This Russian cottage is heated for free with Bitcoin mining

November 7, 2017 by  
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In the last month, Bitcoin — the biggest and best-known cryptocurrency — rose in value by 480 percent . The sudden spike spurred more people to invest in the currency, while others dedicate computers to the task of mining bitcoins . Siberian entrepreneurs Ilya Frolov and Dmitry Tolmachyov are engaged in the latter – and they’ve found that they’re able to heat a 20-square-meter with two machines while pocketing $430 per month. Bitcoin transactions require a lot of computer processing power, which in turn produces a substantial amount of heat . Most “miners” just release that heat into the atmosphere — but not Frolov and Tolmachyov. The Russian entrepreneurs built a cottage in the Siberian town of Irkutsk that is heated by two Bitcoin mining machines. Each month, the men make about $430. And, they pay $0 to heat the 20-square-meter abode. In the video above, Quartz details how this is possible. Related: Power-hungry Bitcoin could consume as much energy as Denmark by 2020 Because Bitcoin is relatively new, it is still considered a highly volatile investment . However it has provided gains exceeding those of any other currency in every year but one since 2010, according to The Independent. The process of “mining” Bitcoin determines which transactions are valid, and which should be added to the blockchain — an ever-expanding ledger that holds the transaction history of all Bitcoins in circulation. The blockchain lives in the thousands of machines on the bitcoin network. Mining also ensures the system cannot be gamed, thus, making the cryptocurrency more secure than the US dollar. Every ten minutes, mining computers collect a few hundred pending Bitcoin transactions and turn them into a mathematical puzzle. The first miner to find the solution declares it to others on the network. The other miners then check whether the sender of the funds has the right to spend the money. If enough approval is granted, the block is cryptographically added to the ledger and the miners move onto the next set of transactions. A miner who finds the solution gets 12.5 Bitcoins as a reward, but only after another 99 blocks have been added to the ledger. This gives all miners an incentive to participate in the system and validate transactions. It also provides protection; to double-spend a Bitcoin, digital bank robbers would have to rewrite the blockchain — that would require more than half of the network’s puzzle-solving capacity! Via Quartz , The Economist , The Independent Images via YouTube , Pixabay

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This Russian cottage is heated for free with Bitcoin mining

MIT students develop method to reinforce concrete using plastic bottles

October 26, 2017 by  
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Americans consume 8.6 billion water bottles — every year. Of those, only 1 of 5 is recycled . Fortunately, a handful of MIT students have developed a solution to this problem, and it involves repurposing waste plastic bottles to reinforce concrete. Because the newly-invented method results in the concrete being more durable than existing concrete, plastic bottles may soon be used to construct everything from stronger building foundations to sidewalks and street barriers. According to the study , which was published in the journal Waste Management, MIT students discovered a method to produce concrete that is up to 20 percent stronger than conventional concrete. First, plastic flakes are exposed to small amounts of harmless gamma radiation . Then, they are pulverized into a fine powder, after which it is added to concrete. The discovery has far-reaching implications, as concrete is the second most widely used material on Earth (the first is water). MIT News reports that approximately 4.5 percent of the world’s human-induced carbon emissions are generated by manufacturing concrete. By replacing small portions of concrete with recycled plastic, the cement industry’s toll on the environment would be reduced. The newly-discovered method would also prevent millions of water and soda bottles from ending up in landfills . Michael Short, an assistant professor in MIT’s Department of Nuclear Science and Engineering, said, “There is a huge amount of plastic that is landfilled every year. Our technology takes plastic out of the landfill, locks it up in concrete, and also uses less cement to make the concrete, which makes fewer carbon dioxide emissions. This has the potential to pull plastic landfill waste out of the landfill and into buildings, where it could actually help to make them stronger.” Related: MIT battery that inhales and exhales air can store power for months MIT students Carolyn Schaefer and Michael Ortega explored the possibility of plastic-reinforced concrete as part of their class’s Nuclear Systems Design Project. In the future, the team intends to experiment with different types of plastic , along with various doses of gamma radiation, to determine their effects on concrete. So far, they’ve determined that substituting 1.5 percent of concrete with irradiated plastic significantly improves the mixture’s strength. While this may not seem like a lot, it is enough to have a significant impact if implemented on a global scale. “Concrete produces about 4.5 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions,” said Short. “Take out 1.5 percent of that, and you’re already talking about 0.0675 percent of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions. That’s a huge amount of greenhouse gases in one fell swoop.”’’ Via MIT News Images via MIT , Pixabay

