Durable canvas cloth with embedded solar cells generates 120 watts per square meter

November 17, 2017 by  
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Tents , sun shades, and canopies could generate renewable energy with Norway-based company Tarpon Solar’s solar canvas . They created flexible tarpaulins, integrated with bendy solar cells from Swedish company Midsummer . Instead of simply finding shade from the sun, with Tarpon Solar’s product people could obtain clean power from the sunlight striking a canopy or tent. Tarpon Solar laminated solar cells onto a flexible canvas to create a product with numerous potential applications – shade for a restaurant patio, a swimming pool covering, or canopies in refugee camps are just a few of the possibilities. The company says the canvas can also be included in a passive home design. The product could even open up the possibility of solar power generation in places where traditional solar panels couldn’t easily be deployed, according to Tarpon Solar’s website. Related: New solar canopy provides both shade and clean energy Tarpon Solar utilized Midsummer’s solar cells in a product that recently won first place in the MTI Technology Award competition. The CIGS cells, or copper-indium-gallium-selenium, are made without cadmium, a toxic material Midsummer says is often used in CIGS or thin film solar cells. They listed the benefits of CIGS cells as having high efficiency, low weight, durability, and flexibility. The solar cells generate around 120 watts per square meter. Tarpon Solar technical manager Marius Borg-Heggedal said in a statement each canvas is custom made, so the type of fiber and amount of fabric varies among products. The company’s website says the laminated cloth is that utilized in the sailing industry. Borg-Heggedal said solar cells are integrated during production and “become part of the material.” Midsummer described the canvases as very light, saying in a statement with the solar cells integrated “the weight becomes almost the same as with conventional PVC material and the canvas is also stronger and more durable.” + Tarpon Solar + Midsummer Images courtesy of Tarpon Solar and Midsummer

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Durable canvas cloth with embedded solar cells generates 120 watts per square meter

Nanoleaf’s new Rhythm module turns any Aurora array into a dazzling music visualizer

November 9, 2017 by  
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Last year Nanoleaf unveiled Aurora – a stunning lighting array made of modular, energy-efficient LED panels . They’re continuing to develop the system, and they just unveiled the Rhythm – a new module that transforms any Aurora array into a glimmering music visualizer. Simply plug the Rhythm into an Aurora panel and fire up your stereo – it’ll listen to your tunes and light up to the beat of your favorite songs. Inhabitat has followed Nanoleaf for years – and they’ve come a long way from making LED light bulbs . The Aurora is a sophisticated lighting system that can display over 16 million colors – and it’s getting smarter by the day. When they reached out to us with their latest innovation, we knew we had to try it out for ourselves. The Rhythm is a clever device that transforms music and ambient sounds into shimmering bursts of LED light. Setting it up is a snap – simply construct an Aurora array and then plug the Rhythm module into one of the triangular panels. The device uses a built-in microphone to listen to sound – so you don’t need to plug it into your stereo – and all of the processing is conducted on-board in real-time. Nanoleaf has created an impressive smartphone app that makes it easy to control your Aurora array. The app automatically senses the configuration of the panels and it provides options for different color palettes and Rhythm patterns – with the option to download many more. We generally found that the patterns respond quite well to a wide range of music – although your mileage will vary based on how many panels you own and how your array is set up. Songs with strong beats and well-isolated elements tend to produce better results than music with complex rhythms and overlapping textures. Certain patterns like “Meteor Shower” and “Streaking Notes” tend to benefit from large, densely packed arrays, while the “Sound Bar” pattern works best with more linear arrays. The obvious application for Aurora panels is adding colorful mood lighting to a room – but the Rhythm module expands their appeal to DJs and musicians, audiovisual artists, and anyone who wants to bring home a bit of ‘Blade Runner’ futurism. We’re also excited to see the applications that makers come up with – the panels support Apple HomeKit, Google Assistant, IFTTT, and Amazon Alexa, so your Aurora array can interface with other smart devices in your house. Our only gripe is that an Aurora array can be a bit tricky to install – it takes some planning and a lot of adhesive strips, and the chips connecting the panels don’t lock in place. If I were to install an array in my home, I’d consider mounting it to a board, trimming the excess material, and then hanging it as a single unit. Overall, we’re very impressed by the vibrancy and brightness of Nanoleaf’s Aurora panels, and the Rhythm module brings a fun new dimension to the system. A single array is enough to wash an an entire room in color, and the panels are capable of subtle, pulsing hue changes as well as dazzling firework-style effects. The Nanoleaf Rhythm is currently available as a module for $49.99 or bundled along with an Aurora kit for $229.99. + Nanoleaf

