How to Create a Productive (and Chic) Workspace


AnOther: It doesn’t take more than a few weeks of freelance life to realise that your bed is not the prime location for harnessing creativity, or that sitting pretzel-legged on your sofa while firing off your 100th email of the day might be the cause of your new-found neck pain. So how do you make working from home work for you? Freedom from the chains of office life can actually be liberating, and it is absolutely possible to revel in the lack of overheads or hours spent on public transport that are associated with more traditional working locations, but first you must create a space that allows you to be your most productive self, without compromise. For your professional pleasure, we asked a handful of workspace and design experts to share their top tips for doing just that. 1. Think anti-office and embrace your space According to Sella Concept co-founder Gayle Noonan, the best workspace is, “something that looks nothing like an office”. The multi-disciplinary design duo recently completed work on creative hub De Beauvoir Block and Noonan firmly believes in the power of creating comfortable and inviting spaces. “The best office spaces are those that feel like living rooms,” she argues. “The more domestic and lounge-like you can make it, the better.” 2. Find the light and get better sleep It’s not just the green stuff you need to keep in your sights. Despina Katsikakis, whose expertise has been utilised by the likes of Microsoft and Google, also highlights the… Read more

New Range of Super Capacitors


via ENGINEERLIVE: VINATech has launched a new series of 3.8 volt ultra low LC super capacitors. The range offers a series of radial EDLC capacitors from 20 Farad to 270 Farads. This innovative hybrid ultra-capacitor technology uses activated carbon with a lithium electrode to create a high density capacitor with extremely low self discharge characteristics. The range offers 3~4 times energy density when compared to existing, established EDLCs and the VINATech market leading 3volt series. The LIC series also offers extremely low Leakage Current, making them ideal for regenerative IoT technologies such as wireless sensing, RFiD tagging and a host of rechargeable products such as offender tagging, asset tracking, medical appliances, SMART buildings and Lighting by supporting pulse management in communications products such as water and gas data loggers which use battery power as prime power source. Temperature ranges are from -30c~+70°C (or 85°C when de-rated to 3.5v). With a cycle life exceeding 100,000 full cycles the LIC offers much longer life than similar battery-based pulse products which can only manage 1,000+. Product size ranges from 10mm x 30mm to the largest being 25mm x 40mm. In the pipeline is a smaller 10Farad device. Despite the Lithium in the name this LIC product meets with RoHS, WEEE & REACH regulations and does not have any limitation for international transportation.

Futurologist Predicts Construction Technology by 2075


via pbctoday: A report examining the role that technology will play in the construction industry in the future has highlighted that drones, 3D printing and roofs made from recycled plastic bottles will all be possible by 2025. The report, written by well-known future gazer, Dr Ian Pearson BSc DSc(hc), and commissioned by Colmore Tang Construction and Virgin StartUp, also revealed that floating buildings and apartments will be possible by 2050 thanks to carbon foam, which is lighter than air. By 2025 drones will be able to carry large materials up construction sites and, even more extraordinarily, plastic bottles recovered from the world’s oceans will be recycled to create a roof. Over the next decade, artificial intelligence (AI) will be commonplace, linking to sensors and cameras around construction sites, ensuring that buildings are being developed according to the architect’s plans. Humans will work alongside AIs. Looking more than 50 years into the future, by 2075 Dr Pearson suggests that self-assembling buildings under AI control will allow a new form of structure – kinetic architecture – where a structure is literally thrown into the sky and assembled while gravity forms the materials into beautiful designs. However, it is 3D printing that will steal most of the construction headlines in the immediate future, according to Dr Pearson. Cheap homes, built quickly using 3D printing, will essentially put an end to the housing crisis. The report was launched by Colmore Tang Construction, who has partnered with Virgin StartUp to deliver a £10m innovation fund that… Read more

This Handheld 3D Printer Can Print Skin Onto People


via c|net: Researchers at the University of Toronto have developed a handheld 3D skin printer that can apply layers of skin tissue directly onto patients to cover and heal wounds. According to the researchers, the printer is an alternative to a conventional skin graft, but doesn’t require healthy skin to be removed from a donor and grafted on to a patient. Instead, the device fits in your hand and can be used like a white-out tape dispenser, rolling out “bio ink” skin tissue directly on the affected areas. It weighs less than two pounds. Researchers believe it’s the first device that can form skin directly on top of a wound, in two minutes or less. Human skin may be the next canvas for 3D printing. Researchers at the University of Minnesota have also used 3D printers to place electronics directly on to people’s skin, and other prototype skin printers already exist. This new handheld 3D skin printer hasn’t been tested on humans yet, but if you’re not too squeamish (warning: there’s a little blood) you can watch it work on a pig’s wounds in this short video clip.