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MIT students develop method to reinforce concrete using plastic bottles

Lilium’s all-electric flying taxi could travel from Manhattan to JFK in 5 minutes

September 6, 2017 by  
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A startup from Germany has secured $90 million to build the all-electric flying taxi of the future. Albeit still under development, Lilium’s five-seater commercial jet could be ready for take off as soon as 2019, and, according to a company statement, it could get users from Manhattan to JFK airport in just five minutes. The Verge reports that the $90 million will be used to build the company’s five-seat commercial Lilium Jet, as well as grow its team by at least 70 people. The envisioned Lilium Jet would be able to stay in the air for approximately one hour on a single charge and travel at speeds exceeding 180 mph. At that pace, the jet could travel from London to Paris in an hour. Integrated technology would allow passengers to order an air-taxi to a nearby landing pad. (function(d, s, id) { var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0]; if (d.getElementById(id)) return; js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id; js.src = “//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&version=v2.10”; fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, ‘script’, ‘facebook-jssdk’)); Lilium Jet's all-electric flying car Watch this all-electric ‘flying car’ take its first test flight. Posted by The Verge on Thursday, April 20, 2017 Lilium has now raised more than $100 million. Investors in the latest funding round include Skype co-founder Niklas Zennström’s Atomico, Tencent, Twitter co-founder Ev Williams’ Obvious Ventures, and a private banking group. CEO and co-founder of Lilium , Daniel Wiegland said, “This is the next stage in our rapid evolution from an idea to the production of a commercially successful aircraft that will revolutionize the way we travel in and around the world’s cities.” Related: Lilium is the world’s first personal aircraft designed for vertical takeoff and landing In a study conducted by Swiss bank UBS , more than half of the 8,000 people surveyed were unwilling to travel in a pilotless vehicle — despite the mode of technology being less expensive than conventional forms.  Perhaps as self-driving cars become more mainstream and fatalities reduce as a result, the concept of traveling in a driver-less flying taxi will become easier to accept. In the meantime, this vessel will be crewed. We can’t wait to see what happens net. + Lilium Via The Verge Images via Lilium

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Lilium’s all-electric flying taxi could travel from Manhattan to JFK in 5 minutes

This brilliant floating farm actually heals the world’s oceans

September 6, 2017 by  
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85% of the world’s fisheries have been pushed beyond their limits – and the future of ocean life looks grim. Fortunately, GreenWave has developed a revolutionary floating farm that actually regenerates our oceans while providing jobs and a sustainable source of food. The vertical aquaculture farm yields bountiful crops of shellfish and seaweed – species specifically selected to absorb greenhouse gas and filter out harmful chemicals. Founded by commercial fisherman Bren Smith and Emily Stengal, an expert in sustainable food systems, the revolutionary GreenWave vertical farming system cultivates an underwater ecosystem comprised of seaweed and shellfish. The farm requires zero input, and it actually restores ocean ecosystems by sequestering carbon and fixing excess nitrogen (which leads to algae blooms and oceanic dead zones). Related: 5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award The open-source farming system enables anyone with a boat and around $20,000 to set up their own restorative ocean farm within a year. The Greenwave system won the Fuller Challenge in 2015 and it was recently honored with the 2017 INDEX: Award , which recognizes innovative designs that improve life. + Greenwave + INDEX: AWARD 2017

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This brilliant floating farm actually heals the world’s oceans

Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods

September 1, 2017 by  
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Next time you plan a trip to Devon, UK, be sure to visit the Earth.Food.Love grocery store. The unique supermarket sells up to 200 pesticide-free products which are ethically-sourced. The store is also completely packaging-free, which is great for the environment and people’s peace of mind. Earth.Food.Love was started by Richard Eckersley, 28, and his wife, Nicola, 27. The couple became infatuated with the idea of receiving one’s groceries packaging-free after visiting Unperfekthaus in German, an anti-waste outlet. “We walked in and immediately thought, why doesn’t this exist in the UK?” Richard told Metro . “We came back to the UK and decided to open our own sustainable store. We wanted to go somewhere that we felt would make a difference to the local community – that’s why we moved to Devon.” At Earth.Food.Love, one will find grains, pastas and even maple syrup. The supermarket also stocks regionally-grown oats, sanitary products, metal shavers that the blade can be swapped on and bamboo toothbrushes. Because the store seeks to deliver “ethical, wholesome and organic ” goods, milk and alcohol are nowhere to be found. Chips are banned, too, as they can have up to seven layers of packaging. While the lack of packaging might deter some customers, it is incredibly appealing to others. Reportedly, the “grind-your-own” nut butter machines are the most popular. “Filled with both almonds and peanuts, you can re-use your nut butter jar again and again and again, each time filling it with delicious, sticky goodness that’s been ground right in front of you,” said Richard. Shoppers are required to bring their own containers — which can range in type and shape — to the store. After the containers are weighed, shoppers pay for their purchases by the gram. For first-time customers, the store keeps compostable paper bags. Related: These amazing zero-waste buildings were grown from mushrooms Earth.Food.Love exists to educate consumers and increase access to ethically-sourced, healthy goods. The shop’s owners aren’t actually interested in making money. “It’s not about price for us. We don’t want to stock items just for the sake of it, it has to be ethical,” Richard said. “At the same time, we don’t want to compete with local farms – there are many around here that sell fresh produce already.” He added, “We’re adding products all of time, but the supplier has to be right for us. We want to live in a world where consuming doesn’t have to cost the earth. We believe returning to these simple ways will benefit not only our health, but the planets too.” The couple says the store has inspired many shoppers, which is why they created their very own guide to “Setting up your Own Zero-Waste Shop.” Richard and Nicola’s ultimate goal is to see similar businesses erected worldwide so the environment may be preserved while humanity is nourished. + Earth.Food.Love Via Metro Images via Earth.Food.Love, SWNS

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Britain’s first zero-waste store is packaging-free and only sells ethical goods

Old coal crane in Denmark converted into swanky hanging retreat and spa

September 1, 2017 by  
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Although stress relief comes in many forms, soaking in a swanky sauna hanging over the water may just be the new trend in spa design . Danish firm Arcgency has converted a former coal crane into The Krane, a multi-tiered structure topped with a soothing spa retreat that overlooks Copenhagen’s industrial harbor. The Krane space was carved out of a former coal crane that has sat overlooking Nordhavn’s industrial port for years. The creative adaptive reuse project was a collaboration between owner Klaus Kastbjerg and architect Mads Møller from Arcgency, who wanted to convert the old crane into a useful space for the city. Related: World’s first ‘cranehouse’ hoisted over Bristol harbor is completely carbon neutral The first floor of the crane was converted into a glass-enclosed meeting space called the Glass Box. A calming spa and wraparound terrace are on located on the second floor, and on the top floor, guests can enjoy a calming lounge space and additional terrace that looks out over the water. Paying homage to the crane’s industrial history, the structure was clad entirely in a stark black, on the interior as well as the exterior. The monochromatic color scheme was used to reduce distractions, intentionally putting the sole focus on the beautiful 360-degree views of the harbor. The space was decorated with minimal furnishings made out of leather, wood, stone and steel – most of which were custom built so they could disappear into wall panels. Local artists were commissioned to create various pieces, which are also subtly embedded into the walls. Møller explains that the monochromatic color scheme was inspired by the crane’s new use as a soothing getaway , “It’s all part of the vision, where the focus has been the integration of sensations—sight, sound and stemning (the Danish word for atmosphere). The Krane involved a 360-degree inside-outside approach. Natural light directly affects how we feel in a space and our happiness overall. So we optimized the inside to capture natural daylight and set the stage for the views of the water outside.” + The Krane + Arcgency Via Dwell

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Scientists just created green solar cells – and they’re working on white, red and additional colors

