Dubai police unveil Star Wars-esque electric hoverbikes

October 16, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Dubai law enforcement could zip through the city on electric hoverbikes in the future. At the GITEX technology week, the Dubai Police announced a police hoverbike, which is the Hoversurf Scorpion 3 manufactured by Russian company Hoversurf , that can speed around at 43 miles per hour, 16 feet up in the air. The Dubai police force are considering deploying the hoverbikes to respond to emergencies. The Hoversurf Scorpion 3 is a battery -powered hoverbike that has a range of around 25 to 30 minutes. It can carry as much as 300 kilograms, or over 660 pounds, of weight. And it could one day allow police offers to bypass traffic during an emergency. Related: The U.S. Army is developing a 173 MPH hoverbike Hoversurf describes their Scorpion as “a single-seat aircraft that rediscovers the art of flying and hovering enable a hi-tech quadcopter-based solution.” Batteries take three hours to charge, but could be swapped out so police could continue patrolling on the hoverbike. Gulf News reported the hoverbike is going through tests right now. New Atlas said the concept is a publicity stunt for Dubai, which also debuted firefighting jetpacks that haven’t seen much daylight since their announcement. The publication wrote about the Hoversurf Scorpion 3 earlier this year, recommending it for “aspiring amputees” because of how close spinning blades are to a rider’s legs. They pointed out it’s one thing to pioneer hoverbikes, but another to deploy them in busy public spaces. Dubai police also debuted a electric motorbike equipped with cameras, and little autonomous robotic vehicles that have biometric software to scan for criminals. Dubai Police’s Smart Services Department director Brigadier Khalid Nasser Al Razooqui told Gulf News, “It can recognize people in any area and identify suspicious objects and can track suspects. It will be deployed at tourist destinations in Dubai. It has cameras and will be linked to the command room.” + Hoversurf Via Gulf News , ABC News , and New Atlas Images via Alexander Atamanov on Facebook

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Dubai police unveil Star Wars-esque electric hoverbikes

Switzerland’s NeighborHub wins first place in the Solar Decathalon 2017

October 14, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

This past week, eleven teams of students designed, built and presented futuristic houses at the Solar Decathalon 2017 . The competition took place in Denver , and though the challenge was simple it was by no means easy: create a super-efficient sun-powered building that seamlessly integrates green building technologies into its design. The winners of the highly-anticipated event were just announced this morning – and Team Switzerland’s NeighborHub took first place! For the first time in history, the winners of the Solar Decathalon won prize money. First place received $300,000; second place won $225,000; third place took home $150,000; fourth place won $125,000 and fifth through eleventh places each received $100,000. 1st Place: NeighborHub by the Swiss Team First place in the Solar Decathalon 2017 was awarded to the Swiss Team ‘s NeighborHub. The NeighborHub isn’t a home at all – rather, it is a collaborative community space. The team designed the eco-friendly space to serve as an educational resource, specifically for suburban neighborhoods. At the NeighborHub, residents can learn about seven sustainable themes: renewable energy, water management, waste management, mobility, food, material choices, and biodiversity. 2nd Place: reACT by University of Maryland The University of Maryland’s reACT House (Resilient Adaptive Climate Technology) took second place. It’s a smart, sustainable home that can adapt to different needs and environments . Not only is the self-sufficient home beautiful, it produces clean energy, clean water, and nutrient-rich foods — all the while automatically adapting to homeowners’ habits. 3rd Place: RISE by University of California, Berkeley, and University of Denver Students from the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Denver collaborated to develop RISE . The affordable and sustainable abode is designed for urban infill lots in Richmond CA, and it can be stacked and expanded like building blocks. The prefab solar is home is incredibly flexible, with a scalable size, customizable floor plans, and moveable walls. 4th Place: SILO by Missouri University of Science and Technology Finally, fourth place was awarded to the Missouri University of Science and Technology for their SILO House (Smart Innovative Living Oasis) . The light-filled home combines high-tech, energy-efficient technology with traditional farmhouse vernacular. Best of all, this futuristic house lets you control all systems remotely via a smartphone. Related: 11 Solar-powered homes that show the future of architecture Each team presented an incredible futuristic home that incorporates solar and energy-efficiency technologies. Congrats to all of this year’s teams, and we can’t wait for the return of the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathalon in 2019. + Solar Decathalon 2017 + Solar Decathlon Coverage on Inhabitat Photos by Mike Chino for Inhabitat

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Switzerland’s NeighborHub wins first place in the Solar Decathalon 2017

