New material made from fiber-reinforced hydrogels is 5 times tougher than steel

February 28, 2017 by  
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Researchers at Hokkaido University in Japan have created a flexible, eco-friendly material that’s five-times stronger than carbon steel. The “fiber-reinforced soft composite” made by combining polyampholyte hydrogels with woven glass fiber fabric creates a bendable material that’s extremely durable. The material’s uses are manifold, but perhaps most exciting is for bearing the load of artificial ligaments and tendons. Hydrogels have been used for a variety of applications in the past , from wound dressings to soft robots, but up until recently the hydrophilic polymer chains have been too soft for much else due to the fact that they’re largely made up of water. But when woven together with glass fiber fabric, they create a material that’s not only stronger than steel, but according to researcher Dr. Jian Ping Gong, also environmentally friendly. Related: Harvard team creates extremely stretchy gel to replace damaged cartilage in joints “The fiber-reinforced hydrogels, with a 40 percent water level, are environmentally friendly,” says Dr. Jianinnovation. “The material has multiple potential applications because of its reliability, durability and flexibility. For example, in addition to fashion and manufacturing uses, it could be used as artificial ligaments and tendons, which are subject to strong load-bearing tensions.” While the material is made largely from water and glass, it gains its strength from the dynamic ionic bonds between the fiber and hydrogels. The team found that a combination of polyampholyte gels, a type of hydrogel they developed earlier, and glass fiber fabric with a single fiber measuring around 10?m in diameter produced a strong, tensile material. Testing revealed that the material is 25-times tougher than glass fabric, 100-times stronger than hydrogels alone, and five-times stronger than carbon steel. Via Hokkaido University Images via Hokkaido University

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New material made from fiber-reinforced hydrogels is 5 times tougher than steel

Philip Johnson’s Wiley House hits the market for $12 million

February 28, 2017 by  
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Philip Johnson’s Wiley House in New Canaan, Connecticut may not be as well-known as the architect’s iconic Glass House , but it’s every bit an architectural gem – and now, it’s on the market. Built in the 1950s, the home clearly exhibits Johnson’s signature style – it consists of a rectangular glass structure cantilevering over an elongated stone base. If you’re in the market for a new home and have a cool $12 million to blow, strike while the iron’s hot. Philip Johnson designed the Wiley Home in the early 1950s as a family home for a real estate developer. Although the double-height glass pavilion with 15-foot-high ceilings is similar the architect’s other home designs, many consider this structure to be one of his “most liveable” designs. Related: Prefab Glass House lets you bring home the spirit of Philip Johnson’s masterpiece The home is 3,000 square feet of glass, steel and stone built on six acres of greenery surrounded by a “fence” of Hickory trees . The glass cube , which cantilevers over the stone base, houses the living room and the galley kitchen. Six bedrooms, a sitting room, studio, and another small kitchen are located on the lower level. Outside, a stunning vintage swimming pool is at the heart of the property. Business executive, Frank Gallipoli bought the property for $1 million in 1994 and began to renovate the home, changing out the glass panels for double-paned windows and installing floor heating. He hired Roger Ferris + Partners to head the renovation process, carefully staying true to Johnson’s original design throughout. Although the home is an updated version of the original, there are some new additions to the property, including the renovated 19th century barn that was converted to house Gallipoli’s personal art collection. Ferris also built added a new pool house and garage to the complex, making the property well worth its current $12 million listing price. Via Dwell Photos via Sotheby’s International Realty

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Philip Johnson’s Wiley House hits the market for $12 million

Sustainability Meets Mainstream Financial Markets

February 23, 2017 by  
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What does it mean when the world’s largest financial data, analytics and benchmarks provider, S&P Global, acquires sustainability experts, Trucost? The implications for companies and sustainability professionals are vast. S&P Global Head of Innovation Dmitri Sedov and Trucost CEO Richard Mattison explore how financial markets are responding to the transition to a low carbon economy and the strategic importance for corporations.

