Truth Code: technology
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα technology. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων
Εμφάνιση αναρτήσεων με ετικέτα technology. Εμφάνιση όλων των αναρτήσεων

Τρίτη, 21 Μαρτίου 2017

Plant-e, a company based out of the Netherlands, has found a way to harness electricity from living plants, using them to power Wi-Fi hotspots, cell phone chargers, and even streetlights. The company debuted their project, called “Starry Sky,” in November of 2014 near Amsterdam, where they lit up more than 300 LED streetlights at two different sites. Their plant power technology is also being used to power the company’s headquarters in Wageningen.

The company was founded in 2009, and was a spin-off from the department of Environmental Technology of Wageningen University. Again, they develop products in which living plants generate electricity. Their technology allows them to produce electricity from practically every site where plants can grow.

“Via photosynthesis a plant produces organic matter. Part of this organic matter is used for plant-growth, but a large part can’t be used by the plant and is excreted into the soil via the roots. Around the roots naturally occurring micro-organisms break down the organic compounds to gain energy from. In this process, electrons are released as a waste product. By providing an electrode for the micro-organisms to donate their electrons to, the electrons can be harvested as electricity. Research has shown that plant-growth isn’t compromised by harvesting electricity, so plants keep on growing while electricity is concurrently produced.” (source)

Just imagine, a house with a roof full of plant/tree life powering your home. On the company’s website, they feature animated pictures of mini-forests growing on building rooftops supplying power to the entire building. It’s pretty cool to imagine, isn’t it?

It’s important to mention that at the moment, the main problem is the quantity of energy that can be generated. There is still a long way to go with regards to making enough energy to have a completely reliable commercial product, but things are looking promising, as the company is already selling products that enable you to harvest energy from plants. Again, they are also using the technology to power their headquarters…

For more information on the technology or to read some of their recent publications, see: – or visit their website listed in the sources.

More and more energy innovations seem to be emerging every single day, like this one. Perhaps this is why the powerful and wealthy Rockefeller family recently sold out of fossil fuels and switched their investments towards clean energy? Change is coming, and it’s about time. The world’s largest private bank, UBS, is also urging investors to join the clean, renewable energy movement.They did so with a statement expressing that power plants in Europe might be completely extinct within the next 10 to 20 year (you can read more about that story here). It’s something that needs to happen, and it needs to happen now. We’ve seen the solutions, now it’s time to implement them. It’s become clear that there are many alternative ways to generate energy without destroying the planet.

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Δευτέρα, 20 Μαρτίου 2017

A groundbreaking potential solution to homelessness and poverty is now a reality thanks to a company called Apis Cor. The company, based in Russia and San Francisco, has developed the capability to 3D-print an entire house in just 24-hours.

As the Telegraph reports, Nikita Chen-yun-tai, the inventor of the mobile printer and founder of Apis Cor, explained his desire is “to automate everything.”

“When I first thought about creating my machine the world has already knew about the construction 3D printing,” he explained

“But all printers created before shared one thing in common – they were portal type. I am sure that such a design doesn’t have a future due to its bulkiness. So I took care of this limitation and decided to upgrade a construction crane design.”

What sets Apis Cor’s product apart from the rest is that its mobile printing technology can print everything right on site. Prior to this method, portions of the house had to be made off-site and then transported. However, thanks to Apis Cor, that costly process is now a thing of the past.

“Printing of self-bearing walls, partitions and building envelope were done in less than a day: pure machine time of printing amounted to 24 hours,” the company said.

Once the printer finishes the house, it is removed with a crane and the roof is then added, followed by interior fixtures, fittings, and paint.

As ZeroHedge points out, the initial house consists of a hallway, bathroom, living room and kitchen and is located in one of Apis Cor’s facilities in Russia. The company has claimed that the house can last up to 175 years.

This incredibly cheap and efficient home only costs $10,134.

