Water-based AC cools the air without using harmful chemicals

January 19, 2018 by  
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Our air conditioners still draw on principles that are around 100-years-old, sucking up power in the process. Researchers from the National University of Singapore (NUS) are working on an alternative: water -based air conditioners. Their system doesn’t need energy -intensive compressors or harmful chemical refrigerants – and can cool air all the way down to 18 degrees Celsius, or 64.4 degrees Fahrenheit. Over 40 percent of the energy consumption of a building in the tropics goes to air conditioning, according to NUS associate professor Ernest Chua . He led a team to develop a new air conditioning system offering several advantages over conventional machines commonly found in buildings today. Related: This amazing Bangladeshi air cooler is made from plastic bottles and uses no electricity Water serves as the coolant in their air conditioner, and an innovative membrane technology sucks moisture out of humid air. The system uses up around 40 percent less electricity than compressor-based air conditioners, which NUS said translates to an over 40 percent reduction in carbon emissions . And the system doesn’t release hot air, instead discharging a less-humid cold air stream. For every liter of water used, as much as 15 liters of drinking water can be harvested, according to NUS – and the water the system harvests from the air is five times purer than Singapore tap water. Chua said in a statement, “Our cooling technology can be easily tailored for all types of weather conditions, from humid climate in the tropics to arid climate in the deserts. While it can be used for indoor living and commercial spaces, it can also be easily scaled up to provide air-conditioning for clusters of buildings in an energy-efficient manner.” NUS said it’s cost-effective to produce the system. Right now the team is further developing the design to boost user-friendliness, and aim to incorporate smart features like real-time tracking of energy efficiency or “pre-programmed thermal settings based on human occupancy.” They’re hoping to collaborate with industry partners on commercialization. Via National University of Singapore and Futurity Images via National University of Singapore and NUSLife on YouTube

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Water-based AC cools the air without using harmful chemicals

Elegant LEED Gold winery mimics Napa Valleys curves

January 19, 2018 by  
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Cargotecture has found an unlikely home at a winery in Napa Valley. Local firm Signum Architecture completed Odette Estate Winery, a LEED Gold-certified round building powered by solar and fitted with three shipping containers repurposed as offices. Designed to reflect the elegance and femininity of the wines produced there, the winery sports a curved form that evokes a swan’s wing—a nod to the Tchaikovsky ballet character Odette of Swan Lake. Selected as an Industrial Building Category winner in the American Architecture Prize 2017, the Odette Estate Winery was recognized for its elegant and sustainable design. The building’s adherence to LEED Gold standards is a visual continuation of the owner’s commitment to sustainable farming and wine production. Solar panels provide renewable energy while conscientious use of building materials lower the winery’s carbon footprint. Related: 100% solar-powered winery keeps naturally cool with cork-insulated roofs Nestled between the valley’s eastern hills, the Odette Estate Winery is topped with an undulating living roof that replicates the hilly topography. Sliding perforated aluminum screens cut into curving organic shapes shield the winery’s covered crush pad and open-air workspace. The mesh panels allow natural ventilation and light to pass through and, when backlit at night, give the building the appearance of a glowing lantern. The repurposed shipping containers at the front of the building are used for a state-of-the-art wine laboratory and office space. The fermentation and barrel room take up the majority of the building footprint. + Signum Architecture Photo credit: Adrian Gregorutti

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Elegant LEED Gold winery mimics Napa Valleys curves

