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Archive for the ‘Creativity’ Category

Recycling Rockets: Ixion Will Turn Orbital Space Junk into Spacious Habitats

25 Jun

[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

As part of their NextSTEP program, NASA has contracted a space company to turn trash into treasure, converting used rocket sections already being sent into orbit into habitation units rather than letting them drift or be destroyed.

It takes an immense amount of effort and fuel to break out of the Earth’s atmosphere, yet upper stage rocket sections are routinely set adrift or de-orbited, burning up on reentry. Nanoracks believes these can be put to better use — their Ixion project aims to take large fuel-carrying rocket tubes, burn out whatever fuel remains and retrofit them for occupation.

Once the propellant-containing segment is vented in open space, remaining materials will oil off over the course of a few days. Then Nanoracks will fill the void with pressurized air from tanks attached to the outside. Humans (or robots) will take the next step, entering the capsule to add fabric, wiring and whatever else is needed. The design will factor all of these needs in advance, featuring operable hatches and attachment mechanisms as needed.

Initially, the plan is to attach these to the International Space Station for testing and to extend their habitable space. Future tubes could be used to form the basis of a commercial station or to serve other functions — the idea, in part, is to get out ahead of the demand, readying this space junk for unknown future applications. And this idea could be just the beginning: robotic space junk collection could eventually put the vast amounts of orbital debris circling the planet to much better use.

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[ By WebUrbanist in Conceptual & Futuristic & Technology. ]

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Bright Idea: London Street Lights Converted to Electric Vehicle Charging Points

24 Jun

[ By SA Rogers in Technology & Vehicles & Mods. ]

It sounded kind of far away when announced in 2013, but German renewable energy firm Ubitricity’s plan to convert street lamps to electric vehicle chargers is now underway in London, making it easy to plug in just about anywhere in the Hounslow borough of the city. Owners of electric vehicles simply order a custom charging cable featuring a built-in electricity meter so they can take advantage of the discreet power outlets built right into the lamp posts as well as standard electrical outlets.

You might be wondering what’s to stop random passersby from plugging whatever they feel like into the outlets. The answer is that little box, which communicates with the power company to activate charging from the light pole. The lights themselves were converted to LEDs to draw less power, making more available for other purposes.

The meter allows for remote billing, monitoring your usage and reimbursing the person or company the outlet belongs to, making it easier (and more polite) to juice up your vehicle whenever and wherever needed. You can keep track of how much power you’re drawing, and how much it costs, on a smartphone app. Ubitricity believes this setup will give potential electric car owners more confidence in their ability to take their vehicles on the road for longer trips.

The integration with existing city infrastructure also makes sense, especially in areas where there’s no room for permanent charging stations. The lamp posts are already there, and there’s already power running through them, so adding an outlet makes it possible to simply pull over to the side of the road to charge. Electric car owners in the area can request that outlets are added to lamp posts near their homes.

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[ By SA Rogers in Technology & Vehicles & Mods. ]

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Radbahn Berlin: 6-Mile Sheltered Bike Path to Run Under City Train Line

23 Jun

[ By WebUrbanist in Architecture & Cities & Urbanism. ]

A long unused strip of space weaving through Berlin is set to become a bicycling boulevard, sheltered by the tracks above and lined with bike service stations, recreation areas and food trucks. This latest rails-to-trails project has six miles of space to work with, connecting major roads and multiple neighborhoods. Completely disused aside except as illegal parking and intermittent strips of sidewalks and seating, the area below the U1 line is ripe for rehabilitation.

As in other cities with similar programs, the Radbahn aims to serve not only as a traffic corridor and green trail but also to activate adjacent spaces. Pocket parks and commercial vendors are expected to spring up along the route, and side extensions can bring bikers down to adjacent waterways and other natural features.

Meanwhile, riders can enjoy a rain-free experience (it rains over 100 days per year in Berlin). Cyclists looking to take the train can also park their ride in sheltered spaces below the rails near stations. The minimum width and consistent coverage of the tracks above provide for a sufficiently wide trail from start to finish, while studies have shown that train noise below tracks is reduced as compared to adjacent space.