Dutch team Nuon wins world solar car challenge – again

October 13, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

The Dutch have done it once again. Nuon, the superstar team from the Netherlands , won its third straight championship in the World Solar Challenge, a 1,860-mile (3,000k) solar car race across Australia’s outback. Since 1987, the World Solar Challenge has driven the conversation about solar energy and its potential. In 2017, the race began in Darwin, the capital of Australia’s Northern Territory, with its final destination in Adelaide, the capital of South Australia and the fifth largest city on the continent . At race’s end, a strong Dutch crowd, chanting “Nuna! Nuna!”, turned out to support the Nuna9 as it cruised to victory. The University Team came in second, followed by Belgium’s Punch Powertrain. The World Solar Challenge is one of the world’s most-watched innovation-based challenges. Past participants in the race include Google co-founder Larry Page and Tesla co-founder JB Straubel. Every vehicle in the race is powered by the sun, and most are funded by corporations or universities. With teams from the United States to Malaysia, from India to South Africa, the World challenge is truly a global affair. Related: How termites draw on solar power for climate control 2017 is the seventh win for Nuon, with a winning time of 37 hours, 10 minutes and 41 seconds. Although the Dutch team prevailed this year, its time fell from 2015, when the team completed the challenge in 33.03 hours. This year’s winning strategy involved a change in driving style to adjust for the weather conditions, which included strong winds. The solar car was setup in such a way as to take advantage of the wind like a sailing ship, which gave it a boost over the other contenders. “It’s such a weird feeling,” said Nuon Solar Team member Sarah Bennink Bolt, “we’ve doing this thing for one-and-a-half years, and all of a sudden it’s ending… you have to have a bit of luck [to win].” Via Phys.org Images via Phys.org

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Dutch team Nuon wins world solar car challenge – again

Extraordinary treehouse is a climber’s dream with its own indoor climbing wall

October 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

This narrow angular treehouse in Brisbane, Australia , captures the freedom and beauty of the outdoor-indoor lifestyle. The Taringa Treehouse, designed by Phorm Architecture + Design , is nestled under a large tree and houses a study, bedroom and a climbing wall. The entire main floor can be opened up to the exterior via sliding glass walls. The building is detached from the main residence and occupies a cozy spot under an existing tree in the backyard of the property. It’s wedge-like form points toward the residence, with its wider side facing out into the yard. A ground floor patio with a climbing wall is located at the tip of the two-story structure and opens up toward the garden via large sliding glass walls. Related: Incredible luxury tree house is hidden away in a Cape Town forest “These backyards tend to be overgrown, unruly spaces and are the domain of children and makeshift structures. The treehouse is devised as an invitation to visit and engage with this distinct yet typically unchartered territory,” said Paul Hotston of Brisbane-based Phorm Architecture + Design. Weatherboard covers the garden-facing elevation, while metal cladding dominates the western facade which creates a contrast with the verdant surroundings. The shape and materials of the house are inspired by traditional local architecture , translated into a modern-day t reehouse that’s playful and fun. + Phorm Architecture + Design Via Dezeen

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Extraordinary treehouse is a climber’s dream with its own indoor climbing wall

Airstream unveils new off-grid ready Globetrotter trailer

October 12, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

One of our favorite travel trailer companies, Airstream , just debuted a new product: the Globetrotter. Almost 70 years ago the company’s founder Wally Byam set out on a European trip in an Airstream , and adorned the side with the words ‘Globe Trotters.’ Now, Airstream is bringing back the storied name with their new trailer, designed with United Kingdom-based design firm Astheimer Limited . Hit the jump to hear more from Airstream CEO Bob Wheeler, who spoke to Inhabitat about the inspiration for the design -forward Globetrotter. Airstream’s Globetrotter puts a sleek spin on the iconic aluminum travel trailer, with a European-inspired interior aimed at people who “like comfort but don’t like clutter,” according to Wheeler, who told Inhabitat, “This product is designed specifically for people that have a sophisticated taste in design; they like clean, uncluttered modern design , but without the hard edge.” Related: Iconic Airstream gets a magnificent revamp to celebrate the National Park Service Centennial The Globetrotter is a 27-foot long trailer that can sleep as many as six people comfortably. A small kitchen features a three-burner stove, pantry, and 6.7 cubic foot fridge. There’s a bathroom with built-in nightstands, a shower, bathroom, and dinette space that doubles as a lounge bed. There are two choices for interior decor: natural elm and dark walnut. “A very holistic approach really sets this design apart,” Wheeler told Inhabitat. “Every fixture, every handle, every light and the flooring, the design of the furniture: everything in there works together in a very high degree of harmony. There are more curves in this design, whether it’s the corner of the cabinets, or the design of the bed or the seating that wraps around you, even the edges of the cushions. There are no sharp edges, no sharp corners. It draws you in and looks like something you would want to spend some time in.” The trailer can also go off-grid with an optional solar package that includes two 80-watt solar panels , two batteries , and an inverter. “We try to set everything up so you can spend several days comfortably off-grid, and get away from the crowds and the campsites,” said Wheeler. Solar power isn’t the last of the Globetrotter’s sustainable features. It’s equipped with low flow water fixtures, and LED lighting – both inside and out. Airstream utilized low volatile organic compound materials, and Wheeler estimates around 90 percent of the materials in the trailer are recyclable . “We want to inspire people to travel ,” he told Inhabitat. “That’s really the magic of the Airstream brand: it inspires people to get out of their La-Z-Boys, and get out of their comfort zones and go have an adventure.” The 27-foot Globetrotter costs $99,900. Wheeler said the initial reaction to the trailer has been “one of the most positive responses we can remember to the launch of a new product.” He said in the future, Airstream aims to create a whole line of products with different lengths and layouts with the same interior design aesthetic. + Airstream + Astheimer Limited Images courtesy of Airstream

