Archinect - News 2015-12-01T02:34:35-05:00 A look inside Tesla's growing Gigafactory: "It will blow your mind." Alexander Walter 2015-11-19T13:24:00-05:00 >2015-11-30T22:24:44-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Musk had warned me that the scale of the place would be overwhelming. "It will blow your mind. You see it in person and then realize, Fuck, this is big." He was right. It was impossible not to feel awestruck by the sprawling, 71-foot-tall structure stretched out, miragelike, before me as I drove into a shallow canyon. [...] When the Gigafactory is finished, it will be only slightly smaller than Boeing&rsquo;s Everett, Washington, plant, which is the world&rsquo;s largest building by volume.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Related news on Archinect:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Tesla Announces Plans to Build $5 Billion Battery 'Gigafactory'</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Dawn of the self-driving car: testing out Tesla's autopilot function</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Did Tesla almost go bankrupt without anyone noticing?</a></li></ul> The new Monument Men: with 3D cameras and GPS data against cultural annihilation in Syria and beyond Alexander Walter 2015-11-12T19:00:00-05:00 >2015-11-18T00:40:05-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="289" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>That&rsquo;s why a team from the Institute for Digital Archaeology (IDA) is turning to the next best option&mdash;using technology to protect cultural heritage. Founded in 2012 by Roger Michel, IDA is a joint effort between Harvard University and Oxford University to create an open-source database of high-resolution images and three-dimensional graphics of things like paper and papyrus documents, epigraphs and small artifacts. Work on what IDA has named the Million Image Database began in early 2015.</p></em><br /><br /><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>The photo shows the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Baal Shamin temple</a> prior to its destruction. Volunteers of the&nbsp;Institute for Digital Archaeology were able to digitally archive the 2,000-year-old&nbsp;structure for the&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Million Image Database</a> project just in time before <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ISIS fighters seized control</a> of Palmyra's historic site.</p><p>Related on Archinect:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ISIS militants have reportedly blown up Palmyra's Arch of Triumph</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ISIS blows up 2,000-year-old Baalshamin temple in Palmyra</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ISIS continues destruction of ancient artefacts, burns Mosul library, smashes antique statues</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">PBS' premiere of "Time Scanners" brings 3D digital preservation technology to a wider audience</a></li></ul> Flying firefighters: the jetpack is quickly becoming a reality Nicholas Korody 2015-11-11T22:18:00-05:00 >2015-11-12T12:45:29-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="442" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>In the near-future, Dubai Civil Defence officers may be zooming in on to the scene of building fires using futuristic personal jetpacks. Designed by New Zealand-based Martin Aircraft Company, the jet-packs can be operated by a single pilot for 30 minutes at ranges of between 30 and 50 kilometres at altitudes of up to 3,000 feet. The pilot stands on a platform in a 'pilot module' between two propeller engines, which look like large versions of those commonly found on civilian drones.</p></em><br /><br /><p><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>I'm not sure when or how it happened, but apparently jet packs are a real thing now.&nbsp;On Tuesday, the Dubai Civil Defense service signed a deal with Martin Aircraft for the future delivery of jetpacks, training material, and spare parts. Dubai's towering skyline necessitates a degree of vertical mobility in its emergency respondents. Equipped with jetpacks, firefighters can rapidly rescue people stranded near the top of a building if an emergency renders the elevators inoperable (as they tend to do).&nbsp;<br><br>And then last week, the US Coast Guard and Federal Aviation Administration let an Australian named David Mayman fly around the Statue of Liberty with a jetpack made by Jetpack Aviation. According to a <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">report</a>, this satisfied Mayman's dream to become a "real life Ironman" (which is a bit odd, because I'm pretty sure Elon Musk already called dibs on that).<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>In any case, the videos are really fun and the technology is obviously quite interesting, with a lot of possible applications. The articl...</p> Aleatory Architectures: the bright future of self-assembling granular materials Alexander Walter 2015-11-10T20:30:00-05:00 >2015-11-17T23:53:25-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>But some designers are toying with another idea&mdash;that there&rsquo;s a different way to build that exploits randomness rather than avoids it. This kind of building will rely on new kinds of granular materials that when tipped into place, bind together in ways that provide structural stability. [...] Sean Keller at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and Heinrich Jaeger at the University of Chicago explain how this kind of &ldquo;aleatory architecture&rdquo; is finally becoming possible.