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Nanoleaf’s new Rhythm module turns any Aurora array into a dazzling music visualizer

Twin brothers convert organic waste into truly biodegradable plastic

October 27, 2017 by  
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You know plastic waste is a problem. But Jeff and Dane Anderson, twin brothers in California , are trying to do something about it. They started a company, Full Cycle Bioplastics , to make a fully biodegradable plastic . They aren’t the first to do so, but they utilize cheap, readily available organic waste to make their bioplastic . Food waste, dirty paper or cardboard, or agricultural byproducts become compostable plastic in Full Cycle Bioplastics’ process. Jeff Anderson told UPROXX they’re able to utilize any organic waste to create a plastic known as polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA). “If it ever falls into the ocean , it actually acts as fish food, or bacteria food, and has no toxic effects,” Anderson said in an UPROXX video . Related: Egyptian scientists turn dried shrimp shells into eco-friendly plastic Full Cycle Bioplastics breaks organic waste down into feedstock, given to naturally occurring bacteria that consume the waste and convert it into PHA. The company then dries and processes the PHA into a resin product. Anderson said their bioplastic could be used for bags, to-go containers, utensils, water bottles, or shampoo bottles, to name a few. Dane Anderson said it’s great for the bioplastic to return to them after use, because they can turn it back into plastic again. But it will harmlessly break down in nature if it’s discarded. One reason bioplastics haven’t taken over the world yet is their expense, but the brothers bring down costs through their process. They don’t need land to cultivate crops, nor do they use genetically modified bacteria. We may not be able to totally get rid of plastic – just a glance around where you’re sitting right now will likely reveal several items manufactured with the stuff polluting our planet. But Jeff told UPROXX their bioplastic can serve as a direct replacement – one that’s far better for the earth. + Full Cycle Bioplastics Via UPROXX Images via Full Cycle Bioplastics and screenshot

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Twin brothers convert organic waste into truly biodegradable plastic

These beautiful ceramic heaters help Mexicos vulnerable communities stay warm

October 23, 2017 by  
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These wonderful ceramic Nest heaters are designed to provide much-needed warmth to vulnerable communities in the region of Chiapas, Mexico . The prototypes, designed by Estudio äCo , utilize the properties of ceramics to dissipate and conserve heat. The ECN02 (fire ceramic nest 02) and ECN03 (electric ceramic nest 03) heaters feature durable shells that store and radiate heat for a long time. Not only are they energy-efficient – they also have a colorful, sleek look that’s universally appealing. Related: Egloo launches brilliant electricity-free heater that warms your home for just pennies a day The studio, led by Lucila Torres and Max Almeida, collaborated with Fernando González to develop the project. The team received $100,000 MXN ($5,200 USD) as winners of the Inédito award at the recently concluded Design Week Mexico. + Estudio äCo + Design Week Mexico

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These beautiful ceramic heaters help Mexicos vulnerable communities stay warm