Per the proposal, the goal is “revitalize the former space along the iconic U1 line to a pulsating urban artery. It thereby acts as a playground for modern mobility, innovation and leisure activities.” In typical German fashion, the project designers and engineers have already extensively documented and mapped opportunities throughout the route, which you can explore in greater depth by visiting their website.

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Hyperloop Hotel: Zoom from City to City in a Luxury Lodging Pod

22 Jun

[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

Hyperloop transit is about to make the world a whole lot smaller, and with it could come a system of luxurious private pods outfitted like high-end hotel rooms so you can zoom from one city to the next in unprecedented comfort. While it might seem like there’s little need for such cush train cars when your trip takes less time than ever, the Hyperloop Hotel aims to solve the problem of where you’re going to stay while traveling.

Developed by Radical Innovation Award winner Brendan Siebrecht, the Hyperloop Hotel consists of shipping containers that double as traveling guest suites, able to ‘dock’ themselves at any of 13 different hotel stations in cities like Seattle, Portland, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Austin and New York City. While the nightly fee hasn’t been set yet, Siebrecht reveals that for a fee of $ 1,200, guests can even visit multiple cities in a single day. That’s right, you could maintain a comfy home base while having breakfast on the East Coast, lunch in the South and dinner on the West Coast.

It might sound too futuristic to be real, but Hyperloop One is already being tested in Las Vegas and could be carrying passengers by the year 2020, so it’s actually not that far away, assuming the technology stays on track (pun intended.) But the hotels definitely wouldn’t come cheap – it would cost about $ 10 million to build each one. The pods themselves feature a bedroom, office, bathroom and living room, with a glazed wall that can be covered while you’re in motion.

“I believe the Hyperloop One is the next big innovation in transportation in the United States and possibly the world,” Siebrecht told Business Insider. “I wanted to explore ways in which this technology could transform the overall travel experience and hospitality.”

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[ By SA Rogers in Drawing & Digital. ]

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Living Light: 11 Transforming Kinetic & Illuminated Art Installations

22 Jun

[ By SA Rogers in Art & Installation & Sound. ]

Rippling, unfolding, slithering and glowing like bioluminescent creatures, these kinetic and illuminated works of art are mesmerizing to watch. We can’t help being fascinated by the combination of light and motion, especially when it’s integrated into clothing, responds to our gaze or voices, or is engineered into monumental interactive installations of laser beams for our slack-jawed amusement.

Sound Activated Clothing by Ying Gao

‘Incertitudes’ and ‘(NO)Where (NOW)here’ by fashion designer Ying Gao are two series of unusual reactive garments – the former covered in rippling dressmaker pins, and the latter moving like a living creature while glowing eerily in the dark. The photo luminescent thread works with eye tracking technology to activate movement by the gaze of spectators, while the pins respond to spectators’ voices.

Experimental Kinetic Glass Installations by LASVIT

Czech lighting company LASVIT presents a series of experimental kinetic glass installations during Milan Design Week, creating immersive illuminated environments that move and shift in synchronized rhythms.

La Vie en Rose by Atelier Öi & USM

A company called USM produces a network of industrial components known as USM Haller Systems that offer infinite reuse and reconfiguration possibilities. For Designer’s Saturday 2014 in Switzerland, the company commissioned Atelier Öi to use these parts as a base for a kinetic art installation expressing these possibilities. ‘La Vie en Rose’ is the result.

CL:OC Installation by GROSSE 8

Hanging flurorescent tubes powered by twenty-eight motors hang in the air, constantly rearranging themselves to display the time in digital numbers. Created by German design collective GROSSE 8, the sculpture debuted at Interior Design Week Cologne.

Big Dipper: Helical Kinetic Sculpture by Michael Candy

Looming in the air like some kind of monstrous mechanical spider, BIG DIPPER by Michael Candy is suspended within an old warehouse in India, just waiting to scare the pants off a passerby. It features 18 fluorescent tubes sticking out of a plywood and metal body.