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Sustainability Meets Mainstream Financial Markets

Apple’s $5 billion spaceship campus to open in April as "Apple Park"

February 23, 2017 by  
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Apple’s new headquarters in Cupertino is all set for a planned move-in date of April 2017. Steve Jobs first presented his vision and building plans for the “spaceship” campus to city managers in 2011, and the company just announced that its new headquarters will officially be called “Apple Park.” The building will pump out 17 megawatts of solar power via panels on its massive roof – that’s enough energy to power most of the 175-acre site. More than 12,000 apple staff will inhabit the complex, which will include a 1000-seat auditorium dubbed the “Steve Jobs Theater.” According to Apple, the campus’ ring-shaped 2.8 million-square-foot main building is covered in the world’s largest curved glass panels. The entrance to Jobs’ namesake auditorium consists of a 20-foot-tall glass cylinder that’s 165 feet in diameter and supports a metallic carbon roof. Said theater sits on top of a hill, at one of the highest points of land in Apple park, where it looks out over surrounding meadows in the Santa Clara Valley and the campus’ main building. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3VCvkYA5dR8 “Steve’s vision for Apple stretched far beyond his time with us. He intended Apple Park to be the home of innovation for generations to come,” says Apple CEO , Tim Cook. “The workspaces and parklands are designed to inspire our team as well as benefit the environment. We’ve achieved one of the most energy-efficient buildings in the world and the campus will run entirely on renewable energy.” It will take employees as long as six months to move in and get settled away in the massive building . After doing so, they’ll be able to take advantage of a café that’s open to the public, a 100,000-square-foot fitness center, secure R&D facilities, a theater, as well as two miles of paths for walking and running, an orchard, a meadow and a pond. Related: Jaw-dropping scale of Apple’s spaceship campus revealed in new drone footage Apple Park was designed in collaborating with Foster + Partners , and it takes the place of what was once 5 million square-feet of asphalt and concrete. The land is now planted with grassy fields, and native and drought-resistant trees. Via Digital Trends and Apple Images via Apple

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Apple’s $5 billion spaceship campus to open in April as "Apple Park"

Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona

February 22, 2017 by  
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Just shy of two months after Uber’s autonomous cars were banned in California, the company is rolling out its second round of experimental autonomous vehicles on the roadways of Arizona. Uber’s most-recent experiment is happening on the streets of Tempe Arizona, where locals have the option to ride in one of the company’s self-driving Volvo XC90s – along with two Uber engineers in the front seats for safety purposes. Uber’s operation on the streets of San Francisco lasted only a week due to a dispute over regulations, but the company could benefit from less restrictive regulations in the Grand Canyon State. Uber and California went their separate ways because the state’s DMV threatened legal action for the improper licensing of test vehicles. When Uber refused to apply for the necessary permits, the state just up and revoked their license. It didn’t take the company long to hit the road in Arizona, where Governor Doug Ducey put out a big welcome mat for them in the form of an executive order. Signed in August, 2015, the order directed several government agencies to “undertake any necessary steps to support the testing and operation of self-driving vehicles on public roads in the state. According to The Verge , he also “empowered” universities to launch pilot programs for self-driving cars. Related: Uber launches self-driving cars in Pittsburgh After nearly a year of rumors that the company was planning to experiment with autonomous cars, Uber confirmed suspicions when it announced and began testing the vehicles on the streets of Pittsburgh in September 2016. Pricing for the Arizona pilot project remains the same as UberX service in other cities, and the Volvos can carry up to three passengers along with the “safety drivers.” Riders will have the option to cancel their request if they feel nervous when a self-driving car shows up, allowing them to opt for a human-piloted vehicle instead. Via The Verge and Engadget Images via Uber, Dilu , Wikimedia Commons and Foo Conner , Flickr Creative Commons

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Uber rolls out autonomous cars in Arizona