These optical illusion Star Wars lamps will take you to a galaxy far, far away

October 23, 2017 by  
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With the countdown ticking until the release of The Last Jedi on December 15, Star Wars products are flooding the Internet. But few top these awesome optical illusion lamps that illuminate 3D images of favorite characters like Darth Vader or spaceships like the Millennium Falcon. The lamps are said to have a lifespan of more than 50,000 hours. The Death Star or BB-8 could light up your room with these Star Wars LED lamps . Turned off, it’s two dimensional etched acrylic glass, according to Fatherly, but when switched on via a touch button on the base, the lamp shines with a 3D appearance. Most lamps have multiple colors; this one from The 3D Lamp boasts white, red, blue, green, yellow, pink, or cyan. They’re nine-inches-tall. A USB port allows the lamps to get power. Related: Star Wars-inspired NASA observatory will offer galactic views in Cyprus The lamps are said to be energy efficient , producing little heat, making them safe for a kid’s room or nursery. They’re often marked as limited edition, but as Fatherly pointed out, can be found on multiple online stores; there doesn’t seem to be a shortage. Mashable is offering Megalamps’ Star Wars lamp for $39.99 with the option of a 15 percent discount for a limited time; LEDMiracles is offering theirs for $38.99 . The 3D Lamp shop has their Star Wars LED lamps priced at $29.99 . R2-D2, Yoda, a Tie Fighter, Darth Maul, an X-Wing, and a stormtrooper helmet are among the other delightfully nerdy options for lamps to light up a room. Other optical illusion LED lamp designs are also being offered online, such as superheroes, flowers, or sports-themed lamps. + Megalamps Via Mashable and Fatherly Images via Megalamps and The 3D Lamp ( 1 , 2 )

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World’s first ocean pollution-eating Seabin launches in the UK

October 11, 2017 by  
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UK waterways are about to get a lot cleaner with the launch of the world’s first production Seabin in Portsmouth harbor. The device, which was developed by a pair of Australian surfers, works by sucking in various kinds of pollution (including oil) and spitting out clean water. The Seabin can collect approximately 1.5 kg of waste each day and has a capacity of 12 kg — and in a given year, a single bin can collect 20,000 plastic bottles or 83,000 plastic bags. The Seabin was first unveiled in December 2015. To fund the invention , founders Andrew Turton and Pete Ceglinski created an IndieGoGo campaign. With little time to spare, the campaign exceeded its goal. Equipped with $250,000, Turton and Ceglinski are now prepared to follow through with their plan, which entails cleaning up marinas with the natural fiber garbage bin and an automated, above-the-water pump. The device was designed with marine safety in mind – only debris and chemical pollution on the surface of the water is collected; fish and other aquatic creatures are left alone. The Times reports that the Seabin was installed near the base of the Land Rover Ben Ainslie Racing (BAR) team in the Portsmouth harbor. The group is passionate about environmental efforts – not only have members pledged to give up meat every Monday, they only consume sustainable seafood. Now, they’ve agreed to oversee the Seabin, which will improve the quality of water while protecting the cage of over 1,000 oysters near the pontoon. Related: New study reveals plastic pollution in the Antarctic is 5x worse than expected The Seabin team are also conducting trials at Spain’s Port Adriano and the Port of Helsinki (Finland). In early November, the innovative device will go on sale for £3,000 ($3,957). + Seabin Project Via The Times , Engadget Images via Seabin

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World’s first ocean pollution-eating Seabin launches in the UK