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Living Light 11 Transforming Kinetic Illuminated Art Installations

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Pollution Pops: Sewage-Ridden Public Waters Frozen into Horrifying Popsicles

21 Jun

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Sculpture & Craft. ]

A stomach-churning twist on classic frozen treats, 100 stabilized ice pops made from Taiwan’s polluted lakes, rivers, beaches and ports feature an unsettling array of sewage found in public waters.

Each of these edible-scale popsicles was first frozen then preserved in polyester resin and wrapped in packaging. Diverse flavors feature ingredients such as plastic, arsenic, mercury and metal. Unappetizing titles include Yang-tzu-chou Drainage, The Large Ditch in Tianwei, and New Huwei Creek.

Some even look tasty at a glance, like some kind of hand-crafted iced delight. But the game of choosing something to try quickly becomes a nightmare of deciding which might be least terrible. Surely one without bits of cork, bottle caps or candy wrappers would be better, but then again: invisible poisons could be much worse.

Art students Hung I-chen, Guo Yi-hui, and Cheng Yu-ti from the National Taiwan University of the Arts concocted titled their line of less-than-delicious designs “Polluted Water Popsicles.” Their work was nominated for the Young Pin Design Award and featured in the New Generation of Design Exhibition this May at the Taipei World Trade Center.

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Trash Beats Tesla: This Powerful DIY Electric Car Cost Just $13K to Build

20 Jun

[ By SA Rogers in Technology & Vehicles & Mods. ]

Made from the corpse of a 1997 BMW 528i salvaged from a junkyard and other recycled parts, this DIY electric car beats the Tesla Model S P100D’s mile range at a tiny fraction of the cost. The Tesla boasts a range of 335 miles per charge, while the ‘Phoenix’ by Eric Lundgren gets 380 miles. Lundgren and his team built the Phoenix in 35 days for just $ 13,000, and hopes the attention his trash car is getting will encourage carmakers with more cash to do more material recycling.

Founder and CEO of information technology organization ITAP, Lundgren bought the 20-year-old E39 generation BMW 528i and removed most of the interior – including the rear seats, dashboard, center console and trim – in order to save weight (yes, that’s the catch.) He added a 130kWh battery pack that uses cells from EV and laptop batteries to power the car, which takes up most of the space where the backseat would normally be.

To test his creation, Lundgren pitted it against three popular electric vehicles: the Tesla, a Chevy Bolt and a Nissan Leaf. All four competed in a trip across Southern California to see which one would last the longest. The Leaf ran out of juice first after 81 miles, followed by the Model S at 238 miles. The Bolt managed to squeak out 271. The BMW never ran out of range at all – instead, it blew a fuse after 340 miles with 32 percent of its charge left on its battery pack. In a second test, the Phoenix ran directly against the Tesla, getting 382 miles to the 100D’s 315.

Clearly, the fact that so much of its weight has been removed while the Tesla is loaded down with luxury options makes a difference in the result, but so should the fact that Tesla is working with top-quality, brand-new parts. For Lundgren, that’s not really the point.

“Re-use is the purest form of recycling. It creates zero carbon footprint. Re-using parts/components within broken/obsolete electroncis is called ‘hybrid recycling.’ This is a much-needed and often missing part of the recycling ecosystem.”

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Lush Labels: 15 Bold & Beautiful Botanical Packaging Designs

19 Jun

[ By SA Rogers in Design & Products & Packaging. ]

Representing all that’s fresh, lush and alive, botanical illustrations can make even the most boring everyday products seem life-sustaining, highlight the potential of a simple bag of dirt and turn takeout coffee cups into fashion accessories. They’re especially effective on personal care products, tea, liquor bottles and other products that go in or on our bodies. This selection of botanical product packaging is so gorgeous, it’s tempting to just keep them on shelves for decor long after the contents are gone.

Pure Health Products by Philippe Tyan

This series of packages created for a theoretical health supplement company by Philippe Tyan makes getting your vitamins seem a whole lot more pleasant with beautiful illustrations of fanciful plants.

Allis Gluten-Free Packaging by Maison d’Idee

Hummingbirds hover around an array of enticing flowers on Allis range of gluten-free flour (see what they did there?) in this series by Maison d’Idée.

