High-Flying Algae Airships are Self-Sufficient Airborne Cities
Architect Vincent Callebaut recently unveiled a blue-sky plan for a high-flying fleet of self-sufficient aircraft that are one part zeppelin cities and one part hydrogen-generating floating farms. Dubbed Hydrogenase, the algae-producing airborne cities are 100% emission-free and are capable of generating hydrogen gas without consuming land needed for crops or forests. (via High-Flying Algae Airships are Self-Sufficient Airborne Cities | Inhabitat - Sustainable Design Innovation, Eco Architecture, Green Building)

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How to feed the cities of the future

I’m a huge fan of aquaponic/hydroponic and aeroponic systems. The tech varies between DYI low-fi and rocket science & it forces you to deal with natural homegrown food. It’s sustainable, cheap & efficient and it could be a gamechanger for our urban future.

Therefore I’m happy to see that The Verge started their second Detours season with Caleb Harper’s CityFARM project:

At MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Caleb Harper’s CityFARM demonstrates the future of food production. He grows plants through aeroponics, a system that produces plants without soil. Plants are hooked up to servers and misting mechanisms. LEDs fill in for the sun and ladybugs (purchased on Amazon) occasionally make an appearance. Plants are periodically sprayed with a nutrient-rich mist that provides optimal pH balance. Light and temperatures are closely monitored. The environment nurtures plants that have twice the nutrient density of their conventional counterparts. Lettuce, bok choy, and tomatoes have already fed the scientists in the lab.

[read more] [hydropnics & aquaponics on futurescope]


The Lotus Building in Wujin, China by Studio 505 is as smart as it is beautiful.

Studio 505 on the energy efficiency of their design:

The project has been designed to minimize energy usage- with over 2500 geothermal piles driven through the base of the artificial lake, The entire lake water mass and ground beneath is utilized to pre-cool (summer) and pre-warm (winter) the air conditioning systems for both the lotus and the two storey building beneath the lake. The project is also mixed mode and naturally ventilated and utilizes evaporative cooling from the lake surface to drive a thermal chimney within the main flower pod.


Meet ELMA, the extremely functional yet beautiful convertible backpack that you can wear all day long and then in the evening it can transform in to an elegant handbag. It is delicately and expertly crafted by hand with a unique folding technique which involves no stitching, only using one large piece of beautifully tanned nubuck leather!

Intrigued to read on more about the beautifully exclusive to VASKA, nubuck leather? Then, you are more than welcome to click here


Space Origami: NASA’s Foldable Solar Array

When sending things into space, cargo is limited and costs are high. That’s why Brigham Young University researchers and NASA are using origami to develop ways of making solar arrays more compact. The current design allows the array to expand from 9 ft. to a whopping 80 ft. in diameter once it’s deployed in outer space. The array is expected to generate 150 kW of power, a significant increase over the 84 kW currently produced by the International Space Station. The absence of sliding parts in the solar array also decreases the likelihood of malfunction since scientists would only need to launch, deploy and monitor a single system.  


This design started off as a drawing on a piece of notebook paper illustrating ways to use roof design and window layout to create a home that heats and cools itself. The home’s design is centered around the clerestory roof angles while most tiny homes start with the size of the trailer. From the start little Wosho was geared for efficiency. 

See more!

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Recycling old batteries into solar cells

A system proposed by researchers at MIT would recycle materials from discarded car batteries — a potential source of lead pollution — into new, long-lasting solar panels that provide emissions-free power.

[read more] [paper]

Remember this invention? 19 year-old student proposed this design to clean up plastics in the oceans. The idea was picked up by TED, and green blogs exploded with glee.

I criticized the project as ineffective buffoonery and likely illegal. And several others also panned the invention as foolish and naive. Well, now the student is back with a revised version of the plastic’s clean up machine. He’s partnered with some serious engineers and PR and he formed a new company, “The Ocean Cleanup.” Video here.

A science journalist in Germany, Sarah Zierul, interviewed me and a few other experts who also criticized the machine. Sarah’s article really got to the heart of the story and you can see researched for several months to get to the facts. She re-tells the story of the young inventor, and describes the original machine and its problems, as well as the new machine and the engineering behind it. She also interviews several critics, noting how their complaints have evolved into support.

Excellent science reporting!

Read Sarah’s excellent article, here. If you don’t read German, go here.