Credit: Ryan Pyle/Corbis
Credit: Ryan Pyle/Corbis
This isn't very high tech, but it's amazing nonetheless. Learn how to, step by step, make a golfball-sized fireball that you can toss around in your hands. Impress your friends! Don't burn the house down! Seriously -- don't burn the house down.
This isn't very high tech, but it's amazing nonetheless. Learn how to, step-by-step, make a golfball-sized fireball that you can toss around in your hands. Impress your friends! Don't burn the house down! Seriously -- don't burn the house down.
In one of the older "Treehouse of Horror" episodes from The Simpsons, Pierce Brosnan voiced a murderous home automation system. Back then, the idea of home automation was practically a dream (or a nightmare) to average folks, but now it's becoming an attainable reality. This set of Wi-Fi-controlled lightbulbs from Greenwave Reality will give homeowners control over their home's entire lighting system with a remote control.
The wireless LED lighting kit consists of four 40-watt equivalent bulbs, a remote control and a gateway box that connects to any home router. They won't be readily available at your local home improvement store -- instead the company plans to sell the sets through utility and lighting companies for around $200, with each new bulb costing under $20.
Each bulb has its own IP address and once installed, automatically pairs with the gateway. Once all of the bulbs are paired and the gateway is connected to the router, lighting in the home can be controlled through the remote, which will be able to control up to 500 bulbs at one time.
An app downloaded to a smartphone or tablet controls brightness, timers or a large section of lights. Controlling lights through your mobile device might just seem like a novelty but it does serve a purpose. Setting up schedules and timers for when the lights need to come on, or setting dimmers is pretty easy and provides the same piece of mind that persnickety timers do.
Credit: Greenwave Reality
Earlier this month in Alberta, Canada, at the Nuit Blanche Calgary, an exhibit called CLOUD showed how even the simplest inventions still inspire awe and wonder. The art installation, which was set up in Olympic Plaza park,was made up of 6,000 light bulbs: 1,000 working and 5,000 burnt out.
Hanging from the cloud were thousands of chains, each of them attached to a single bulb. Visitors stood underneath the cloud and pulled at the chains. The cloud would brighten and dim as this happened, and judging by the video, it was a beautiful sight to see. The incandescent bulbs for the interactive sculpture were collected through donations from local homes and businesses. In an email to Discovery News, Caitlind r.c. Brown, the designer of the CLOUD said that, "The idea was to create an informal collaboration between the community and the artists, reduce costs and experiment with the potential of items post-use."
Brown described the arduous process of putting up the structure, saying it required "a small team of strong men and heavy machinery." After transporting the sculpture to the park, a base was build on-site, hoisted up with a fork lift and bolted in place. The CLOUD's parts all together weight over 1,500 pounds, and because of its asymmetrical shape, the weight was not evenly balanced. While this seems like a difficult task, Brown says the take down was even harder. Probably because the exhibit lasted from 7 p.m. to 3 a.m.
Check out the video below to see the CLOUD in action.
Credit: Caitlind r.c. Brown
Credit: Caitlin r.c. Brown
I grew up in a semi-rural town, where people had long gravel driveways spanning the massive acreage up to their homes. These driveways were almost never well lit, and sometimes if you weren't paying attention, you would trample the grass and possibly end up in a ditch. A batch of photo luminescent stones mixed in with the gravel would come in handy on those nights.
That's what Core Glow pebbles are. The pebbles are made of an aggregate of synthetic materials (basically a mashup of a bunch of different elements), resin and a hint of photo luminescent pigments. When exposed to sunlight, the pigments in the stone perk up and get excited. As day turns into night, the rocks emit an afterglow. They naturally illuminate a driveway to create a sparkling pathway that requires absolutely no electricity.
Because there are no wires and no bulbs needed for this source of light, these rocks, that seem better suited for an aquarium than a driveway, are completely carbon emission-free. The glow lasts for 10 to 20 hours and slowly fades as the charge wanes. The photo luminescent pigments on the rocks have been engineered to be waterproof, so even if a nighttime shower pops up, driveways will still be easy to find.
Completely necessary? No. Cool and extremely helpful in an area otherwise hard to light? Yes. Also, great conversation starter for out-of-town visitors.
The next time you sit down to watch a NY Jets home game, take a minute during those overhead shots to look at the MetLife Stadium's ring of colorful lights. Those are solar panels, part of a renewable energy push from the NFL to make stadiums more energy efficient.
