The world’s most compact electric bike folds to fit into your backpack

May 25, 2017 by  
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Forget traditional bikes or skateboards – the future of green transportation is the Smacircle S1 , an incredibly compact and lightweight electric bike that can be folded up and carried in your backpack. Introduced to the world via an IndieGoGo campaign , the invention has surpassed its startup goal by 281% – and it’s not difficult to comprehend why. The carbon fiber S1 eBike can be folded in five simple steps and can travel up to 12.4 mph. Additionally, though it only weighs 15.4 lbs, the eBike can hold 220 lbs. According to the founders of the Smacircle S1, the road-legal ergonomic design folds to 19-inches and, with a 240W motor, can propel commuters in quick fashion without the need to pedal. On a single charge, the eBike can deliver a distance of 12 miles. After being plugged into any domestic power socket for 2.5 hours, it is ready to go again. The invention is road-legal and provides both front and side lights to make it highly visible to vehicles, pedestrians and other cyclists on the road. Electric brakes allow the bike to quickly stop to prevent accidents. The S1 automatically syncs to your smartphone when you approach, and an app unlocks the eBike. This feature prevents the invention from being stolen, as the accelerator deactivates until the original owner unlocks the S1. Other features of the app include the ability to adjust the lights’ intensity, track routes traveled and monitor speed and battery life. Once they’re rolling, commuters can attach their phones to the handlebars to keep the device fully charged, thanks to a built-in USB charger. Related: Make Your Own Electric Bicycle With the Ultimate DIY Ebike Guide The initial crowdfunding goal was set at $30,000 – but the project surpassed its goal by 281% in just five days. According to the founders, the next crowdfunding campaign will attempt to reach $300,000 to “put the next generation eBike into mass production.” The starting price for an S1 eBike is $1,499. + Smacircle S1 Images via Smacircle S1 IndieGoGo campaign

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The world’s most compact electric bike folds to fit into your backpack

Worlds largest floating solar farm is now generating energy in China

May 25, 2017 by  
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A 40-megawatt solar farm in the South Anhui province of China is finally online and generating renewable energy . Larger than floating farms in Australia and India, the mass of solar panels is the largest in the world can produce enough clean energy to power homes in the area. Though the city of Huainan is known for its coal-rich land, the Chinese government decided to invest in a floating solar farm because the rainy weather has resulted in flooding. In certain areas, water is four to ten meters deep. The cooler air at the surface helps to minimize the risk of the solar panels overheating. As a result, a decrease in performance is prevented. As Daily Commercial News  reports , the panels are linked up to a central inverter and combiner box. Both are supplied by Sungrow and are customized to work with floating power plants. This ensures they are resistant to high levels of humidity and spray from the water. Related: How a small tribe in Nevada shut down coal and built a solar farm A spokesperson for the government said, “The plant in Huainan not only makes full use of this area, reducing the demand for land, but also improves generation due to the cooling effects of the surface.” China may be one of the most polluted countries on the planet, but the government is investing in green energy initiatives to offset that reputation. Now that Huainan is home to the world’s largest floating solar farm , it is likely to become a leader in renewable energy production. + Sungrow Via  Daily Commercial News Images via Sungrow , Pixabay

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Worlds largest floating solar farm is now generating energy in China

Architects cracked this concrete building to fill its interior with daylight

May 17, 2017 by  
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Usually, architects avoid creating a building full of cracks. But the beautiful concrete facade of this mixed-use building in Aarhus, Denmark was built with intentional imperfections. Copenhagen-based architecture studio Sleth designed the building with a facade of cracked concrete that provides a glimpse of the illuminated interior and references the industrial history of the city’s Sonnesgade district. The Sonnesgade building, realized by the architects as a design-build project, revitalizes an existing industrial construction and consists of three stacked layers of long office floors. It was designed to reflect its surroundings and the transformation of the old freight terminal area into a lively cultural district. It facilitates interaction between the floors, with open-plan areas and flexible office spaces . Related: Berlin’s Tchoban Foundation Museum shelters architectural history within an energy-saving, hand-drawn concrete facade Storage and parking areas are tucked away underneath the landscaping. A sloped asphalt terrain surrounding the building forms outdoor areas for terraces, bikes and gardens, which grounds the project in the existing urban context. Thanks to its role in the rejuvenation of the area and the building’s expressive design, the project was nominated for the Architecture Award Mies Van der Rohe 2017. + Sleth architects Via Fubiz Photos by Rasmus Hjortshøj / C O A S T

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Architects cracked this concrete building to fill its interior with daylight