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Airstream unveils new off-grid ready Globetrotter trailer

Incredible Ottoman-era bird palaces reveal how Turkish people pampered wild birds

October 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green, Recycle

Forget the simple birdhouse perched on a tree branch, avian houseguests in the Ottoman era were treated like kings thanks to the practice of affixing elaborate bird palaces onto local buildings. Although the mini bird homes were intricately crafted in order to provide shelter to the local winged population , they were also thought to bring good luck to the host households. The practice of building ornate birdhouses onto buildings was an important practice of Ottoman architecture in Turkey. The structures were often found on mosques, bridges, libraries, schools, and even public fountains. Rather than the simple, functional birdhouses that we see today, these mini palaces were often multiple stories and covered in ornate exteriors, typically resembling miniaturepalaces. Related: Artist creates thousands of urban birdhouses out of recycled scrap wood It was common belief that the bird homes brought good luck to those who built them and as such, they were treated with meticulous care. Locals would often have their own names for the structures, lovingly referring to them as (bird pavilions), “güvercinlik” (dovecots) and “serçe saray” (sparrow palace). + Insanbulium Via This is Colossal Photography by Caner Cangül via Instanbulium

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Incredible Ottoman-era bird palaces reveal how Turkish people pampered wild birds

Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is almost ready to launch into outer space

October 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Business, Green

After over a decade in development, Virgin Galactic, a private space travel service founded by billionaire Richard Branson , is almost ready to enter orbit. “We are hopefully about three months before we are in space , maybe six months before I’m in space,” said Branson at the Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki, Finland. If accurate, this moment for Virgin Galactic represents a culmination of years of hard work and setbacks, which included a fatal crash, delays, and technical problems. Branson’s Virgin Galactic is one of several companies, including Elon Musk’s SpaceX, in a high-stakes race to establish a private space travel service in the near future. Although Branson is reaching for the stars, he’s declined to reach as far as Mars. That’s Tesla territory. “I’m not as passionate about Mars as Elon [Musk] is,” said Branson. “My love for space is about how much it can do for people back here on earth, and that’s what Virgin Galactic is pushing towards.” As part of his SpaceX program, Musk plans to land rockets on Mars by 2022, in preparation for manned missions to the red planet . “[Getting to Mars] is an incredible challenge, and I suspect Elon [Musk] will get there first,” said Branson. “He’s more interested in big rockets going big distances. We’ve been more interested in taking people to space, and satellites, slightly closer to Earth.” Related: Richard Branson’s new supersonic jet will fly 2X faster than the speed of sound Earlier in 2017, Branson promised that Virgin Galactic would be bringing passengers into outer space by the end of 2018. Tickets to boldly go where few have gone before will not be cheap; each ride is expected to cost $250,000 per traveler. In addition to providing access to the wonder of space travel, the Virgin Galactic service will provide city to city travel across the world. “To get to space we’re going to be flying a craft that’s going 3000 miles per hour,” said Branson. “We are going to be the only people in the world, in a few months, to be flying a craft that’s going 3000 [mph]. Taking that craft and looking at point to point travel is something we are going to be in the best position in the world to do.” Via Business Insider Images via  Roderick Eime (1) and Land Rover

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Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic is almost ready to launch into outer space