New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

January 15, 2018 by  
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British company Earth-i just launched a new prototype satellite that paves the way for the “world’s first full-color, full-motion video satellite constellation.” CARBONITE-2 is a test version of the the Vivid-i commercial satellite constellation, and its imaging system “is designed to deliver 1m resolution images and color HD video clips with a swath width of 5km.” CARBONITE-2 (which the Earth-i team calls VividX2) blasted off from the Indian Space Research Organization ‘s Satash Dhawan Space Center aboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle late last week. Surrey Satellite Technology Limited (SSTL) manufactured the technology demonstration satellite. In their statement on the launch they said it “will demonstrate a low-cost video-from-orbit solution using Commercial-Off-The-Shelf technologies.” Related: Teen creates world’s lightest satellite and NASA is sending it to space An Ultra High Definition camera on CARBONITE-2 can snap high-resolution images and capture up to two minutes of video. The satellite weighs around 220 pounds, and it will orbit 314 miles, above the planet, moving at around 4.3 miles a second. European Space Agency Earth Observation Programs director Josef Aschbacher said in a statement, “The launch of VividX2 is a significant next development of Earth-i’s constellation, and welcomed by ESA. The Vivid-i Constellation will provide capabilities we haven’t seen before including full-color video, and an assured stream of high-quality data from space to help improve both our planet and lives on Earth.” The company said such images and videos could help governments or businesses monitor assets, track activities or changes, and even “predict future events with more certainty.” Earth-i has already ordered the next five satellites for Vivid-i from SSTL. Via Engadget , Earth-i , and Surrey Satellite Technology Limited Images via SSTL/Beaucroft Photography

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New satellite paves the way for full-color, full-motion video from space

Nanoleaf’s new dodecahedron Remote controls your smart home with a turn of the wrist

January 8, 2018 by  
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Nanoleaf is known for its brilliant lighting products – and now they’re launching an innovative dodecahedron-shaped remote that makes it easy to control any smart device in your house. The new Bluetooth -enabled Nanoleaf Remote just debuted at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) – and it promises to let you “fully customize your entire home with a quick turn of the wrist.” Nanoleaf ‘s new Remote allows users to easily control the company’s Light Panels and other HomeKit products. The device aims to take the frustration out of controlling multiple smart home products with numerous apps by simplifying tasks into the single controller. Users can program each one of the device’s 12 sides with commands to accomplish tasks like turning off lights, raising window blinds or your home’s temperature, or activating different pre-set scenes for events like parties or quiet nights in. Related: Nanoleaf’s new Rhythm module turns any Aurora array into a dazzling music visualizer Users rotate to the top the side they want to trigger, with the Remote glowing as it moves to offer feedback. On Nanoleaf’s website, prototype tester Pin-Yu from Singapore described the device as a “glowing ball of awesome from outer space.” Nanoleaf CEO Gimmy Chu said in a statement, “ Smart technology should cater to how people are using their products, making life easier and more enjoyable without being intrusive. The Nanoleaf Remote is designed to make the smart home smart again. We want to give people the option of controlling their smart home without always relying on their devices. Everyone is so glued to their phones these days, the Nanoleaf Remote offers the possibility to just sit back and enjoy living smarter.” The controller is incredibly light, weighing 0.13 kilograms, or around 0.28 pounds. The Remote is slated for release in February. + Nanoleaf Images courtesy of Nanoleaf

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Nanoleaf’s new dodecahedron Remote controls your smart home with a turn of the wrist

Panasonic is building an incredible smart city outside of Denver

January 8, 2018 by  
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Panasonic is just about everywhere you look these days, from car batteries to airplanes, and now the company is building one of their most ambitious projects yet: an entire smart city . Called CityNow, the futuristic city is rising up outside of Denver and will be a living lab experiment for creating towns that can survive a disaster, run on clean, renewable power, and contain sustainable infrastructure that improves people’s lives. The development has been underway for the past two years in a desolate patch of land near the Denver airport. The 400-acre project will be a transit-oriented city, with light rail connecting it to Denver and the airport, smart roadways that are perfect for autonomous vehicles, parking management, and autonomous shuttle routes, which roll out this spring. Related: Bill Gates buys a huge chunk of land in Arizona to create a ‘smart city’ The city also has a bevy of sustainable features, like a solar panel microgrid that can power the city for days in the event of a disaster. Streets lights consist of power-saving LEDs and a carbon neutral district. “Since early 2016, when we started on Denver CityNow, we’ve vetted 11 technology suppliers, developed an open API, established a carbon-neutral district, got approval from the public utility and installed the first microgrid, with solar panels on Denver Airport property, in partnership with Xcel Energy, which can power this area for 72 hours in the event of a natural, or manmade, disaster,” Jarrett Wendt, EVP of Panasonic Enterprise Solutions told PC Magazine . Panasonic’s first foray into a sustainable smart town in Fujisawa, Japan, has resulted in a city with 70 percent less carbon dioxide than normal, a return of 30 percent back to the grid, an EV charging grid, and enough renewable energy to power the city for five days off-grid. Denver’s smart city is slated for completion in eight years, and Panasonic hopes to see the same, if not better, results. Via PC Magazine Images via Panasonic

