Amazon opens new grocery store sans checkout lines

January 23, 2018 by  
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You’ll never wait in checkout lines at Amazon’s new grocery store, Amazon Go . Shoppers enter the store via an app , grab the food they need, and then simply walk out. The first Amazon Go just opened for business in Seattle . Amazon is opening up their first Amazon Go, an 1,800-square-foot physical grocery store. People scan an app on their smartphones to enter, pick up whatever food they want to buy, and leave without the hassle of waiting in line. Once through the doors, users don’t need the app to shop – Amazon said in a video they drew on “ computer vision, deep learning algorithms, and sensor fusion, much like you’d find in self-driving cars” to make the concept a reality. The Next Web said cameras on store shelves track what customers grab. Related: You can now buy tiny shipping container homes on Amazon What can you purchase inside an Amazon Go? Similar to a regular old grocery store of the past, customers can pick up staples like milk and bread, alcohol, and ready-to-eat snacks, breakfast, lunch, or dinners to start. The company will also offer Amazon Meal Kits, which include ingredients to cook a meal for two people in around half an hour. #AmazonGo opens on Monday, January 22 in Seattle. Get the app to enter the store. See you soon! https://t.co/jt7quQ4rke pic.twitter.com/shIyrifZyk — Amazon.com (@amazon) January 21, 2018 The New York Times said there are no baskets or shopping carts – customers place the items they want in a bag they walk out with. And while there aren’t cashiers, an Amazon Go store still requires staff – to stock shelves, help shoppers with any technical issues, help them find items, and check identification in the beer and wine section. Amazon unveiled plans for Amazon Go back in late 2016 – but had to delay the launch because of some technical difficulties, according to The Next Web. But it appears they’re ready to go with this first location, which is at 2131 7th Avenue, and is open Monday through Friday from 7 AM to 9 PM. The app works for Android or iOS. Amazon has not yet said whether they’ll open more Amazon Go stores, or utilize the technology in other ways — like selling it to other retailers. + Amazon Go Via The Next Web and The New York Times Images via Amazon Twitter and Amazon

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Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’

December 6, 2017 by  
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As if Whole Foods  isn’t enough, Amazon is looking beyond your shopping list, and right into your backyard. As first spotted by The Modern Farmer , the tech giant has just received a patent for a network-based “gardening service” that would provide users with the ability to get personalized recommendations for everything from ideal plantings based on location to recipes, required tools, and much more, by simply snapping a photo of their yard. The service, which is essentially a smartphone app for the gardening-challenged, uses algorithms and image recognition software to evaluate conditions and make recommendations. While the tool at first seems a bit perfunctory, it is a lot more specific and personal than a simple Google search. Related: You can now buy tiny shipping container homes on Amazon For example, the patent tells a hypothetical story of a woman named Evelyn who just moved to Seattle and would like to cook a meal with the “unfamiliar” veggies growing in her garden. To get started, she snaps a photo of her yard and the gardening service determines she has mint, tomatoes, and cucumbers growing in one corner. As such, it recommends she makes a Greek salad. At the same time, the service may also see that she has a “large brick pizza oven structure [that] may shade the south-end of the backyard.” Knowing that, it might suggest Evelyn plant some wild ginger—”available at the electronic marketplace” for purchase (of course), as it is a low-shade plant that would do well in those conditions. More broadly, the service is also able to provide recommendations on based on specific geo-location. So as long as one inputs their garden’s coordinates correctly, it can develop a personalized plotting plan, or “virtual garden,” detailing what plants would thrive. The feature would also allow one to see how their garden would look as it transitions through the seasons, and to be sure, what exactly you’d need to buy on Amazon to make it happen. Via Modern Farmer Images via Amazon’s U.S. patent and Pixbay

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Amazon patents network-based ‘gardening service’