Below is a brief video of this amazing process. The 400-square-foot home is breathing new life into the industry of 3D printing. Imagine the capabilities this technology when applied to poverty-stricken areas throughout the globe. The implications are nothing short of revolutionary.
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Παρασκευή, 10 Μαρτίου 2017

Credit: Ap Verheggen

This designer is looking forward to the future.

In an era when humans are taking from the Earth much more than they’re giving, it’s important that developers continue to create sustainable solutions that the globe is facing or will face in the near future. The water crisis that is impacting the whole planet, caused primarily by climate change and overpopulation, calls for new ways to produce water even when traditional natural resources are scarce so that people don’t die of dehydration.

It’s projected that in 2040, 33 countries are expected to face extreme water stress, and many of these nations have huge expanses of arid land with no visible source of water. It’s information like this that inspired Ap Verheggen, a designer from the Netherlands, to develop his latest idea for addressing the pressing problems surrounding water.

His initial design, an artistic statue called the SunGlacier, was erected with the technology to produce cool drinking water from condensation using solar power for a community. His new design, a handheld vessel called the WaterDrop, works similarly but is for personal use. Ap explained,

“If temperatures rise, the air contains more water. Normally, higher temperatures also mean more sunshine. So, why not focus on harvesting water out of the air, powered only by renewable solar energy? In this way drinking water and water for agriculture become available in most dry parts of the planet.”
Scientifically speaking, photovoltaic modules on the outside of the device would absorb the solar energy throughout the day, which would then used to cool the air and produce condensation while also pushing airflow through the canister with a fan. The water drops that are produced would be collected in a small region of the device, and Ap recommends that if the device ever comes to fruition there should be small rocks added in order to provide necessary minerals.

Yes, Ap recognizes that, “It is still science-fiction, but for sure PV cells increase in efficiency, (only a matter of time) next to the speeding development of materials that store the cold of the night to help pre-cool the inlet-air during [the] daytime.”

This designer has moved past the what if? part of designing new, highly-sustainable products and is already presenting them to the world. He said that since solar technology is developing and improving rapidly, there’s no need to wait for new technology to be released when you can actually design it yourself. Though he doesn’t have the know-how to make this product himself, Ap said,

“There’s no sense to be pessimistic about the future. With my projects, I want to show people that there are solutions, but you have to cross a certain border, and I feel that art is the perfect vehicle to break through the border.”

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Τρίτη, 7 Φεβρουαρίου 2017

Carlo Ratti Associati
Who doesn't want a fit and healthy body? It's not the desire that people lack, it's sometimes the determination. Many people would kill to have a fit physique but the journey to obtain one can be very challenging. Exercise is key but it's not necessarily a fun activity to participate in. Have you ever gone running on a treadmill or pedaled on a stationary bike and thought to yourself, "this is boring, how much longer do I have to do this?"

An Italian firm from Carlo Ratti Associati created a brilliant way to make exercise less boring and actually inspire people to do it more. They designed a boat that requires the people within to exercise in order to keep it moving down the Seine River in Paris.

The boat is 65 feet long (20 meters) and is designed to hold up to 45 people. “The Paris Navigating Gym investigates the potential of harnessing human power,” said Carlo Ratti.

“It’s fascinating to see how the energy generated by a workout at the gym can actually help to propel a boat. It provides one with a tangible experience of what lies behind the often abstract notion of electric power."

Don't pack your bags just yet, the boat is still in development. Nonetheless, the designers have given an estimate that the project will be done in 18 months.
Carlo Ratti Associati
The boat moves by converting the pedal power into utility grade electricity. In order for the navigating gym to have enough electricity, it needs a certain amount of passengers on-board.
Carlo Ratti Associati
However, the boat will be able to use renewable energy sources (like the photovoltaic cells on its roof) during times when there's not enough passengers.
Carlo Ratti Associati
One more reason to add Paris to your travel bucket list!