Mysterious giant hole cracks open in Antarctica

October 11, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

A giant hole the size of Maine or Lake Superior has suddenly appeared on the surface of Antarctica and scientists are not quite sure how it came into being. “It looks like you just punched a hole in the ice,” said atmospheric physicist Kent Moore, a professor at the University of Toronto’s Mississauga campus. The sudden emergence of this hole, for the second year in a row, has confounded scientists, whose access to the site is limited. “This is hundreds of kilometers from the ice edge,” said Moore. “If we didn’t have a satellite, we wouldn’t know it was there.” Known as a polynia, the observed phenomenon occurs when open ocean water is surrounded by solid sea ice, leading to changes in the surrounding ice and below. This particular polynia has been known to scientists since the 1970s, though they were unable to fully investigate in the past. “At that time, the scientific community had just launched the first satellites that provided images of the sea-ice cover from space,” said Dr. Torge Martin, meteorologist and climate modeler. “On-site measurements in the Southern Ocean still require enormous efforts, so they are quite limited.” Related: New Antarctic farm will grow produce despite temperatures of -100 degrees F This is the second year in a row in which the reported polynia hole has opened in Antarctica, “the second year in a row it’s opened after 40 years of not being there,” according to Moore. While some may feel that climate change is behind this unusual occurrence, Moore cautions further study before drawing any conclusions. However, climate change certainly can influence the structure of sea ice and polynia. “Once the sea ice melts back, you have this huge temperature contrast between the ocean and the atmosphere ,” said Moore explained. “It can start driving convection.” This can result in polynias, fueled by warmer water rising to the surface, lasting longer than previously observed. Regardless of its origins, the reported polynia offers additional information for the study of climate. “For us, this ice-free area is an important new data point which we can use to validate our climate models,” said Moore. “Its occurrence after several decades also confirms our previous calculations.” Via Motherboard Images via  meereisportal.de , Jeff Schmaltz/LANCE/EOSDIS Rapid Response/Jesse Allen/NASA , and  MODIS-Aqua via NASA Worldview; sea ice contours from AMSR2 ASI via University of Bremen

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Mysterious giant hole cracks open in Antarctica

Folkets House pavilion is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Green

This palm-shaped temporary pavilion recently popped up at the Enskifteshagen Park in Malmö, Sweden , as an inclusive space where refugees and longtime residents of Sweden can learn new skills, find jobs and make connections. The pavilion, named Folkets House (“People’s House), was designed for the Opportunity Space Festival in Malmö, as the winning proposal for the design competition organized by the Van Alen Institute , the City of Malmö, White Arkitekter , Skanska , Individuell Människohjälp , and Architects Sweden. Architects and designers Rik Ekströmof ARExA,  Gustav Fagerström of Walter P Moore,  Milad Barosen of the Milou Group and Nathan King of the Virginia Tech School of Architecture + Design teamed up to design the structure, which was influenced by Swedish 19th-century labor union buildings. Related: Beautiful timber pavilion unfolds like origami The pop-up structure is shaped by curved wooden beams that radiate from its center and shelter a large space under a thin skin. It is meant to host a range of programs, workshops, and other activities organized by Van Alen Institute. At night, the building is transformed into a beautifully lit gathering space where refugees and immigrants can mingle with locals. “We believe that Folkets House will signal the beginning of new opportunities and inspiration for working people of all nations who come together in Malmö — Sweden’s cultural melting pot,” said Rik Ekström of the Folkets House team. + ARExA + Walter P Moore + Milou Group + VT a+d + Van Alen Institute Lead photo by Nazim Benli

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Folkets House pavilion is an inclusive space where refugees can learn skills and find jobs

These Dutch designers are harvesting stardust from rooftops

October 10, 2017 by  
Filed under Eco, Green

Did you know that 37,000 to 78,000 tons of stardust falls on the earth’s surface every year? The dust is made up of micrometeorites that make it through the earth’s atmosphere – and now two Dutch designers are collecting this rare material from rooftops in the Netherlands. Kirstie van Noot and Xandra van der Eijk are exploring ways to utilize these mini meteorites as a precious resource that literally falls from the sky. Kirstie and Xandra believe that stardust could become a new resource for a world that is quickly using up its own natural resources: “As terrestrial resources are depleting and rare earth metals are arguably indispensable for our way of life and our survival as a species, we are in dire need of alternatives,” explains van Noot in her website. To salvage stardust, the pair first collects matter from the rain gutters and roofs of houses. They then incinerate the matter and use magnets to pull out particles for inspection. By studying the shape and composition of these particles, the pair is able to identify which ones came from outer space. The designers recently displayed their star dust exhibition, “As above, so below” at this year’s London Design Festival. The exhibition included the star dust itself as well as a solid cube made of meteoric material. + Dutch Invertuals Collected + Kirstie van Noot + Xandra van der Eijk + London Design Week Coverage Photography by Ronald Smits Photography

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These Dutch designers are harvesting stardust from rooftops

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