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London store recycles 60,000 plastic bottles for 3D-printed interior

January 5, 2018 by  
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You can tell that Bottletop , a “sustainable luxury” brand that transforms castoff materials into chic carryalls, takes its zero-waste philosophy to heart. Case in point? Its new flagship store on London’s Regent Street, which boasts a 3D-printed interior derived almost entirely from recycled plastic bottles . Together with Krause Architects and Ai Build , Bottletop conscripted a troop of Kuka robots to print sections of the boutique using a filament made from plastic waste gathered from the streets Delhi in India. There’s a social component to the process, too. ReFlow , the Netherlands-based company that makes the filament, says it reinvests part of its profits into local manufacturing projects. “Our mission is to significantly improve the lives of the nearly 40 million waste collectors worldwide who earn less than $2 a day and to create a global, socially responsible 3D-printing community,” ReFlow says on its website. Related: 3D-printed pod homes for the homeless could hang from NYC buildings Inspired by the work of Paolo Zilli, a senior associate at Zaha Hadid Architects , the Bottletop store is a “world-first in retail” that “contributes to a broader positive ecosystem, in line with the values … of sustainable luxury, ethical design, technical innovation, and cross-cultural collaboration,” the company says in a statement. The recycled plastic isn’t the store’s only sustainable element, either. Look down and you’ll find that the flooring is composed of recycled rubber tires; glance up and you’ll discover a canopy made up of thousands of used metal cans suspended within a 3D-printed filigree. Related: World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands The store is a work in progress—literally. The KUKA robots are still hard at work producing whole segments, meaning that the space will evolve over time. You can even take home a piece of the store, in a manner of speaking: For a limited time, customers will be able to employ an on-site robot to print personalized bag charms using the ReFlow filament. “For the first time, visitors to our store will be able to witness the sustainable use of this technology first hand while shopping the Bottletop collection and learning about the mission of the brand,” the company says. “This is so exciting for us as our customers can watch the transformation of the store.” + Bottletop

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London store recycles 60,000 plastic bottles for 3D-printed interior

Israeli bus company to invest $2.2M in wireless charging electric roads

December 15, 2017 by  
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Wireless charging electric roads just took a big step forward, as Tel Aviv transit service Dan Bus Company announced plans to invest $2.2 million in ElectRoad . ElectRoad’s technology buries electric coils beneath roads to wirelessly charge electric vehicles as they drive. Future EV drivers may never have to worry about stopping at a charging station with ElectRoad’s technology. Several months ago, investment management company Biomedix Incubator Limited announced an intention to acquire ElectRoad, and just signed a cooperation agreement with Dan Bus Company. Should the merger be completed, Dan Bus Company will invest as much as 8 million Israeli New Shekels (NIS) (around $2.2 million) in ElectRoad. Related: Israel to test electric roads that wirelessly charge vehicles as they drive According to Globes , “The agreement with Dan includes an initial NIS 3.1 million investment and options for Biomedix shares amounting to NIS 5 million at a company value of NIS 90 million.” ElectRoad’s technology uses conduction coils to power electric cars via magnetic induction. They point to zero emissions , high efficiency, and low costs as benefits of their technology. They also say the system could allow for energy sharing between vehicles and the grid . The startup plans to gradually penetrate the market by focusing on public transportation , such as bus lanes. Globes said in their article, “The investment by Dan and the agreement between the companies indicates that public transportation companies are indeed interested in the technology.” Dan Bus Company has already rolled out some electric buses that could be charged via cable at departure stations in two to three minutes for a range of 30 kilometers , or almost 19 miles, which they said was enough for the longest urban line. Electric road technology could make such charging unnecessary. + ElectRoad Via Globes/ElectRoad Images © ElectRoad

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Israeli bus company to invest $2.2M in wireless charging electric roads

