13 groundbreaking lighting innovations from NY Design Week

June 6, 2017 by  
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Of all the fields of industrial design, lighting seems to evolve the quickest as designers harness innovations in materials, manufacturing, and technology. We recently hit the shows of NYCxDesign to bring you a first look at some of the world’s freshest lighting designs – including lamps that sustain life, wild experiments with new materials, and interactive lamps that respond to touch, movement, and music. Check out 13 of our favorite lighting innovations from Sight Unseen Offsite , Wanted Design , and ICFF after the break. Reflected Sequence LED Lamp by Frederike Top Dutch designer Frederike Top has developed an amazing collection of lights and mobiles made from a new material that combines acrylate with iridescent foil. Her Reflected Sequence Table Lamp consists of a single LED bar slatted with sheets of acrylate that reflect the light and make it appear to branch off into complex geometric forms. The material’s foil backing makes the lamp appear to change color and shape depending on the angle from which it is viewed. Globe Terrarium Lights by Richard Clarkson We love terrariums , and we love LED lighting – put them together, and we’re in heaven. Richard Clarkson Studio ‘s hanging Globe lamps are self-sufficient worlds complete with LED lights that sustain the plants within. They’re great for adding a touch of green to any room, and they’re made to last – Clarkson says that some of their terrariums have been thriving for several years now. Janus Lamp by Trueing Studio Trueing Studio ’s elegant Janus Lamp is named after the two-faced Roman god and Saturn’s outermost ring. A band of LED light reflects off a slice of dichroic glass, casting colorful reflections reminiscent of the Aurora Borealis. A post shared by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on May 19, 2017 at 3:01pm PDT Holon Spheres by Martens-Visser Martens & Visser ‘s amazing Holon orbs look like gigantic spinning soap bubbles! Each Holon is made from long strips of transparent foil connected to a spinning electric motor that causes the bubble-like forms to bounce and shimmer. Double Boom Chandelier by Stickbulb Stickbulb recently debuted a gorgeous new line of LED lighting made of wood salvaged from New York water towers. Their Double Boom fixture is made of reclaimed redwood that has been carbon dated to be three centuries old. Mobius Bench by Louis Lim X 3form At first glance, the Mobius Bench appears to be a simple seat – but when you touch it, a wave of color and light washes over the bench’s serpentine form. Louis Lim teamed up with 3form to create the interactive installation, which stole the show at Wanted Design . Voronoi LED Edison Bulb by Tala These might look like classic Edison bulbs – but they’re actually low-energy LEDs! Tala ‘s Voronoi Bulbs are modeled after forms found in nature – and the company plants ten trees for every 200 products sold. A post shared by Inhabitat (@inhabitatdesign) on May 21, 2017 at 11:45am PDT Aurora Rhythm LED Visualizer by Nanoleaf We’ve featured Nanoleaf ‘s beautiful Aurora LED panels in the past – but we’ve never seen them light up quite like this! The company has developed a new Aurora Rhythm module that listens to nearby sounds to transform your wall into a giant music visualizer. Nanoleaf plans to launch the new device this coming September. Module Lamps by Dear Human Dear Human ‘s stackable Module Lamps consist of individual pieces that can be combined in an endless number of ways. The modules are made from an innovative material called “Paper Rock” that consists of 100% recycled paper and cement. Bottle Cap Lamp by Mutan Argentina-based Mutan collects thousands of discarded plastic bottle tops and transforms them into captivating lamps! Each light is made from 600 bottle caps saved from the landfill. Aural Planes by The Principals X Calico Wallpaper The Principals teamed up with Calico Wallpaper to create a mesmerizing chandelier that reacts to human touch. The lamp’s long tendrils are fitted with capacitive sensors that read your body’s electric charge and then interpret it with flashing lights and sounds from nature. Urchin Softlight by Molo Molo has redesigned their Urchin Softlight to incorporate an LED lighting element within its flexible honeycomb form. The lamps can be opened, closed, flattened, and expanded to suit a wide variety of lighting needs. Echo Felt Lighting by LightArt LightArt ‘s Echo lamps provide both illumination and sound absorption – and they’re made from 50% recycled PET felt. The lights can be hung alone or installed in sets to create multifunctional ceiling landscapes. + NYCxDesign

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13 groundbreaking lighting innovations from NY Design Week

