Living Baubotanik tree tower rises in Germany

August 30, 2016 by  
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Baubotanik, or Living Plant Constructions, is the brainchild of architect Dr. Ferdinand Ludwig who found inspiration in the ancient art of tree shaping that’s spanned cultures worldwide, from medieval European topiary to Japanese bonsai . Baubotanik puts a modern spin on the natural process of grafting by adding metal scaffolding and other construction materials to transform the trees into a load-bearing structure. Over time, the exposed tree tissue grows around and bonds with the man-made materials. Related: India’s Amazing Tree Bridges Are Made of Living Roots and Vines! After years of research, Ludwig found that the most suitable tree species were those that are flexible and fast growing, such as sycamore/plane tree, poplar, birch, and hornbeam. While willow , a favorite material among tree sculptors like Patrick Dougherty , initially met Ludwig’s standards, he now avoids them citing problems with rot and durability. Ludwig and the Baubotanik Research Group have completed three seminal works over the last decade that test these botanically inspired building methods. In 2005, Ludwig collaborated with architect Oliver Storz and sculptor Cornelius Hackenbracht to grow and construct a footbridge made from willow trees and metal scaffolding. Stainless steel tubes were inserted between young willow saplings that eventually grew around the material until the tube was fully embedded. The tubes are used as handrails for the 2.5-meter-tall elevated walking surface made from steel grates that’s supported by the tree “columns.” Another early Baubotanik creation is the three-story-tall willow tower with a height of nearly nine meters and an eight-square-meter footprint. Unlike the footbridge, the tower design began with temporary steel tube scaffolding anchored into the ground. Containers of willow were inserted in the structure and watered constantly to encourage fast growth. The architects shaped the willow saplings into crisscrossing formations and drilled them in place with screws to preserve the contorted shapes. The metal scaffolding will be removed once the living structure is stable enough to support itself. The Plane-Tree-Cube Nagold is the biggest Baubotanik building to date and the first of its kind to be developed for an urban environment. Created for a 2012 regional horticultural show in Nagold, the award-winning building is constructed from live sycamore and a massive metal scaffolding structure that serves as a temporary base. The sycamore is shaped over time using pipes, regulators, sensors, and valves. The public was invited to enter the treehouse and climb its three levels. Like the tower, the Plane-Tree-Cube was developed so that the metal scaffolding can be removed once the shaped sycamores have achieved a stable state. Part sculpture and part architecture, these beautiful Baubotanik buildings are no replacement for conventional construction practices. Not only are they time and labor intensive, but they also demand ongoing maintenance as living, breathing structures. However, these thought provoking buildings aren’t for naught. They encourage us to embrace biodesign , harness nature’s existing benefits, and design with nature to create a more sustainable future. + Baubotanik Via ArchDaily Images via Baubotanik

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Living Baubotanik tree tower rises in Germany

INTERVIEW: Queen of tiny living Felice Cohen on her new guidebook for small spaces

August 30, 2016 by  
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Our story on New Yorker Felice Cohen’s incredibly micro 90-square-foot apartment went viral when we first published it back in 2012, and now the author, organizer and speaker is sharing her tiny living experiences in a new book entitled 90 Lessons for Living Large in 90 Square Feet (…or more) . Felice was kind enough to share some of her tiny living tips with us recently on our NYC site — click through to see what she has to say about making the most of a minuscule abode.

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INTERVIEW: Queen of tiny living Felice Cohen on her new guidebook for small spaces

Facebook’s solar-powered drone beams internet in flight for the first time

July 22, 2016 by  
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The long-awaited first flight of Facebook’s solar-powered, internet-beaming drone went off without a hitch just a few weeks ago. Yesterday, the social media giant finally shared video footage of Aquila’s first flight, which took place on June 28. The flight lasted 96 minutes and came just one month after the plane’s initial test flights, as Facebook scrambles to make up some of the lost time the project has suffered due to multiple delays. CEO Mark Zuckerberg attended the flight, watching from the ground as the solar-powered airplane took off before dawn near Yuma, Arizona. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eOez_Hk80TI Facebook (and more specifically the Facebook Connectivity Lab) has been teasing the tech world for nearly two years with its plans for a solar-powered unmanned airplane (or simply, a drone) that could someday beam internet service. The vision is for a slew of these high-tech drones to fly simultaneously, all beaming down internet signal to create a worldwide network of free access. Although Facebook’s engineers have been hard at work on the drone technology, the company isn’t taking on the data service portion of the dream just yet. The California-based company will instead look to a partner to provide the network service, just as soon as they find a suitable match. Related: Facebook unveils solar-powered Aquila plane that will beam internet to remote locations Zuckerberg posted about the plane’s technology on Facebook this morning, revealing his optimism for the project’s future. “Our original mission was to fly Aquila for 30 minutes, but things went so well that we decided to keep the plane up for 96 minutes,” he wrote. “We gathered lots of data about our models and the aircraft structure—and after two years of development, it was emotional to see Aquila actually get off the ground.” Aquila’s wingspan is wider than that of a Boeing 737, but the plane is ultra lightweight for its size, coming in under 1,000 lbs. Each plane is designed to circle in a 60-mile radius, consuming only 5,000 watts of electricity (the equivalent of running three hair dryers). The solar-powered drones will fly at 60,000 feet, which is above the clouds, ensuring that they can harvest enough solar energy to power the plane through the day and night. In fact, the end goal is to fly the drones for months at a time, so continuous access to the sun’s rays is key. Test flights were originally planned for summer 2015 , but the technology wasn’t ready, so the timeline was delayed. More information about the project’s technical challenges and next steps is available in this post by Facebook’s engineering team. Via Recode Images via Facebook

