cards back in the case! Thanks to Steve Cuiffo for pointing out this fascinating video.
Richard Wiseman has put together a video showcasing some of the most fascinating science tricks for your viewing pleasure. Many of them you may have seen in various magic books but may not have tried. Enjoy!
All around fascinating person, Richard Wiseman, brings us the mystery of the Skull. See if you can figure out the method before watching the second half of the clip. Rumor has it there is a small tell that points out part of the method!
To learn more about Richard Wiseman, go to his website at http://www.richardwiseman.com/. He was a featured performer at this years Essential Magic Conference and has several books in print with a new one to be released soon!
An optical treat! Watch the above video to experience the joy of defying gravity without actually having to do so. Perhaps this would make an interesting large scale playground illusion?
Some of the Conjuring Arts staff and volunteers were very privileged to witness a performance by Michael Moschen last Saturday when he performed at the NYU Skirball Center. For those that don’t know him, he is a stupendously creative juggler and artist. We were very impressed with the show which featured a number of juggling feats and visual surprises combined with insight from Mr. Moschen into his creative process and other aspects of his unique performance.
He began his routine by juggling some white balls in a variety of forms and fashions, switching to colored balls so the audience could participate and watch certain colors and ascertain the balls progress as they traveled. It was fun to try and keep up with the various colors. Then he had us perform a dexterous motion with our fingers, which transformed into a demonstration of contact juggling, and we were all thrilled when the motion we had been making proved to be part of the routine.
One of the highlights was his routine with sticks. He started out manipulating a single shining stick. It was marvelous how the light bounced off the stick as it went through its routine. The piece progressed with more sticks and more stunning feats, etc. Mr. Moschen also included a performance of the Triangle which is a fascinating sequence of juggling utilizing a giant triangle in the center of the stage. It was used as a surface to develop a myriad of paths for the balls to take before returning to his hands and also as a sounding board; creating a rich routine both visually and audibly.
One of the pieces was on balance and cheating. He related that balance is a conversation between you and the top of the object demonstrating this with a long stick. When the top moved one way or the other, he had a certain amount of time to respond and regain balance in order to continue the conversation. Of course, the conversation plays out much faster with shorter objects, so Mr. Moschen demonstrated his ability to balance a pencil on his head! This led to a discussion of cheating wherein he explained how gripping the object in any way when learning to balance stifles your ability when you try to balance an object elsewhere on the body. Like magic, for the most part, in juggling you are on your own, and it is up to you to decide whether to learn it the right way or take shortcuts which may hamper your ability in the future.
The performance was fascinating, and Mr. Moschen’s skill is astounding, however, some of the best parts were his thoughts on the different routines he was doing. He seemed quite candid and, at the end of the show, allowed some time for a question and answer session. We were quite pleased that someone asked him about his practice regimen and he said, “I practice four hours in the morning and four hours in the evening”. That is eight hours of practice a day! We had better get to work.
A 3 year old girl walks across a tightrope stretched over an enclosure containing six Siberian tigers. When asked if she likes tightrope walking, she said, “Yes, because I started at a very young age”. Rumor has it that next year they will be featuring a 4 year old tightrope walker.
This is amazing! A robot hand that can grab, throw, catch, dribble, tie knots, spin pens, etc. How long will it be before we can watch a robot expertly perform the whole calendar of sleights in Erdnase? Will sleights of the future be developed on the computer and available for download onto our robot hands? Will practice become obsolete? Exciting and interesting times are at hand, literally.
Learn more about this here.
Stevie Starr’s performance at F.I.S.M. 2006 in Stockholm, Sweden was one of the highlights of this grand event. While not presented as magic, Mr. Starr’s performances have a lot in common with our art, and he is certainly a very entertaining performer. The clip featured here is from The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and offers a couple of Mr. Starr’s astounding feats of sleight of stomach.