Airbus, Siemens, Rolls-Royce partner to build a hybrid-electric plane

December 5, 2017 by  
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Hybrid-electric commercial planes could be a reality if Airbus , Rolls-Royce , and Siemens are successful. The three companies recently teamed up to work on the E-Fan X technology demonstrator that could hit the skies in around three years. Siemens, Airbus, and Rolls-Royce announced their collaboration recently at the Royal Aeronautical Society in London. They’ll come together to create what they call a near-term flight demonstrator that could fly in 2020. Out of four gas turbine engines on the aircraft, one will be replaced with a two-megawatt electric motor , and they’ll work towards switching out a second. Related: Airbus’ flying electric taxi is on track to soar next year Each company has a role to play: Airbus is in charge of overall integration and control architecture for the batteries and hybrid-electric propulsion system. Rolls-Royce is in charge of the two-megawatt generator, power electronics, and turbo-shaft engine. And Siemens will provide the two-megawatt electric motors and a power control unit – and an inverter, power distribution system, and DC/DC converter. According to an Airbus press release on the project, “The E-Fan X demonstrator will explore the challenges of high-power propulsion systems, such as thermal effects, electric thrust management, altitude and dynamic effects on electric systems and electromagnetic compatibility issues. The objective is to push and mature the technology, performance, safety, and reliability enabling quick progress on the hybrid-electric technology.” The companies said some of the major challenges facing the aviation sector are lowering dependence on fossil fuels and boosting efficiency. They’re working to meet the European Commission’s Flightpath 2050 Vision for Aviation, which entails a 75 percent and 90 percent reduction of carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxide , respectively, as well as slashing noise by 65 percent. Airbus said existing technologies cannot achieve these targets, so the companies are pursuing alternatives like electrification. The statement said, “Electric and hybrid-electric propulsion are seen today as among the most promising technologies for addressing these challenges.” Via Airbus Images via Airbus

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Airbus, Siemens, Rolls-Royce partner to build a hybrid-electric plane

14 green holiday gifts for gadget geeks

December 4, 2017 by  
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Looking for a great green gift for the gadget lover on your list? We’ve got you covered with the state of the art. From an amazing wheel that gives any bike an electric boost to a keyboard made of sustainably harvested wood and even a watch powered by body heat , we’ve rounded up 14 gadget gifts that are sure to please. Check them out here ! GREEN GIFTS FOR GADGET GEEKS >

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Artists transform gigantic Japanese park into a psychedelic forest of light

November 13, 2017 by  
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Japanese art collective teamLab has transformed a 5-million-square-foot park in Japan into a luminous “Forest Where Gods Live”. The massive art installation features 14 distinct artworks that use lights, projections, sensors, and sound to react as visitors stroll through the grounds. Mifuneyama Rakuen park is located in Japan’s Saga Prefecture in Kyushu. The exhibition spans the landscape of rocks, caves, and ample vegetation that leads to the towering Mount Mifune. The park is home to various Buddhist statues as well as 5,000 cherry blossom trees and 50,000 azaleas, all of which play key roles in the art installation . Related: Singapore Night Festival dazzles crowds with 13 stunning light installations TeamLab believes that digital art can connect people with nature: “We exist as a part of an eternal continuity of life and death, a process which has been continuing for an overwhelmingly long time. It is hard for us, however, to sense this in our everyday lives. When exploring the forest, we come to realize that the shapes of the giant rocks, caves, and the forest that have been formed over the eons, are the shapes of the continuous cycle of life itself. By applying digital art to this unique environment, the exhibition celebrates the continuity of life.” The exhibition, which is part of a Shiseido skincare campaign, uses projectors, motion sensors, and an ambient soundtrack to create a soothing forest of light in constant motion. Visitors can stroll through the park, passing through 14 artworks where the natural landscape lights up in reaction to the crowds. There’s a simulated waterfall that cascades down a sacred rock wall and a giant moss-covered boulder that digitally depicts the entire life cycle of colorful flowers. Walking along, visitors will see an example of artful Japanese calligraphy projected onto a large rock, surrounded by smoke. One of the most popular stops is the WASO Tea House, which displays beautiful flowers blooming inside a teacup, representing the skincare company’s slogan “All things beautiful come from nature”. + teamLab Via CNN Images and video via Team Lab

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