August 17, 2017 by  
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Do you love solar panels , but hate the color blue? You’re in luck – researchers in the Netherlands have developed a process for making conventional solar panels bright green, and they’re working on developing other colors as well. By making the panels more appealing, they hope to entice more people and businesses to invest in clean energy. Researchers at AMOLF devised a method of imprinting solar panels with silicon nanopatterns that make them appear green. Though the process decreases the efficiency by 10 percent, it’s considered to be an acceptable trade-off if the panels are installed on more buildings. Said Verena Neder, lead author of the paper and researcher at AMOLF, “The black appearance of the [conventional] solar panels is not attractive for many people and a reason to not put solar panels on their rooftop. Making solar cells colored makes it possible to integrate them in an architectural design of houses and full cities, but also to merge them in the landscape.” CleanTechnica reports that to turn the panels green , researchers “use soft imprint lithography to apply a dense array of silicon nanotubes onto the surface of solar cells.” At approximately 100 nanometers wide, each nanotube is carefully shaped to scatter a certain wavelength of light. The cells appear green to observers, and the color is constant regardless of where one is standing. “The structure we made is not very sensitive to the angle of observation, so even if you look at it from a wide angle, it still appears green,” said Neder. Related: Revolutionary glass building blocks generate their own solar energy Because the color can be adjusted by altering the geometry of the nanotubes , the researchers have started planning imprints that create red and blue solar colors. After the three primary colors of light are developed, they will be able to create any color — including white. “You have to combine different nanoparticles, and if they get very close to each other they can interact and that will affect the color,” said Albert Polman, a scientific group leader at AMOLF. “Going to white is a really big step.” The technology could make it possible to create tandem solar cells which are stacked in layers. Each layer would be fine tuned to absorb certain portions of the electromagnetic spectrum. Theoretically, this could result in sunlight conversion efficiencies of 30 percent more. Considering commercially available solar cells are about 20 percent efficient, this could be a game-changer for the renewable energy industry. Affirmed Neder, “The new method to change the color of the panels is not only easy to apply but also attractive as an architectural design element and has the potential to widen their use.” + AIP Applied Physics Letters + AMOLF Via Clean Technica Images via Pixabay and Depositphotos

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Scientists just created green solar cells – and they’re working on white, red and additional colors

Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva

August 10, 2017 by  
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In addition to aiding digestion, it turns out saliva can also power batteries. Researchers at Binghamton University discovered this while inventing a small, paper-based battery that generates energy when mixed with a drop of saliva. The batteries, which are more like tiny microbial fuel cells, are inexpensive to make and could be used in natural disasters and remote settings where on-demand power is hard (if not impossible) to come by. As a result, access to medical care and screenings in rural settings could improve. Binghamton University Electrical and Computer Science Assistant Professor Seokheun Choi spent the past five years developing the micro-power sources. His ultimate goal was to find a way to power medical diagnostic tests in poverty-stricken regions; finally, he succeeded at developing paper-based bacteria -powered batteries “On-demand micro-power generation is required especially for point-of-care diagnostic applications in developing countries,” said Choi. “Typically, those applications require only several tens of microwatt-level power for several minutes, but commercial batteries or other energy harvesting technologies are too expensive and over-qualified. Also, they pose environmental pollution issues.” Related: Indian startup pioneers new battery swapping system for electric buses The batteries contain freeze-dried exoelectrogenic cells which generate power when saliva is added. Astonishingly, with just one drop of spit, the paper batteries can produce enough power for low-power biological sensors in just a matter of minutes. Eureka Alert reports that a benefit of freeze drying the cells is that they can be stored for a long time before use. This means they can be stocked in medical clinics around the world. An additional perk is that the required biological fluid (saliva) can be easily obtained anywhere, anytime. At present, the battery can only produce a few microwatts of power per square centimeter. However, Choi and his research assistant, Maedeh Mohammadifar, are working on boosting the output. In the future, the team hopes to make the paper batteries more robust so they can sustain devices other than LED lights when connected in a series. The paper, “A Papertronic, On-Demand and Disposable Biobattery: Saliva-Activated Electricity Generation from Lyophilized Exoelectrogens Preinoculated on Paper,” was published in Advanced Materials Technologies. + Binghamton University Via Eureka Alert Images via  Binghamton University , Pixabay

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Inexpensive new battery generates power with just a drop of saliva

