Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week (August 16)
By Tracy Staedter, Discovery News, 15 August 2015.
This week, we have inflatable buildings that reach up into space as well as personal submarines that dive deep into the ocean.
1. Container Skyscraper
Now this is thinking outside the box - or maybe I should say, thinking outside the shipping container. Florida-based CRG Architects want to solve the housing shortage in Mumbai, where nearly 12 million people clamour for a place to live. The so-called "Containscrapers" are twisting towers made of stacked shipping containers. Turning containers at an angle in relation to its neighbours creates ample living space as well as gaps that encourage natural ventilation. Vertical gardens growing along the facade would provide greenery and dissipate heat.
2. Drones Sample Whale Snot
Some drones are being developed for delivery, but this six-rotor hexacopter was developed for collection. Scientists at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration used the drone to fly about 150 feet above humpback whales in Stellwagen Bank National Marine Sanctuary off New England.
From that height, the hexcopter took photographs of 36 different animals and then dipped down to 10 feet above sea level to collect blow-hole breath samples spewing into the air. The scientists hope to compare the photographs and "blow" analysis to better understand the relationship between a whale's body, its health and the habitat.
3. LED Fibres
LEDs are solid-state bulbs, which by definition means they're rigid. But researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have turned LED technology into a fibre that, like thread or yarn, can be woven into fabric. This fibre-like LED could make wearable computers as ubiquitous as underwear.
Every year for four years, an architect will be commissioned to design a temporary pavilion, an MPavillion, for the Queen Victoria Gardens in Melbourne, Australia. For the second year in a row, British architect Amanda Levete won. Her petal-shaped canopy is lit by LEDs and provides visitors to the area an airy, peaceful vibe. The pavilion is up until February, 2016.
5. Inflatable Space Elevator
As a person who is afraid of heights, this 12.4-mile-tall tower seems unimaginably frightening. I can stop hyperventilating, though, because at the moment, it's just a sketch in a US patent awarded to the Canadian space firm Thoth Technology. But if it ever becomes a reality, it could help advance space travel by reducing launch costs.
Made from inflatable, pneumatically reinforced sections, the 755-foot-wide tower would provide satellite rockets with a platform for launching. People, equipment and payload would reach the top via an interior elevator. From that height, the cost of fuel need to get a satellite free of earth's gravity could be reduced by a one-third.
6. Solar Reflector
Although most of us in the Northern Hemisphere are experiencing goodly amounts of sunlight right now, seasonal affective disorder - a kind of depression related to changes in seasons - affects 10 million people. This little gizmo called Lucy could help. It has a solar-powered mirror that follows the sun and reflects the light into whatever dark, dank needs brightening up.
It was created by Italy-based Diva Tommei, who developed SAD while doing her PhD in New England. Tommei is taking preorders here.
If you're part fish or always wished you were, this Electric Scubster might be for you. It comes from French adventurist Stephane Rousson, who also invented the Zeppy airship. Rousson recently launched a Kickstarter to further develop the personal sub he calls Nemo. Sure it has potential as a high-end toy, but it could also serve as a great research tool for archaeologists and marine scientists.
8. Metal Flowers
Changes in ambient air open and close the petals on these dynamic, metal flowers from Bimetal Creations. Two different metal pieces bonded together react differently to changes in temperature. While one side expands in response to the air, the other doesn't, causing the piece to bend. The flowers create a low-maintenance garden that doesn't require watering.
A thin, flexible skin-worn sensor turns the body into a touch surface to control mobile devices. Several different shapes and sizes were developed by scientists at Saarland University and the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in order to test which forms better suited different parts of body. Here, a version for a person's forearm allows the wearer to control a music device. Other systems were tested on a person's finger and even the ear-lobe.
10. Arctic Sauna
Norwegians like their sauna and so for the first Arctic arts festival, SALT, which took place on the remote island of Sandhornøya, the organizers decided to build a sauna. The Agora can hold up to 100 visitors at a time and offers dramatic views of the Arctic Sea. It's open until September so there's still time to get your heat on.
Top image: The MPavillion. Credit: Amanda Levete/AL_A.
[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Top image and some links added.]