The cyberspace is getting really messy. Projects like CYBECO are strengthening cybersecurity by using innovative risk analysis models.

We have collaborated with Filmociencia (our weapon of choice) to make this animation in record time.

NanoCosmos: the beginning

About 4 years ago Prof. Jose Ángel Martín Gago approached me to talk me about the NANOCOSMOS project. As they explain in their website, “NANOCOSMOS will take advantage of the new observational capabilities (increased angular resolution) of the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) to unveil the physical and chemical conditions in the dust formation zone of evolved stars”.  Simply put, they are studying the debris stars create and the role this dust plays in the life/death recycling story of the universe.

This is a huge ERC funded project directed by Prof. José Cernicharo which has put together research groups from Spain and France.

And this is where Natalia Ruiz Zelmanovitch (Public Information Officer of the project) appears. She happens to be the most-committed-with-outreach-and-dissemination-of-science I’ve ever met. And she wants to tell the story of the NANOCOSMOS project. And she wants to tell it right.

She is behind the production of “NANOCOSMOS: un viaje a lo pequeño.” Here you can watch the trailer:

Scixel has been in charge of the 3D visualizations of the space: stars, nebulae, galaxies and planetary systems. We have been working with the Nanocosmos people for a few years now and I can tell you, if I know Natalia enough, this is just the beginning. So, stay tunned!

Packing DNA

Eukariotic cells face a hard to picture space problem: to pack a 2 meter long molecule into a 6 microns in diameter sphere. Not only that, the cell must be able to pack and unpack this DNA locally in order to perform its functions.

A protein called Condensin has been long known to be related to the DNA packing process, but until last year, the way this protein worked was still a mystery. Prof. Cees Dekker has directed the research that has unveiled this secret. For us, non biologist it is hard to understand how important this is and its repercussion, but the fact that it has been published in Science gives us a hint. This work is a collaboration between TuDelft (Netherlands) and EMBL (Germany).

Thanks to this research we know now how Condensin traps the DNA and uses its ring to drag the DNA forming a loop. Together with the people of TuDeflt we made this video explaining the motor function of this protein.

We are particularly proud of the music piece… hope its epicity expresses both the importance of the finding and the pride we’ve felt when they let us participate in the project.

CNB at its best!

The CNB (Centro Nacional de Biotecnología, Spain) has made a collection of short videos to explain some of their research: from plants that decontaminate our environment to cancer inmunotherapies. They’ll be publishing them weekly. Here you have some examples:

The films where beautifully directed by Filmociencia. We helped them with the infography.

Graphene: behind the scenes

Prof. Fernández-Rossier is an interesting person for many reasons. Apart from his research work and being a Spinograph partner, he has recently started a new research center (QuantaLab). And some how he still manages to find some time for scientific outreach. And this is a good example.

Here he explains the mass production of the ubiquitous graphene.

We just helped with the video. And as a side note, we are particularly proud of the music piece.

On how to build a synthetic cell

One of those things that make you wonder “is this even possible?” while your jaw is still dropping.

Then Netherlands are funding the consortium BaSyC in order for them to build a synthetic biological cell. It is hard to foresee what new pieces of knowledge and technology this research will produce. But in the short term, by building a cell bottom-up, we will learn to understand the cell at its most fundamental level.

The BaSyC consortium includes the University of Amsterdam, the Radboud University, the University of Wageningen, the Vrije University of Amsterdam, as well as our old friends in TuDelft. Actually they were the one that contacted us to make this animation illustrating the process.

Click here if you want to know more about the project.

2016 Scixel’s Overview

Finally we’ve found some time to produce our 2016 demoreel. It’s been a great year. We’ve worked with a lot of new people in Spain and abroad. Lots of amazing projects both artistically and scientifically. These are some of them:

This is a way of both showing off about the people we’ve worked with and expressing some gratitude. It is difficult not to feel lucky.

Quantized thermal transport: this is big

For the first time, a solid proof of the quantized nature of thermal transport in single atom junctions. That’s it.

While quantized electrical conductance was pretty well known and proof for quite a while, quantized thermal transport observation was still slipping away from researchers eyes. Until now.

A group of researchers from Michigan University, Universidad Autonoma de Madrid and Universität Konstanz have managed to reach the amazing levels of accuracy and stability this measurement requires.

This changes the game. And we had the opportunity to make this explanatory video for them with the help of Prof. J. C. Cuevas (UAM) and Longji Cui (UMICH). One of those times when your job pays off.

Graphene, now in full colour

Researchers from the Graphene Flagship at TU Delft have found a new potential application for graphene: mechanical pixels. By applying a pressure difference across graphene membranes, the perceived color of the graphene can be shifted continuously from red to blue.

In this simulation, requested by Santiago Cartamil and performed by Scixel, graphene changes its colour depending on its own deformation. These pixels, which do not emit light themselves but are visible in sunlight, could lead to energy-efficient colour displays that can be used in devices such as e-books and smart watches.
Are we witnessing a change of paradigm?