Insane new flying Iron Man suit will be 3D-printed

August 9, 2017 by  
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Hold onto your seats Marvel fans and tech enthusiasts. Before you know it, a real-life “Iron Man” suit will be on the market — and yes, it can fly. Developed by Richard Browning, the co-founder of start-up company Gravity , the jet engine-powered flying suit was designed to “re-imagine manned flight.” With two engine arm configurations that weigh up to 90 pounds and a temperature threshold of 700°C (1292°F), the highly-anticipated invention will also feature wings. And did we mention it will be 3D-printed? The Gravity jet engine-powered flying suit was unveiled at Comic-Con in San Diego, CA, where Browning dished details to Tested’s Adam Savage. The newest version of the suit is comprised of four arm-loaded thrusters and an additional jet pack that is strapped to the user’s back. As noted above, two engine arm configurations can reach temperatures of 700°C (1292°F). 3D Printing Industry reports that if handled responsibly, the rockets aren’t as dangerous as they first might seem. This is because the heat is quickly dispersed by the air which, in turn, reduces the risk of one’s boots or sneakers catching on fire. Browning explained that the movement of the suit is controlled by a very “intuitive” system. For instance, minor movements of the arms determine the direction and height by altering the jet’s vector. It helps that a DAQRI augmented reality (AR) helmet with a heads-up display is connected. Not only does the AR helmet monitor the suit’s performance, it shows the data of speed and altitude in real-time, eliminating the need to check one’s wrist. Browning flew the suit at Comic-Con, wowing comic fans and technology entrepreneurs . He was reportedly able to fly at a speed up to 45/50 mph. Right now, between seven and eight different versions of the suit are in development; modifications will affect the functionality and appearance of the suit. “We are working on a whole bunch of adaptations with the manufacturer,” said Browning “to make [the engines ] much more fit for what we’re now using them for, because clearly they weren’t designed for this.” Related: Stunning Europe Building facade shows off the beauty of 3D printing in Amsterdam The most exciting part of the next-generation suit is that it will be 3D-printed and will feature temperature proof, one-piece aluminum housing for the thrusters. Because the control modules are in need of improvements, the engine configuration will also be changed. Finally, wings will be added to the suit to change the pattern of flight from vertical to airfoil. I’m quite excited about that, Browning said. “We’ve fully CADed up a beautiful, organic inspired housing, and that’s being 3D printed now.” No further information has yet been obtained about the potential cost or release date of the real-life Iron Man suit. However, in the past, Browning informed interested buyers that a custom-built suit should cost approximately $250,000. + Gravity  Via 3D Printing Industry Images via Gravity  

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Insane new flying Iron Man suit will be 3D-printed

GM is selling an electric car in China that costs just $5,300

August 9, 2017 by  
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Good news for Chinese consumers. This week, General Motors will start selling a tiny electric car which, after national and local electric vehicle incentives, costs just $5,300. From front to end, the Baojun E100 measures just 63 inches. And, when unleashed and fully charged, the two-seater can reach speeds of 62 miles per hour and travel about 96 miles on a single charge. The E100, which has been outfitted with a 39-horsepower electric motor, is Baojun’s first electric car. Prices for the vehicle begin at RMB 93,900, or approximately $14,000 before incentives. Amenities include an entertainment system with a 7-inch screen and built-in WiFi . For safety measures, all versions of the car have parking sensors and pedestrian alert systems. Those who invest in high-end models can also lock and unlock the car using a touchpad. According to data from LMC Automotive, Baojun — a mass-market car brand from General Motors’ SAIC-GM-Wuling joint venture — is China’s eighth most popular car brand. It ranks just below Volkswagen , Toyota, Honda, and Buick. Considering China presently accounts for 40 percent of all electric vehicles sold worldwide, it’s clear there is a demand for non-polluting vehicles. As a result, Baojun’s ranking may very well increase. Related: The world’s first all-electric sport utility truck is finally here – and it looks incredible So far, more than 5,000 people have registered to purchase the first 200 vehicles. Another 500 will be made available later this week. Reportedly, buyers will be chosen on a first-come-first-serve basis. A GM spokesperson revealed that the first sales will initially be limited to the Guanxi region of southern China. As the car becomes more popular, GM plans to sell the cars more widely in China . + Baojun E100 Via CNN Images via General Motors

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