Swinging robot inspired by sloths could help future farmers

April 17, 2017 by  
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Over 7 billion people live on Earth, which means feeding our growing population will require us to produce food more efficiently than we are now. Could Robots could help us ramp up food production? Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech) scientists believe so. They designed Tarzan, a robot inspired by swinging sloths, that could help future farmers more effectively monitor their crops . Take a look at the video below to see Tarzan in action. Tarzan is a two-armed robot that would hang suspended above a field on a wire, and move back and forth by swinging – like the mammal infamous for being lazy. But robot Tarzan is anything but lazy; it could snap images of plants and send them back to the farmer so either a human or an algorithm could analyze crop growth. Georgia Tech mechanical engineering assistant professor Jonathan Rogers said in a video, “What that’s going to allow people to do is essentially have an automated way to analyze how their crops are doing and what their crops need in real time, and maybe even providing that to their crops without them having to go walk the field themselves.” Related: World’s first robot-run farm to churn out 11 million heads of lettuce per year Georgia Tech researchers will take Tarzan to the field this summer at a four acre test field growing soybeans near Athens, Georgia . Plant geneticists from the University of Georgia used to have to walk the fields taking notes on crop growth there in the hot July sun, but Tarzan could help them analyze the crops more efficiently. According to the university, “With Georgia Tech robots dangling over the field, UGA researchers will be able to get more frequent measurements and to avoid some laborious field work. Someday, they may be able to stay at their laptops miles away, in the air conditioning, scanning a steady stream of images and data sent back from the robots.” As sloths are energy efficient , the team is working on making their robot sloth energy efficient and envision it powered by the sun one day. Via Georgia Tech and Wired Images via Georgia Tech and Eric Kilby on Flickr

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Swinging robot inspired by sloths could help future farmers

Thailands first LEED Platinum vertical village to rise in Bangkok

April 17, 2017 by  
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Thailand’s wealthiest man, Charoen Sirivadhanabhakdi, has teamed up with architecture firm SOM to plan One Bangkok, a $3.5 billion project that will be first in Thailand to target LEED Platinum certification for Neighborhood Development. Located in the heart of the capital next to Lumphini Park, the 16.7-acre mixed-use development is one of the largest private-sector developments in Thailand to date. The “people-centric” project will include luxury amenities, public spaces, and sustainable design technologies to reduce energy use. SOM designed One Bangkok to “foster community and promote well-being in a dense urban environment” using attractive streetscapes, eight acres of public plazas, and a mixed-use program. In addition to public space, the 1.83-million-square-meter project will comprise five Grade-A office towers, five luxury hotels, three luxury residential towers, and retail. An estimated 60,000 people are expected to live and work in the district upon completion in 2025. Related: SOM designs pedestrian-friendly revamp for the heart of Philadelphia To achieve LEED Platinum certification for Neighborhood Development, One Bangkok will centralize energy and water-management systems to maximize efficiency. The landscape optimizes stormwater management efficiency by reducing runoff and retaining rainwater onsite for absorption and return to groundwater. Green spaces are also integrated into the buildings on higher levels, from cascading green terraces to networks of sky gardens. The first stage of One Bangkok is expected to open in 2021. + SOM Renderings via SOM , Diagram via PPtv Thailand

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Thailands first LEED Platinum vertical village to rise in Bangkok

Gorgeous bamboo gridshell combines Cambodian design with mathematical forms

April 17, 2017 by  
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Mathematics is beautiful, a truth not lost on architects. Luca Poian Forms designed a gorgeous bamboo pavilion that draws inspiration from the Enneper minimal surface for its striking appearance. Conceived as a landmark structure for Phnom Penh’s Freedom Park, the pavilion combines innovative digital tools with low-tech and sustainable bamboo construction that also references traditional Cambodian design. Created as a submission for the Building Trust’s Camboo Bamboo Landmark Design Challenge , Luca Poian Form’s proposal responds to the competition’s call for an innovative and temporary pavilion to help popularize bamboo as a modern and desirable material in Cambodia. The architects designed a structure that uses locally sourced bamboo in ways both familiar and novel to Cambodia. The sculptural pavilion’s split bamboo roofing references traditional weaving while its undulating arches are inspired by the Ennerper surface as well as the radiating arms of the ancient Goddess Prajnaparamita. Related: Zaha Hadid Architects Win Bid to Design Mathematics Gallery in London’s Science Museum “Known for its characteristic tensile strength, bamboo is a building material that lends itself excellently to the construction of sustainable grid-shell structures,” wrote the architects. “Celebrating the material’s qualities, our proposal derives a grid-shell pattern from the trajectory of the structure’s principal stresses under gravity, effectively eliminating shear forces and maximising the pavilion’s overall stiffness. The result is highly sculptural, structurally coherent, and spatially expressive: a structure that is timeless in its architectural language and innovative in its structural and tectonic approach.” The 110-square-meter pavilion design received an honorable mention in the design competition. + Luca Poian Forms Via divisare Images via Luca Poian Forms

