fastcompany:

These Algae Farms Cover The Walls Of Buildings And Soak Up Carbon
Walls might be the next frontier for urban farming.

“Micro-organisms like algae are like bacteria—it’s one of those things that in our culture people try to get rid of,” Griffa says. “But algae offer incredible potential because of their very intense photosynthetic activity.” Algae take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen while growing. Compared to a tree, micro-algae are about 150 to 200 times more efficient at sucking carbon out of the air.

Read More>

fastcompany:

These Algae Farms Cover The Walls Of Buildings And Soak Up Carbon

Walls might be the next frontier for urban farming.

“Micro-organisms like algae are like bacteria—it’s one of those things that in our culture people try to get rid of,” Griffa says. “But algae offer incredible potential because of their very intense photosynthetic activity.” Algae take in carbon dioxide and produce oxygen while growing. Compared to a tree, micro-algae are about 150 to 200 times more efficient at sucking carbon out of the air.

Read More>

crowdcurator:

Blink
Blink is simply too good to be true. And while it’s not unusual for a crowd funded product to make enormous claims and under deliver, Blink earns a feature just because we want so desperately for it to deliver on what it promises.
Blink is a wireless home security system that has some serious appeal to it. It will ultimately provide live HD video streaming, temperature sensors, night vision, motion detection and more, and all without a monthly fee. But it’s the supposed 1 year battery life that’s raising the most eye brows in the comments section.
No firm answers on Nest or HomeKit support, but the creators talk of IFTTT integration after launch.
Back on Kickstarter

crowdcurator:

Blink

Blink is simply too good to be true. And while it’s not unusual for a crowd funded product to make enormous claims and under deliver, Blink earns a feature just because we want so desperately for it to deliver on what it promises.

Blink is a wireless home security system that has some serious appeal to it. It will ultimately provide live HD video streaming, temperature sensors, night vision, motion detection and more, and all without a monthly fee. But it’s the supposed 1 year battery life that’s raising the most eye brows in the comments section.

No firm answers on Nest or HomeKit support, but the creators talk of IFTTT integration after launch.

Back on Kickstarter

A new way to harvest more light to make solar cells more efficient
Researchers at MIT have figured out a new technique to make a traditional silicon solar cell — the kind that makes up most solar panels on rooftops — more efficient. The scientists published the findings in Nature Nanotechnology this week.
The innovation embeds a two-layer device made of carbon nanotubes and photonic crystals between the solar cell and the sun’s light. The device absorbs the sun light, heats up, and emits light that has a specific wavelength that can be used efficiently by the adjacent solar cell. A typical silicon solar cell doesn’t use all of the wavelengths of sun light, and many go to waste.
The MIT researchers say that with these types of designs, which use heat to boost efficiency, some solar cells in theory could one day produce an efficiency of over 80 percent. In comparison some of the highest efficient solar cells in mass production currently are in the low 20 percent range from SunPower. Alta Devices claims a solar cell that delivers 30 percent efficiency.

A new way to harvest more light to make solar cells more efficient

Researchers at MIT have figured out a new technique to make a traditional silicon solar cell — the kind that makes up most solar panels on rooftops — more efficient. The scientists published the findings in Nature Nanotechnology this week.

The innovation embeds a two-layer device made of carbon nanotubes and photonic crystals between the solar cell and the sun’s light. The device absorbs the sun light, heats up, and emits light that has a specific wavelength that can be used efficiently by the adjacent solar cell. A typical silicon solar cell doesn’t use all of the wavelengths of sun light, and many go to waste.

The MIT researchers say that with these types of designs, which use heat to boost efficiency, some solar cells in theory could one day produce an efficiency of over 80 percent. In comparison some of the highest efficient solar cells in mass production currently are in the low 20 percent range from SunPower. Alta Devices claims a solar cell that delivers 30 percent efficiency.

GLASS ACT

Background: Nature recently published a paper on a new technology for windows. In a nutshell: glass has been prepared that selectively absorbs visible and near-infrared light when an electrochemical voltage is applied. This opens the way to ‘smart’ windows that block heat on demand, with or without optical transparency.

Given that residential and commercial buildings account for about 40 percent of energy use and 30 percent of energy-related carbon emissions in the US, this is quite a breakthrough.

Read Composite for smarter windows  (Note: Nature subscription required for this one)

Design challenge: Our goal was to create a graphic that simply and elegantly showed the three limiting optical states of a new smart coating: (a) full transparency, (b) selectively near-infrared (NIR) blocking, and (c) darkened against both visible and NIR light transmission (as labelled in the final graphic, above).

The cover design (also above) showed the three states in one window, but for the graphic we wanted to be more explanatory while still conveying the simplicity of the concept.

A key challenge was to show the layers within the glass, to visually explain how applying a charge to this setup affects the nanocrystals and therefore the optical transparency of the glass matrix. It was drawn in an orthographic projection, with the layered structure of the glass drawn as blowouts using the same projection. This allowed all of the elements to sit nicely within the same visual space.