</p></em><br /><br /><p><em>That will have a profound effect on the process of design. &ldquo;As a result, preplanning is freed from considering the local structural detail,&rdquo; say Keller and Jaeger. &ldquo;Instead, the main task now becomes generating the proper particle shapes as well as the overall boundary and processing conditions to guarantee that the desired target structure will be mechanically stable when realized.&rdquo;</em></p><p>Related:&nbsp;<a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Cutting across the Chicago Architecture Biennial: "Rock Print" from ETH Z&uuml;rich and MIT</a></p> SimCity and beyond: the history of city-building games Alexander Walter 2015-10-16T13:28:00-04:00 >2015-10-24T15:23:58-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Cities are everywhere. Billions of us live in them, and many of us think we could do a better job than the planners. But for the past 26 years dating back to the original SimCity, we've mostly been proving that idea false. [...] And now, here, I'm going to take you on a whirlwind tour through the history of the city-building genre&mdash;from its antecedents to the hot new thing.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Related on Archinect:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The issue of homelessness in SimCity</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">How video game engines may influence the future of architecture (and everything else)</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Three guiding principles for a fine fake metropolis</a></li></ul> A city for the future but devoid of people Nicholas Korody 2015-10-06T18:07:00-04:00 >2015-10-08T22:37:27-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="360" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>In the arid plains of the southern New Mexico desert, between the site of the first atomic bomb test and the U.S.-Mexico border, a new city is rising from the sand. Planned for a population of 35,000, the city will showcase a modern business district downtown, and neat rows of terraced housing in the suburbs. It will be supplied with pristine streets, parks, malls and a church. But no one will ever call it home.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Planned by the telecommunications and tech firm Pegasus Global Holdings, the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">CITE</a> (Center for Innovation, Testing and Evaluation) is a $1 billion plan to build a model city to test out and develop new technologies.<br><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>With specialized zones for agriculture, energy, and water treatment, the city would also play host to tests for new tech like self-driving cars, responsive roads, and "smart homes" of all kinds.</p><p>CITE would have built-in sensors throughout, as well as a central control room to oversee operations.&nbsp;<br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><img title="" alt="" src=""><br><br>CITE does not plan to have humans inhabiting the city to allow for faster testing and fewer potential mishaps. But that presents its own issues: after all, these technologies are ultimately intended for social use, and even "smart cities" have to be populated by humans.</p><p>"The inhabitants of cities are not just interchangeable individuals that can be dropped into experimental settings," Professor Steve Rayner, co-director of the Oxford Programme for the Future of Cities, tells CNN.&nbsp;"Th...</p> Urban Parasites, Data-Driven Urbanism, and the Case for Architecture Orhan Ayyüce 2015-10-02T14:08:00-04:00 >2015-10-05T10:20:59-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="386" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>at least some part of architectural practice needs to move on from having buildings as the only output. The answer to every urban question cannot always be a building, clearly. Whilst buildings may be part of some solutions, there are broader, deeper questions in play&mdash;good architects see this, but the practice (from education up) is still not exploring this implied question broadly enough.</p></em><br /><br /><p>A call for architecture, for architects, their schools, their buildings and their cities via the technology they still struggle to grasp regardless of their software driven shaping skills, a valuable read by Dan Hill of City of Sound. Technological effect is elsewhere.</p> Apple announces new iPad Pro aimed at creative professionals Nicholas Korody 2015-09-10T13:44:00-04:00 >2015-09-11T10:48:57-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="301" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Apple has announced a range of new products, including a new larger iPad, two new smartphones and a long-awaited update to Apple TV. In a now traditional September event, this time held at San Francisco&rsquo;s 7,000 seater Bill Graham civic auditorium, 2,000 engineers, advertisers, executives and journalists saw Apple&rsquo;s marketing chief Phil Schiller reveal a new 12.9-inch screen iPad that the company hopes will appeal to both professional creatives and committed tablet users.