Wednesday, 29 February 2012

Solar Roadway

"The Solar Roadway is a series of structurally-engineered solar panels that are driven upon. The idea is to replace all current petroleum-based asphalt roads, parking lots, and driveways with Solar Road Panels that collect energy to be used by our homes and businesses. Our ultimate goal is to be able to store excess energy in or alongside the Solar Roadways. This renewable energy replaces the need for the current fossil fuels used for the generation of electricity. This, in turn, cuts greenhouse gases literally in half.





Each individual panel consists of three basic layers:

Road Surface Layer - translucent and high-strength, it is rough enough to provide great traction, yet still passes sunlight through to the solar collector cells embedded within, along with LEDs and a heating element. It is capable of handling today's heaviest loads under the worst of conditions. Weatherproof, it protects the electronics layer beneath it.

Electronics Layer Contains a microprocessor board with support circuitry for sensing loads on the surface and controlling a heating element. No more snow/ice removal and no more school/business closings due to inclement weather. The on-board microprocessor controls lighting, communications, monitoring, etc. With a communications device every 12 feet, the Solar Roadway is an intelligent highway system.

Base Plate LayerLayer - While the electronics layer collects energy from the sun, it is the base plate layer that distributes power (collected from the electronics layer) and data signals (phone, TV, internet, etc.) "downline" to all homes and businesses connected to the Solar Roadway. Weatherproof, it protects the electronics layer above it.


Solar Road Panel

Overview
When multiple Solar Road Panels are interconnected, the intelligent Solar Roadway is formed. These panels replace current driveways, parking lots, and all road systems, be they interstate highways, state routes, downtown streets, residential streets, or even plain dirt or gravel country roads. Panels can also be used in amusement parks, raceways, bike paths, parking garage rooftops, remote military locations, etc. Any home or business connected to the Solar Roadway (via a Solar Road Panel driveway or parking lot) receives the power and data signals that the Solar Roadway provides. The Solar Roadway becomes an intelligent, self-healing, decentralized (secure) power grid."
Sources: http://www.yert.com/video.php?post_id=3723954#SignTop & http://solarroadways.com/intro.shtml

Monday, 27 February 2012

The Glasshouse: A Beauty in South Africa



From Nico VanDer Meulen Architects website: "In Johannesburg, South Africa, Nico Van Der Meulen Architects designed this spectacular 26,000 square foot home. They are the versifiers of enchantment, the makers of splendor in house designs, creators of fairy tale like habitats, spreading their pixie dust of mastermind over this mesmerizing Glasshouse planned to infuse charisma into the hearts of its viewers.
It is an open, light filled house where views of the backyard are seen from all rooms. The architects devised a massive complex of living spaces, arranged in a semi-circular pattern to envelope the garden. Immense concrete framework is arranged in a radial pattern, emanating from the center of the home. The framework complements outdoor living spaces, including the decks, patios, pools and fountains.





To meet the owner’s demand, this house was built with a modern, glamorous, open plan, light-filled with views from all rooms into the garden. The shape on the south side is a half circle, forming a horseshoe on the north side. Approaching the house from the gate, the driveway is elevated to allow glimpses through the 
house to the garden and raised water feature on the other side of the house.




You can jump from the main bedroom into the pool, swim to the gym, swim back and use the steel spiral staircase to go back to the main bedroom, or tip a tipsy friend into the pool from his barstool!
A basement under the house has parking for about twelve cars, with a view into the pool, and a top-lit art gallery which forms the passage between the garages and the lift.



The kitchen leads off the family room and dining room, with a pair of automatic, frameless sandblasted doors leading from the dining room to the kitchen. A breakfast area and playroom are adjacent to the kitchen, allowing the younger children to be supervised from the kitchen and family room, and allowing direct access to the bar and barbeque area from the kitchen."


Source: http://www.nicovdmeulen.com/2011/10/05/nku-bryanston/ &  http://www.nicovdmeulen.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/10/GlassHouseTouchMagazineBeirut.pdf

Friday, 24 February 2012

Bioprinting, Printing Synthetic Human Tissue



 Bioprinting uses a 3D printing process to create synthetic human tissue. One day it could therefore be used to print replacement human organs. This video by Christopher Barnatt explores future medical and cosmetic bioprinting applications.

For more information, please see http://explainingthefuture.com/bioprinting.html

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Go Topless Shoes!


Maybe putting your shoes on seems like a reasonably simple task, but for some people it is impossibly difficult. Those who are disabled or have back pain or arthritis might be completely unable to bend down and pull on even a simple slip-on pair of shoes. A group of designers fashioned this odd-looking solution as an entry in the 2011 Red Dot design competition.

Aptly named Topless Shoes, the invention is – for lack of a better comparison – sort of like sinking your feet into twin tissue boxes and walking around with them on. There are small gripping parts inside each shoe that hold onto your feet and keep you from walking right out of the shoes.