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Τετάρτη, 25 Ιανουαρίου 2017

By 2025, an estimated 1.8 billion people will reside in areas around the world afflicted by water scarcity. And two-thirds of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed regions.

For many of us, it’s difficult to imagine life without access to abundant fresh water, and yet in some parts of the world, it is nearing reality. In the Middle East, for instance, issues like climate change, mass migration, environmental degradation, drought, and political instability are making diminishing water resources more apparent than ever. In Iran, water depletion is garnering severe attention.

“Rivers and lakes are going dry one after another, we’re losing wetlands, we’re seeing land subsidence, we’re seeing desertification, which is really sad,” explained Kaveh Madani, an environmental policy expert at London’s Imperial College.

The government has started to introduce programs promoting efficient water conservation and management, especially for agriculture, while also using social media to keep the public aware of the problem.

Iran’s arid climate makes rain collection extremely difficult. To combat the issue, BMDesign Studios, addressed their home country’s dry climates by presenting an architectural solution to water shortages. Called Concave Roof, the double-roof system was designed to collect and store rainwater and encourage natural cooling.

Precipitation in Iran is one-third of that of the world average, while evaporation is more than three times higher. The architects behind BMDesign Studios’s Concave Roof explained that the system is meant to  “help [make] even the smallest quantities of rain [flow down] the roof and eventually coalesce into bigger drops, just right for harvesting before they evaporate.”

The double-roof system incorporates a domed roof beneath a bowl-shaped catchment area. To encourage natural cooling, a concave roof is stacked atop a convex roof that allows for shade and wind movement between the roofs.

"The bowl-shaped catchment area is steeply sloped to move raindrops towards a central collection point, where the rain is funneled into reservoirs. The reservoirs are placed between building walls to help regulate indoor temperatures. With this system, the architects estimate that 28 cubic meters of water could be harvested with just 923 square meters of a concave roof surface. BMDesign Studios’ vision also goes beyond the double-roof system and includes a massing design where the buildings and courtyards are sunken to promote natural cooling. The buildings would be organized around atriums to promote circulation and community."

The architects believe a concave roof like this could generate even the tiniest amount of rain flow off the roof, and eventually create drops big enough to harvest before they evaporate. The team behind the innovative design also suggests this technique could be applied to other areas with similar climates to Iran’s, and could be used to combat global warming by way of sustainable water sourcing.

“Some 65 per cent of Iran has an arid or hyper arid climate, and approximately 85 per cent of the country an arid, semi-arid or hyper arid environment,” explained the architects. “Unfortunately, every year, this zone expands. Big lakes like Lake Urmia have shrunk to a fraction of their size, gradually disappearing.” For cities with this issue, the result is forced water rationing and lost jobs for thousands of farmers.

Such a design shows the potential of alternative housing designs to make way for more sustainable futures that benefit both the environment and our heath.

Image via BMDesign Studios 

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Δευτέρα, 19 Δεκεμβρίου 2016


By Jelor Gallego

These electric bikes can get you to and from work for under $0.03 per day.

Those savings may take quite a long time to add up to the hefty $9,400 price tag of previous models.

Tesla and electric vehicles are certainly the most popular in terms of transport options that run on electricity, but they are far from the only options available. Everything from electric motorcycles to electric trikes are on the market and are only getting better, faster, and more energy efficient.

One such e-bike has recently been unveiled. Rimac, an automobile manufacturer out of Croatia, has announced the latest iteration of its “Greyp” electric bikes, the G12H, which boasts the longest range for any e-bike.

Its older brother, the G12S, already has impressive specs, a 1.5 kWh battery pack and a range of 120 km (75 miles). Its 70 km/h (44 mph) engine also makes it one of the faster e-bikes around.

The G12H model does trade some of that power for range. It has a more modest speed of 45 km/h (28 mph), but can run an impressive 240 km (150 miles) on a single charge of its 3kWh battery pack. Charging the bike takes around 80 minutes, according to New Atlas.