Researchers find widespread acidified water along US West Coast

June 6, 2017 by  
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Climate change is altering the planet in ways we might not often think about, such as in the acidification of the world’s oceans . A team of 20 scientists from institutions around the United States discovered acidified ocean water in the California Current Large Marine Ecosystem. Study lead author Francis Chan of Oregon State University said, “The threat of ocean acidification is global and though it sometimes seems far away, it is happening here right now on the West Coast of the United States and those waters are already hitting our beaches.” Scientists conducted a three-year survey of the California Current System to uncover acidified water throughout what Oregon State University described as an ecologically critical nearshore habitat. Researchers also found hotspots of water with pH measurements as low as those found in oceanic surface waters anywhere else around the world. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide has contributed to the phenomenon. Related: Large section of Arctic Ocean is six times more acidic than 20 years ago Ocean acidification is a problem because many organisms are sensitive to pH changes. Researchers noted shell dissolution on small swimming snails , for example, but they’re not the only species impacted. Richard Feely of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Washington said, “This is about more than the loss of small snails. These pteropods are an important food source for herring, salmon, and black cod, among other fish. They also may be the proverbial ‘canary in the coal mine’ signifying potential risk for other species, including Dungeness crabs, oysters, mussels, and many organisms that live in tide pools or other nearshore habitats.” The researchers didn’t just uncover bad news though. They also found refuges of moderate pH environments they think could become havens for marine creatures as other waters become more acidic. These havens could offer a resource for ecosystem management. Chan called for minimizing environmental stressors and managing for diversity in the region to help marine species adapt. The journal Nature Scientific Reports published the study online the end of May. Scientists from research institutions and universities in Oregon, California, Florida, Washington, Massachusetts, and Hawaii contributed to the study. Via Oregon State University Images via Oregon State University

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Researchers find widespread acidified water along US West Coast

Apple announces plans to make all products from recycled materials

April 20, 2017 by  
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Apple just announced plans to close the loop and make all of its products from recycled materials. We tend not to realize how damaging our electronics are for the environment – from mining materials to the toxic effects when we dump them . Apple starting tackling these problems last year with its  recycling robot , and now the electronics giant wants to only use recycled materials in its devices. Apple recently released its latest environmental report, and in it, the company claims that it is working towards using recycled materials to create its next generation of products. This will happen, in part, by reclaiming and re-using old Apple devices. Obviously they aren’t there yet, but Apple has never been shy when setting goals. Related: Apple just unveiled a blazing fast iPhone recycling robot Apple has been steadily shifting towards renewable resources. Its data centers all run on renewable energy , and it has partnered with or built its own solar and wind farms to generate the energy it needs. The company has also been recycling old devices, which saved Apple over $40 million in gold re-use alone. Via Engadget

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Apple announces plans to make all products from recycled materials

Dissolvable bioplastic bags from Bali are safe enough to drink

January 9, 2017 by  
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Plastic plagues the planet, clogging waterways and the stomachs of unwitting animals, but a new brand of bioplastic bags from Indonesia may offer a solution. Made from cassava root, these bags dissolve in hot water, breaking down into carbon dioxide and water without any toxic residue. Bali -based social enterprise Avani says their bags are biodegradable, compostable, recyclable, and when dissolved, safe enough to drink. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hp06mEgGdbY Many products that are marketed as eco-friendly are not beneficial to the environment . Biodegradable bags sound great, but can often leave toxic residues that make them harmful to marine life and plants. They often don’t degrade as well as claimed, causing death in thousands of sea animals. Avani eco-bags, on the other hand, can be dissolved in hot water almost instantly, soften in cold water, and are naturally converted into carbon dioxide, water and biomass within months. They can even biodegrade in landfills with the help of macro and micro-organisms. Related: Researchers Develop a Way to Make Plastic From Yard Waste Avani also makes other types of eco-friendly packaging products such as coffee cups and takeaway food packaging. They use renewable natural resources and claim that the entire production process is completely sustainable. The bags cost less than existing compostable plastics in the market, and the firm donates a portion of their proceeds to various local non-profit environmental projects. + Avani

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Dissolvable bioplastic bags from Bali are safe enough to drink

7 articles that made us laugh this year

December 31, 2016 by  
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2016 took us to a dark, dark place, and we needed humor more than ever this year to get us through the seemingly endless barrage of pain. From an “Election cycle” bike that repeatedly slaps you in the face to the tiny wall that was erected around Donald Trump’s Hollywood star to the Kardashians’ hilariously sad architecture mixup , read on for the comedic stories that kept us from completely breaking down and throwing in the towel this year. And voice your choice in our end-of-year poll to let us know which one made you LOL the most! [poll id=115]

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7 articles that made us laugh this year