</p></em><br /><br /><p>With a $799 price-tag, the new iPad Pro could offer a more affordable option for creatives than a MacBook Pro or a desktop. The tablet will have a 10-hour battery life and a faster, more efficient A9X processor, as well as a 12.9-inch Retina display. In addition, the iPad was introduced alongside "Apple Pencil," a smart stylus.</p><p>The <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">announcement</a> included a revamped AppleTV with a new, native operating system and Siri. Two new iPhones were also announced, with features such as a 3D touch gesture (like a pressure sensitive, responsive multi-touch), 4K video, and "Live Photos," which are like gifs capturing "the moments just before and after your picture," and then put into motion.</p><p>Probably the most exciting news, the stylus and iPad Pro could have the potential to greatly bridge the distance between traditional pen-and-paper and digital designing, with intuitive technology like tethering line weight to applied pressure. As such, it could offer a lot to designers who still bring out traci...</p> MIT presents 3D printer that can print 10 materials simultaneously without breaking the bank Alexander Walter 2015-09-01T13:34:00-04:00 >2015-09-07T08:12:36-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="705" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>As 3D printing advances from its plastic roots, we&rsquo;re seeing more and more materials passing through its nozzles. Metal, glass, random gunk&mdash;each new filament opens the door to new manufacturing applications. Now researchers have made a printer they claim can use up to ten different materials at once. The &ldquo;MultiFab,&rdquo; made by MIT&rsquo;s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL), could offer a relatively low-cost option for the multimaterial 3D printing market.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Click <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">here</a> to read the full paper,&nbsp;<em>MultiFab: A Machine Vision Assisted Platform for Multi-material 3D Printing</em>.</p><p>Related on Archinect:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Amsterdam could get a new 3D-printed bridge built by robots</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">UC Berkeley team unveils "Bloom" 3D-printed cement structure</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">The future of 3D printing will be...neoclassical villas?</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Singapore company launches world's first 3d printer/scanner hybrid</a></li></ul> Could 'quantum dots' be the key to turning windows into photovoltaics? Nicholas Korody 2015-08-26T14:37:00-04:00 >2015-08-26T14:37:26-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>While wind may be one of the most economical power sources out there, photovoltaic solar energy has a big advantage: it can go small. While wind gets cheaper as turbines grow larger, the PV hardware scales down to fit wherever we have infrastructure. In fact, simply throwing solar on our existing building stock could generate a very large amount of carbon-free electricity.</p></em><br /><br /><p>But, as many homeowners already know, installing solar panels can be quite cost-prohibitive. New research might just have solved that problem by incorporating solar hardware into the most basic light filter used in architecture: the window.</p><p>According to a study, solar windows could filter out a portion of light and convert about a third of it to electricity. By utilizing a "diffuse cloud of quantum dots," the glass would still meet "the highest standards for indoor lighting."</p><p>The quantum dots are made of "copper,&nbsp;indium, and selenium, covered in a layer of zinc sulfide." They absorb a broad band of the solar spectrum but convert it to "specific wavelength in the infrared," which happens to be ideal for absorption by a silicon photovoltaic.&nbsp;</p><p>There would be a good deal of energy loss in the conversion process compared to a panel installed on a roof, but as <em>Ars Technica</em> notes, that's not really the point. Contemporary architecture tends to use vast amounts of glazing &ndash; by harvesting even ...</p> Newly patented space elevator could take astronauts 12 miles up into the stratosphere Alexander Walter 2015-08-24T17:20:00-04:00 >2015-08-25T12:30:26-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="257" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Canadian space and defense company Thoth Technology is attempting to make reaching the stratosphere as simple as riding an elevator up a tower about 23 times taller than the world&rsquo;s tallest building. The Thoth space elevator patent, approved by the US patent office on July 21, specifies that the tower could be built on any &ldquo;planetary surface,&rdquo; (i.e. not just Earth), a sign that Thoth is thinking pretty far ahead. [...] the top of the tower will serve as a rocket launch site.