Daan Roosegaarde introduces smog-sucking, air-cleaning bikes

May 15, 2017 by  
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Daan Roosegaarde has been touring China with his Smog Free Project , showcasing the Smog Free Tower and encouraging people to find innovative solutions to address air pollution . He’s not out of ideas yet though; he’ll add to his tour with new smog-sucking bicycles . These bikes could work much like his Smog Free Tower does, absorbing dirty air , cleaning it, and pouring it back out as fresh air. Biking in a city polluted by smog isn’t healthy, so people are less inclined to ditch their cars and opt for a bicycle. Roosegaarde envisions an answer to that problem in a bike that can inhale dirty air, clean it, and pump it out around a cyclist. Related: China’s crazy smog-sucking vacuum tower might actually be working In a statement, Roosegaarde said, “ Beijing used to be an iconic bicycle city. We want to bring back the bicycle as a cultural icon of China and as the next step towards smog free cities.” The studio says the concept aligns with growing interest in bike sharing programs in China – like Mobike , which has over a million shareable bicycles in the Beijing area. There’s still a long way to go to slash pollution and traffic in the country’s capital, but the smog-sucking bicycle could offer a creative approach to the problem. The Smog Free Bicycle found its beginnings in a Studio Roosegaarde-hosted workshop at contemporary art museum M Woods in Beijing, featuring Professor Yang of Tsinghua University and artist Matt Hope, who worked on an idea for an air-filtering bike around four years ago . According to Studio Roosegaarde, the new smog-sucking bicycle is “currently in the first stage and is intended to become a medium for smog free cities, generating clean air by pedaling, and creating impact on the larger urban scale.” + Studio Roosegaarde Images via Studio Roosegaarde and Wikimedia Commons

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Daan Roosegaarde introduces smog-sucking, air-cleaning bikes

Snhetta’s Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion was Inspired by the Robust Landscape

May 13, 2017 by  
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Norway is perhaps best known for its coastal fjords , but the northern landscape has much to offer in its interior as well. Architecture firm Snøhetta took the opportunity to design a robust but low-impact building for visitors to immerse themselves in the Dovre Mountain plateau, home to musk oxen, arctic foxes and reindeer herds which roam amid a rich variety of plants and killer views. The pavilion is elemental in its use of a steel skin, glass walls and an extraordinary wood core which reads almost like a topographical map. The pavilion was commissioned by the Norwegian Wild Reindeer Foundation to allow visitors to behold the range of the reindeer. Snøhetta’s design for the center may have taken a cue from the Norwegian National Tourist Routes Project, which placed a series of Architectural refuges throughout the country. The pavilion is designed to withstand the harsh elements with a steel encasing protecting its wooden core. A bank of windows overlooks the Snøhetta Mountain from Tverrfjellet, a plateau at the elevation of 1,200 meters. The mythical landscape is reflected in part by a tremendous wooden wall inserted into the core of the pavilion. The robust organic quality of the wall was achieved by cutting large wooden beams on a CNC machine. The 25 cm square beams were then stacked and secured with wooden pegs to create the undulating effect. The wall looks as though it is deeply weathered, eroded by eons of wind and water. A bump out provides seating next to a suspended indoor fireplace, and the exterior has a similar seating arrangement. + Snøhetta Architects Via e-architect Photographs via  Snøhetta  and Klaas Van Ommeren

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Snhetta’s Norwegian Wild Reindeer Centre Pavilion was Inspired by the Robust Landscape

Worlds largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands

May 9, 2017 by  
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Dutch officials have increased the country’s clean energy repertoire with the world’s largest offshore wind farm . Opened on Monday, Gemini wind park has 150 wind turbines spinning approximately 53 miles (85 kilometers) off the northern coast of The Netherlands ; the project is capable of generating about 600 megawatts at full winds – enough to power 785,000 Dutch households. The wind park, which was conceived in 2010 and cost $3 billion (2.8-billion-euro), comprises a collaboration between Canadian renewable energy company Northland Power, wind turbine producer Siemens Wind Power, Dutch maritime contractor Van Oord and the waste processing company HVC. “We are now officially in the operational stage,” said Matthias Haag, the company’s managing director, in a press release.” This been “quite a complex” operation, Haag added, “particularly as this wind park lies relatively far offshore… so it took quite a lot of logistics.” Over the next 15 years, the Gemini wind park will be able to generate about 13 percent of the country’s total renewable energy supply or about 25 percent of its wind power . This, in turn, will meet the energy requirements of about 1.5 million people. Related: Scotland’s latest wind farm will help fund 500 new affordable homes Phys.org estimates that the wind park will help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 1.25 billion tons. Fossil fuels continue to make up approximately 95 percent of The Netherland’s energy supply, according to a 2016 report from the ministry of economics affairs. However, by sourcing 14 percent of its energy from clean sources – including wind and solar – by 2025, the Dutch country will be en route to becoming carbon neutral by 2050. Hopefully, the example The Netherlands has set will inspire other countries to follow suit in an effort to curb climate change . Via Phys

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Worlds largest offshore wind farm opens in The Netherlands

Brilliant conductive wallpaper shows the energy running through your walls

May 9, 2017 by  
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What if your wallpaper provided power for your house? Working in collaboration with Brooklyn’s Flavor Paper , UM Project just unveiled an amazing line of conductive wallpaper that displays embedded circuitry instead of hiding it in your walls. The coolest part is that the funky wall panels rely on human touch to complete each circuit, allowing you switch on your lights and appliances in a whole new way. Related:Light Up Your Walls with Mestyle’s LED-Embedded Wallpaper The wall panels feature conductive, water-based ink circuits connected to metal strips and copper dots. One simple touch completes each circuit, turning connected electronics on or off. The wall coverings combine 2D and 3D elements to create one very unique design feature for homes or offices. The conductive wallpaper was recently showcased at the collective design fair during a NYCxDESIGN event. Although just a conceptual design at the moment, the innovative product could send some serious waves through the world of wall decor. + UM Project Conductive Wallpaper Via Uncrate Photography by Francis Dzikowski/OTTO

