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This Year's 8 Smartest UI Design Ideas A close-up of Matthaeus Krenn’s smart UI for touchscreens in cars. Matthaeus Krenn When your family gathered for the holidays this year, did you take note of the technology everyone was using? Hybrid rooftop wind and solar generator now available in U.S. for early adopters The SolarMill, a 1.2 kW combination wind and solar energy system, will be sold in the U.S. for about $3000. WindStream Technologies' hybrid rooftop energy system, which combines solar panels and vertical axis wind turbines in a single modular unit, was originally intended to be used in regions of the world with high energy costs or an unreliable grid (or no grid whatsoever), but interest in the devices from U.S. residents over the last few years has resulted in the company now making the product available in this country. The 1.2 kW SolarMill SM1-3P, with three 300W solar panels and three Savonius wind turbines, measures 10' wide by 10' deep by 7' high (3m x 3m x 2.1m) and weighs in at 375 lbs.(170 kg), and is designed to be mounted on a roof, where it is claimed to be capable of producing up to 135 kWh per month under optimal conditions.

We Transform Disaster Debris Into Lego Building Blocks For A New Life We, The Mobile Factory from the Netherlands, have found a solution to make the world a better place. Starting in Haiti. Although the earthquake struck five years ago, there’s still 25 million tons of debris lying around. Many families affected by this terrible natural disaster are still living in grimy tents, on incomes below the poverty line. We – a small group of rich Dutchmen living in luxury and freedom – can’t and won’t just stand by and watch this any longer. That’s why we came up with The Mobile Factory: a smart solution to give debris a new purpose.

Zeolite thermal storage retains heat indefinitely, absorbs four times more heat than water Hold onto your hat/life partner/gonads: Scientists in Germany have created small, zeolite pellets that can store up to four times more heat than water, loss-free for “lengthy periods of time.” In theory, you can store heat in these pellets, and then extract exactly the same amount of heat after an indeterminate amount of time. Zeolites (literally “boil stones”) aren’t exactly new: The term was coined in 1756 by Axel Cronstedt, a Swedish mineralogist who noted that some minerals, upon being heated, release large amounts of steam from water that had been previously adsorbed. For the last 250 years, scientists have tried to shoehorn this process in a heat storage system — and now, the Fraunhofer Institute, working with industrial partners, has worked out how to do it. I will try to explain how this works, but the science is fairly complicated: When Fraunhofer’s zeolite comes into contact with water, a chemical reaction adsorbs the water and emits heat.

Young people are 'lost generation' who can no longer fix gadgets, warns professor Ideas include using a magnifying glass and shoe box to turn a mobile phone into a rudimentary projector; how to use tin foil to make too small batteries fit correctly and how to turn a bottle of water into a lamp. Prof George said: “We’ve got a lost generation that has grown up with factory electronics that just work all of the time. “All of these things in our home do seem to work most of the time and because they don’t break we just get used to them. World’s biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme, for Scotland? Location Design for the biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme. Click for a larger image The map shows how and where the biggest-ever pumped-storage hydro-scheme could be built – Strathdearn in the Scottish Highlands. Energy storage capacity

'IKEA on steroids': Flat-pack homes to bust Australia's housing shortage Updated Media player: "Space" to play, "M" to mute, "left" and "right" to seek. Video: Tiny homes for tiny prices. (Lateline) With just a few tools and a bit of patience, would-be home-owners can now build their own abode from a flat-pack, on the cheap and off the grid. A Sydney architect has designed the flat-pack home, describing it as IKEA on steroids, in order to combat sustainability and housing shortage issues. New 'soft' motor made from artificial muscles Public release date: 15-Feb-2012 [ Print | E-mail Share ] [ Close Window ] Contact: Jennifer Lauren 301-209-3099American Institute of Physics "Perhaps the earliest public demonstration of an electric motor," writes a team of researchers from the University of Auckland in New Zealand, "involved the automatic rotation of a turkey on a spit over a fire" at a party put on by Benjamin Franklin in 1749. Franklin's electrostatic motor was self-commutating, meaning that it was able to provide a continuous torque while it turned without requiring external electronics to control its progress.

How computer-aided organic architecture could change the city of the future We’ve seen the future of architecture and design, and it’s at the intersection of biology, computing, and engineering. While many architects these days put up buildings loaded with energy-saving features and attractive, sustainable design, one company is taking its approach to being green to another level: growing fully biodegradable building materials. Known as The Living, the small, New York-based architecture firm has pioneered mixing biological technologies with hard-core computing and engineering.

The Climate Change Blog with Ewan Hyslop We have just published ‘Micro-renewables in the historic environment.’ This is a short guide providing an overview of the current technologies in common use, which also outlines a series of considerations to make when contemplating the installation of such systems in an historic setting. The guide describes different types of systems for heating and hot water (solar thermal, heat pumps, biomass), as well as for electricity generation (solar photovoltaic, wind power and hydropower). It also covers fundamentals such as the energy requirements of a particular site, i.e. how much energy is used and for what services. These should be thoroughly understood in order to determine the type and size of equipment required. The proposed system should make both environmental and economic sense, reducing the amount of carbon and the cost of energy bills and provide financial pay-back within its operating life.

NASA Reveals A List Of The Best Air-Cleaning Plants For Your Home A healthy home environment is vital to a person’s well-being and houseplants contribute to it more than you might think. Their main benefit is air-filtering, so it sounds only reasonable that NASA did a Clean Air Study, that found which plants are effective at removing benzene, formaldehyde, trichloroethylene, xylene, and ammonia from the air – chemicals that have been linked to negative health effects like headaches, dizziness, eye irritation, and others. Show Full Text Dr.