Urban Algae Farm

A French and Dutch design firm has come up with an elegantly simple way to harness the wonderful power of nature in order to clean up the environment: an algae farm suspended over a small stretch of highway in Geneva, Switzerland.

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Algae are a diverse group of organisms that, like plants, generate energy from photosynthesis using sunlight and carbon dioxide, churning out oxygen along the way. Since CO2 is a pollutant that’s produced by car engines, a busy highway riddled with environmentally damaging emissions is the perfect place to set up an urban algae farm.

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The bioreactor consists of a closed system of transparent, algae-filled tubes that are hooked up to secondary equipment such as filters, pumps and solar panels. Thriving on the abundance of CO2 and sunlight, the algae will bloom and mature inside the tubes, filtering the air before being extracted and used for a variety of applications. According to the company that came up with the idea, Cloud Collective, the material could be used to create biodiesel, green electricity, medication, cosmetic products or even foods. That’s quite an impressive list.

At the moment, the bioreactor is a proof of concept system that was built as part of agarden festival in Geneva, which “focuses on the co-habitation of the urban and the natural within the context of the urban expansion of Geneva.” However, it demonstrates how easy it could be to scale-up and install over larger areas.

Minimalist glass keyboard and mouse

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Here’s a cool project from kickstarter.com by Jason Giddings, a multi-touch glass keyboard and mouse.

The multi-touch glass keyboard and mouse are currently in the concept phase and pledges are being taken to make them a reality.  The mouse and keyboard looks very elegant and modern and are sure to be a conversation piece at the office.  They have been designed to make use of existing proven technology and don’t contain any moving parts.  The devices are wireless and will come with rechargeable Lithium Polymer batteries, Bluetooth support, and sound and light which can be disabled.

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The multi-touch keyboard contains all the keys you’d find in a traditional keyboard but they’re drawn on the back side of the glass, so they won’t rub off over time.  The glass is placed on a metal base and contains an infrared LED light at the base and a camera is placed below the glass to make the keyboard work, using FTIR technology (Frustrated Total Internal Reflection).  When keys on the keyboard are touched, it “frustrates” the light and bounces it down towards the camera, which determines the location and sends the information to your computer and you get letters and numbers on your monitor.  

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The multi-touch glass keyboard is not only cool looking but it also has a few advantages over a conventional keyboard.  There should be none of the annoying noise when keys are hit, since the surface is flat, you don’t have to worry about food crumbs getting stuck between the keys, and if you spill a bit of coffee, it should be easily wiped off.

The pledge goal for this project was set at $50,000 which has already been surpassed, so we know this keyboard and mouse will be going into production.

Staple right

Right Angle Stapler wins the category Innovative Stationery. We have managed to increase the width, size and capacity of the humble stapler but no one has ventured into its orientation. Stapled papers develop ugly dog-ears and the Right Angle Stapler prevents this.

Designers: 42 Design – Jeong Jun Yeon, Jeon Hyeongho, Mee Ree, Jeon Youngha, Shin Seunghoon & Ji Eun Lee

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