New biodegradable semiconductor could make e-waste a thing of the past

May 8, 2017 by  
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50 million tons of electronics are expected to be trashed this year, according to a United Nations Environment Program report . A Stanford University team was concerned over the escalating epidemic of e-waste , so they created a semiconductor – a component in most of our electronics – that can actually be broken down with a weak acid such as vinegar. Nine Stanford researchers, joined by one scientist from Hewlett Packard Labs and two engineers from the University of California, Santa Barbara , set out to rethink electronics. Engineer Zhenan Bao, who heads up the Bao Research Group at Stanford, said they found inspiration from human skin . Skin stretches, can heal itself, and is ultimately biodegradable . The researchers wanted to take these characteristics and apply them to electronics. Related: INFOGRAPHIC: The dangerous untold story of e-waste They created a flexible polymer able to decompose. Postdoctoral fellow Ting Lei said it’s the first ever “semiconductive polymer that can decompose.” But that’s just one part of a semiconductor. The team also designed a degradable electronic circuit and a biodegradable substrate material. They used iron – a nontoxic, environmentally friendly product – instead of the gold usually used for electronic components. They made a paper-like substrate with cellulose ; the transparent substrate allows the semiconductor to adhere to rough or smooth surfaces, like onto an avocado as seen in the picture above or on human skin. The semiconductor could even be implanted inside a body. According to Stanford, “When the electronic device is no longer needed, the whole thing can biodegrade into nontoxic components.” The team envisions a number of uses for their semiconductors, like in wearable electronics . They could be made into patches allowing people to track their blood pressure, for example, or could be dropped via plane into a forest to survey the landscape, and eventually they would biodegrade instead of littering the environment . The journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America published the research online the beginning of May. Via Stanford University and New Atlas Images via Stanford University/Bao lab

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New biodegradable semiconductor could make e-waste a thing of the past

Airtight prefab House in the Woods pops up in just ten days

May 8, 2017 by  
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Airtightness , minimal site disturbance, and speedy construction are just a few benefits of the striking House in the Woods. Designed by London-based architecture firm alma-nac , this prefabricated timber home is nestled within a particularly beautiful wooded lot in England’s South Downs National Park. Constructed from structural insulated panels (SIPs), the fully insulated, watertight building frame was erected in a speedy ten days. House in the Woods was built to replace a bungalow that had been in the family for over sixty years. Despite the new home’s contemporary appearance, the design pays homage to its traditional predecessor with its single-story dual-pitched appearance and occupies roughly the same 240-square-meter footprint. Ample glazing and large sliding doors connect the home with the landscape while a large deck and roof terrace extend living spaces to the outdoors. Related: Ancient Party Barn blends historic preservation with energy-smart design The adaptable interior can accommodate up to ten people in five bedrooms thanks to full-height sliding partitions . When not in use by guests, the home can be comfortably transformed to a one-bedroom home with a studio and study. Heat zoning allows for areas of the home to be controlled independently to minimize energy loss. Energy efficiency is further improved thanks to SIPs construction with rigid insulating lining that offer high levels of thermal efficiency and air tightness. + alma-nac Via ArchDaily Images © Jack Hobhouse

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Airtight prefab House in the Woods pops up in just ten days

See Chihulys dazzling glass art take over the New York Botanical Garden

May 8, 2017 by  
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A magical garden of glass has bloomed at the New York Botanical Garden (NYBG). In more than a decade, world-renowned artist Dale Chihuly brought his breathtaking glass art installations back to New York with a major new exhibition called CHIHULY. With over 20 installations, the dazzling exhibition’s bright colors and organic forms are an incredible sight to behold—and even more so when illuminated at night. Unveiled late April, the new CHIHULY experience celebrates the artist’s process and legacy with over 20 installations as well as drawings and early works. The larger-than-life sculptures are seamlessly integrated into the garden’s many backdrops and include a new monumental work set within the Native Plant Garden water features and the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory Courtyard’s Tropical Pool. Chihuly’s artworks are all made from hand-blown glass , plastic, and water inside a Seattle workshop and draw inspiration from organic shapes found in nature. Their whimsical charm and dynamic appearance imparts an atmosphere not unlike the fictional worlds of Alice in Wonderland or Willy Wonka. The exhibition took two years of coordination between the NYBG and Chihuly. Related: Ray Villafane’s Crazy Zombie Pumpkins and Ghouls Return to the New York Botanical Garden The dramatic sculptures will be open through to October 29, 2017. The botanical garden also offers select Chihuly Nights when visitors can see the installations lit up in the evening and enjoy special performances, themed cocktails, and concerts. + NYBG Images via NYBG

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See Chihulys dazzling glass art take over the New York Botanical Garden

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