Hyundai to build battery 50% larger than Tesla’s South Australia system

December 6, 2017 by  
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Tesla’s South Australia battery system likely won’t hold the title of world’s largest for long. Hyundai Electric and Energy Systems is building a 150-megawatt lithium-ion battery storage system – 50 percent larger than Tesla’s – in South Korea . And they say it should go live in around three months. Hyundai’s South Korea battery could go live in February. They contracted with metal smelting company Korea Zinc for the system costing 50 billion won, or around $45 million. Korea Zinc will use the battery storage system at their Ulsan refinery. Related: Tesla’s South Australia battery starts delivering power a day early Bloomberg New Energy Finance senior associate Ali Asghar said, “ Musk has set a benchmark on how quickly you can install and commission a battery of this size,” and that plummeting costs are “making them a compelling mainstream option for energy storage applications in many areas around the world.” Hyundai Electric was created earlier in 2017 in a spinoff-move by shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries, according to Green Car Reports . The company has since expanded into the power storage market – they said in a statement the global market is anticipated to grow from $2.6 billion last year to $29.2 billion by 2025. “The energy market is rapidly changing globally due to the expansion of new and renewable energy sources and the trend of declining power sources,” said Hyundai Electric president Jung Young-jul. “We are targeting the market through technology -competitive systems and data analysis based on various experiences.” Bloomberg said battery prices have plunged by nearly half since 2014, and that each time the global supply of batteries doubles, prices fall by 19 percent. Hyundai Electric recently constructed a 51.5 megawatt-hour energy storage system (ESS) at Hyundai Heavy Industries’ Ulsan headquarters. They said the system will boost the efficiency of power use. Via Bloomberg , Green Car Reports , and Hyundai Electric Images via Hyundai Electric

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Hyundai to build battery 50% larger than Tesla’s South Australia system

Ryan Zinke recommends shrinking two more national monuments

December 6, 2017 by  
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United States Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke has recommended that two more national monuments in the West be reduced in size. The recommendation to shrink Cascade-Siskiyou in Oregon and California and Gold Butte in Nevada comes shortly after the Trump Administration’s decision to remove millions of acres from two national monuments in Utah, Bears Ears and Grand Staircase-Escalante. Zinke also stated that President Trump should change the boundaries of two oceanic monuments, Pacific Remote Islands and Rose Atoll Marine in the Pacific Ocean. Rolling back Obama Administration policies and achievements, including the establishment of the Bears Ears National Monument, is apparently a high priority for the Trump Administration. However, these expansive plans have already been met with fierce opposition and legal challenges, casting doubt on when, if ever, these reductions will occur. In a recent call with reporters, Zinke announced his policy recommendations. The Secretary also pushed back against a claim made by outdoor retailer Patagonia that Trump “stole” the land set aside for the national monuments , saying that Patagonia’s message was “nefarious, false and a lie.” “You mean Patagonia made in China ?,” said Zinke. “This is an example of a special interest. I think it is shameful and appalling that they would blatantly lie in order to get money in their coffers.” Related: Patagonia is suing the Trump Administration over Bears Ears: “The President Stole Your Land” Bears Ears , one of the monuments set to be shrunk, was established by President Barack Obama with the support of five American Indian tribes for whom the site has spiritual significance. The tribes are now mounting a legal challenge to what conservation groups have called the largest elimination of protected land in American history. If President Trump accepts Zinke’s recommendations and also attempts to shrink Gold Butte and Cascade-Siskiyou, he will have added a new front in a legal war that will likely drag on for years, perhaps into a new administration. Via The Guardian Images via Bureau of Land Management and Chris Nichols

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Ryan Zinke recommends shrinking two more national monuments

How Starbucks’ hometown is tackling plastic pollution

November 30, 2017 by  
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Going “Strawless in Seattle” and other cities worldwide.