</p></em><br /><br /><p>In slightly more <em>recent-technology</em> elevator news:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">ThyssenKrupp's cable-free elevator test tower tops out in less than 10 months</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Japan's simple logic for putting toilets in elevators</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Installation of UltraRope elevators begins at Kingdom Tower</a></li></ul> Watch Taipei 101's 728-ton mass damper in action during Typhoon Soudelor Alexander Walter 2015-08-11T16:55:00-04:00 >2015-08-11T18:30:04-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="289" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Like all supertall skyscrapers, Tapei 101 has a mechanism inside to help stabilize itself in high winds. [...] At 6:59 am, in the winds of Typhoon Soudelor, the damper moved by a full meter from its center position, farther than it has ever moved in the building's decade history. [...] Soudelor brought sustained winds of 100 mph, with at least one confirmed gust of 145 mph .</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Enlisting the Internet of Things against California's historic drought Alexander Walter 2015-07-02T20:58:00-04:00 >2015-07-06T14:49:24-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="341" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>[...] the drought is a gusher for a growing number of tech startups in the emerging world of the Internet of Things, the buzzy term for the trend of connecting devices and data in the physical realm to the Internet. Getting more sensors into the environment will help thousands of farms, businesses and cities figure out where water is going and how it can be diverted for the most efficient use. Agriculture is the area most ripe for collecting more and higher-quality data.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Related news on Archinect:</p><ul><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">California Water Crisis? Now there's a board game for that!</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">California Farmers Using Oil Wastewater during Drought</a></li><li><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">California Governor Mandates Water Restrictions</a></li></ul> Human organ-mimicking microchip wins Designs of the Year Award 2015 Justine Testado 2015-06-23T19:18:00-04:00 >2015-07-04T22:14:27-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><p>A microdevice called Human Organs-on-Chips is engineered with the astounding ability to mimic the complex structures, functions, and mechanical motions of whole human organs. Fabricated by scientists Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun Huh at Harvard University's Wyss Institute, Human Organs-on-Chips was announced today as the 2015 <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Designs of the Year Award</a> winner in the <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Design Museum</a>'s popular international competition.</p><p>The annual contest shows off an entertaining categorized mix of thoughtful designs whose creators range from global-brand giants to emerging entrepreneurs. Needless to say, competition is tough year after year. In 2014, <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Zaha Hadid's Heydar Aliyev Center</a> in Baku, Azerbaijan snatched the winning title.</p><p>The 2015 edition started out with <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">76 nominated Designs-of-the-Year hopefuls</a> across six categories: <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Architecture</a>, Digital, Fashion, Graphic, Product and Transport. (The Furniture category in previous editions appears to have been omitted.) Last month, the jury then selected the ...</p> Amsterdam could get a new 3D-printed bridge built by robots Justine Testado 2015-06-17T18:57:00-04:00 >2015-06-19T13:04:51-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="341" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>MX3D, a research and development startup company, will use robots to 3D print a pedestrian bridge across one of Amsterdam&rsquo;s canals. The versatile six-axis robotic arms will &lsquo;draw&rsquo; steel structures in 3D, starting from one side of the canal and building across until it reaches the other end. The robot will also print its own support, which allows it to work autonomously. The location of the bridge will be announced soon and construction is set to commence in 2017.</p></em><br /><br /><p>More on Archinect:</p><p><a title="New Googleplex will be built by robots" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">New Googleplex will be built by robots</a></p><p><a title="Liquid metal discovery paves way for shape-shifting robots" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Liquid metal discovery paves way for shape-shifting robots</a></p><p><a title="Robot gives a helping hand as Taubman College breaks ground on new school addition" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Robot gives a helping hand as Taubman College breaks ground on new school addition</a></p><p><a title="Self-Folding Robot Based on Origami" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Self-Folding Robot Based on Origami</a></p><p><a title="Gensler LA wants to use drones to alleviate the scale limits of 3D printing" href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Gensler LA wants to use drones to alleviate the scale limits of 3D printing</a></p> Waze and its new uneasy bedfellows Alexander Walter 2015-06-08T14:44:00-04:00 >2015-06-10T19:12:50-04:00 <img src="" width="500" height="750" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The L.A.