I experimented by showing more structure around the windows (such as in a brick wall) and by showing more of an external ‘scene’, but found that simple floating windows with a stylized depiction of sky and natural light was all that was needed.

-Nik Spencer

(via freshphotons)

upcominghorizon:

Amazon Is Building A Biosphere For Its Employees

If you’ve ever dreamed of working in a lush, greenery-filled dome, consider moving to Seattle. That’s where Amazon is building a biosphere (made out of three intersecting domes) alongside a new skyscraper project. Plans for the 65,000 square foot structure, unveiled earlier this month, call for a general temperature range of 68 to 72 degrees and plants from high-elevation climates (that’s the “montane ecologies” below) that can thrive in the weather.

It’s an experimental work environment, sure, but it’s not all that different from how tech companies like Google and Facebook are building green roofs for their employees to enjoy. Facebook’s roof will even have hiking trails. In rainy Seattle, an indoor biosphere might be preferable.

full article

How Will Adding Intelligence to Everyday Things Change Your World?  Big Think
On a global level, we are adding connected intelligence to both machines and objects using chips, micro sensors, and both wired and wireless networks to create a rapidly growing “Internet of things” sharing real-time data, performing diagnostics, and even making remote repairs. Many jobs will be created as we add intelligent connected sensors to bridges, roads, buildings, homes, and much more. By 2020, there will be well over a billion machines talking to each other and performing tasks without human intervention.   
Think of it this way: from phones to cars to bridges, embedded technologies are increasingly making the things we use smarter every day. For example, some of the newest cars use cameras mounted in the rear to see if something is in the way when you are backing up. If there is something in the way, the car will apply the brake even if you don’t or you are slow to react. Likewise, the concrete in new bridges has embedded chips that can let engineers know when the concrete is cracking, stressed, and in need of repair before the bridge collapses. In addition, sensors on the surface of the road going over the bridge will detect ice and wirelessly communicate the information to your car. If you don’t slow down, the car will slow down to a safe speed for you.

How Will Adding Intelligence to Everyday Things Change Your World?  Big Think

On a global level, we are adding connected intelligence to both machines and objects using chips, micro sensors, and both wired and wireless networks to create a rapidly growing “Internet of things” sharing real-time data, performing diagnostics, and even making remote repairs. Many jobs will be created as we add intelligent connected sensors to bridges, roads, buildings, homes, and much more. By 2020, there will be well over a billion machines talking to each other and performing tasks without human intervention.   

Think of it this way: from phones to cars to bridges, embedded technologies are increasingly making the things we use smarter every day. For example, some of the newest cars use cameras mounted in the rear to see if something is in the way when you are backing up. If there is something in the way, the car will apply the brake even if you don’t or you are slow to react. Likewise, the concrete in new bridges has embedded chips that can let engineers know when the concrete is cracking, stressed, and in need of repair before the bridge collapses. In addition, sensors on the surface of the road going over the bridge will detect ice and wirelessly communicate the information to your car. If you don’t slow down, the car will slow down to a safe speed for you.

iPhone-Operated Digital Lock Makes House Keys a Thing of the Past | Wired.com
Kwikset’s new Kevo door lock turns your iPhone into the simplest of digital keys. Just have your phone in your pocket or purse, tap the Kevo lock, and you’re in.
We first saw the Kevo on ABC’s Shark Tank when UniKey CEO Phil Dumas pitched the idea to the program’s investors. He convinced Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary to hand over $500,000, then parlayed his 15 minutes of reality TV fame to raise another truckload of cash. Dumas eventually caught the attention of Kwikset, which partnered with him to make his dream a reality.
This thing is incredibly cool. The Kevo looks like an ordinary lock, but the halo of light surrounding the keyhole gives it a vaguely futuristic look. An app links your iPhone (sorry – no Android) to the lock using Bluetooth and the miracle of location services, eliminating the need to fumble through your pockets or purse for your keys. Just tap the lock with your finger and the halo flashes green, letting you know the door is unlocked. You don’t even need to take your iPhone out of your pocket.

iPhone-Operated Digital Lock Makes House Keys a Thing of the Past | Wired.com

Kwikset’s new Kevo door lock turns your iPhone into the simplest of digital keys. Just have your phone in your pocket or purse, tap the Kevo lock, and you’re in.

We first saw the Kevo on ABC’s Shark Tank when UniKey CEO Phil Dumas pitched the idea to the program’s investors. He convinced Mark Cuban and Kevin O’Leary to hand over $500,000, then parlayed his 15 minutes of reality TV fame to raise another truckload of cash. Dumas eventually caught the attention of Kwikset, which partnered with him to make his dream a reality.

