A sled house, a floating mouse/trackpad combo and a bike that purifies the air are just a few of the technologies we liked this week.
Above, artist and researcher Nickolay Lamm, uses digital imagery to reveal the unseen. Among his newest images are a series of illustrations that visualize the massive, invisible infrastructure of cellphone radio signals. In this image, individual base station sites are represented as hexagons for the city of Chicago.
This conceptual bicycle developed by designers at Bangkok’s Lightfog Creative & Design Company scrubs polluted air while moving through city traffic. A filter between the handlebars removes particulates and the frame -- inspired by how leaves convert sunlight into energy -- would use sunlight to power a fuel cell battery, the by-product of which would be good, clean oxygen for everyone.
Last week, Amazon announced it was investigating the use of drones to deliver packages. Not to be outdone, Germany-based DHL is doing the same. They tested their prototype “Paketkopter” -- German for “package copter” -- a yellow quadcopter, taking it on a two-minute flight from Bonn over the Rhine River to a crosstown landing pad. Although the drone is capable of carrying 6.6 pounds, it's unclear just how serious DHL wants to put this flying delivery service in action.
What started out as an April Fool’s Day joke at ThinkGeek in 2012 has now become a reality. The Technomancer Digital Wizard Hoodie, which retails for $120, has a speaker box, 32 multicolored LEDs and an accelerometer. With just a flick of the wrist, your wizard wannabe can cast nine motion-activated light “spells.”
This futuristic bubble-building is actually the new energy-efficient tropical conservatory at the Botanical Gardens in Aarhus, Denmark. It was designed by C. F. Møller Architekten and formTL engineers and made with foil cushions that can be inflated or deflated using a pneumatic system. The change in pressure alters the translucent quality of the cushions, creating more shade or sun where needed.
To get a big-picture view of a section of Earth, geologists often use satellite imagery. But these don't always produce high-enough resolution. In more recent years, scientists are turning to LIDAR, a combination of radar and laser, to scan terrain. It creates a much-higher-resolution aerial image than satellites and allows scientists to digitally extract trees and other objects that might obscure topographic details. Geologists at the University of Oregon recently used this technology to create high-resolution 3-D models of the remains of Hawaii's 1974 Kilauea and 1984 Mauna Loa eruptions. Here, Hawaii's Mauna Loa 1984 flow has been mapped in 3D.
For a commission by Greenland's Uummannaq Polar Institute and Ann Andreassen, Dutch artist Rob Sweere designed sled-like houses capable of sheltering and transporting people at the same time. in different locations within the town of Uummanatsiaq in northwestern Greenland. Together with Andreassen, as well as René Kristensen and kids from the Uummannaq Children's Home, Sweere built insulated shelters on skis that can be used for sitting, cooking and sleeping. Each "sledge-house" accommodate about 6 people and can be moved from one location to another via sled dog.
In Norway, were cemetery space is limited, Martin McSherry, a Royal Danish School of Architecture student, came up with this unique design for a vertical graveyard and entered it into a competition last fall held by the Nordic Association for Graveyards and Crematoria. His design didn't win, but the open latticework-like metal tower, which has a graveyard on every floor sure did turn a lot of heads.
NASA's new robot Valkyrie was designed for the DARPA Robotics Challenge, designed to help humans during disasters, taking place in December 2013. As part of the competition, the 6' 2" robot will need to drive a vehicle, clean up debris, cut through a wall and perform other tasks to show that is has what it takes to safe the day.
Here's a futuristic approach to alleviating carpal tunnel syndrome: a floating mouse. Russian designer Vadim Kibardin has developed The Bat, a mouse/base combination that uses a magnet to float the mouse above the surface of a desk. The change in position reduces the tension that builds up in the muscle from repetitive motion, which can ultimately put pressure on the median nerve can cause carpal tunnel.