-Waze partnership is, at least in theory, an initial step toward allowing the city&rsquo;s planners and engineers to regain a healthier role in mediating the kinds of longstanding cross-town conflicts that Waze has renewed and amplified. Whether the deal will help to resolve fundamental long-term issues related to the city&rsquo;s growth and inadequate infrastructure is another matter.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> First Japanese skyscraper gets retrofitted with rooftop vibration control system Alexander Walter 2015-06-02T15:01:00-04:00 >2015-06-04T22:34:03-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="344" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A vibration control device to dramatically reduce shaking caused by long-period earthquake ground motion &mdash; a phenomenon in which major earthquakes shake skyscrapers slowly but severely &mdash; was shown to the media on Monday after being installed in a 55-story building in central Tokyo. [...] The companies said it is the nation&rsquo;s first rooftop vibration control device against earthquakes.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Master the Business Side of Your Architecture Firm Sponsor 2015-05-27T11:44:00-04:00 >2015-06-09T10:47:47-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="359" border="0" title="" alt="" /><br><em><strong>This post is brought to you by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">BQE ArchiOffice</a>.</strong></em><br>&nbsp;<p>Architecture firm principals are the Chief Financial Officers of their firm, whether they want to be or not. Sure, they may delegate that authority to someone who knows more than they do about balance sheets, income statements and financing, but a firm&rsquo;s principals are ultimately responsible for the decisions made and actions taken in their organization.</p><p>For many small architecture firms, principals don&rsquo;t have anyone to guide them for financial and other business matters. In some instances, firm owners use other employees to assist with day-to-day operations.</p><p>Jennifer Pullinger writes in the &ldquo;<em>Architect Magazine</em>&rdquo; that Belmont Freeman, FAIA, of Belmont Freeman Architects in New York City, &ldquo;delegates some of the firm&rsquo;s financial management to individual project architects.&rdquo; Freeman also explains in the article that he creates &ldquo;processes that allow them to continually examine key metrics for their firm. It&rsquo;s good to have an associate in the ...</p> How "smart" tintable glass will reduce our needs for air conditioning Alexander Walter 2015-05-22T14:15:00-04:00 >2015-05-22T14:20:12-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="286" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>The downside of giant banks of windows or glass walls, though, becomes obvious when the&nbsp;relentless afternoon sun makes the heat and stuffiness inside intolerable [...]. The makers of &ldquo;smart glass&rdquo; say they can address this problem.&nbsp;Smart-glass windows transform from transparent to opaque, and every shade in between, in seconds. They often rely on electrochromic thin films embedded in the glass. The upshot: Less energy is needed to heat or cool a building. Shades and blinds become optional.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> How Frank Gehry helped create the era of "technological construction" Nicholas Korody 2015-05-13T16:48:00-04:00 >2015-05-15T12:32:31-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="260" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>In the 1990s, Frank Gehry pioneered... &ldquo;smart&rdquo; digital design in architecture, by using software to optimize designs and translate them directly into a process of fabrication and construction. Now known in the industry as parametric design and building information modeling, this approach has ushered in a new era of architecture, according to art historian Irene Nero: the era of &ldquo;technological construction&rdquo; [...] How did an architect who doesn&rsquo;t use computers start a technology company?</p></em><br /><br /><p>In an article for <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Priceonomics</a>, Lian Chang looks at the role Frank Gehry and his team had on the development of parametric design, aka building information modeling. Beginning with Gehry's fish-inspired&nbsp;pavilion for Barcelona&rsquo;s 1992 Olympics, Chang traces the various construction impasses and subsequent revelations that have helped establish Gehry Technologies as a significant player in the realization of many major architecture projects today (and not just the one's bearing his famous signature).</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p>After a contractor failed numerous times to translate Gehry's vision for the Barcelona pavilion, the resident "office hippy,"&nbsp;Jim Glymph, turned to&nbsp;CATIA, a C++ software package originally developed for the aerospace industry. Using parametric B&eacute;zier curves (or vectors) and 3D surface algorithms, Gehry's team was able to realize the project, and on budget.&nbsp;</p><p>Chang continues her history looking at the initial controversies surrounding Gehry's plans for the Walt Disney Concert Hall and the impo...