First it was predictive crime artificial intelligence. Now, police are taking to the sky, at least in Dubai. A California-based hover vehicle company called Hoversurf has gifted the Middle Eastern city's police force one unit for the time being, but if the officers prove capable of flying it more could be on the way.
Radical Seasonality, The New Grocery Store Paradigm
Natoora, a sustainable supplier of fruits and veggies to some of London's most prestigious chefs, recently opened a brick-and-mortar shop that feels very similar to another retailer of posh, eco-friendly goods. The fresh produce store was designed in collaboration by architect Noé Golomb and cabinet maker FincH, whose work includes five fit-outs for Aesop stores. All of the food items are locally sourced and are kept in their natural state with no plastic packaging.
From Fringe Idea to Mainstream Imperative: The Future of Design Depends on Biomimicry
Over the Earth's 3.8 billion-year history, plants and animals have come up with ingenious design solutions to keep them alive and thriving. Today, the idea of looking to nature to improve the functionality and sustainability of humanity’s creations is gaining steam in the architecture, design, and engineering industries. It's called biomimicry and it's here to stay.
Tomorrow's french fries may be just as fattening and delicious as they are today, but their packaging may feel very different. A trio of Italian designers devised a form of packaging, called Peel Saver, made from recycled potato skins. Aimed at reducing waste from food truck and other cheap eats places, Peel Saver is cheap to produce and fully biodegradable.
Black Widows May Be Deadly But Their Silk Could Save Lives
Scientists at Northwestern University and San Diego State University may have unraveled the mysteries of the Black Widow's super-strong web. MRI and NMR imaging revealed the molecular structure of the glands that make the spider's silk, which could be extrapolated to synthetically reproduce this stronger-than-steel material at scale. Everything from bridges to bulletproof vests could one day be impervious thanks to one of the world's deadliest spiders.
Move Over Solar Panels, Solar Paint is Coming
Researchers at Australia's Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology have developed a new renewable energy solution in the form of solar paint. The paint can produce electricity through solar energy or by absorbing moisture out of the air, making it ideal for humid and arid climates. The researchers estimate that when the paint becomes commercially available it will be relatively cheap to produce.
An acronym for architecture for health in vulnerable environments, believes design can help combat disease. A recent pilot project confirms the belief. In 2014, the nonprofit launched Health From the Ground Up, an initiative to improve conditions for the disadvantaged in Southeast Asia. Upon learning that thousands of Bangladeshi children die due to parasites harbored in the dirt floors often used in their homes, the team focused on a single basic element: new flooring material. They chose poured concrete, not only easy to maintain and less likely to transmit disease but also able to be installed by local masons. A month after installation in 10 homes, post-construction surveys revealed no new infections in the children living there.
The Machines Inch Closer to Overthrowing Humanity With Language Development...
A team from Facebook's Artificial Intelligence Research lab recently revealed that in an experiment designed to replicate human negotiations between two chatbots, the machines actually developed their own non-human language. While many animal species do show evidence of complex forms of communication, language remained firmly in humanity's realm until this development. What the machines' new ability will engender remains to be seen, but it's nonetheless a humbling reminder that machine learning offers unprecedented scientific and philosophical investigative opportunities.
Meet the First Commercially Available Passive House Prefab
Homes built to the Passive House standard have been gaining popularity in recent years, and with the UN's latest dire warning about climate change, that popularity may see a bona fide boom. For people looking to do their part for the planet, German company Lofts to Go offers a solution: the Coodo, a prefab structure that adheres to this rigorous environmental standard. The units can be used as both residential and commercial spaces, and developments are in place to take the Coodo completely off the grid.
Ikea furniture may look innocuous, but it has of destroying new couples before they even leave the store. And when lovebirds do escape the commercial behemoth's clutches, they inevitably fall apart when it comes time to assemble the pieces. Two researchers from Nanyang Technological University in Singapore may have finally given couples everywhere a solution to the latter problem with a robot that can (partially) put together Ikea products in under a half-hour.
Aston Martin Goes Electric With New Rapide E Sports Car
Electric, not gas. James Bond's preferred automotive brand moves into the future with the release of the Rapide E all-electric luxury sports car in 2019. The car will be powered by 5,600 lithium-ion 18650 format cylindrical cells and can go from 0-60 mph in under four seconds.
Dockless Bicycles Contribute to Smart City Planning
People generally don't like how technology can track their location at all times—the profusion of articles about how to hide from Google and Facebook's panopticon-like power make that perfectly clear. Silicon Valley–based startup Lime, which deploys and operates dockless bicycles in over 88 American cities, may slightly improve that opinion. A few city planning departments have turned to Lime's data about user locations to understand how people are biking in their cities and how to accommodate those riders with new and improved bicycle infrastructure.
A new material has emerged to tackle the problem of non-recyclable disposable coffee cups: coffee grounds. A Berlin-based backyard startup called Kaffeeform has found a way to combine used coffee grounds and natural adhesives to make sustainable cups, saucers, and to-go mugs. The products lightly smell of coffee and come in a deep brown color, in addition to being dishwasher-safe and biodegradable.
Women Are Finally Having Their Moment in Architecture
Since antiquity, architecture has remained in the realm of "men's professions." A handful of female architects made dents, but their accomplishments went virtually unrecognized by professional institutions and the public at large. But women architects are finally getting their due credit and professional barriers are incrementally lifting, enabling several women to make lasting contributions to some of the world's most design-forward cityscapes.
Carbon XPrize Contestants Transform CO2 Into Valuable Products
Carbon capture may be in its infancy, but it'll need to grow quickly if we're to rely on it to mitigate global climate change. The currently has ten teams competing for the $20 million purse prize. The goal is to transform captured carbon into products that can be used in the built environment, or as alternative fuels, or commercially available items.