The interior of the shoes is flexible enough to expand slightly to allow the foot in, then it contracts around the foot to hold it securely. However, it doesn’t look like the interior material comes across the top of the foot completely, leaving it exposed. This fact may make the shoes unsuitable for certain weather or climates. Even so, the Topless Shoes seem like a sturdier alternative to house slippers for those who can’t handle pulling on or tying regular shoes. Just don’t expect to win any “best dressed” awards.

Source: http://gajitz.com/

Monday, 20 February 2012

Beautifully Renovated Residence in South Africa

Aboo Makhado Residence 3 Completely Transformed South African Residence

From freshome: "An outdated residence in Limpopo,South Africa, became a sleek semi-transparent modern residence the owners can be proud of. The Aboo Makhado Residence (or House Aboobaker) was designed by Nico van der Meulen Architects. Their task was to reconstructing an old residence while taking into account the excessive heat and need for natural light. Welcoming the inhabitants and guests with a special water feature on the facade, this South African home benefits from a 1132  square meters plot. The renovation increased the living surface from 343 square meters to 494 sqm.

Aboo Makhado Residence Completely Transformed South African Residence

The vaulted roof with heavy masonry was replaced with steel and glass and the spaces were opened to the outside, where a wrap-around set of water features – including a swimming pool- were given the chance to offer relaxation. Here are a few words from the architects: “Extensive use was made of steel in varied forms, and large expanse of opening glass and double volume areas, to allow as much natural light in as possible, with sun control to allow sun into the house only in winter as well as a lightweight, well insulated structure that cools down fast in the evening, thereby enhancing the feeling of space while creating natural cooling through the use of water features and the pool.” "


Aboo Makhado Residence 4 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 5 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 6 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 7 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 8 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 9 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 11 Completely Transformed South African Residence


Aboo Makhado Residence 13 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 14 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 17 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 18 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 19 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 20 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 21 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 22 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 23 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 24 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 25 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 26 Completely Transformed South African Residence


Aboo Makhado Residence 28 Completely Transformed South African Residence


Aboo Makhado Residence 30 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 32 Completely Transformed South African Residence

Aboo Makhado Residence 33 Completely Transformed South African Residence

For more photos check out: http://freshome.com/2012/02/16/completely-transformed-south-african-residence/

Friday, 17 February 2012

Muskoka Boathouse / Christopher Simmonds Architect

Architect: Christopher Simmonds Architect
Location: Muskoka Lakes, Ontario, Canada (approx. 170 km North of Toronto, Canada)
Photographs: Peter Fritz Photography

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This project for the renovation of an existing boathouse and new 600 sq.ft. second storey guest suite is located in the Muskoka Lakes region of Ontario. Situated at the end of a narrow bay, the design of the new boathouse mediates between extended views out to the wide vista of the distant lake and the immediacy of the enclosed forested shoreline of the bay. The design provides a lens for these varied views as well as a sheltering foil to the open lake breezes and water traffic. The project called for the renovation of an existing two slip boathouse and the addition of a second storey guest suite and roof terrace.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Bas van der Veer's "Raindrop Mini" Watering Can


"Interesting update form Studio Bas van der Veer; the charming rainwater harvester and plant watering concept has now gone into production in miniature—on sale in garden stores across Europe according to the young man's website. The mini version is clearly intended to suit the balconies and more modest gardens of urban dwellers."

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Raindrop Mini comes in several fresh colours and it also sold separately in two sizes: 3,5 liter (mini) and 5 liter (regular).

Source : Core77 , Studio Bas van der Veer

Monday, 13 February 2012

VW DoubleBack by Overlander Motorhomes


"Volkswagen mostly began submiting “pop tops” on its camper vans. In the decades since, the soft-sided interior height-extenders suffer become a ubniquitous sight on VW vans parked in campgrounds all throughout the world. Now, Welsh organization Overlander Motorhomes is presenting how it sees as the rational compliment to the pop top – it is the DoubleBack, a sliding insulated pod so extends the interior length of Volkswagen's T5 Transporter van."


"Inspired by a desire to deliver a truly spacious and comfortable camper, the T5 DoubleBack delivers the drivability of a camper van along with the extra exclusive space of a motor-home. This electrically extendable rear pod constructed from aircraft industry standards stays tucked up inside the back of the vehicle while you are on the move. Once you stop to settle, the pod electrically extends out to add 2 meters of useable interior space in the rear."


"Featured with two folded legs on the bottom of the pod that extends and gets self-leveled on uneven terrain is able to support over 600 kilograms of weight. T5 DoubleBack comes equipped with a fold-out double bed in the pod, an elevating roof and a kitchenette along with other home amenities required on the road. The whole sliding process is visually impressive, and it just takes 45 seconds."


"However, it’s even unclear if the pod makes the interiors of the van, but the firm alleges so a driver and one passenger can be accommodated in captain’s seat, or a driver and two passengers can sit if the customer selects the bench seat option."

Source: Interesting Engineering, BORNRICH