Autonomous Draper Drone to detect microplastics in the water

February 27, 2020 by  
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Microplastic pollution is everywhere, but its size — less than five millimeters in length — makes the threat almost invisible to the naked eye. That’s why Cambridge-based research and development lab  Draper  has teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency and design firm Sprout Studios  to create the Draper Drone, a concept for an autonomous underwater vehicle that implements Draper’s portable microplastics sensor. Engineered to rapidly count, measure the size of and determine the material makeup of microplastics in real-time, the Draper Drone could help create a global microplastics database for analyzing pollution trends, identifying sources and informing possible solutions to the problem. Microplastics  are created in one of two main ways: the breakdown of larger plastic debris, or from industries that make small plastic particles such as microfibers in clothing and microbeads. These tiny particles, which readily absorb toxins such as DDT and flame retardants, are often ingested by marine life and can potentially have negative effects on human health through the food chain. To provide an easier and more cost-effective way of analyzing microplastic risks and trends, Draper teamed up with the Environmental Protection Agency to create an affordable portable  sensor  to measure microplastics in real-time. The team is also developing the Plastic Particle Pollution Index, a standardized microplastics identification system for logging environmental samples. The prototype sensor has been tested in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands and the technology is expected to be available via open-sourcing.  Related: Microplastics accelerate cell death at 3 times the normal rate, study says Taking the sensor technology a step further, Draper asked Sprout to help design the Draper Drone, an autonomous underwater vehicle equipped with the microplastics sensor that could independently scan the top nine meters of the water for microplastics. The conceptual battery-powered drone would be paired with a self-docking,  wind-powered  charging buoy. The project was recently recognized in the 2019 TIME Best Invention List. + Draper Images via Sprout Studios

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Autonomous Draper Drone to detect microplastics in the water

Calamus unveils worlds safest e-bike at CES 2020

February 6, 2020 by  
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India-based startup  Calamus  recently unveiled the Calamus One Ultrabike, an electric bicycle that they claim is “the world’s safest and most advanced” of its kind. Integrated with elements typically only seen on motor vehicles, the innovative e-bicycle combines safety features and high-end tech into a sleek and beautifully designed package. The Ultrabike was exhibited at the CES 2020 show and is available on Indiegogo for pre-order. Crafted to evoke continuity, the Ultrabike uses 6000 series aircraft-grade aluminum with automotive-grade paint for both the lightweight bike frame and handlebar, which is also part of a one-piece stem and handle design. To emphasize the design’s seamless flow, the removable battery was integrated into the down tube of the frame while all of the  bicycle cables — from the hydraulic brakes to the electrical and electronic cables — have been routed inside the frame. The internally routed cables also make the entire bike weatherproof and improve aerodynamics. Promising a range of nearly 45 miles on a single charge, the Ultrabike is powered by 250w/750w Ultra-drive mid-motors from Bafang and driven by Gates’ carbon belt CDX system for a smooth riding experience. For an improved user experience, each bike will also be equipped with sensors that track motor, battery, and component health to provide real-time diagnoses viewable via a 5-inch TFT LCD touchscreen. A high-performance chip stores and analyzes riding patterns to provide auto gear shifts, while an inbuilt GPS chip offers added functionality. Related: Propella’s lightweight electric bike rides like a regular bike For safety, the designers have added  LED  turn indicators into the handlebars as well as built-in ultrasonic sensors with haptic feedback for blind spot assistance. Security is enhanced with the addition of an ultra-fast biometric scanner for locking and unlocking the bike, geo-tracking and fencing with a ‘Find My Ride’ feature in the case of theft, anti-theft fasteners, an anti-theft alarm, and a patent-pending smart lock that can be accessed using a mobile app to lock and unlock the bike. The Calamus One Ultrabike can be pre-ordered on  Indiegogo . + Calamus Images via Calamus

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Calamus unveils worlds safest e-bike at CES 2020

Welcome to the roaring 2020s, the artificial intelligence decade

January 2, 2020 by  
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The applications being made possible by breakthroughs in machine learning, image recognition, analytics and sensors are profoundly practical.

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Welcome to the roaring 2020s, the artificial intelligence decade

Welcome to the roaring 2020s, the artificial intelligence decade

January 2, 2020 by  
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The applications being made possible by breakthroughs in machine learning, image recognition, analytics and sensors are profoundly practical.

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Welcome to the roaring 2020s, the artificial intelligence decade

How tech became the ‘wind at the back’ of the sustainability movement

February 28, 2019 by  
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Technology is a tool that companies can increasingly use to meet sustainability and climate emissions reductions goals.

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How tech became the ‘wind at the back’ of the sustainability movement

Utilities are starting to invest in big batteries instead of building new power plants

February 28, 2019 by  
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Energy storage is beating new building in cost and performance.

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Utilities are starting to invest in big batteries instead of building new power plants

Earth911 Podcast, Nov. 30, 2018: ZEST Labs Sensors Reduce Food Waste From Field to Shelf

November 30, 2018 by  
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In this episode of Sustainability in Your Ear, Earth911’s Evelyn … The post Earth911 Podcast, Nov. 30, 2018: ZEST Labs Sensors Reduce Food Waste From Field to Shelf appeared first on Earth911.com.