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How Starbucks’ hometown is tackling plastic pollution

Dwell Development introduces net zero-ready homes to Seattles Georgetown neighborhood

November 6, 2017 by  
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Green home builder  Dwell Development  is taking Seattle by storm! After completing several stunning net-zero projects, including this 5-Star Built Green home in Mount Baker , the company has unveiled another two  energy-efficient homes nestled in Georgetown, one of Seattle’s oldest and most eclectic neighborhoods. Both residences feature 12-inch thick walls for optimal thermal insulation, solar-ready rooftop configurations, electric vehicle charging units, and triple-glazed windows. Thanks to these sustainable features, the homes are now targeting 5-star Built Green certification and net zero , highest levels of green building certification. Each is 2500 square feet and includes three bedrooms, two and a half bathrooms, alley access to a two-car garage and an open-plan layout that maximizes the amount of natural light . Related: Ultra-green house in Seattle marries aesthetics and sustainability The architects drew inspiration from the industrial aesthetic of the neighborhood and its manufacturing tradition. The open-plan layout references airplane hangars, while reclaimed wood accents on the exterior façade act as a nod to the warehouse typology still present in Georgetown. + Dwell Development Photos by Tucker English

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Dwell Development introduces net zero-ready homes to Seattles Georgetown neighborhood

This giant Cup Monster wants Starbucks to use recyclable cups

October 12, 2017 by  
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A monster created with over 500 old Starbucks cups prowled outside a Seattle hotel this week. Advocacy group Stand.earth created the Cup Monster to pressure the company to deliver a better, recyclable cup. Although Starbucks has trialed recyclable cups , when you order that pumpkin spice latte or mocha today, the paper cup you hold still can’t be recycled in many regions. Stand.earth says Starbucks serves four billion disposable paper cups every single year – but many facilities can’t recycle them “because the inside plastic lining clogs the equipment,” according to the group . So they showed up at the Seattle Sheraton hotel this week, where Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson was speaking at the 2017 GeekWire Summit, with the Cup Monster in tow. Related: Starbucks trials recyclable paper coffee cups for potential global use Ah the Cup Monster is out of control! Every @Starbucks unrecyclable cup that gets trashed only makes it stronger! Kevin Johnson, be a hero! pic.twitter.com/V0c8KNsq9L — Stand.earth (@standearth) October 10, 2017 According to Stand.earth United States campaign director Ross Hammond, over 8,000 cups go to landfills every minute. He said in a statement, “We hope Seattle’s tech leaders will join us in calling on Starbucks to stop serving 21st century coffee in a 20th century cup.” GeekWire reported although activists wore Starbucks uniforms, they aren’t affiliated with the coffee company. Starbucks vice president of communications Linda Mills told GeekWire the company’s cups can be recycled in some markets like Seattle, San Francisco, Boston, New York, and Washington, D.C. She said they are also working with municipalities so the cups can be recycled in more areas. Reusable cups are also an option; the company has offered a discount since 1985 for customers when they bring in cups that can be used over and over. On Starbucks’ webpage on recycling , they say, “We will continue to explore new ways to reduce our cup waste but ultimately it will be our customers who control whether or not we achieve continued growth in the number of beverages served in reusable cups.” You can sign Stand.earth’s letter to Johnson asking for a better cup here . + Stand.earth Via GeekWire Images via Stand.earth Twitter ( 1 , 2 )

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This giant Cup Monster wants Starbucks to use recyclable cups

Incredible green dreamscape made of recycled threads takes over a Taipei lecture hall

October 12, 2017 by  
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Taipei’s lush jungle landscape has crept indoors in the form of a “green dreamscape.” MVRDV and Argentinian textile artist Alexandra Kehayoglou transformed a 180-person lecture hall into an incredible sight with wall-to-wall carpets woven out of recycled threads that mimic natural textures like moss, water, trees, and pastures. Located at JUT Group’s head office, this public wall-covering artwork references Taiwan’s sub-tropical environment while providing acoustic control and an unforgettable lecture backdrop. Sprawled out across a 240-square-meter lecture hall, the massive installation looks surprisingly lifelike from afar. The variety of textures, shapes, and patterns evoke a diverse plants palette ranging from delicate flowers on the carpet floor to thick mosses clinging on the far back wall. Alexandra Kehayoglou created the site-specific textile work using discarded threads from her family’s carpet factory in Buenos Aires. The unique artwork was made with a laborious hand-tufting technique and took over a year to complete. Related: Amazing landscape carpets transform your living room into a lush, grassy meadow “The interior is literally a green dream,” says Winy Maas , MVRDV co-founder. “Together with the artwork, it represents the natural landscape of Taiwan and at the same time, acts as an acoustic intervention. In the midst of the hyper-urban condition of Taipei, audiences will be surrounded by this green dreamscape.” The interior design builds on the research of MVRDV and their think tank, The Why Factory , into the potential of future transformable elements. + MVRDV + Alexandra Kehayoglou Images via MVRDV

