A tremendous translucent ‘forest’ pops up in a French courtyard

July 13, 2017 by  
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The courtyard of Fondation Martell in Cognac, France has been transformed into a translucent forest made of glass fiber-reinforced polyester sheets. Spanish architecture firm SelgasCano designed the Pavillon Martell as a temporary, mobile multipurpose space for concerts, workshops, and relaxation. The pavilion covers a 25,000-square-foot space situated behind the Foundation. Its main material, developed by French brand Onduline, is translucent and watertight and shelters a huge area where various activities can take place. Soft, changing light permeates this undulating membrane, creating an interesting and visually engaging rainbow effect. The architects typically work with off-the-shelf structural solutions. Related: German Students Create a Cloud-Like Retreat High Up in the Treetops “We started to look for the lightest and most cost-effective materials on the market. We found what we were looking for hidden away in the catalogue of Onduline, a leading French construction company with a worldwide presence,” said SelgasCano. Inflatable seats installed in the structure are attached by straps and provide visitors with places to sit, relax and organize workshops, concerts and various other events. The structure is easy to dismantle and transport to any location thanks to its modular nature and light weight. + SelgasCano Via World Architecture Photos by Iwan Baan  

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A tremendous translucent ‘forest’ pops up in a French courtyard

Australian company lands $12M to print batteries on printed solar panels

July 13, 2017 by  
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Solar energy appeals to a lot of people concerned about the environment and reducing electricity costs, but the cost of installing the energy-generating panels remains prohibitively high for a lot of people – even though prices are gradually falling . Printed Energy has proposed a solution. The Australian company is on a mission to print out ultra-thin, flexible screen-printed batteries, which can then be applied on top of super-thin flexible screen-printed solar panels, considerably cutting installation costs. Earlier this week, the company signed a deal with UNSW and the University of Queensland — and received backing from the federal government —  to produce the printed batteries and offer them on the market. The $12 million project also received a $2 million grant from the Cooperate Research Centres Projects scheme. Having obtained funding, Printed Energy now seeks to produce “solid state” batteries that are thin and can be printed in a “roll-to-roll” process — similar to a newspaper. The printed batteries will also be adaptable to any shape. The idea isn’t to pair the printed batteries with existing solar technology but to match it with printed solar panels, and other devices the batteries could power. According to Rodger Whitby, CEO of Printed Energy and of the  St Baker Energy Innovation Fund , the printed battery technology is ideal for powering sensors, devices for the internet, disposable healthcare devices and, of course, renewable energy. While the invention could revolutionize the renewable energy industry, the company’s main priority is developing the batteries for “disposable devices.” Battery storage for solar will follow. Said Whitby, “We are really thinking of this type of battery in a different paradigm. We have also got IP for printed PV – so the idea is to have a sub-strata plastic sheet, and print solar on one side and battery on the other.” The printed batteries stand apart from other battery chemistries because the company is using commonly available metals, such as zinc and manganese oxides along with inorganic matrix structures, to produce the invention. This makes them low-cost, non-toxic and very low in flammability. However, challenges persist. For instance, the printed batteries, which are expected to cost next to nothing, still need to have enough efficiency to produce suitable amounts of power, store it, and to make it worthwhile in areas where competition exists. When asked if the vision can be achieved, the CEO of Printed Energy replied: “We don’t know. We have got a lot of research to undertake before we answer that question.” Related: Rocket Lab’s new rocket is 3D-printed and powered by batteries As Renew Economy  reports , the project is being backed by Sunset Energy  which has a hypocritical relationship with the clean energy industry. For instance, the company’s principal, Trevor St Baker, invested in a Tesla , put solar on his roof and has created an “energy innovation fund,” yet has argued against renewable energy targets and even recently said that “baseloading of intermittent renewables to replace coal in the foreseeable future … will just drive business out of the country.” Nonetheless, it’s backing by Sunset Energy and other companies that will ensure the product comes to market. + Printed Energy Via Renew Economy Images via Printed Energy , Gigaom

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Australian company lands $12M to print batteries on printed solar panels

Beautiful bamboo building withstands floods and storms in Vietnam

July 13, 2017 by  
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Architecture firm RÂU ARCH created this beautiful thatched roof building burrowed deep into the lush rainforests of Vietnam. The MOOC Spring building is designed to accommodate the many visitors that come to the nearby natural springs. Due to the reoccurring storms and floods in the area, the architects chose to use a combination of locally-sourced stone, timber and bamboo , along with traditional building techniques in order to create a resilient structure able to withstand the harsh climate. The building was designed as an addition for an adjacent resort and houses a restaurant and lounge area. In addition to using locally-sourced materials in its construction, the Mooc Spring building was also built using traditional methods. The circular shape was chosen to withstand harsh winds and the building sits on a base made out of local stone. The first floor contains utility rooms as well as the kitchen and bathrooms. Related: Luxurious bamboo beach bar and restaurant bolsters spa in Vietnam The upper level, which houses the reception area and restaurant, was constructed using timber and bamboo . Although concrete pillars were used for optimal strength, they were wrapped with honey-hued nulgar bamboo for added resilience and of course, for its beautiful aesthetic. The local material was woven throughout the building in various intricate patterns and details to create an atmosphere that would blend in with the natural surroundings. The interior space is exceptionally well-lit thanks to the large glass skylight in the thatched roof that floods the interior with natural light . + RÂU ARCH Via Archdaily Photography by Hùng Râu Kts