JFK Airport is opening a $65 million pet terminal

February 20, 2017 by  
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Traveling with pets just got a little bit easier for anyone passing through New York’s John F. Kennedy airport . The airport just gave us a first look at The ARK – a $65-million terminal for animals complete with a “Pet Oasis.” The facility will educate pet owners on any flight requirements before takeoff, provide food and water for flights, receive incoming pets and help board others on their outgoing flights, and even microchip animals who need it. Soon, the ARK plans to provide even more services. Phase 2, to be launched sometime in Q2 2017, will see the opening of the ARK Import-Export Center, with facilities for horses and an aviary. By summer, the terminal should be fully operational with a pet boarding facility, a grooming service, a veterinary clinic and a blood laboratory all open for business. Related: Man Tries to Smuggle Turtle Disguised as Hamburger Through Airport Security The ARK will be open 24-hours a day, and it will serve as a central resource for all airlines making stops at JFK. John J. Cuticelli, the CEO of ARK Development, said in a press release , “Transporting live cargo by plane can be a complex and arduous process for owners and animals alike. Our goal is to create a more efficient and safe process by reducing the need for additional travel and offering trained animal care staff immediately pre- and post-flight. The ARK provides a healthy and comfortable environment, and sets new international airport standards for comprehensive veterinary, kenneling and quarantine services.” + The ARK at JFK

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JFK Airport is opening a $65 million pet terminal

Dubai plans to launch autonomous flying drone taxis by mid-2017

February 17, 2017 by  
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Adding to its reputation as a leader in experimental transportation , Dubai is hoping to launch autonomous air taxis capable of transporting people far above the city’s traffic woes as soon as the middle of 2017. According to Auto Blog, the United Arab Emirates Roads and Transportation authority announced the plans earlier this week, after a demonstration of the technology at the three-day World Government Summit . The Chinese-made Ehang 184 drone used in the demonstration can travel at 62 miles per hour at heights up to 984 feet. The drone is powered by an electric motor that can spin its eight propellers for up to 30 minutes at a time, with a two-hour recharge cycle in between. Specially designed to withstand the extreme desert temperatures of the Middle East , the Ehang 184 also comes equipped with a variety of safety features designed to provide peace of mind to those brave souls who choose to fly in it. This includes a program that tells the drone to automatically land at the nearest safe destination if even the most minor thing goes wrong, and secure networks designed to ward off hackers. The fact that its flights are all monitored throughout by ground control should add additional assurance. Related: Meet Gita, an intelligent autonomous cargo robot that can carry your stuff And people could be trusting the Ehang drone with their lives sooner, rather than later, as the head of Dubai’s transportation authority has told the Kuwait Times his ministry is already experimenting with using the autonomous vehicle in-flight. Dubai’s experiments with autonomous drone taxis are just one part of its forward-thinking approach to transport. The country is also the future home of the Elon Musk’s first Hyperloop project , which will connect Abu Dhabi to Dubai, a 100-mile trip that will take just 12 minutes. Via Auto Blog Images via ETC-USC and Sam Valadi , Flickr Creative Commons

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Dubai plans to launch autonomous flying drone taxis by mid-2017

Tesla to cover repair costs after Model S owner sacrifices his car to save a life

February 17, 2017 by  
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Not only are Tesla cars saving the environment , they’re also saving lives. Earlier this week a Tesla Model S driver in Germany noticed a Volkswagen Passat swerving on the Autobahn. Realizing the car’s driver was unconscious, Tesla driver Manfred Kick risked his vehicle to save the driver’s life. Then Elon Musk got wind of Kick’s heroism. When he saw the Volkswagen hitting the guardrail, Kick pulled up next to the car and realized the driver was unconscious – it’s possible he experienced a stroke. So Kick pulled his Tesla in front of the Volkswagen and tapped the brakes until he could bring both cars to a halt. He was able to administer some first aid and ask other drivers who stopped to call for help. A Munich fire station, who commended Kick for incredible courage, reported an emergency medical team treated the Volkswagen driver, who is around 47 years old, before taking him to a special clinic. Related: Did Tesla Autopilot predict an upcoming accident before it actually happened? https://twitter.com/elonmusk/status/831972613912080384 At first Kick wasn’t sure whose insurance company would have to cover repair costs. In the process of bringing the Volkswagen to a safe stop he incurred around 10,000 Euros of combined damage. But he told German publication Muenchner Merkur, “The most important thing is that the man is all right again.” The police reported the Volkswagen driver’s condition is stable, according to Muenchner Merkur. But it turns out Kick won’t have to worry about repair costs after all. Elon Musk praised his actions on Twitter, and said his electric vehicle company will cover repair costs “free of charge and expedited.” Mashable reported while German police must conduct an investigation into Kick, policemen said he probably won’t get a fine, but an award. Via Jalopnik and Muenchner Merkur Images via Feuerwehr München on Facebook