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Incredible green dreamscape made of recycled threads takes over a Taipei lecture hall

Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel design with minimal impact

October 12, 2017 by  
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Reconnection with nature doesn’t always mean roughing it on a campsite. Environmental consulting firm EoA Inc created Living the Till, a unique treetop hotel resort concept that rescues guests from the stresses of everyday life by elevating them into the tree canopy. Conceived as a nomadic resort, the Till can be easily assembled in a variety of environments and then disassembled and moved without impacting the environment. Described by the team as a camping on a “hovering, transparent magic carpet,” Living the Till comprises a series of conical tents suspended on ropes tied to nearby trees. A large net stretched taut and secured to trees is placed beneath the tents. Bridges between the trees provide access between campsites. “Living the Till allows for seasonal inhabitation in remote areas, such as the stunning and perfectly preserved forests of Ecuador, Malaysia, Borneo, the Amazon, California, Australia, or Japan,” wrote the designers. “The concept was inspired by the air plant Tillandsia, which lives in harmony with a host tree. Conceived as a temporary nomadic structure, the Till can be assembled and taken down in pristine, coveted areas by a small team of climbers with simple tools without impacting the environment during the process or duration of a guest’s stay.” Related: Gorgeous Robin’s Nest Treehouse Hotel immerses you in nature Living the Till was recently honored as this year’s Radical Innovation Award winner. The design team was awarded a $10,000 reward at the New Museum last week. Founder of Radical Innovation John Hardy commended the project as “the perfect antidote to city dwelling.” Play Design Hotel , located in Taipei, received the second place prize of $5,000. + Radical Innovation Award Images via EoA Inc

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Sleep among the treetops in a nomadic hotel design with minimal impact

Net-zero Genesee Park residence in Seattle is built out of recycled materials

October 9, 2017 by  
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This high-performance home in Columbia City, Washington is a perfect example of sustainable design. It features responsibly-harvested and recycled materials, solar power on the roof and a well-insulated, air-tight envelope – all surrounded by native plants in the garden. The Genesee Park residence, designed by First Lamp Architecture and built by Seattle-based contractor Dwell Development , is net zero energy and achieved 5-Star Built Green certification. The 3,700-square-foot home is located across from Genesee Park in Seattle , near the shores of Lake Washington and a broad open meadow that stretches five blocks north to Stan Sayres Memorial Park on Lake Washington Boulevard. The building sits on a large 8,000-square-foot lot and is surrounded by native plants and ample space for gardening. Related: Dwell Development’s net-zero home in Seattle is packed with sustainable goodness It offers an open-plan living room bathed in natural light , four bedrooms and bathrooms, guest rooms and indoor-outdoor entertainment areas, including a spacious rooftop terrace that offers expansive views of Lake Washington. Related: NBBJ Unveils Striking Biosphere Greenhouses for Amazon’s Seattle HQ The architects layered materials to create a dynamic exterior. Concrete, oak, metal and fiber cement are combined with an array of reclaimed , locally sourced and recycled materials . A large rooftop solar array , airtight envelope, energy-efficient windows and thick, well-insulated walls all contribute to the high performance of the building. + First Lamp Architecture + Dwell Development Photos by Tucker English

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Net-zero Genesee Park residence in Seattle is built out of recycled materials

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