urbanus vulgaris

urban life & culture / ideas & insights / innovation & development

Category: technology

Facade panels that produce energy from algae

by gailiute

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This looks like a great invention.  Arup created Solarleaf bioreactor – thin, 2.5 x .07 meter panel, when attached to the exterior of a building, is capable of generating biofuel – in the form of algae – for the production of hot water. Sounds fun and smart! Read more here:

http://www.archdaily.com/514018/arup-s-latest-solar-panels-produce-energy-from-algae/

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New generation wind energy collector from TU Delft

by gailiute

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TU Delft not only claims to be one of the leading engineering universities – it really offers great inventions. One of them – new way of collecting wind power without any drawbacks that ‘traditional’ wind turbine has – no  moving parts, no sound, less vibration – it looks really promising. And the best part is that this new wind energy collector could be made in many different forms – easier to fit it in the urban environment :) well, of course it is still a project, but I hope it will evolve into real product.

About the project:

“TU Delft researchers Johan Smit and Dhiradj Djairam developed the EWICON (Electrostatic Windenergy CONvertor), a windenergy convertor that transforms windenergy into electricity without mechanical moving parts. This animation shows how it works and can be deployed. Do you want to know more? Read the entire thesis here: http://repository.tudelft.nl/view/ir/uuid%3Ae1cfdada-85ea-45c4-b6e4-b798abf5917e/ ”

The only issue that I see here is: this electricity generator needs water. Constantly. I try to imagine water tank nearby :)

 

Jeremy Rifkin: A New Era of Capitalism

by vytasvulgaris

Jeremy Rifkin about the current global development trends and “the third  industrial revolution”. About the emerging new political order, about the new generations of social entrepreneurs, about survival of human race etc.

Some more of Rifkin’s quite fascinating anthropological concept – Empathic Civilization (RSA Animate)

Contemporary future bicycle for urban commuter. Lithuanian designed folding e-bicycle Fwave.

by vytasvulgaris

Fwave 1Fwave 2

 

Bicycle gives freedom to travel daily on selected pace and route, claims Lithuanian designer Viktorija Čegytė. According to Viktorija, designing a bicycle for a contemporary citizen it is important to understand, that an urban cyclist must not necessarily be a professional cyclist or cycling enthusiast. Therefore cycling should be easy and comfortable. The other important task is to integrate bicycle in the public transport system thus extending advantages of both modes. Compact minimalistic design folding electric bicycle Fwave aims to be a casual accessory of an urban commuter.

more about the project: http://www.behance.net/gallery/Fwave-Bicycle/6063335

Read more in Lithuanian : http://www.dindin.lt/#page=465

 

 

New/old good ways of producing electricity

by gailiute

This video is about Gemasolar, near Seville, Spain – the first Concentrated Solar Thermal Power plus molten salt storage (CSP+) plant to produce energy 24 hours per day. This power tower plant produces 20MW, enough to power 25,000 homes. Just look how amazingly the tower shines!

The secret behind this lies in the fact, that solar energy is gathered by mirrors to light the top of the tower, which subsequently heats the salt. Salt storage works as a giant thermal battery that provides heat to move steam engine. Smart.

However, I see one issue here: the size that has to be occupied by this plant. It is quite huge considering the fact that electricity is being provided to 25000 homes..

Just to compare I put two areas that shows approximate needed space for this kind of plant and 25 000 houses.

Responsive cities: sharing capabilities

by gailiute

I just fell in love with the small folding responsive car ;)

How can we fit more people into cities without overcrowding? Kent Larson shows off folding cars, quick-change apartments and other innovations that could make the city of the future work a lot like a small village of the past.

