The Metropolitan Museum of Art unveils an exhibition that shows
the technological innovation behind the pre-fabricated home. These
made to order homes may represent the homes of the future.
Highlighting the growing innovation in pre-fab homes, the
Metropolitan Museum of Art has unveiled an exhibit highlighting the
technological innovation behind the pre-fab home and how designers
are responding to global trends.
Unveiled at the show will be a full scale prototype of the
System 3, a design by Architects Oskar Kaufman and Albert Ruf.
After years of pursuing the optimum in high quality low cost
design, the System 3 is the pinnacle of austere elegance. Looking
like a direct cousin of a shipping container the System 3 abandones
traditional notions of architectural design. The truly intersting
aspect of it’s design however is it’s ability to be “stacked”,
taking multiple units and creating anything from hotels to office
towers and luxury villas. (cont.)
Events of the last five years have shown us that living on the
grid, dependent on large utility companies, has been anything but
stable. Large electric companies, still reliant on fossil fuel to
generate power, have been forced to raise prices dramatically. An
antiquated series of electrical lines, transformers, and switches
have produced devastating blackouts that have cost our economy
billions. With global demand for energy expected to rise, and the
cost of upgrading infrastructure approaching hundreds of billions,
living off the grid may become a highly plausible and desirable
future for many people.
In order to live off the grid you need to tie production and
consumption together, creating small scale systems for water and
power that require no outside support. It also requires a heavy
dose of conservation and efficiency, utilizing a system that
operates within the constraints of a limited source. Living off the
grid requires a large up front investment in equipment and
expertise, and a pioneering spirit. Costs for solar and wind
generation systems routinely cost tens of thousands of dollars,
yielding a cost per kilowatt hour that exceeds that of the grid.
Nonetheless it is becoming an option many people are beginning to
consider as the marketplace changes. More and more people are
looking to raw materials for energy that are free, inexhaustible,
As innovation and subsidies collide in the market to create
critical mass for residential solar and wind systems, it is
reasonable to expect demand for these technologies to grow.
According to Solar Buzz, a San Francisco-based industry research
company, demand for solar power has grown 20-25% a year for the
last twenty years. Many of these applications of solar power come
in the form of on the grid solutions, however many of these are
distributed at the point of use. It is however the biggest choice
for off the grid applications. Demand has grown so fast that more
silicon now goes into photovoltaics than computer chips.
Spurred in large part by Barack Obama's unprecedented and extraordinarily successful new media campaign, other national politicians are quickly following suit by embracing YouTube's new dedicated channels for U.S. Senators and House Representatives.
Here's the official word from the YouTube blog:
As the 111th Congress kicks into gear, many of your elected leaders are starting their own YouTube channels. They're posting videos direct from their Washington offices, as well as clips of floor speeches and committee hearings alongside additional behind-the-scenes footage from Capitol Hill. And in conjunction with both the House and Senate, we're launching two new platforms that will help you access your Senator and Representatives' YouTube channels: The Senate Hub (youtube.com/senatehub) and The House Hub (youtube.com/househub).
Though this may not seem like something altogether world-changing considering the explosive use of YouTube, even among politicians, this transition to web content is a rather big deal for several reasons:
1. Selection of the Savvy: Just as the transition to television helped bring telegenic communicators like Kennedy to power, the transition to web video and social media will negatively impact those politicians that are slow to understand, adopt and maximize the use of new technologies. Suvival of the fittest politician will now require new media aptitude and staff atmposphere.
2. More Powerful Communities: National politicians have already figured out how to take advantage of fleets of interns (last time I visited The Hill on a video shoot Blackburn seemed to have 20+ interns at his disposal) that will work for reputation. Now imagine how that will scale online. Candidates who figure out how to build large communities of powerful supporters, idea generators and viral content drivers will have a big edge in campaigns and also in the governing process. Those that can grow the largest, most effective team (we're talking thousands of hard core supporters and interns) will first win the media wars and then the overall effectiveness wars.
According to a June 15 analysis published in the French bi-monthly magazine L’Auto-Journal, a long-standing car magazine, the European Union will soon no longer be on the short list of the top 3 contributors of greenhouse gases. The French-originated NAC (Nouvelle Affaire de Carburant) program, widely known as the New Fuel Deal by the English-speaking world, was initially criticized by citizens of nearly every European nation for being an economic fiasco.
The brainchild of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, who served a six month stint as EU president, has certainly paid off for the environment, despite the widespread criticism and dire predictions. The Affaire was created by the members of the EU’s French-led APRE Summit (Automobile-fabricants pour la Protection et la Régénération de l’Environment, or ACRE – Auto-makers for the Conservation and Regenration of the Environment) in 2011, which formed an impressive international think-tank consisting of automobile manufacturers, leaders in the alternative fuel industry, financial wizards and various government officials. Despite initial opposition from such countries as the Czech Republic and Ireland, the plan was consensually ratified in February, 2010.
Bionic Exoskeletons? OLED Haunted Houses? Holographic Masks? Check out some of the Halloween costumes we have in store for us ten years down the road. And while that Ninja Turtle costume you wear every year is still pretty sweet, the best costumes really are the ones that incorporate the latest technology into their design.
Happy Halloween everybody.
Looking to make people literally crap their pants? The Hologram Necklace allows users to pick pre-programmed faces which are projected around their faces. An easy on/off switch means you won’t have to worry about walking around blind and since the code is open source you could theoretically make your own custom mask. While current holographic technology is limited to areas that involve multiple mirrors, by 2015 a portable one is more than likely.
I’ve talked before about the idea of having regular consumers buying invisibility cloaks and how they could only lead to mischief. Well, that’s what Halloween is for, causing havoc. Besides scaring the Hell out of people, you could steal candy, TP a house, even gradually pick off a group of kids one by one (that sounded creepy). But be careful, remember you’re invisible because moving vehicles won’t see you.
Some crazy smart people over at MIT collaborated with a Danish design group to make a house that moves on legs.
The house, which reportedly can move up to five kilometers per hour, comes equipped with all the necessities for a personal dwelling. “The house is ten feet high, powered by solar panels, and is outfitted with a kitchen, toilet, bed, and wood stove.” What makes this different than a traditional motor home is that it can pass over objects where a tire might have a problem. It can reportedly “turn left and right, move forward and back, and even change height as needed.” In a sense, a true mobile home.
The hope is to eventually create a dwelling capable of climbing hills and navigating over rough terrain. They even hope to build a model which could also float on water for both land and sea adventures.