Rapid development in making electric bikes better signals a new era in transportation. Likely fueled by the re-urbanization of the world’s cities, people are looking for cheaper, greener, and more convenient ways of getting around.

However, the upfront cost is still quite daunting. While energy consumption may only cost you pennies per day, the current model (the Grep G12S) retails around $9,400, which is about the cost of a decent used car. Prices of the new models have yet to be released but will depend on the battery power of a given model.

References: Engadget, New Atlas

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Παρασκευή, 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2016

Photo credit: Lawrence Lawry

By June Javelosa

In a trial conducted by Nokia Bell Labs, Deutsche Telekom T-Labs and Technical Univeristy of Munich just achieved one terabyte transmission rate over fiber optics using realistic network conditions. The trials used a new modulation technique to make data transfer more efficient.


Fiber optic technology, since it was first introduced, has been synonymous to faster internet connections. The technology, which uses optical fiber instead of copper wires, has proven itself more efficient and effective, particularly for long-distance and high-volume applications.

Unfortunately, despite years of research and advancement in the field, creating the infrastructure to make this technology more accessible still proved to be difficult given the complexity and cost of the fiber optic system. So while the possibility of terabit speed fiber optic technology is just around the corner, the reality of it being rolled out for commercial use is a little more difficult.

Perhaps the newest tests from Nokia Bell Labs, Deustche Telekom T-Labs, and Technical University of Munich will mark new possibilities of bringing this exciting upgrade into widespread use.


In a field trial conducted by the organizations, results show that they have successfully achieved 1Tbps data speed. This had previously been achieved in lab conditions but now the testing simulated real network conditions and traffic levels. In a press release, Nokia discussed their use of Probabilistic Constellation Shaping (PCS) as the key factor in the test’s success. Basically, PCS is a new modulation technique which works by having the system choose networking constellation points with lower amplitudes. This makes it less prone to interruption and noise, versus the traditional method (which uses all points), thus allowing transmission rates to be tailored specifically for the transmission channel.

The results are indeed promising and could be the solution needed to meet the ever rising demand for core networks and bandwidth—especially as streaming becomes more popular, and with 5G cellular data coming in the near future. With more and more “smart devices” using wireless signals to connect to a network, current capabilities will not be able to keep up with the demand. As Inverse explains, although 5G is wireless, the network requires a wired infrastructure to carry data to a cell tower. If cellular networks are looking to meet the capabilities being proposed, up to 100 Gbps, the infrastructure is going to need some major upgrades.

It seems recent advances are increasing networking capabilities at the, figurative, speed of light. With this development and others like it, we will be able to match the increasing demand and set ourselves up to continually handle the growth.

References:  EngadgetNokiaInverse
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Τετάρτη, 30 Νοεμβρίου 2016

Getty Mina De La O

Scientist have developed an ingenious means of converting nuclear power plant waste (76,430 metric tons in the US alone) into sustainable diamond batteries.
These long-lasting batteries could be a clean and safe way to power spacecraft, satellites, and even medical devices.


Scientists from the University of Bristol Cabot Institute are hitting two birds with one stone, thanks to their lab-made diamond that can generate electricity and is made from upcycled radioactive waste.

In nuclear power plants, radioactive uranium is split in a process called nuclear fission. When the atoms are split, heat is generated, and that heat then vaporizes water into steam that turns electricity-generating turbines.

A severe downside of this process is the creation of dangerous radioactive waste, which ultimately deposits in the graphite core that it is housed in. Today, this nuclear contamination is safely stored away until it stops being radioactive…and with a half-life of 5,730 years, that takes quite a while.

The scientists found a way to heat the radioactive graphite to release most of the radioactivity in a gaseous form. The gas is subjected to high temperature and low pressures that turn it into a man-made diamond.

When these diamonds are placed near a radioactive field, they generate a small electrical current. The developers enclosed the diamond battery in another non-radioactive diamond to absorb the harmful emissions, which in turn allowed for the generation of even more electricity, making the battery nearly 100 percent efficient.