Boston man crosses harbor in a pumpkin boat

October 11, 2017 by  
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Tis the season… to get nuts with pumpkins . Christian Isley of Boston , Massachusetts took infatuation with that adorable, orange squash to a new level; he made a boat out of his homegrown pumpkin and sailed across Boston Harbor. “If there’s something odd to be done, he’ll do it,” said Steve, the squash sailor’s father. “Once he puts his mind to something it gets done, no matter how crazy it is.” Appropriately on the morning of the first day of October, Isley the Younger took a ride in his 520-pound vegetable boat, carved by himself and reinforced by wooden planks, foam, screws, and rope. Boston Harbor itself is a story of success for its historic restoration after decades of neglect and pollution . By the 1970s, the Boston Harbor and the feeding Charles River were toxic. After the Metropolitan District Commission (MDC) was compelled by the courts to clean up the region’s water in the 1980s, the rich coastal ecosystem recovered rapidly. Today, the Harbor is swimmable and the Charles is teeming with life. Related: How to cook a whole pumpkin (seeds, guts and all) Native to North America , pumpkins are an excellent source of Vitamin A. The “classic pumpkin” variety is the Connecticut Field; Isley’s boat was made out of an Atlantic Giant. Grown in Belgium , the largest pumpkin ever weighed 2,624.6 lbs, setting the record in 2016. Prior to setting his prize-winning gourd vessel onto the open waters, Isley informed the United States Coast Guard of his plans. Although they expressed their wish that Isley not take the plunge, they did not stop him. Although the cucurbit ship did face some choppy seas , it navigated quite smoothly. “It’s a [expletive] journey,” Isley shouted as he finished the first leg of his adventure. Isley, thanks to his years of experience with boats, completed the quest, as friends and family cheered him on from nearby vessels. “That’s victory right there,” said Isley. “Absolutely. [Expletive] yeah.” Via the Boston Globe Images via the Boston Globe

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The world’s first mobile, solar-powered recycling plant just popped up in the middle of London

September 28, 2017 by  
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The mobile recycling factory of the future just landed in the 19th century courtyard of the historic Somerset House in Central London. Trashpresso is a giant solar-powered recycling plant that transforms discarded plastic bottles into architectural tiles. The machine is the brainchild of Pentatonic , a furniture and design company based in Berlin and London committed to using only post-consumer waste in their products – from chairs made from “felted” plastic to glassware made from smartphone screens. Trashpresso is the world’s first off-grid, industrial grade recycling solution designed to be mobile and functional in isolated locations where traditional recycling plants aren’t a feasible option. “Our non-negotiable commitment to the consumer is that we make our products using single materials. That means no toxic additives and no hybridized materials which are prohibitive of recyclability,” explains co-founder Johann Bodecker. Trashpresso made its global debut this week at the Design Frontiers exhibition during the London Design Festival . Visitors to Design Frontiers were invited to contribute their trash and watch the Trashpresso process from start to finish – from the sorting of plastic bottles to the compression of shredded PET into solid hexagonal tiles. Enormous black spheres made of recycled plastic were also installed in the courtyard, lending an imposing presence to the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court. Throughout the week, the black spheres were gradually covered in the architectural tiles created by Trashpresso, with the public taking part in the installation. Large spheres made of metal mesh contained more plastic bottles, calling attention to the ongoing problem of tons of plastic a year entering our oceans. Starbucks UK recently announced a partnership with Pentatonic to turn their coffee shop waste into furniture, with their Starbucks Bean Chair reinterpreted with upcycled textiles and a frame made from plastic bottles and plastic cups. The Trashpresso machine debuting at Design Frontiers boasts upgraded engineering designed for global transportation. An earlier version of Trashpresso was previewed in Shanghai for World Earth Day by Pentatonic collaborator and investor Miniwiz , which is based in Taiwan and specializes in upcycling. Trashpresso was the featured installation at Design Frontiers, a new exhibition featuring more than 30 designers showcasing projects and products pushing the frontiers of innovation and material use. + Pentatonic + Design Frontiers + London Design Festival Coverage

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5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award

