Zaha Hadid Architects 3D prints an experimental structure with the help of robots

April 6, 2017 by  
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Robots are revolutionizing architecture and Zaha Hadid Architects is hopping on board to show what that technology can do for custom building design. The world-renowned architecture firm unveiled Thallus, a beautifully ornate experimental structure created with the help of robots for Milan Design Week’s White in the City. The sculpture was programmed and executed by the firm’s Computation Design (ZHA CoDe) research group. Located at Milan’s Brera Academy, Thallus joins a series of temporary installations all created for White in the City , a project that explores the color white as a symbol of health, sustainability, and serenity. Thallus is named after the Greek word for flora and features a tapered shape that opens up at the top like a flower or unfurled leaf. Six-axis robotic 3D printing technology was used to create the sculpture, made up of continuous and repeating loops. The nearly three-meter-tall Thallus was 3D printed from premium polylactide plastic . Related: MINI’s tiny innovative home for three purifies the air in Milan “The design explores differential growth methods through expansion and diffusion arising from a single continuous seed curve guided iteratively via simulation parameters while constrained to a reference surface,” writes the firm. “Density gradation and direction of growth have been defined by parameters such as proximity to boundaries, angled direction of rulings, as well as structural requirements.” Thallus is on display at the Pinacoteca di Brera from April 4 to April 9, 2017. + Zaha Hadid Architects Images by Luke Hayes

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Zaha Hadid Architects 3D prints an experimental structure with the help of robots

The robots eyeing my job

March 7, 2017 by  
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Beware the mechanization of everything, even desk-based knowledge workers. Even the bees are swarming.

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The robots eyeing my job

Why Sun Chemical sees solar as part of its cost-reduction strategy

March 7, 2017 by  
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Schneider Electric, the global specialist in energy management and automation, recently added another healthy dose of renewable energy to its portfolio.The company has announced the signing of a 20-year solar power purchase agreement (PPA) that will allow its client, Sun Chemical, to cut electricity costs at its Carlstadt, N.J., production facility by roughly $400,000. This extends the energy savings the company has realized through its partnership with Schneider, which runs into the millions.

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Why Sun Chemical sees solar as part of its cost-reduction strategy

Japanese scientists build tiny drone that pollinates like a bee

February 10, 2017 by  
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As concern over dwindling bee populations mounts, a team of chemists at a Japanese institution came up with a robotic solution. They designed pollinating drones : tiny machines that grab and deposit pollen in flowers . The scientists hope their drones won’t utterly replace bees, but would instead take some of the pressure off the remaining pollinators should more perish. Chemists from Japan’s National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology designed the little drones. On the underside of a two-inch G-Force PXY CAM drone they attached animal hair, and covered it in sticky gel. When the altered machines brushed up against Japanese lilies, they were able to pick up and drop off pollen. Related: Bees placed on the endangered species list for the very first time The journal Chem published a study this week about the advance. Paper co-author Eijiro Miyako told Gizmodo, “TV programs about the pollination crisis, honey bee decline, and the latest robotics emotionally motivated me. I thought we urgently needed to create something for these problems.” Miyako said this is the first instance of drones pollinating flowers, but the little machines aren’t yet ready to zoom out into the world. The scientists aim to add GPS, artificial intelligence , and high resolution cameras to the small machines, which also need to crawl inside certain plants, as bees do. Critics aren’t so convinced pollinating drones is the best solution to the worrying bee crisis. Biologist David Goulson of the United Kingdom’s University of Sussex wrote a blog post on the topic and said, “I would argue that it is exceedingly unlikely that we could ever produce something as cheap or as effective as bees themselves. Bees have been around and pollinating flowers for more than 120 million years; they have evolved to become very good at it. It is remarkable hubris to think that we can improve on that.” Goulson said there are roughly 3.2 trillion bees – which feed themselves at no cost to us but also give us honey – and argued to replace them with machines would be incredibly expensive. Gizmodo points out it could cost $100 per bee to employ pollinating drones. Plus, unless the machines could be made biodegradable , Goulson said we’d potentially experience a huge amount of drone litter. Via Gizmodo and Engadget Images via Eijiro Miyako and G-Force Hobby Facebook

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Japanese scientists build tiny drone that pollinates like a bee

Elon Musk sponsors helpful robot who may one day do your chores

July 27, 2016 by  
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Ever wished for a robot to do your chores? OpenAI , the open-source research organization sponsored by Elon Musk , is working on software that would allow robots to teach themselves the best way to accomplish chores. OpenAI is using robots developed by Fetch Robotics that, through a process of trial and error, could soon learn the best way to fold laundry or wash dishes. Fetch Robotics mainly makes robots that can help out in a warehouse, following workers around and collecting items to help save time. They also design their robots to work as a “platform for research and development.” When stretched out, their Fetch robot is 58.75 inches – that’s close to five feet tall. Equipped with a robotic arm with ” seven degrees of freedom ,” 3-D depth sensors, and a 2-D laser scanner, the robot could open up vast new possibilities for anyone who’s trying to save time. Related: MIT is 3D printing functional robots that could walk right off the printer OpenAI is finding that rather than programming a robot to clean the house, it is better to let robots learn how to do a chore. OpenAI’s software is designed to allow robots to develop a ” neural network ” as they learn the best way to accomplish a task, sometimes over thousands of attempts. According to MIT Technology Review, the focus on software rather than hardware indicates OpenAI may think software innovations will be the way to advance robotics, more than creating a shiny new robot. Imperial College London statistical machine learning lecturer Marc Deisenroth told MIT Technology Review, “If this goal can be achieved, then there will be economic and industrial benefits. Imagine a Roomba not only cleaning your floor but also doing the dishes, ironing the shirts, cleaning the windows, preparing breakfast.” Via Forbes and MIT Technology Review Images via Fetch Robotics