The nuclear diamond battery has an incredible lifetime, and will only be half used up by the year 7746. This makes it an ideal power solution for “situations where it is not feasible to charge or replace conventional batteries,” said Tom Scott, a materials science professor at Cabot Institute.

Flight times of planes, satellites, or spacecraft could increase with such a lasting battery. Medical devices like pacemakers and the artificial pancreas could become more reliable, empowering users to live their lives more fully.

The development also presents an incredibly efficient way to treat radioactive waste. Within the past 40 years, the US has amassed 76,430 metric tons (84,250 tons) of this waste.

Supplying the Earth with electricity is a daunting task even without a focus on sustainability. Now, it looks like experts are on the right track with this nuclear-powered diamond battery. It’s almost like the holy grail of electricity generation, or as Scott puts it, “no emissions generated and no maintenance required, just direct electricity generation.”

References:, University of Bristol

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Τετάρτη, 23 Νοεμβρίου 2016

Professor Stephen Hawking.Bryan Bedder/ Getty Images

At the launch of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI), the famed scientist warned of a potentially grave future given the rise of AI.

The work done at CFI could have far-reaching implications for the future of AI, helping shape how the technology is used and regulated.


Speaking at the launch of the Leverhulme Centre for the Future of Intelligence (CFI) in Cambridge, science icon Stephen Hawking warned listeners about the future of artificial intelligence (AI) and humanity.

“Success in creating AI could be the biggest event in the history of our civilization,” Hawking acknowledged, noting the unprecedented and rapid development of AI technology in recent years, from self-driving cars to a computer playing (and defeating humans) in a game of Go. “But it could also be the last,” he warned.

This isn’t the irrational ramblings of a technophobe. Quite the contrary, in fact. Hawking himself acknowledges the value of AI and what it could contribute to humanity’s future, saying he believes artificial intelligence and this century’s technological revolution will parallel the previous century’s industrial one. “The potential benefits of creating intelligence are huge. We cannot predict what we might achieve, when our own minds are amplified by AI,” said Hawking.

But Hawking is also hyperaware of the potential dangers associated with AI. “Alongside the benefits, AI will also bring dangers, like powerful autonomous weapons, or new ways for the few to oppress the many,” Hawking added during his speech. He also hinted at the singularity being a possibility, when AI develops a will of its own that could conflict with the will of humanity.


According AI pioneer Maggie Boden, who sits on the center’s advisory board, that’s where CFI comes into play. Speaking at the launch event, she said, “CFI aims to pre-empt these dangers, by guiding AI development in human-friendly ways.” The $12.2-million interdisciplinary think-tank will work hand-in-hand with policy-makers and the tech industry to investigate topics associated with the growth of AI in today’s world — from regulating autonomous weapons to AI’s implications in democracy.

Cambridge, Oxford, Berkeley, and Imperial College, London, are behind the initiative, so some of the best minds on the planet will be working together to shape the future of AI. “The research done by this center is crucial to the future of our civilization and of our species,” a hopeful Hawking concluded during his speech.

AI is like any life-changing technology in that it’s not the development itself that can be good or bad. The people who develop the tech are responsible for determining how it’s used, and despite his ominous warnings, Hawking’s work with CFI seems to prove he believes that AI technology isn’t to be feared given the right research and preparation.

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Δευτέρα, 21 Νοεμβρίου 2016

Keeping cosy doesn’t have to cost the earth. Shutterstock

Robert Marchand, University of Sheffield

In Britain, people typically switch their central heating on in October and use it daily until March or April. This coincides with the clocks going back, the drop in temperature and Winter Fuel Payments – to anyone who receives the state pension.

Heating homes accounts for over 70% of household energy consumption. So reducing this figure – while keeping homes warm enough – not only cuts energy bills, but helps meet the carbon reduction commitments that the UK government is legally required to deliver.