September 1, 2017 by  
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The world’s biggest design award was just bestowed upon five groundbreaking green designs that stand to improve life around the globe. The biennial INDEX: Award honors sustainable designs that address global challenges, and this year’s winners came from a pool of 1403 entries. From a floating farm that heals ocean ecosystems to a life-saving centrifuge that costs 25 cents, read on for a first look at this year’s winners – live from the INDEX: Award ceremony in Denmark. Zipline Delivering emergency medical supplies in developing nations can be difficult. On average, it takes four hours to send vaccines and blood transfusions from a central facility, but it can take much longer in the event of a natural disaster or infrastructural collapse. Enter Zipline – the world’s first commercial medical drone delivery system. Zipline uses a simple system to quickly and efficiently deliver critical medical supplies. Health workers text an order, and items are packaged at a distribution center. Then a drone is dispatched and the items are delivered by parachute with a high degree of precision. A single drone can carry a payload of 1.5 kilos for up to 150 kilometers – and it can make 500 deliveries in 24 hours in all weather conditions, for the equivalent cost per trip of a motorbike or ambulance delivery. Zipline began delivering blood to 21 transfusion facilities in western Rwanda in 2017, and it’s set to begin delivering blood and medicine in remote Maryland, Nevada and Washington over the next year. What3Words You might take your address for granted, but according to the UN, 4 billion people lack a way to reliably address their homes. This leads to myriad problems, as those without addresses are denied access to basic social and civic services – it’s difficult or impossible for them to open bank accounts, register births, or sign up for utilities like electricity and water. What3Words solves this problem by dividing the world into 57 trillion 3 meter x 3 meter squares, and assigning a unique combination of three words to each square. The resulting grid is more precise than street addresses, and it allows anyone to share their location quickly for emergency situations, census taking or even everyday mail delivery. GreenWave The world’s oceans are in trouble. 90% of large fish stocks are threatened by overfishing , the amount of carbon dioxide in our oceans is higher than at any point in the past 400,000 years, and nitrogen pollution from farms, factories and homes creates oxygen-depleted dead zones. Greenwave is a revolutionary ocean farm that addresses all of these issues while producing healthy local food, restoring ecosystems, and creating jobs for fishermen. The hurricane-proof floating farm grows shellfish and seaweed using “mussel socks,” oyster cages and nets. Each species is selected to address an environmental challenge – for instance, oysters naturally filter out excess nitrogen, and seaweed soaks up five times more CO2 than land-based plants. GreenWave also provides ocean farmers with grants, free outdoor gear, and training – and it promises to purchase 80% of new farmers’ crops over five years at triple the market rate. Paperfuge Every year, five million people are killed by three highly infectious diseases: malaria, HIV, and tuberculosis. Diagnosing and treating these illnesses is difficult in parts of the world with limited access to infrastructure, electricity and medical facilities. Centrifuges are critical tools that can isolate and detect infections – but they require electricity to function and can cost up to $1,000 per machine. The Paperfuge provides a brilliant alternative – it’s a simple device inspired by a five-thousand-year-old toy that can separate plasma from a blood sample in 90 seconds. The device weighs about 2 grams, it’s made from paper, string and plastic, and it only costs 25 cents to make – which makes it an accessible, low-cost “frugal design” with the potential to save millions of lives around the world. Ethereum Ethereum offers a way to validate your digital identity and make online transactions while keeping complete control over your personal information – instead of giving it over to a third party service like Facebook or Paypal. It’s a platform that provides developers with tools, custom blockchains and networks to build decentralized applications that can transform the way we interact with money, business, government and society. Since the applications use a blockchain, there’s no centralized server that can get hacked or shut down. + INDEX: Award + INDEX: Design to Improve Life

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5 brilliant designs that will change the world win the 2017 INDEX: Award