The 1,350 panels change colors from green to blue, depending on who is playing. The panels aren't just for looks, though. They generate 350,000 kilowatt hours of power, about 10 percent of what the stadium needs on a typical game day, and 25 times the electricity needed to power the LED lights that illuminate the stadium.
According to National Geographic, the power sector-focused company NRG Energy is responsible for this effort and many other renewable energy projects in sports. This includes a solar canopy still under construction at the New England Patriots' sports complex called Patriot Place and the 8,000-panel project in the parking area of the Redskins' FedEx Field in Maryland.
David Crane, CEO of NRG Energy, told National Geographic that projects like these are a good way to bring attention to sustainable efforts and building fan's team pride. He said that he understood fans weren't going to football games to look at rooves, but that when they do see the panels “fans will look at them and say, ‘my team is doing the right thing.’ It’s really about raising awareness with the fan base.”
via National Geographic
We’re seeing a lot of gold at this year’s Olympics, but behind the scenes, it’s all green. From environmentally responsible energy to recyclable venues, the London 2012 Olympics could be one of the most eco-friendly games yet. Two areas stand out when talking about sustainability and the Olympics, transportation and architecture, and here’s a few ways London is keeping them green:
BMW is providing two-hundred zero-emission electric cars comprised of 160 ActiveE First Drive and 40 Mini Cooper Mini Es (right). GE has placed 120 of their DuraStation EV chargers throughout the Olympic Village to keep the cars juiced and ready to go.
An even cuter “mini-er” Mini Cooper (right) is being used to transport athletic gear. According to Edmunds Inside Line, the radio-controlled electric vehicles are small enough to carry equipment like a single discus or two javelins, which can be accessed through a sunroof. Charging up in about 80 minutes, the cars can carry up to 18 pounds and have a range of around 109 yards.
All of the structures built for the London 2012 Olympics were done so with environmental sustainability and energy consumption in mind. Both the Velodrome (above), home of indoor cycling, and the Copperbox, venue for handball and badminton, collect rainwater from their sloped roofs for indoor plumbing usage, which cuts water consumption by 40 percent annually. Using a natural ventilation system, outdoor air is used to keep the more than 6,000 visitors to the Velodrome cool -- no A/C needed.
Two buildings in Olympic Park won’t last long after the closing ceremonies -- and that’s ok. The Water Polo Arena (right) and the Basketball arena will be torn down immediately after the Olympics are over. Both structures were built with PVC fabric that’s highly recyclable and will be reused for other construction projects. The wings of the exterior of the Aquatic Center will also be removed and the main structure will be used for other London community events.
So, whether you’re watching at home or from the stands, remember that not only are these games making athletic history, they are also making environmental history.
Credits: Edmund Sumner/View/Corbis (top); BMW North America (middle); London 2012 (bottom)
Many great projects abound to aid the less fortunate and shed light on the issues they face all over the world. One organization, Liter of Light, is literally shedding light on dark communities in the Philippines by organizing people to build “solar bottle bulbs.”
The light is made from a liter-sized plastic bottle that contains water and bleach. The bottle is sealed in an iron sheet and installed into a small hole in the roof of home. The bottles absorb sunlight and emit about 55-watts of light into a dark interior. About 3 million homes in Manilla, the Philippines, are in the dark and have to rely on kerosene lamps for light. Those who do have electricity live in homes with faulty wiring and can sometimes not afford their bills. These bottles provide a cost-effective and environmentally safe way to provide light to these families during the daylight hours.
Check out the video below to see how the lights are installed and how amazingly bright they are. Check out their site to donate and have a light installed on your behalf.
Credit: MyShelter Foundation
London is prepping to host the 2012 Olympic Games this summer. That means a lot of garbage. To reduce litter, the city is placing digital recycling bins around town that will display the latest news, while also collecting 1.65 tons of material every year. The receptacles, designed by London-based Renew, also display alerts and public transportation delays or emergencies.
LCD screens on both sides of the bin communicate with one another through a network of news content powered by partners like Bloomberg News, Time Out and the London Stock Exchange. A strong outer layer and a body made of glass-reinforced polymer house the screens that are backlit with LED lights and adaptive brightness capabilities. So far, 25 bins are in place, but will rise to 200 in time for the summer games.