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Tesla to cover repair costs after Model S owner sacrifices his car to save a life

The world’s first flying car is finally available for pre-order

February 17, 2017 by  
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The future is finally here: pre-orders just began for the world’s first flying car . After years of development, Netherlands-based PAL-V has launched its Liberty Sport and Liberty Pioneer vehicles – both of which can drive on land and fly through the sky. The future’s not cheap though – the base Sport model starts at $399,000 USD. According to Flying Magazine , PAL-V has been working on the Liberty for more than 15 years, with the first test flight taking place in 2015. The three-wheeled vehicle is built around a unique Rotax engine that powers a dual-propulsion drivetrain. When the vehicle is in drive mode, its propeller conveniently tucks into the back of the vehicle and the rotors fold up top. According to the company, the Liberty can travel at speeds up to 100 miles per hour, and the car can switch from driving to flying mode in just 10 to 15 minutes. https://youtu.be/GfMNtCPChxo Before you decide to make a $10,000 down payment to own one of these puppies, keep in mind that regulations require Liberty pilots to take off from an airstrip or airfield – not from your backyard or even on the road. The vehicle needs at least 590 feet of space to lift off the ground, and it can be flown to a maximum altitude of 11,480 feet. Related: Uber is working on flying electric cars to disrupt transportation again The base Sport model costs $399,000, and the tricked-out Pioneer model comes in at $599,000 – which begs the question as to whether these flying cars are truly “commercially available.” They do come with introductory training lessons, but you’ll need to get a pilot’s license before you get off the ground. The Liberty is expected to arrive on doorsteps by late 2018 + PAL-V Via Slashgear and Flying Magazine Image and video via PAL-V  

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The world’s first flying car is finally available for pre-order

Canoeing center wrapped in recycled materials resists winter flooding

February 17, 2017 by  
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Portuguese multidisciplinary design studio ateliermob completed the Alvega Canoeing Center, a contemporary building that’s sustainably designed and ruggedly handsome. Located on the banks of Portugal’s Tagus River, the Alvega Canoeing Center is elevated to avoid the regular winter floods and to minimize soil degradation . Recycled black plastic profiles wrap around the canoeing center, which comprises three separate volumes, to give the structure a sense of cohesiveness and to allow natural light to pass through while providing privacy. Built to replace a former flood-damaged structure, the Alvega Canoeing Center was commissioned as part of a design competition that sought a sturdier and more sustainable design solution. The new building is the same size as the former structure but is raised on stilts and clad in black recycled plastic profiles . The plastic profiles were chosen for their ability to withstand the impact of objects that could be pushed against the building by rising floodwaters . Bright red recycled plastic profiles form the railing of the outdoor walkway and create a vivid contrast to the black facade. Related: 6 amphibious houses that float to escape flooding The 320-square-meter Alvega Canoeing Center comprises three volumes consisting of a cafeteria, boat storage area, and changing cabins , all supported on a raised concrete platform. “The proposed structure sought to improve the site, characterizing it as a renewed space for leisure and meeting for the local community, in addition to the associated nautical activities,” write the architects. “Thus, the impacts were minimized, significantly reducing soil impermeabilization and movement of land, and maintaining the vegetation characteristics, safeguarding the natural landscape.” Additional public amenities include the outdoor terrace, barbecue area, and staircase that can be used in a small amphitheater -like space. + ateliermob Via Archinect Images © Francisco Nogueira

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Canoeing center wrapped in recycled materials resists winter flooding

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