10 gorgeous vintage lamps that add rustic modern charm to any space

August 2, 2017 by  
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These days, everyone seems to be embracing the appeal of rustic modern decor . While modern design is sometimes perceived as being cold and sterile, a touch of rustic charm goes a long way towards infusing a space with warmth, charm, and personality. One of the easiest ways to nail the rustic modern aesthetic is with vintage industrial lights, which have withstood the test of time – and they look incredible when paired with other hallmarks of rustic modernism like natural stone, salvaged wood , and cozy textiles. We’ve rounded up 10 lamps that set the right tone for the perfect rustic modern space – check them out after the break! Cocoweb ‘s beautiful vintage-styled lights make the perfect addition to any rustic modern interior. From clean industrial barn lights and wall lanterns to colorful pendants and eye catching bulkhead lights , you’re sure to find one to suit your space – and thanks to LED technology, these lamps are much more efficient than their forebears. Read on for 10 of our favorite rustic modern lights – and if you’re struggling to find the right look, check out Cocoweb’s Interior Design Directory for a heaping dose of inspiration. Oldage LED Pendant Light Barn lights are the ultimate example of rustic modern design, with a vintage silhouette that has been around for ages. The Oldage LED Pendant Light updates a classic shape with the latest LED technology and finishes that are anything but bland. We love the copper color, which adds warmth and brightness to any room. Goodyear Indoor/Outdoor Barn Light Cocoweb’s Goodyear Barn Lights are a mainstay for any rustic modern space. Not only do they come in a wide range of colors – you can also choose the perfect size and stem style, which means that no matter how challenging your space is, there’s one that will be just right for you. And if they don’t already have exactly what you need, the Goodyear light is fully customizable . Blackspot LED Pendant Light Sometimes all you need is a little spot of light. The Blackspot LED Pendant provides focused task lighting and, when you choose a fun color like this dreamy jade, it can add a lively pop to neutral interiors. The braided cord can be adjusted to suit the height you need, and it comes in 8″, 10″, 12″ and 14″ shade sizes. Rockhampton Nautical Wall Sconce The Rockhampton Nautical Wall Sconce features an aged brass cage that evokes seaside days gone by. Meanwhile, the filament LED gives you all the benefits of energy-efficient light without detracting from the vintage look. Palmerston Nautical Wall Sconce The Palmerston Nautical Wall Sconce has the modern rustic look nailed down, with a caged design and simple utilitarian shape. You can choose black or brass depending on whether you want to go classic or bold, and the LED filament bulb uses a mere 6 watts of power, so you don’t have to feel guilty about letting it shine all night long. Canberra Bulkhead Wall Sconce Wall sconces add light where you need it, but done right, they can also be works of art. The Canberra Bulkhead Wall Sconce is handcrafted for a unique industrial look that will make any space shine. The exposed hardware and worn finish gives the sconce a vintage feel, while the LED bulb gives you plenty of light (without the extravagant power bill). Related: 10 ways to nail the rustic modern aesthetic with barn lights Carran Outdoor LED Wall Lantern There is nothing more charming than the warm glow of a lantern. What isn’t so charming is the fire hazard of oil-based lanterns. The Carran Outdoor LED Wall Lantern gives you all that vintage appeal with a modern LED bulb. The cage design and bulbous glass enclosure give the lantern the perfect Old-World charm. Limerick Outdoor LED Wall Lantern Sometimes you want your lighting to lean more rustic than modern. In that case, the Limerick Outdoor Lamp is the perfect fit. The spirals and vine-like ornamentation gives it a look straight out of a European village. But the LED technology is all modern. Unlike some LEDs, Cocoweb’s LED bulbs have that familiar yellow cast that we love from Edison bulbs – but at 6 watts, they are considerably more efficient. Oldage Customizable Industrial Floor Lamp Hunting for a flexible lamp that oozes rustic modern style and can be positioned anywhere you like? Look no further than the fully-customizable Oldage Industrial Floor Lamp . The adjustable shade is similar in style to the Oldage Gooseneck and Pendant fixtures, but in a floor lamp format that can be placed practically anywhere. The lamp can be adjusted at the joint to a range of different heights, and a built-in dimmer lets you pick the right amount of illumination. We particularly love the elegant arm that gives the lamp a minimalist vibe. Newcastle Flood Light The Newcastle Flood Light provides powerful illumination – and it feels like something straight out of an industrial workspace. The base is made of metal piping, and a caged shade and exposed hardware take your design to the next level. + Cocoweb

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