Are They Buildings or Gardens? The New ‘Green’ Architecture


via DAILY BEAST: Spend a little time on websites devoted to what’s new and next in global architecture, and you might notice a surprising abundance of greenery on buildings. Not just a living wall here or a rooftop meadow there but entire façades draped with plants and terraces overflowing with lush vegetation. These days, more and more architects—including such celebrated names as Thomas Heatherwick, Kengo Kuma, Pritzker Prize winner Jean Nouvel, and the firm MVRDV—are designing structures that would put the mythic Hanging Gardens of Babylon to shame. High-rise towers are being reimagined as vertical forests, while some visionaries are contemplating future cities where virtually all buildings would be arrayed with plants, trees, and other flora. It’s all an extension of the decades-old movement promoting environmentally sensitive, sustainable, and socially conscious architecture—a movement made more urgent by climate change and explosive population growth. Increasingly, architects and developers are embracing the benefits of using extensive vegetation on buildings, ranging from energy-saving thermal insulation and solar shading to mitigating air pollution, increasing urban biodiversity, and enhancing quality of life by bringing nature into places that are often proverbial concrete jungles. “Trees and green spaces have been disappearing from our cities for decades, and this has taken a big environmental toll, from worsening air quality to extreme urban heat islands with no plants to help absorb that heat and cool the air,” Mun Summ Wong, co-founding director of the Singapore-based firm WOHA, told The Daily Beast. “We’re also losing community spaces. So much can… Read more

Researchers Develop New Bio-Based Material Stronger Than Spider Silk


via INTERESTING ENGINEERING: A new study by researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, unveils the creation of a new bio-based material stronger than all currently existing bio-based materials. A new study, published in the journal of American Chemical Society (ACS Nano), reveals a new bio-based material generated by researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, that is stronger than all currently existing bio-based materials including wood and spider silk. The material was created using a new method that recreates nature’s ability to arrange cellulose nanofibres into macroscale arrangements. Bioinspired assembly In nature, the nanoscale building blocks of some materials have unique mechanical properties caused by a defect-free molecular structure. However, up to now, recreating these mechanical properties for macroscopic materials has always been problematic because it requires arranging these building blocks into the appropriate multiscale patterns while dealing with the defects that arise in these larger scales. “Lately, scientists have been seeking ideas of mimicking natural materials’ architecture based on engineering design principles, typically called “bioinspired assembly”. An overarching challenge in structural materials fabrication is to translate the extraordinary mechanical properties of nanoscale building blocks,” states the paper. In this study, KTH researchers worked with cellulose nanofibres (CNF), the building blocks of plants, to overcome these issues. The scientists chose CNFs because they are one of nature’s most abundant structural elements and have great mechanical stiffness and strength. Impressive strength and stiffness The result was the creation of larger yet still lightweight materials that… Read more

Breakthrough Solar Panel Can Harvest Power From Raindrops — Day Or Night

Wet solar energy panels on a rainy day during a news conference atop 46 Rockefeller Plaza to introduce the largest private solar energy roof in New York City. (Photo by Ramin Talaie/Corbis via Getty Images)

via THINKPROGRESS: In another advance, Chinese deploy two-sided solar panels to boost efficiency.  In a truly remarkable feat of innovation, scientists have figured out how to create “hybrid” solar cells that generate power not just from sunlight but also from raindrops. This means we may soon see all-weather solar panels that work when it is cloudy and even at night, if it’s raining. Solar has soared in recent years, as panel prices have dropped so fast that solar keeps crushing its own record for the cheapest power “ever, anywhere, by any technology” — even without a subsidy. But scientists and engineers around the world keep innovating, looking for ways to make solar panels more efficient and less expensive. Much of this innovation is now coming from China, the world leader in both manufacturing and deployment of solar energy. For instance, China has developed “double-sided” solar panels that can generate power from light that hits their underside. That can enable a 10 percent boost in output, especially if you put the panels on a roof or other area that is painted white to help reflect the suns rays. Bloomberg New Energy Finance projects these panels could capture a remarkable 40 percent share of the market by 2025. In another remarkable advance, researchers at China’s Soochow University have demonstrated a solar cell that can generate electricity from falling rain. A recent article in the American Chemical Society’s nanotechnology journal Nano describes the innovation in an article titled “Integrating a Silicon Solar Cell with… Read more