Kent Larson has been the director of the MIT House_n  research consortium in the School of Architecture and Planning since 1998 and is also the current director of the MIT Media Lab’s Changing Places group. Both projects are dedicated to developing technologies that solve contemporary issues in the home, the workplace, and the city. Larson practiced architecture in New York City for 15 years and wrote for several architectural publications and the New York Times. In 2000, his book, Louis I. Kahn: Unbuilt Masterworks, was selected among the Ten Best Books in Architecture by the New York Times Review of Books. His current work has three focusses: responsive urban housing, ubiquitous technologies, and living lab experiments to test his group’s designs in practical environments.

Poo WiFi

by vytasvulgaris

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d8_KNPKWmsA

“One company that specializes in picking up dog droppings, Doody Calls, recently estimated that American dogs alone let go of 10 million tons of dog poop a year. The company also found that 40 per cent of dog owners don’t pick up their pets’ poop at all. In Mexico City, this issue has prompted a campaign by advertising agency DDB Mexico with a Pavlovian-style notion: Offer free Wi-Fi in public areas every time owners put dog poop into a particular bin. Though the video above looks like a satire, it’s a very real initiative being rolled out in 10 parks across the city in partnership with Mexican Internet portal Terra. Owners bag the poop, put it in a bin where it gets weighed, and the park receives free Wi-Fi for the time garnered by the amount deposited (usually a few minutes). Though meant for ‘doggie bags,’ the company told Creativity Online they’re fine with people putting other trash into the bin — after all, either way it keeps the area clean” http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2012/04/24/dog-poo-wifi_n_1448512.html .


Detroit: Requiem for the City on the Move

by vytasvulgaris

Michigan Theatre (now parking garage), Detroit. Photography by Sean Doerr

Here is a great story of Detroit revealing itself through two wonderful films. The first one is “Requiem for Detroit?”, a 2010 BBC Two documentary by Julien Temple. The second one is  “Detroit: City on the Move”, a  1965 promo film narrated by then-mayor Jerome P. Cavanaugh.  The promo film could be a perfect intro into this tragically fascinating story, however, to make it even more grotesque my suggestion is to watch it in non-chronological order, so first Requiem for Detroit, then Detroit: City on the Move. Enjoy!

video link a: “Requiem for Detroit?” (2010)

“Julien Temple’s new film is a vivid evocation of an apocalyptic vision: a slow-motion Katrina that has had many more victims. Detroit was once America’s fourth largest city. Built by the car for the car, with its groundbreaking suburbs, freeways and shopping centres, it was the embodiment of the American dream. But its intense race riots brought the army into the city. With violent union struggles against the fierce resistance of Henry Ford and the Big Three, it was also the scene of American nightmares. Now it is truly a dystopic post-industrial city, in which 40 per cent of the land in the centre is returning to prairie. Greenery grows up through abandoned office blocks, houses and collapsing car plants, and swallows up street lights. Police stations and post offices have been left with papers on the desks like the Marie Celeste. There is no more rush hour on what were the first freeways in America. Crime, vandalism, arson and dog fighting are the main activities in once the largest building in North America. But it’s also a source of hope. Streets are being turned to art. Farming is coming back to the centre of the city. Young people are flocking to help. The burgeoning urban agricultural movement is the fastest growing movement in the US. Detroit leads the way again but in a very different direction.” http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00rkm3y

 

A novel idea for cleaning up oil spills

by gailiute

When TED Senior Fellow Cesar Harada heard about the devastating effects of the BP Oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010, he quit his dream job and moved to New Orleans to develop a more efficient way to soak up the oil. He designed a highly maneuverable, flexible boat capable of cleaning large tracts quickly. But rather than turn a profit, he has opted to open-source the design.

 

 

Six Degrees of Separation (a 2009 BBC documentary)

by vytasvulgaris

“Documentary unfolding the science behind the idea of six degrees of separation. Originally thought to be an urban myth, it now appears that anyone on the planet can be connected in just a few steps of association. Six degrees of separation is also at the heart of a major scientific breakthrough; that there might be a law which nature uses to organize itself and that now promises to solve some of its deepest mysteries (http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00kdtvv).

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