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New interactive periodic table shows how each element influences daily life

July 13, 2017 by  
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How do gallium and tantalum influence your daily life? Quite a bit, it turns out. Gallium is a component of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs , while tantalum can be found in mobile phones . Boeing software engineer Keith Enevoldsen designed the interactive Periodic Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words to show just how much those seemingly-obscure elements on the periodic table play a role in our lives. Scandium is found in bicycles ; palladium is used for pollution control . These tidbits are just a few of the facts you can find out on Enevoldsen’s interactive periodic table, targeted towards kids but still informative for adults. Bet you didn’t know there’s krypton in flashlights, antimony in car batteries , or strontium in fireworks? Related: New periodic table shows the cosmic origins of your body’s elements Each element on the interactive table comes with a description and a list of a few different uses. The tables are color-coded to show how the elements are grouped together, and symbols indicate whether an element is a solid, liquid, or gas. Other symbols show whether the element is common in the human body or in the earth’s crust, and if it’s radioactive , magnetic, noble, and rarely or never found in nature . Enevoldsen updates his tables when new elements are added. For example, in November 2016 the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry approved four brand new element names – 113 Nihonium (Nh), 115 Moscovium (Mc), 117 Tennessine (Ts), and 118 Oganesson (Og) – and Enevoldsen added them to his charts. He offers the tables in different formats, in words or in pictures, as posters available for purchase online . He also offers print-your-own element flash cards. Enevoldsen also runs a website called ThinkZone with miscellaneous thought experiments and resources for mathematics, language, science, history, geography, art, and music. + The Periodic Table of the Elements, in Pictures and Words Images © Keith Enevoldsen and via Rodion Kutsaev on Unsplash

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New interactive periodic table shows how each element influences daily life

This giant nest for humans lets you curl up and get away from it all

June 21, 2017 by  
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Lounging around in a giant nest might sound like something out of a fairy tale, but thanks to this eclectic design by Italian artist  Gianni Ruffi , it can be reality. Italy-based  Gufram  just released this surreal, human-size nest called  La Cova . Complete with two “egg” pillows, it isn’t just a piece of furniture, but a piece of art that lets you get away from it all. La Cova comes with two eggs, like any good nest should, that act as pillows. The nest is made of polyurethane foam and finished with 100% cotton. It measures 2 meters in diameter and weighs about 80 kg (176 lb). The original piece was created back in 1972 by Gianni Ruffi , who was part of the Radical Design movement in Italy. It was auctioned for the record price of 100,000 Euros. The iconic La Cova design has been re-invented with newer materials that combine craftsmanship know-how and newer industrial processes. The construction has also been updated with stretchable and extremely durable materials, the density of which provide excellent mechanical properties – especially in terms of elastic resilience. Related: Porky Hefer’s Cozy Human Nests Hang From the Treetops! Each version of the organic love nests are unique, thanks to the creation process – each one finished with thousands of pieces of cloth, all sewn by hand. La Cova appeared at the  La Triennale di Milano for  Milan Design Week 2017 . + Gufram Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat and Gufram

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This giant nest for humans lets you curl up and get away from it all

Baumraum’s Tiny Tree Cubes are Colorful Retreats Set High in the Treetops

March 27, 2014 by  
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Read the rest of Baumraum’s Tiny Tree Cubes are Colorful Retreats Set High in the Treetops Permalink | Add to del.icio.us | digg Post tags: Baumquadrat , baumraum , german architects , kids tree houses , modular housing , modular tree houses , suspended homes , tiny homes , tiny houses , Tree Cubes , tree house design , tree houses        

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Baumraum’s Tiny Tree Cubes are Colorful Retreats Set High in the Treetops

New Eco-Activity: Pedal Through the Trees

August 19, 2013 by  
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Soaring through the treetops used to be reserved for birds, Tarzan and intrepid zip-liners, but those without wings and a need for extreme adrenaline can enjoy a trip along the top of the forest with VéloVolant, a canopy cycle that …

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New Eco-Activity: Pedal Through the Trees

Escaped Pet Birds Are Teaching Wild Birds to Speak English

September 15, 2011 by  
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Photo: enlewof / cc Across parts of Australia, reports have been pouring in of strange voices chattering high in the treetops — mysterious, non-sensical conversations in English. But while this phenomenon is certainly quite odd, its explanation isn’t paranormal. It turns out that escaped pet birds, namely parrots and cockatoos, have begun teaching their wild bird counterparts a bit of the language they picked up from their time in captivity — and, according to witnesses, that includes more than a few explicatives…. Read the full story on TreeHugger

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Escaped Pet Birds Are Teaching Wild Birds to Speak English

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