7 articles that made us laugh this year

December 31, 2016 by  
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2016 took us to a dark, dark place, and we needed humor more than ever this year to get us through the seemingly endless barrage of pain. From an “Election cycle” bike that repeatedly slaps you in the face to the tiny wall that was erected around Donald Trump’s Hollywood star to the Kardashians’ hilariously sad architecture mixup , read on for the comedic stories that kept us from completely breaking down and throwing in the towel this year. And voice your choice in our end-of-year poll to let us know which one made you LOL the most! [poll id=115]

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7 articles that made us laugh this year

The top 5 Inhabitat videos of the year

December 31, 2016 by  
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From foraging for mushrooms (and avoiding the poisonous ones) to eating your banana peels instead of throwing them away and touring NYC’s first micro apartment buildings , we had loads of fun bringing you all sorts of videos this year. Check out our top 5 videos of the year below and vote for your favorite. [poll id=118]

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The top 5 Inhabitat videos of the year

The top 5 Inhabitat videos of the year

December 31, 2016 by  
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From foraging for mushrooms (and avoiding the poisonous ones) to eating your banana peels instead of throwing them away and touring NYC’s first micro apartment buildings , we had loads of fun bringing you all sorts of videos this year. Check out our top 5 videos of the year below and vote for your favorite. [poll id=118]

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The top 5 Inhabitat videos of the year

Check out the world’s first lights powered by micro-sphere solar cells

December 9, 2016 by  
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Sphelar Power , makers of the world’s first “micro-sphere” solar cell, have declared “flatness is over” when it comes to solar power generation. The Japan-based company is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to back two products : the Sphelar Lantern and the Sphelar Stick. Both are powered by onboard solar cells that integrated right into the product and generate electricity passively when exposed to sunlight. Although the campaign is lagging behind on its fundraising goal, there is still time left to see this project advance to the next phase of production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_ATpCFKvIY When Inhabitat first covered Sphelar’s spherical solar cell in 2012, the product was still in its infancy but showed enormous promise. At that time, the rounded solar cells challenged solar industry standards with their unique ability to capture sunlight from all angles simultaneously. Traditional flat solar panels must be angled directly toward the sun for maximum efficiency, but Sphelar’s design eliminates that fussiness. Related: Revolutionary Sphelar spherical solar cells capture sunlight from all directions Sphelar’s new products—a stylish modern lantern and a pocket-sized flashlight—incorporate the multi-directional solar cells and LEDs in new, portable lighting products. The Sphelar Lantern promises a 4-6 hour charging time for full battery capacity, which can power the light source for up to four hours. The Sphelar Stick provides up to four hours of light when fully charged, and can be recharged before the battery is fully drained. As of the time of this report, Sphelar has raised just over $7,000 of its $20,000 goal with six days remaining in the Kickstarter campaign . If the goal is met, the company aims to expand its production. Currently, the Lantern and Stick are only available inside Japan, but Sphelar hopes to broaden its reach and share its multi-directional solar technology with the world, one light at a time. + Sphelar Power on Kickstarter Images via Sphelar Power

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Check out the world’s first lights powered by micro-sphere solar cells

$10 million project to test universal basic income in the US

December 9, 2016 by  
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Could a universal basic income (UBI) be the answer to income inequality in an increasingly automated world? One US group is investing $10 million to find out. The Economic Security Project is a coalition of investors, activists, and technology companies committed to spending the next two years exploring the feasibility of a UBI for US citizens. The work will follow up on previous trials of the UBI , which have shown promising but inconsistent results. (Advocates of the idea claim the programs were under-funded and too short-lived to prove the concept one way or another .) Research has generally shown direct cash transfers to be more helpful than other forms of aid in poor nations, but it’s unclear exactly how matters will play out in a more developed country. Related: Ontario is rolling out a basic income test for citizens living under the poverty line The ESP funds will be used in a variety of ways over the next two years: while there will be some unconditional cash stipends delivered to US citizens, it appears that work will mainly be done through state and local basic income campaigns rather than the organization itself. Some of the funds will also be donated to fund nonprofit research into the best ways to implement UBI and on advocacy efforts to influence political policy. While a universal income may sound like a handout, proponents of the idea believe it will become increasingly necessary as technology advances. One high-profile backer is Elon Musk , who recently told CNBC he believes in the near future, there simply won’t be enough jobs to keep the economy afloat otherwise. But his vision of the future isn’t completely grim: he believes we’ll simply adapt and use our newfound leisure time on more interesting hobbies instead of work. Via The Independent Images via Steven Depolo and Tracy O

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$10 million project to test universal basic income in the US

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