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Gorgeous bamboo gridshell combines Cambodian design with mathematical forms

Drones weave moth-inspired pavilion from carbon fiber threads

April 12, 2017 by  
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The buildings of the future could be built with the help of drones . The unmanned aerial vehicles were put to the test in the University of Stuttgart’s latest robotically constructed pavilion, the cantilevering ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2016-17. Inspired by leaf miner moths, the biomimetic pavilion is lightweight yet incredibly strong and is made from 184 kilometers of resin-impregnated glass and carbon fiber. Created as part of a series of digitally fabricated pavilions, the ICD/ITKE Research Pavilion 2016-17 explores the potential of fiber composite materials in architecture and scalable fabrication processes. Spanning twelve meters in length, the cantilevering research pavilion has a surface area of approximately 40 square meters that weighs 1,000 kilograms. Its woven design draws inspiration from the silk “hammocks” spun by the larvae of leaf miner moths. The pavilion was constructed with two different types of robots : flying drones and stationary machines. Two stationary machines were set up on the far points of the pavilion and were equipped with industrial robotic arms strong enough to wind the carbon fiber threads. The drones were used to pass the fiber between the two stationary machines. The two types of robots communicated without the need for human intervention using an integrated sensor interface that collected real-time data. Related: Robots weave an insect-inspired carbon-fiber forest in London “The pavilion’s overall geometry demonstrates the possibilities for fabricating structural morphologies through multi-stage volumetric fibre winding, reducing unnecessary formwork through an integrated bending-active composite frame, and increasing the possible scale and span of construction through integrating robotic and autonomous lightweight UAV fabrication processes,” wrote the interdisciplinary team. “The prototypical pavilion is a proof-of-concept for a scalable fabrication processes of long-span, fibre composite structural elements, suitable for architectural applications.” + University of Stuttgart ICD Photographs by Burggraf / Reichert

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Drones weave moth-inspired pavilion from carbon fiber threads

Robots construct an art gallery in Shanghai from recycled gray bricks

March 3, 2017 by  
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Archi-Union Architects have completed an unusual art exhibition space in Shanghai with the help of robots. Created for the Chi She artist group, the building in the city’s Xuhui district was built with recycled gray-green bricks salvaged from a former building. Designed with both traditional and contemporary elements, the Chi She exhibition space features an unusual protrusion made possible with advanced digital fabrication technology. The 200-square-meter Chi She exhibition space was built to replace a former historic building, the materials of which were salvaged and reused in the new construction. While the zigzagging roof has been raised and reconstructed from timber, the most eye-catching difference between the old and new buildings is the part of the wall above the entrance door that bulges out. The architects used a robotic masonry fabrication technique developed by Fab-Union to create the curved wall, which would have been difficult to precisely achieve with traditional means. Related: WeWork’s new coworking space in Shanghai features salvaged materials from the city’s past “The precise positioning of the integrated equipment of robotic masonry fabrication technique and the construction elaborately to the mortar and bricks by the craftsmen makes this ancient material, brick, be able to meet the requirements in the new era, and realizes the presentation of the design model consummately,” wrote the architects. “The dilapidation of these old bricks coordinated with the stretch display of the curving walls are narrating a connection between people and bricks, machines and construction, design and culture, which will be spread permanently in the shadow of external walls under the setting sun.” + Archi-Union Architects Via ArchDaily Images © Su Shengliang

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Meet Gita, an intelligent autonomous cargo robot that can carry your stuff

February 8, 2017 by  
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https://youtu.be/OVRI7pEmKkg At just 22-inches-tall, Gita (meaning “fast trip” in Italian) can move at speeds up to 22 miles per hour, with the capacity to carry up to 40 pounds and a zero turning radius that lets it navigate easily through even the most complex environments. It also has a communicative personality along with the ability to learn and navigate both indoors and out, provided it has the guidance of a human. When on the move, it can either follow you as you walk, or navigate independently in places it is familiar with. Related: Chrysler unveils all-electric self-driving Portal car “designed by millennials for millennials” In terms of its design, it features a sleek and shiny surface, with compartments that barely show their presence. It has large rubber tire treats, with LED lights embedded that illuminate in various colors, along with cameras positioned throughout the body to help Gita navigate. According to Kris Naudus at Engadget, Gita’s main compartment was big enough to store his work backpack and contents, including a 14-inch notebook computer laid flat, with some room to spare on the edges. For those seeking to lug larger loads, Piaggio is currently working on Gita’s sibling, Kilo, which will be able to carry up to 200 pounds. Gita is currently not available to purchase, but Piaggio Fast Forward is in the process of sending the helpers out on business-to-business missions, with an eye toward consumer applications. + Piaggio Fast Forward Via Businesswire and Engadget, Images via Piaggio Fast Forward