</p> Open data's potential & challenges to boost tenants’ rights activism Alexander Walter 2015-05-11T17:54:00-04:00 >2015-05-13T20:31:05-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="365" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Open data, and the interactive mapping and data visualization that can come of it, has become a de facto engagement and storytelling tool among contemporary journalists, social justice activists, and civic-minded technologists. But despite its allure, open data&rsquo;s potential for fostering civic engagement and creating transparency and dialogue is plagued by issues of usability, access, and quality control.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Company creates a carbon-negative plastic Nicholas Korody 2015-05-05T19:18:00-04:00 >2015-05-06T08:54:47-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="340" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>[Mark Herrema] and Kenton Kimmel, a high school classmate, founded the Irvine, California-based company Newlight Technologies in 2003. After years of research, the team unveiled a way to produce plastic from carbon emissions that is actually more affordably priced than oil-based plastics. The "secret sauce" is a biocatalyst that combines air and methane, and reassembles all of the carbon, hydrogen and oxygen molecules into a thermoplastic the makers call AirCarbon.</p></em><br /><br /><p>Newlight's work appears really interesting, addressing two separate but related issues: "first, oil dependency, by replacing oil with captured carbon emissions, and second, climate change, by creating a market-driven carbon capture platform." Basically, the technology comprises using a biocatalyst to combine oxygen with carbon and hydrogen molecules extracted from methane, producing a "long-chain thermoplastic polymer molecule, called AirCarbon." Like other "carbon-negative" technologies, this project involves actually removing greenhouse gases from the atmosphere, rather than merely attempting to reduce emission levels.</p><p>Smithsonian Magazine interviews the team behind AirCarbon. Some good snippets:</p><ul><li>"...In the past, all biocatalysts were self-limiting, meaning that they could only make a certain amount of polymer before they would turn themselves off and make carbon dioxide instead of polymer...Over the course of about ten years of work, we developed a new kind of biocatalyst that does...</li></ul> Ai Weiwei, Jacob Appelbaum and the dissident experience Alexander Walter 2015-04-28T20:20:00-04:00 >2015-04-29T19:02:49-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="522" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>It&rsquo;s a Thursday morning in Beijing, and the world&rsquo;s most famous living artist, Ai Weiwei, is sitting with one of the world&rsquo;s most controversial technologists, Jacob Appelbaum, in the second-floor lobby of the East Hotel. [...] On a whim, Ai suggests that they call Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who has been living for the last two years at the Ecuadorian embassy in London. [...] Ai and Assange talk for several minutes about the mundanities of the dissident life.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Does Your Administrative Staff Spend Too Much Time Correcting Errors? Sponsor 2015-04-09T12:09:00-04:00 >2015-04-13T19:27:25-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="343" border="0" title="" alt="" /><br><em><strong>This post is brought to you by <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">BQE ArchiOffice</a>.</strong></em><br>&nbsp;<p><strong>Learn how this small architectural firm increased efficiency and improved cash flow</strong></p><p>William Duff Architects is passionate about serving clients through the creation of innovative, sustainable architecture delivered through exceptional project management. Founded in 1998, WDA has built a national, award-winning reputation for excellence in residential, retail, restaurant, and commercial Case Study projects. A firm of professional designers, they approach their work with intellectual curiosity, embrace collaboration, and are dedicated to helping clients achieve their goals.</p><p><strong>CHALLENGES</strong></p><p><strong>Assessing Project Status</strong><br>Project managers were unable to get an up-to-date view on project&rsquo;s status and cost. It became too much of a hassle to search for relevant project information using their old system. By the time they reviewed it, the information was already outdated, which caused project managers to ineffectively manage resource and staff availability. ...</p> Amazon's new Dash button and the value of running out of toilet paper Nicholas Korody 2015-04-03T18:35:00-04:00 >2015-04-06T13:35:46-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="270" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Dash fits squarely into the current age of smart-home technology... It is not simply a matter of practical efficiency but of a proactive, pre&euml;mptive way of living, in which inefficiency is the worst kind of waste. The way we manage our chores is a measure of our worthiness. No one wants to live in a stupid home... And only a chump would ever run out of toilet paper. But what if there is actual value in running out of things?