The most recent figures show that 2.38m households in the UK are in fuel poverty – which basically means that almost 11% of British homes cannot afford to keep warm. But while the scale of this problem is significant, not all the solutions need to be complex and costly. So here are 10 simple tips for keeping your home warm for little or no extra cost – just in time for that severe weather warning.

1. Use your curtains

Heat from the sun is free so make the most of it. Open your curtains and let the sunlight in during the day to make use of this free heat. When it gets dark, shut your curtains, which act as another layer of insulation and keep warmth in your rooms. You should also make sure you don’t have any leaks or gaps so that the warm air can stay in and the cold air stays out – this also helps to reduce condensation.

2. Use timers on your central heating

The Centre for Sustainable Energy advises that programming your boiler to turn the heating on a little earlier – such as 30 minutes before you get up in the morning – but at a lower temperature is cheaper than turning it on just as you need it at a higher temperature. This is because a boiler heats up at a constant speed whether you set your thermostat to 20°C or 30°C. But don’t make the mistake of leaving your heating on low all day – because then you’re just paying for heat when you don’t need it.

3. Move your sofa

It might feel great to have your favourite seat in front of the radiator, but it’s absorbing heat that could be warming your home. By moving it away from the radiator, hot air can circulate freely. The same goes for your curtains or drying clothes – keep them away from the radiator so that you can get the most out of your heat source.

4. Maximise your insulation

When it comes to heat, around 25% is lost through the roof. This can be easily reduced by installing 25cm of insulation throughout your loft. It’s also worth seeing what’s going on in your walls, as around a third of the heat in an uninsulated home is lost this way. Although it’s not as cheap to install as loft insulation, cavity wall insulation could save up to £160 a year in heating bills. It’s also worth checking with your energy supplier to see if they have any insulation schemes running – which can sometimes mean cheap or free installation.

5. Wrap up warm

If you have a hot water tank, make sure it is properly lagged – or insulated. This will keep the water warmer for longer, and reduce heating costs. The Energy Community reckons that insulating an uninsulated water tank could save up to £150 a year – but even just upgrading your tank’s “old jacket” will help to save money.

6. Turn down the dial

This may seem a little counter-intuitive, but bear with me. The World Health Organisation previously recommended a minimum temperature of 21°C in the living room, but Public Health England revised this to 18°C in 2014. And research shows that turning your thermostat down by 1°C could cut your heating bill by up to 10%. So keep the dial at 18°C, save money and avoid the negative impacts of a cold home .

7. Block out the draughts

Even a simple solution such as a making your own sausage dog draught excluder will help keep the warmth in your home. The Energy Saving Trust estimates that DIY draught-proofing your doors, windows and cracks in the floor could save £25 per year. You can do this yourself for very little cost. Self-adhesive rubber seals around doors and windows and door draught excluders are relatively cheap and easy to install. So it’s worth getting those doors and windows sealed before winter properly kicks in.

8. Install thermostatic radiator valves

Research at the University of Salford has shown that installing heating controls and theromostatic radiator valves results in energy savings of 40% compared to a house with no controls. These work by allowing you to programme your heating to come on at predefined times – so you only use energy when you need it. New smart thermostats can also be controlled remotely via your mobile so you can turn on your heating on the way home, ensuring it’s nice and toasty when you arrive.

9. Upgrade your boiler

If your boiler is more than 10 years old, it may be time to replace it with a new, more efficient model. Depending on your old boiler type and house, you could save up to £350 with a new A-rated condensing boiler – which uses less energy to produce the same amount of heat. Plus, if it’s new, you’re less likely to have any issues going into the winter season.

10. Reflect the heat

Radiator panels are relatively cheap, easy to install, and ensure that heat from your radiators warms up your room and not your walls. They work by reflecting the heat back into the room.
The Conversation
Robert Marchand, Lecturer in Operations Management, University of Sheffield

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.
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Τετάρτη, 26 Οκτωβρίου 2016

Vixole launched a crowdsourcing campaign for the "World's First Customizable E-Sneaker," and is making the software to control them open source.