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Flexible Garden Modules make it easy to build your own green wall

April 27, 2017 by  
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Architects and twin sisters Luisa + Lilian Parrado are on a mission to make it easy to add a stylish splash of green to your walls. The designers created Garden Module, a customizable modular wall system with a minimalist appearance. Made of steel tubes strung together with polypropylene string, these simple and three-dimensional wall modules can support up to two potted plants at a time and can be expanded to create a sprawling wall of green. The Garden Module was recently recognized at the 2017 European Product Design Award , where it received bronze. The modules are built of either white or black carbon steel tubes that are easily assembled into triangle formations. Each module comes with two triangular concrete bases that fit inside the steel tube frame and are strong enough to support potted plants without the need of screws. Related: Flower Tower: 380 Potted Plants Line Parisian Apartment Facade “This project was born from the necessity of creating a green wall without the complexity of the traditional one,” write the designers. “From a single module you can create a three-dimensional panel with most varied combinations. Its irregular shape allows flexible compositions according to taste, purpose and destination: aligned, mixed, spread or contained.” + Luisa + Lilian Parrado Images by Bruna Hosti

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Flexible Garden Modules make it easy to build your own green wall

Elon Musk’s latest company aims to make us cyborgs within the next four years

April 21, 2017 by  
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Elon Musk must not be busy enough with his Boring company , Space X and Tesla , because he just became CEO of another company, and this one has a goal of turning us all into cyborgs .  Neuralink,  a  San Francisco -based startup says they are “developing ultra high bandwidth brain -machine interfaces to connect humans and computers ” and Musk says he hopes to start delivering by 2021. Musk hinted that he was working on neural lacing last year , though details were scant, but he has never been shy about his opinion that we should be connecting our brains to computers. According to TechCrunch, Musk wants to make that leap with Neuralink. He wants to integrate our brains and computers, or allow us to connect cloud-based artificial intelligence computing with our selves. This could allow humans to communicate directly with each other, instead of having to compress thoughts into language. Related: Elon Musk says new company will start drilling under LA next month It sounds like science fiction. Musk explained it in detail to Tim Urban of Wait But Why . Musk said we already are cyborgs; we’ve “already kind of merged” with smartphones and laptops. He added, “You’re already digitally superhuman. The thing that would change is the interface – having a high-bandwidth interface to your digital enhancements. The thing is that today, the interface all necks down to this tiny straw, which is, particularly in terms of output, it’s like poking things with your meat sticks, or using words – either speaking or tapping things with fingers. And in fact, output has gone backwards. It used to be, in your most frequent form, output would be ten-finger typing. Now, it’s like, two-thumb typing. That’s crazy slow communication. We should be able to improve that by many orders of magnitude with a direct neural interface.” Neuralink’s product probably won’t be ready for the public any time soon – it could be eight to 10 years for people without disabilities, according to Musk, who said the timeline depends both on regulatory approval and how well the devices could work for disabled people. If you want to dig more into the project, Urban wrote a 36,000-word explanation . About the piece, Musk said on Twitter , “Difficult to dedicate the time, but existential risk is too high not to.” Via Wait What Why ,  The Next Web and TechCrunch Images via OnInnovation on Flickr and Max Pixel

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This futuristic metal-clad residence is segmented like a lobster tail

April 5, 2017 by  
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This futuristic residential building in Luxembourg has a segmented facade that resembles the tail of a lobster or an exotic insect. Design studio Metaform sought to eliminate some of the major problems that occur in multi-family housing projects – such as the lack of privacy, natural light , and open space. Metaform approached the project in an experimental way in order to respond to the steep topography and preserve the existing three-century-old trees located on the plot. These elements inspired the form of the building, which is split into six smaller, vertically shifted blocks. This allowed the designers to preserve the required density while providing residents with a sense of belonging, identity and human scale. Thanks to the resulting layout, the units receive ample amounts of natural light and have panoramic views of the surrounding landscape and the city. Related: Innovative Gap House in Seoul saves space with communal living areas The ventilated facade is clad in triangular aluminium panels . Passive house design features work together with a well-insulated facade and glass elements coated with anti-UV film that protects the interior from overheating. Solar panels and living roofs round out the home’s green building strategies, ensuring low-energy performance. Related: Belles Townhomes is SF’s First LEED Platinum Multi-Family Housing The design eliminates long, horizontal circulation routes, which can often be dark and acoustically problematic. Three vertical cores connect underground parking directly to the apartments–an element that allows the units to have three-sided orientations. Apart from offering privacy, the architects also wanted to give residents the possibility to meet and get to know each other in common shared indoor spaces like kitchens and living rooms. + Metaform Via v2 com Photos by Steve Troes Fotodesign

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