Real Estate Experts Advocate for Technology in Property Management


via propmodo: With daily tasks ranging from managing work orders, to showing properties, the property manager’s to-do list is never ending. Compound this with outdated or underutilized technology and the job can be downright exhausting. To look for solutions to these property management conundrums, last week Propmodo organized a half-day seminar at a Midtown Manhattan Knotel space. Amenify founder and CEO Everett Lynn was joined by Storefront Chief Creative Officer Joy Fan, and Knotel Co-Founder and Chairman Edward Shenderovich for a PropTech Coffee Chat about the future of property management. Lynn, whose startup Amenify connects multifamily building residents to amenity providers like pet care and apartment cleaning, said that, “Maybe in the future we have no (real estate) verticals. It could be that someone just owns the asset — it’s basically infrastructure — but then management companies and software are able to optimize space in different ways.” Shenderovich added: “If you look at how European cities developed, most of the buildings had the first floor as common space and the most prestigious floor was the second. Electricity changed all that with the elevator and I think technology is starting to change how we see the value of each part of a building.” Fan explained that her PropTech platform Storefront, which activates vacant ground-floor space, is looking to help owners optimize assets in a whole new way. “Something like a vacant space that owners see as a liability, we see as an asset. We are providing short term space for a long… Read more

Why You Must Treat Artificial Intelligence (AI) As A Very Special Technology


via Forbes: There are lots of technologies that attract our attention – and money – these days. We’re obsessed with blockchain, cryptocurrency, IOT, big data analytics, cybersecurity3-D printing and drones. We’re excited about virtual reality, augmented reality and mixed reality. We love talking about driverless cars, ships and planes. We can’t wait for 5G and Wi-Fi domes that solve all of our network access problems; and while we’re getting a little worried about social media and privacy, we’re still addicted to our ever-more-powerful smartphones. We buy everything online. We’re into wearables. But there’s one technology that we all need to embrace: artificial intelligence (AI). While there are other families in the disruptive digital technology world, this one is special and one you cannot afford to treat as just another emerging technology. AI powers, amplifies and therefore supersedes them all. Why So Special? First, AI is special because it’s more than one technology. In fact, it’s a family of technologies. Secondly, AI is special because its application potential is so wide. Next, AI is special because it learns and sometimes even self-replicates. AI’s also special because it satisfies ROI models of all shapes and sizes. Finally, AI is everywhere: which companies – and countries – are not investing in AI? There’s a bona fide arms race underway among the players (which shows no signs of slowing anytime soon). What is AI? AI includes at least machine learning, deep learning, image recognition, robotic process automation, natural language processing, text mining, vision systems, speech… Read more

BIG Designs Prototype Tiny Cabin In Upstate New York


via dezeen: Architecture firm BIG has created a small black cabin with an angular roofline in the Hudson Valley, as the first model for prefab-housing startup Klein. BIG’s prototype, named A45, is the first in a series of tiny homes by well-known architects that Klein plans to offer customers. Constructed in Upstate New York, the one-storey building has a minimal footprint of 183 square feet (17 square metres), which includes an open-plan living and sleeping area with small cooktop, bath and a lofted area. It comprises a series of triangular walls made from dark-finished pine that curve up to form a pitch, similar to the A-frame cabins typical of the region. However, A45 has a square base with a twisting roofline, providing a new take on the traditional style. “The design evolves from the traditional A-frame cabin, known for its pitched roof and angled walls which allow for easy rain run-off and simple construction,” said the firm. “The resulting crystal-like shape gives A45 an ever-changing appearance.” BIG’s cabin is built from modules that are assembled on site, resting on four concrete piers. This method is intended to allow owners to construct their tiny houses in remote areas, without the need for heavy machinery. Most of the materials are fully recyclable, including the timber frame, wall modules, a subfloor, as well as the triangular floor-to-ceiling windows. The A45 cabin is available to be customised inside and out, and this prototype includes fixtures and fittings from various Danish firms. Upon entering is a… Read more