The shoes will run about $345 a pair, but early investors can get them for just $225.

The future of shoes is not so far away. After Nike unveiled it’s self-lacing shoes (shoutout to Back to the Future), it looks like others don’t want to get left behind in the smart shoe run. Vixole launched a crowdsourcing campaign yesterday for the “World’s First Customizable E-Sneaker.”

The Vixole Matrix features a customizable LED display for static or motion graphics. Speaking to Engadget, Ali Ma and Haidong Dong, two of Vixole’s founders, said the final design will feature a 22ppi LED display wrapped around the rear of the shoe, inside injection-molded thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU). 

It’s packed with an array of sensors that reacts to your movements, GPS coordinates, or even your playlist, along with an accelerometer, gyroscope, and magnetometer installed in a specially designed insole. Haptic sensors allow for vibrating notifications and prompts in turn-by-turn directions.

All of this can be controlled using an app on your smartphone.
Whether you’re a biker, a skater, or a dancer, the Matrix wants to be the smart shoe for you. It’s a testament to the growing prominence of augmented and virtual reality technology in our lives, finding applications for our head to our toes.

References: Engadget, Vixole
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Τετάρτη, 19 Οκτωβρίου 2016

Missouri’s Department of Transportation is planning an innovative reworking of historic Route 66 — an undetermined section of ‘America’s Highway’ will be covered in solar panels from Idaho startup, Solar Roadways.

“It gets Missouri and MDOT prepared for 21st century innovations,” enthused Tom Blair, who heads the Road to Tomorrow initiative, in the Kansas City Star, adding, “We expect them to be in place, I’m hoping, by the end of this year, maybe before snow flies.”

Combining road improvement with solar energy generation could be not only a boon for the state, but a model for others across the U.S.

Of Solar Roadways, Blair explained, “If their version of the future is realistic, if we can make that happen, then roadways can begin paying for themselves.”

According to the Star, MDOT would like the Route 66 Welcome Center in Conway to receive the first solar makeover — and the project could pique interest, Blair noted, by “bringing history and the future together.”

Solar Roadways describes their tempered-glass roads as “a modular system of specially engineered solar panels that can be walked and driven upon. Our panels contain LED lights to create lines and signage without paint [and] contain heating elements to prevent snow and ice accumulation.”

Better still, this is an ‘intelligent’ system in which microprocessors allow the panels communicate with each other and a central control operating center — as well as with vehicles. Being modular, the roads could easily be repaired when necessary without having to rework entire sections, which can disrupt traffic for months, if not years.

Though part of the initiative could be funded by grants and private entities, Blair explained they will be crowdsourcing, as well:

“We are going to go out there publicly and on the internet … and ask for money to make our solar roadway pilot project even bigger and better.”

As Solar Roadways — which is also crowd-funded through Indiegogo — explained, they have already completed two contracts in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation.

“Our goal is to modernize the infrastructure with modular, intelligent panels, while producing clean renewable energy for homes and businesses,” the company’s website states. “We’ll be able to charge electric vehicles with clean energy from the sun, first on our solar parking lots and when we have enough highway infrastructure, while driving.”

A similar project in the Netherlands was more successful than proponents and detractors imagined — a 70-meter (229.6 feet) section of bike path tested generated enough electricity in six months to power a single-family home for an entire year.

As The Free Thought Project reported previously, “The applications for this technology are virtually limitless. If all roadways, sidewalks and bike paths were paved in these solar panels, the power needs of the world would quickly become a problem of the past.”

Abandoning the need for paint on such roads offers a number of benefits, as well. Imagine construction zones — when modules do need repair — being routed through the use of LED lights instead of those ubiquitous and much-maligned orange barrels.

The safety potential and energy benefits make such projects a necessity well into the future.

If the project experiences such success in Missouri, solar roads may be the future for many American highways.

By Claire Bernish
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