This thing is incredibly cool. The Kevo looks like an ordinary lock, but the halo of light surrounding the keyhole gives it a vaguely futuristic look. An app links your iPhone (sorry – no Android) to the lock using Bluetooth and the miracle of location services, eliminating the need to fumble through your pockets or purse for your keys. Just tap the lock with your finger and the halo flashes green, letting you know the door is unlocked. You don’t even need to take your iPhone out of your pocket.

The technological advances transforming “Edison’s 130-year-old industry” promise to revolutionize the way light is integrated in our homes, workplaces, and cities.

As “the last industrial-age analog technology” is digitized, Felicity Barringer looks at “the fundamental rethinking of lighting now under way in research labs, executive offices and investor conferences.”

"Innovations on the horizon range from smart lampposts that can sense gas hazards to lights harnessed for office productivity or even to cure jet lag. Digital lighting based on light-emitting diodes — LEDs — offers the opportunity to flit beams delicately across stages like the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge — creating a light sculpture more elegant than the garish marketers’ light shows on display in Times Square, Piccadilly Circus and the Shibuya district in Tokyo."

She explains other possible applications, such as lampposts that function as “nodes in a smart network that illuminate spaces, visually monitor them, sense heat and communicate with other nodes and human monitors.”

"James Highgate, an expert on the new technology who runs an annual LED industry conference, sees a transition period ahead ‘for the next three to five years, until the eight billion sockets in the U.S. get filled’ with LEDs. ‘Some people will never change,’ he added. ‘They’ll be in the alleys buying 100-watt incandescents.’”

IBM Solar Collector Harnesses the Power of 2,000 Suns | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building 
A team of IBM researchers is working on a solar concentrating dish that will be able to collect 80% of incoming sunlight and convert it to useful energy. The High Concentration Photovoltaic Thermal system will be able to concentrate the power of 2,000 suns while delivering fresh water and cool air wherever it is built. As an added bonus, IBM states that the system would be just one third the cost third of current comparable technologies. Based on information by Greenpeace International and the European Electricity Association, IBM claims that it would require only two percent of the Sahara’s total area to supply the world’s energy needs. The HCPVT system is designed around a huge parabolic dish covered in mirror facets. The dish is supported and controlled by a tracking system that moves along with the sun. Sun rays reflect off of the mirror into receivers containing triple junction photovoltaic chips, each able to convert 200-250 watts over eight hours. Combined hundred of the chips provide 25 kilowatts of electricity.
The entire dish is cooled with liquids that are 10 times more effective than passive air methods, keeping the HCPVT safe to operate at a concentration of 2,000 times on average, and up to 5,000 times the power of the sun. The direct cooling technique is inspired by the branched blood supply system of the human body and has already been used to cool high performance computers like the Aquasar. The system will also be able to create fresh water by passing 90 degree Celsius liquid through a distillation system that vaporizes and desalinates up to 40 liters each day while still generating electricity. It will also be able to amazingly offer air conditioning by a thermal drive absorption chiller that converts heat through silica gel.
Replacing expensive steel and glass with concrete and pressurized foils, the HCPVT is less costly than many other similar installations. Its high tech coolers and molds can be manufactured in Switzerland, and construction provided by individual companies on-site. Through their design, IBM believes they can maintain a cost of less than 10cents per kilowatt hour.
 
 


IBM Solar Collector Harnesses the Power of 2,000 Suns | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building

A team of IBM researchers is working on a solar concentrating dish that will be able to collect 80% of incoming sunlight and convert it to useful energy. The High Concentration Photovoltaic Thermal system will be able to concentrate the power of 2,000 suns while delivering fresh water and cool air wherever it is built. As an added bonus, IBM states that the system would be just one third the cost third of current comparable technologies.

 
Based on information by Greenpeace International and the European Electricity Association, IBM claims that it would require only two percent of the Sahara’s total area to supply the world’s energy needs. The HCPVT system is designed around a huge parabolic dish covered in mirror facets. The dish is supported and controlled by a tracking system that moves along with the sun. Sun rays reflect off of the mirror into receivers containing triple junction photovoltaic chips, each able to convert 200-250 watts over eight hours. Combined hundred of the chips provide 25 kilowatts of electricity.

The entire dish is cooled with liquids that are 10 times more effective than passive air methods, keeping the HCPVT safe to operate at a concentration of 2,000 times on average, and up to 5,000 times the power of the sun. The direct cooling technique is inspired by the branched blood supply system of the human body and has already been used to cool high performance computers like the Aquasar. The system will also be able to create fresh water by passing 90 degree Celsius liquid through a distillation system that vaporizes and desalinates up to 40 liters each day while still generating electricity. It will also be able to amazingly offer air conditioning by a thermal drive absorption chiller that converts heat through silica gel.

Replacing expensive steel and glass with concrete and pressurized foils, the HCPVT is less costly than many other similar installations. Its high tech coolers and molds can be manufactured in Switzerland, and construction provided by individual companies on-site. Through their design, IBM believes they can maintain a cost of less than 10cents per kilowatt hour.

 

 

(via phroyd)