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Facebook’s solar-powered drone beams internet in flight for the first time

NASA inks first contract for the supersonic passenger jet of our dreams

March 1, 2016 by  
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Nearly 70 years ago, pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 rocket plane (currently on display at the Smithsonian). Now, NASA has announced they will build on that historic flight with a contract to design a supersonic passenger jet. Read the rest of NASA inks first contract for the supersonic passenger jet of our dreams

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NASA inks first contract for the supersonic passenger jet of our dreams

Sunseeker Duo Plane Inches Closer to World’s First Solar-Powered Passenger Flights

April 25, 2014 by  
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We’ve been tracking the progress of the world’s first solar-powered two-seater airplane since the Sunseeker Duo made its initial public appearance in Friedrichshafen, Germany nearly one year ago. Since then, the plane was transported to Italy where it successfully completed seven test flights . Now, European company Solar Flight has announced that its Sunseeker Duo has made major advancements towards the goal of passengers flights this summer. Read the rest of Sunseeker Duo Plane Inches Closer to World’s First Solar-Powered Passenger Flights Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “solar energy” , alternative energy , electric airplane , green transportation , renewable energy , solar flight , solar-powered planes , solar-powered two-seater airplane , Sunseeker Duo

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Sunseeker Duo Plane Inches Closer to World’s First Solar-Powered Passenger Flights

INFOGRAPHIC: Which Countries Travel the Most by Train, Plane, Car, and Bike

January 3, 2014 by  
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The average American drives almost 10% less each year than they did a decade ago – but that’s still a lot! In 2010, Americans travelled 40% further by road than Canadians, 60% further than Australians, and twice as far as Brits. Shrink That Footprint just launched a new infographic that shows which countries lead the way for miles traveled by train, plane, and bike – check it out after the break! The article above was submitted to us by an Inhabitat reader. Want to see your story on Inhabitat ? Send us a tip by following this link . Remember to follow our instructions carefully to boost your chances of being chosen for publishing! Read the rest of INFOGRAPHIC: Which Countries Travel the Most by Train, Plane, Car, and Bike Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: american drivers , green lifestyle , green transportation , infographic , shrink that footprint , sustainable transportation , transportation in the usa , us transportation infographic        

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INFOGRAPHIC: Which Countries Travel the Most by Train, Plane, Car, and Bike

MIT’s Autonomous Robot Plane Navigates Indoor Obstacles Without GPS

August 13, 2012 by  
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  Academic and industry researchers have been obsessed with the idea of autonomous robotic vehicles for decades, and now it seems that a group at MIT might have brought the world one step closer. Members of MIT’s Robust Robotics Group recently released a video of an autonomous robotic airplane that can successfully navigate around indoor obstacles without the use of GPS. Using an an algorithm for  determining its “state”  — its location, physical orientation, velocity and acceleration — the plane successfully threaded its way among pillars in the parking garage under MIT’s Stata Center. Read the rest of MIT’s Autonomous Robot Plane Navigates Indoor Obstacles Without GPS Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags:

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Berlin’s Technik Museum is Topped with a Historic Candy Bomber Plane

May 23, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Berlin’s Technik Museum is Topped with a Historic Candy Bomber Plane Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “wind power” , ‘Candy Bomber’ , Architecture , German Museum of Technology , kreuzberg , renewable energy , Rosinenbomber , Technik Museum , windmill

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Edmonton Airport’s Beautiful New Living Green Wall Works To Clean The Air

May 23, 2012 by  
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Read the rest of Edmonton Airport’s Beautiful New Living Green Wall Works To Clean The Air Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: “green wall” , “living wall” , “sustainable architecture” , airport , canada , clean air , eco design , Edmonton , edmonton airport , edmonton international airport , fresh air , green architecture , Green Building , green design , green over grey , green wall installation , indoor air quality , Landscape Architecture , living green wall , stantec , Stantec Architecture , Sustainable Building , sustainable design , vertical garden

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Edmonton Airport’s Beautiful New Living Green Wall Works To Clean The Air

Turning Commercial Jets into Hybrids

November 10, 2011 by  
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A company called WheelTug has devised a way for commercial airplanes to run on electricity at slow speeds, much like a hybrid vehicle does. The WheelTug system includes a pair of electric motors embedded in an airplane’s nose wheel which provide power for backing the plane away from the gate and for taxiing up to 28 mph. The electricity for the motors is provided by the auxiliary power unit of the plane, a small engine located at the back of the aircraft used for running lights and the ventilation system when the main engines are off. The auxiliary power unit uses only about half a gallon of fuel per minute compared to two gallons per minute for each of the main engines.  The WheelTug allows a plane to taxi without use of the main engines and to back from the gate without the help of a diesel-fueled tug, cutting down significantly on fuel use while a plane is on the ground. Another advantage to creating hybrid jets is that planes will spend less time on the ground since they won’t have to wait for a tug.  Also, by running the main engines less, engines will sustain less damage. The company has just signed a deal to outfit 20 El Al jets with the system and hopes to get certification from European and American aviation regulators by early 2013. via NY Times Green Blog

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