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Earth911 Podcast, Nov. 30, 2018: ZEST Labs Sensors Reduce Food Waste From Field to Shelf

Asif Khan unveils the darkest building on earth for 2018 Winter Olympics

February 8, 2018 by  
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British-based architect Asif Khan unveiled a super-black pavilion at the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics that he describes as the “darkest building on earth.” Built for Hyundai Motor, the temporary Pyeongchang Olympic Park pavilion is fully coated in Vantablack VBx2—a material that can absorb 99 percent of the light that hits its surface. As a result, the pavilion looks like a gaping black void even in broad daylight. Standing at 10 meters (33 feet) tall, the 2018 Winter Olympics Hyundai Motor pavilion draws inspiration from the automotive company’s technology and offers a unique interactive experience. Khan attached thousands of tiny white lights to the super-black parabolic facades, evoking images of a starry night sky. The steel-framed building measures 35 meters (115 feet) by 35 meters. In contrast to the super-dark facade, the interior is a brightly lit white room housing a multi-sensory interactive water installation. Haptic sensors allow visitors to interact with the hydrophobic installation that emits 25,000 singular water droplets per minute; the water droplets zoom down channels, collide, split, and eventually pool into a drain. “From a distance the structure has the appearance of a window looking into the depths of outer space,” said Khan. “As you approach it, this impression grows to fill your entire field of view. So on entering the building, it feels as though you are being absorbed into a cloud of blackness.” Related: Video: Anish Kapoor’s “Decension” is a black vortex in the floor of an old movie theater He continues: “The water installation visitors discover inside is brightly lit in white. As your eyes adjust, you feel for a moment that the tiny water drops are at the scale of the stars. A water droplet is a size every visitor is familiar with. In the project I wanted to move from the scale of the cosmos to the scale of water droplets in a few steps. The droplets contain the same hydrogen from the beginning of the universe as the stars.” The 2018 Winter Olympics Hyundai Motor Pavilion will open at the Pyeongchang 2018 Opening Ceremony on February 9, 2018. + Asif Khan Via WAN Images via Luke Hayes

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Asif Khan unveils the darkest building on earth for 2018 Winter Olympics

Tree-topped bridge to double as public space for a historic Chinese town

February 8, 2018 by  
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MVRDV has won a competition for Dawn Bridge, a new multi-use bridge near Shanghai that will give locals and visitors the chance to experience a historic Chinese water town in a whole new way. Located near the famous water town Zhujiajiao, this new 80-meter-long landmark will be topped with trees and amphitheater-like seating that overlooks views of the water and riverside architecture. To blend the modern bridge into its surroundings, the architects drew a contextual palette of colors and materials referencing the local vernacular. Located between the 16th century Fangsheng Bridge and the Qingpu Road Bridge, the 24-meter-wide Dawn Bridge will mark a new era of development in the riverfront area. MVRDV’s winning design proposes a bridge that doubles as public space by turning part of the deck into amphitheater -like seating optimized for gatherings, meetings, and beautiful views of Zhujiajiao. The bridge also provides sufficient clearance to the approximately 80-meter-wide active riverbed that’s used for activities year-round. “The vertical alignment of Dawn Bridge defines a sense of lightness and elegance, and our aim was to provide a graceful low curve above the river that also blends with the landscape”, says Wenchian Shi, Partner at MVRDV. “Beyond blending, we wanted to create a bridge that invites public life over and around it and that is accessible to all people whether on foot or on wheels.” Related: World’s first 3D-printed bridge opens in the Netherlands The bridge’s pedestrian deck and landings will be painted in the same reddish hue as the wood found in the nearby houses, while the gray roofs and white walls of the local residences are echoed in the bridge’s white structural frame and gray asphalt. Proposed plantings and trees on the bridge mimic the greenery of the riverbanks . Completion is anticipated for 2019. + MVRDV Images via MVRDV

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Tree-topped bridge to double as public space for a historic Chinese town

Italy wants to roll out Smart Highways with first aid drones

January 30, 2018 by  
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Self-driving cars and drones are transforming the world we live in – and designers are harnessing these new technologies to make transportation safer, faster and more efficient. Carlo Ratti Associati teamed up with highway agency ANAS to design a new Smart Highway where drones deliver first aid and warn of hazardous road conditions up ahead. The Smart Highway program could be be implemented on more than 2,500 kilometers of roads and highways in Italy. The pioneering infrastructure system comprises a series of “flying poles” equipped with multiple sensors and Wi-Fi connections. On the top of each pole there is a recharging station from which drones can take off and start monitoring the road. Drones can serve several purposes–from maintenance to delivering first aid equipment, and detecting accidents, fires and floods . Related: Self-driving cars are hitting Atlanta this September Data collected by the poles can inform drivers, in real time, of road conditions ahead. Direct, customized messages can be sent to each driver’s mobile phone or to each vehicle’s on-board navigation system , which in turn can give feedback back to the system. Related: Dubai plans to launch autonomous flying drone taxis by mid-2017 “With this project, we aim to superimpose a digital layer over the existing physical infrastructure of our road network, to gather better data about our highways,” said Carlo Ratti, founding partner at CRA and professor of the practice of urban technologies at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). “The next step will be to pool this data with information already collected by individual cars, in an “Internet-of- Roads” scenario that will make us ready for the other revolutionary breakthrough that is likely to happen in the next decade: the arrival of self-driving vehicles,” he added. + Carlo Ratti Associati

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