</p></em><br /><br /><p>Amazon released their new Dash devices yesterday and many people thought it was an April Fool's joke, partly "&nbsp;the idea seemed to poke fun at Amazon&rsquo;s omnipresence, making it visibly manifest with little plastic one-click shopping buttons adhered to surfaces all over your home." But the device, which would enable you to re-stock a certain product with the push of a little button, is real and coming. The video is below &ndash;&ndash; it's a bit unsettling.</p><p>In his New Yorker piece, Ian Crouch notes the imminent arrival of products that will be able to reorder supplies, ie. a washing machine that will sense when the detergent is low and order more. Crouch darkly imagines "a washing machine, haywire and alone in a basement somewhere,&nbsp;constantly reordering supplies for itself long after we&rsquo;ve all been wiped off the Earth." He suggests that being bothered to have to stop may actually be important, in part in making us feel bad about the way we consume and the amount we waste.</p><p>Crouch's article seems to ...</p> Supercomputing project simulates architecture's influence on urban microclimates Alexander Walter 2015-03-24T13:24:00-04:00 >2015-04-04T22:35:05-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="304" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A research team from the Mechanical Engineering department at University of Utah is using high-performance computing resources from XSEDE to instantaneously and accurately simulate how infrastructure elements, such as parks, buildings, and parking lots, as well as their specifications and variations, affect air characteristics and quality in urban settings.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Are driverless pods the future of public transportation? Nicholas Korody 2015-03-18T17:34:00-04:00 >2015-03-23T22:23:20-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="329" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Driverless pods, gliding above city streets using a network of elevated guideways. This is SkyTran -- but is it the future? SkyTran wants to do away with train schedules and central stations to develop a grid system above the ground with multiple "off ramps" acting as stations where users can board pre-booked pods &ndash; a cab service for the skies. Call for SkyTran on your smart phone and a computer-controlled, magnetically levitating pod arrives. It will whisk you across the city...</p></em><br /><br /><p>SkyTran claims the pods, weighing just 300 lbs, would consume about a third of the electricity used by today's hybrid cars. And the infrastructure can be built for $10 million per mile, at least according to the CEO Jerry Sanders.</p><p>Later this year, the company plans to complete its first pilot project at the campus of Israel Aerospace Industries in Tel Aviv. &nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p><p><img title="" alt="" src=""></p> Japanese government pushes for advanced technology in Tokyo Olympic Stadium, including facial recognition Alexander Walter 2015-03-09T19:54:00-04:00 >2015-03-10T19:17:20-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="308" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants Japan to showcase its cutting-edge technology in the new national stadium being built for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics. Abe made the remark on Monday at a meeting with a study panel on the stadium. [...] Prime Minister Abe [...] said he wants to hear people in other countries calling the new stadium great. Some people have raised concerns about high maintenance costs for the new facility.</p></em><br /><br /><p>While some of that Japanese cutting-edge technology (for example 3D projection) will be found in the entertainment department, other features, like <a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">facial recognition</a>, could enable ticketless entrance and serve security and&nbsp;counterterrorism efforts.</p><p><a href="" rel="nofollow" target="_blank">Previously</a></p> UC Berkeley team unveils "Bloom" 3D-printed cement structure Archinect 2015-03-06T20:49:00-05:00 >2015-03-15T16:30:07-04:00 <img src="" width="514" height="335" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>A UC Berkeley research team led by Ronald Rael, associate professor of architecture, will unveil today (Friday, March 6) the first and largest powder-based 3-D-printed cement structure built to date. The debut of this groundbreaking project is a demonstration of the architectural potential of 3-D printing. It will close the fifth annual Berkeley Circus, which celebrates the research and accomplishments of the College of Environmental Design (CED) community.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html> Dubai unveils plans for its flashy Museum of the Future Alexander Walter 2015-03-06T14:20:00-05:00 >2015-03-06T14:29:37-05:00 <img src="" width="514" height="355" border="0" title="" alt="" /><em><p>Dubai continues to treat city planning like a simulation game with the cheats turned on, unveiling its latest architectural wonder: the&nbsp;Museum of the Future.&nbsp;The building is set to open in 2017, and while we're not quite sure how to describe its shape (a lopsided torus? An aerodynamic donut?) it serves an interesting dual purpose as both museum and research lab.</p></em><br /><br /><!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.0 Transitional//EN" ""> <html><head><meta></head></html>