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Elon Musk sponsors helpful robot who may one day do your chores

ByFusion turns all types of ocean plastic into eco-friendly construction blocks

July 27, 2016 by  
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The problem of ocean waste, particularly the plastic variety , is a big one, and many creative people are working on ways to clean it up. Finding ways to repurpose the plastic debris  collected from the ocean is one component of that, and the U.S.-based startup ByFusion has responded with technology that recycles ocean plastic into durable construction blocks. This way, the plastic waste can be repurposed permanently, rather than being used to create another disposable plastic item that might wind up right back in our precious waterways. https://vimeo.com/167375932 The technology is based on a genius idea from New Zealand-based inventor Peter Lewis, who is a principal engineer with the company. His process involves a modular platform that compresses plastic debris into blocks of various shapes and densities, based on custom settings. The result is called RePlast, the company’s name for the recycled plastic building material. The RePlast system is portable, designed to run on gas or electric, and doesn’t require the plastic to be sorted or washed. Related: New report says plastic trash to exceed fish in the sea by 2050 ByFusion describes RePlast on its website as a “nearly 100-percent carbon neutral, non-toxic manufacturing process,” and says the bricks can help improve the eco-friendly status of building projects and contribute to LEED certification . So far, the recycled plastic blocks have been designed to be used in walls and road barriers, but the company is open to customizing the building material for use in other types of projects as well. Needing no glue or adhesives, RePlast blocks could represent the next wave of sustainable construction, since they are completely recycled from collected waste plastic (with no discrimination for plastic type) and have 95-percent lower greenhouse gas emissions than traditional concrete block. Due to the nature of plastic debris, the blocks are a lot more colorful, too. Via Sustainable Brands Images via ByFusion

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ByFusion turns all types of ocean plastic into eco-friendly construction blocks

Neglected London bakery transformed into beautiful luxury housing

July 27, 2016 by  
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Originally built in 1898, the newly renovated Bakery Place comprises a 12,000-square-foot Victorian-era site with three main buildings: the Bake House, the Lodge House, and the Coach Houses. Jo Cowen Architects transformed the buildings into 11 unique residential units that blend the buildings’ original history with comfortable modern living. Exposed brickwork, cast-iron columns, and cobblestone are paired with bright white-painted walls, light herringbone timber floors, and contemporary minimalist furnishings with an industrial-style twist. Related: MVRDV moves into an iconic post-war monument with their new colorful offices “Our vision for the scheme offers a contemporary and distinctive living environment that celebrates the history of the original buildings,” write the architects. “Our design blends the old and new with carefully selected and positioned materials used to draw attention to the detail and craftsmanship of the original.” A major element of the revamped buildings is the increased access to natural light , which pours through modular glazed screens and skylights. Double-height spaces draw daylight to the ground floor and create a spacious and airy feel. Interior designer Amelia McNeil and lighting firm Studio 29 also collaborated on the interior design. + Jo Cowen Architects Via Dezeen Images via Jo Cowen Architects

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Neglected London bakery transformed into beautiful luxury housing

Playful Blauhaus residence in North Carolina powered by geothermal energy

July 27, 2016 by  
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Blauhaus has a gabled roof section and a flat roof section joined together by an elevated roof deck . It is clad in cementitious siding and standing seam metal panels with red elements that accentuate the orthogonal geometry of the building. Its interior, filled with natural light, features bamboo floors and an open plan layout. Related: Apple Set to Build its Third Enormous Solar Farm in North Carolina The most entertaining part of the 3,700-square-foot house is a small “gargoyle” placed on the roof that creates a waterfall leading to the nearby creek. Blauhaus references the owner’s old home in Germany and uses geothermal energy for heating and cooling. The project has won the People’s Choice Award at this year’s Matsumoto Prize Awards organized by North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH). + STITCH Design Shop + North Carolina Modernist Houses (NCMH) Via Architect Magazine Photos by Adam Sebastian

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Playful Blauhaus residence in North Carolina powered by geothermal energy

Building Robotics’ Lindsay Baker on buildings that adapt to people

April 20, 2016 by  
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As the Internet of Things expands to include everything from our coffee mugs to our cat’s litter boxes to our bathroom mirrors, there is the further job of connecting people to all of these “things.”

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Building Robotics’ Lindsay Baker on buildings that adapt to people

What Apple’s reuse robot says about sustainability and tech

March 22, 2016 by  
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A robot that can take apart an iPhone is good for the visibility of green design, but it won’t fix environmental ills such as e-waste.

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What Apple’s reuse robot says about sustainability and tech

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