Wolffer Estate Gin by IWANT

A special-edition pink gin by Wolffer Estate is set off perfectly in a transparent bottle with botanical labeling by IWANT design.

Superfly Juice by B&B Studio

B&B Studio created this ‘no logo’ bottle for Superfly, a new addition to Firefly’s juice range, which is a collaboration with one of the world’s most influential mixologists.

Vila Florida by Lo Siento Design

“This bar and restaurant is located inside a civic center with a garden, and the entire image seeks to evoke that atmosphere,” says Lo Siento design of its ‘Vila Florida’ project. “Featuring botanical elements and bright green as the only color, the result is fresh and natural.”

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Lush Labels 15 Bold Beautiful Botanical Packaging Designs

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BAM! BIFF! POW! Street Art Showcases Adam West’s Batman

19 Jun

[ By Steve in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

The late Adam West’s role as TV’s campy yet cool Batman garnered him a permanent place in pop culture – just ask these 12 graffiti artists.

Caped crimefighters don’t come any campier than Adam West’s iconic TV Batman, and the late actor’s take on Gotham City’s kitschy caped crusader still stands cowled head and bat-suit bedecked shoulders above a host of latter day Dark Knights. Seriously, would anyone spying a streetside stencil of bat-garbed George Clooney, Michael Keaton or (gasp!) Ben Affleck be moved emotionally? It is to laugh.

Comedic pretensions aside, Adam West never played the Batman for laughs. Instead, his signature deadpan delivery – coming from a guy wearing tights and accompanied by a similarly spandex-clad “Boy Wonder” – allowed kids to take the superhero at his words while letting adults appreciate the subtle humor in between the lines. Indeed, West’s Batman would have made a great politician, amiright? Check out Flickr user Brecht Bug‘s snaps of a sticker slapped on some subterranean NYC concrete in late 2015, while Robert S was moved to photograph a similar sticker elsewhere in Brooklyn in January of 2016.

Walla Walla Wall Walker

West, born in 1928 as William West Anderson, hails from Walla Walla, Washington… which has absolutely no relation to the creative modding of the Wet Floor sign above. Kudos to Flickr user timfootman for posting the image above in August of 2011; the photographer isn’t saying whether they’re also the artist but double-kudos if do. By the way, did you know those classic scenes of Batman and Robin effortlessly scaling building walls were actually filmed flat and tilted 90 degrees? Of course you did – and we’re still not invoking any Walla Walla connection.

Gouda Grief

It’s not often a graffiti artist is also a Flickr member but here we are – with Gu (10:Gu [VDS]). The artist is apparently based in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, as that’s where most if not all of his superb Batman stencil graffiti works can be found.

West’s confident, restrained grin so perfectly captured by the artist is almost Mona Lisa-esque, adding to the character’s mystique and illustrating why West’s portrayal of Batman continues to earn respect as time goes by.

Streetcorner Chalkin’

“Saw this little Adam West tribute on my jog last night,” states Imgur member Seoulfoundation of the above street art tableau. The apparently anonymous road work was posted to Imgur on June 12th of 2017, just three days after West passed away at the age of 88.

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Bam Biff Pow Street Art Showcases Adam Wests Batman

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[ By Steve in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

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30 Years of Graffiti: Peeled Dutch Wall Sample Reveals Colorful Art History

18 Jun

[ By WebUrbanist in Art & Street Art & Graffiti. ]

The sides of the structure are painted from ground to roof, but peeling back layers of artwork reveals just how far back the building’s vibrant history goes.

“This is Doornroosje, the location where I took the piece from, “explains Paul De Graff. “It’s a Graffiti Hall of Fame in the city of Nijmegen, the Netherlands. What started as a 70’s Hippie cult place, became a center of music and art in the early 80’s.”

It was apparently “one of the first places where it was legal to smoke cannabis” and “the building is surrounded by walls that are all spray painted from top to bottom.”

And over its many years and various uses, the building has gathered coats of paint, which De Graff has deconstructed like a geological core sample (or piece of Fordite).

Like a good urban scientist (or someone trying to sell proof with a section of the Berlin Wall on the streets of Germany), he also shows people exactly where it came from, then includes a banana for scale.

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