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Ants in a Scanner: A Time Lapse Mashup of Nature and Technology [Video]

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In this time lapse video metaphorical hardware bugs become literal as a colony of ants takes over the body of a scanner–check out the video to see five years of colonization in two minutes.

François Vautier combines time lapse video, a flatbed scanner, and a colony of ants to capture the ants actively colonizing the scanner itself. He explains:

Five years ago, I installed an ant colony inside my old scanner that allowed me to scan in high definition this ever evolving microcosm (animal, vegetable and mineral). The resulting clip is a close-up examination of how these tiny beings live in this unique ant farm. I observed how decay and corrosion slowly but surely invaded the internal organs of the scanner. Nature gradually takes hold of this completely synthetic environment.

While the colony itself is fascinating, equally as interesting is the fact that the scanner took five years of that kind of abuse and kept on running.

[via Boing Boing]

Jason Fitzpatrick is a warranty-voiding DIYer who spends his days cracking opening cases and wrestling with code so you don't have to. If it can be modded, optimized, repurposed, or torn apart for fun he's interested (and probably already at the workbench taking it apart). You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 03/14/12

Comments (9)

  1. Paul

    Not really impressive at all. Can’t even see the ants. Yawn.

  2. Baphomet

    Why would you expect to see ants on a time laps video? Its a time laps for a reason, not a high speed vid to see every detail you arrogant moron. I remember seeing this few years ago though, regardless its still cool.

  3. jon

    I am a bit confused how he scanned the intestines of the scanner if the scanning “eye” is pointing upwards towards the lid (which obviously is a piece of plastic)? There is no way for him to see the chips even if he rotates the “eye” inwards because it operates INSIDE the scanner, not outside from where the video has been made (there is obviously a glass that holds the dirt and the colony). I really don’t get it.

  4. r

    “Arrogant” is really a poor choice of adjective to describe “moron”. It suggests that someone would be proud to be a moron, which makes very little sense. A rather moronic thing to say.

  5. Paul

    “Arrogant moron”? Just because it doesn’t impress me? You have issues, man. Big, psychotic issues with people who don’t subscribe to your POV. Seek help. Now.

  6. Paul

    BTW, why would I expect to see ants? Maybe because the title says “ANTS in my scanner”. Do ya think?

  7. Alex

    Sorry, but that was gross! plus, a lot more explaination is needed as to how this was done. I’m not interested seeing the ants as much as like the other post mentions, how were the optics rigged so you could look down on the image, or was the image suspended? What are those two round things, and the tentacles??

  8. Thane

    Would have been easier to figure out what was happening if it wasn’t for all the panning around…

  9. Daniel

    Poorly done video, to much moving around and panning. I had no clue what was going on other than dirt disappearing and reappearing over and over.

    Not sure I care about the ants themselfs but there was no clear pattern of growth from start to end. It seemed like he took the same shots and just looped them to make it longer for no reason.

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