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Meet Gita, an intelligent autonomous cargo robot that can carry your stuff

Elon Musk says well need a universal basic income when all jobs are automated

November 8, 2016 by  
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In a recent interview with CNBC , SpaceX and Tesla CEO Elon Musk discussed the future of work, where many of us may not have jobs at all. As more and more positions become automated by software or robots, Musk says, world governments will eventually have to step up: “There is a pretty good chance we end up with a universal basic income, or something like that, due to automation. Yeah, I am not sure what else one would do. I think that is what would happen.” The idea of a universal basic income is not new. Earlier this year, Swiss voters were asked whether or not all citizens should receive 2,500 Swiss francs ($2,578 US) per month. Ultimately, the plan was rejected at the ballot box, but the fact that it was brought to a national level has many considering the idea. Finland, for instance, is already gearing up to test a universal basic income experiment involving 8,000 people. The sum these citizens could receive is far shy of what was proposed in Switzerland – only 800 Euros per month – and during the trial period the amount will be even lower. A similar test in planned for the Dutch city of Utrecht in 2017 will provide 250 residents with a flat sum of 960 Euros monthly. While the idea is gaining traction in Europe, American politicians have been more cautious. President Obama addressed the idea in an interview this summer, saying it was a debate that would be had “over the next 10 or 20 years.” Related: 20 Dutch cities plan to roll out guaranteed basic income for residents in 2016 While it’s easy to get swept up into a sense of doom and gloom at the idea of robots stealing our jobs, Musk goes on to elaborate in the interview that there are benefits to this type of increased automation: “People will have time to do other things, more complex things, more interesting things. Certainly more leisure time.” Though tech CEOs like Musk may see complete automation as the ultimate outcome of their work, others disagree. Blogger Eve Peyser at Gizmodo writes, “Sure, jobs will become obsolete, but we can utilize the technology we invent to create new jobs. Especially in the United States, we define ourselves by our labor; your labor and its fruits determine every aspect of your identity.” In the end, it’s impossible to say exactly what the workforce of the future will look like, or what it will mean. For now, anyway. Via Gizmodo Images via 401(K) 2012 and OnInnovation  

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Shape-shifting "apartment in a box" by MIT and Yves Bhar hits stores next year

July 12, 2016 by  
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https://vimeo.com/173697166 Particularly useful in very small spaces , Ori is comprised of oh-so-many moving parts. In a unit roughly the footprint of a twin-size bed, Ori contains a sleeping surface, closet, drawers, workstation, and lots of additional storage. After the prototype was created in 2014, the Ori team set about field testing the unit by installing a few in Boston apartments and then renting them out via Airbnb. About 30 guests were able to test out the Ori unit, play with its controls and features, and report back about what they loved and what they didn’t. Related: Watch this MIT researcher triple the size of a 200-square-foot apartment using Minority Report-like gestures The study helped inform the final commercial design for Ori, which will go into mass production this year and most likely hit the market in 2017. (A queen bed model of the transforming unit will also be available.) Some of the functionality has been tweaked for universal appeal. For instance, the original robotic prototype could be controlled with the wave of a hand or a simple voice command, not unlike what we see in science fiction movies. The final product excludes that feature and will instead be controlled from a button panel located on one side of the unit. However, the makers recognize that some users are more advanced than others, so each unit will have smartphone capabilities that allow development of custom apps in the future. The team called on San Francisco-based designer to create a more aesthetic appeal for the robotic fixture. Béhar said in a statement that the Ori unit will be available in a variety of customized finishes, materials, and colors, and will make “studio city living a practical, comfortable, and beautiful experience.” Perhaps the best part? Never having to make the bed since, as the designer points out, it will be “automatically made by having it glide away and disappear.” + Ori Systems + Yves Béhar Via Fast Company Images via Ori

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MIT is 3D printing fully-functional robots that can walk right off the printer

April 7, 2016 by  
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MIT researchers just made a giant leap for robot-kind, by creating a working robot using 3D-printing . The breakthrough could lead to a world of ready-made machines that come off the production line needing only a motor and a battery. The initial prototype is tiny, but demonstrates that a 3D printer with inkjet nozzles can work together to print both liquid and solids, with a little help from UV light. Read the rest of MIT is 3D printing fully-functional robots that can walk right off the printer

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Watch a team of robots 3D-print a suite of curious curved chairs

February 11, 2016 by  
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