viernes, 18 de septiembre de 2015

This Tower Purifies a Million Cubit Feet of Air an Hour

Daan Roosegaard worked with scientist Bob Ursem and European Nano Solutions to create the Smog Free Tower. STUDIO ROOSEGAARDE
The tower, shown here in Rotterdam, sucks pollution from the air into its chambers and purifies it. STUDIO ROOSEGAARDE
The air is sucked in from a ventilation system at the top of the tower.STUDIO ROOSEGAARDE
And then it enters a chamber where the pollution becomes positively charged before latching onto grounded electrodes. The particles then becomes trapped in the chambers while the clean air escapes.Studio Roosegaarde

Roosegaard is compressing smog particles into jewelry, because why not? STUDIO ROOSEGAARDE
Daan Roosegaard worked with scientist Bob Ursem and European Nano Solutions to create the Smog Free Tower. STUDIO ROOSEGAARDE
THERE’S A MASSIVE vacuum cleaner in the middle of a Rotterdam park and it’s sucking all the smog out of the air. A decent portion of it, anyway. And it isn’t a vacuum, exactly. It looks nothing like a Dyson or a Hoover. It’s probably more accurate to describe it as the world’s largest air purifier.

The Smog Free Tower, as it’s called, is a collaboration between Dutch designer Daan Roosegaard, Delft Technology University researcher Bob Ursem, and European Nano Solutions, a green tech company in the Netherlands. The metal tower, nearly 23 feet tall, can purify up to 1 million cubic feet of air every hour. To put that in perspective, the Smog Free Tower would need just 10 hours to purify enough air to fill Madison Square Garden. “When this baby is up and running for the day you can clean a small neighborhood,” says Roosegaard.

It does this by ionizing airborne smog particles. Particles smaller than 10 micrometers in diameter (about the width of a cotton fiber) are tiny enough to inhale and can be harmful to the heart and lungs

Ursem, who has been researching ionization since the early 2000s, says a radial ventilation system at the top of the tower (powered by wind energy) draws in dirty air, which enters a chamber where particles smaller than 15 micrometers are given a positive charge. Like iron shavings drawn to a magnet, the the positively charged particles attach themselves to a grounded counter electrode in the chamber. The clean air is then expelled through vents in the lower part of the tower, surrounding the structure in a bubble of clean air. Ursem notes that this process doesn’t produce ozone, like many other ionic air purifiers, because the particles are charged with positive voltage rather than a negative.

Ursem has used the same technique in hospital purification systems, parking garages, and along roadsides, but the tower is by far the biggest and prettiest application of his technology. Indeed, it’s meant to be a design object as much as a technological innovation. Roosegaard is known for wacky, socially conscious design projects—he’s the same guy who did the glowing Smart Highway in the Netherlands. He says making the tower beautiful brings widespread attention to a problem typically hidden behind bureaucracy. “I’m tired of design being about chairs, tables, lamps, new cars, and new watches,” he says. “It’s boring, we have enough of this stuff. Let’s focus on the real issues in life.

Roosegaard has been working with Ursem and ENS, the company that fabricated the tower, for two years to bring it into existence, and now that it’s up and running, he says people are intrigued. He just returned from Mumbai where he spoke to city officials about installing a similar tower in a park, and officials in Mexico City, Paris, and Beijing (the smoggy city that inspired the project) also are interested. “We’ve gotten a lot of requests from property developers who want to place it in a few filthy rich neighborhoods of course, and I tend to say no to these right now,” he says. “I think that it should be in a public space.

Roosegaard has plans to take the tower on a “smog-free tour” in the coming year so he can demonstrate the tower’s abilities in cities around the world. It’s a little bit of showmanship that he hopes will garner even more attention for the machine, which he calls a “shrine-like temple of clean air.” Roosegaard admits that his tower isn’t a final solution for cleaning a city’s air. “The real solution everybody knows,” he says, adding that it’s more systematic than clearing a hole of clean air in the sky. He views the Smog Free tower as an initial step in a bottom-up approach to cleaner air, with citizens acting as the driving force. “How can we create a city where in 10 years these towers aren’t necessary anymore?” he says. “This is the bridge towards the solution.


martes, 23 de junio de 2015

The Best Design of the Year (Maybe Ever?)

Every year, the Design Museum in London picks a single object and names it the best design of the year. It’s pretty bad sometimes! But this year, the museum picked a winner: A chip that replaces animal test subjects with a complex package of human cells.

It’s called a lung-on-a-chip--a name that is very literally true, lest you think this is simply a computer chip programmed to mimic a lung. It comes from Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, which explains in a great video how it works.

This clear, simple-looking brick of plastic actually contains complex human cells, arranged in a simplified version of the way a lung works: Along the central channels, there’s a lining of human lung cells separated from a lining of capillary blood cells by a porous membrane, just like the air sacs in your lung:

On each side, channels create the flexing movement that an air sac does while you breathe.

In other words, it’s all of the biological complexity of your lungs distilled onto a computer chip.

Scientists can, for example, introduce bacteria to the channels to mimic an infection—and white blood cells in the capillary channel will attack. Or, they can introduce the chemicals you breathe in regularly to mimic air pollution and its affect on your lungs. Or test new medications.

Bio-inspired micro-devices that mimic whole human organs, such as the lung on a chip, could potentially replace animal testing and bring new therapies to patients faster and at lower cost in the future,” the design team explains in their video. Other labs are working on organs like the heart and even spleen, and Wyss’ ultimate goal is to build ten different organs and link them to create a whole body.

Who do we have to thank for bringing news of the chip to the design world? That would be Paola Antonelli, MoMA’s Senior Curator of Architecture & Design, as Dezeen points out today in its announcement as the award’s media partner. Antonelli not only nominated the chip, she already added it to MoMA’s permanent collection in March, writing on MoMA’s blog:

Esoteric or specialized, perhaps, but universally remarkable in their balance of form, function, and vision, investigations like the Wyss Institute’s Human Organs-on-Chips demonstrate new, radical intersections of synthetic biology and design.

In the past, the Design Museum’s pick have ranged from anodyne at best—a lightbulb, in 2011—to downright tone-deaf, like the jury’s choice of a Zaha Hadid building in Azerbaijan built by a dictatorial regime and named for a president known for his human rights abuses. This year, the jury really turned it around, selecting an object that is not only a brilliant piece of design, but also has the power to end the barbaric practice of animal testing while helping human patients.

Antonelli deserves a lot of credit for caring what’s happening in science, medicine, and technology, and forcing the rest of the design world to broaden insular, myopic field of view to include objects that aren’t just lightbulbs and billion-dollar museums, great though they are. Design—while it won’t save the world—can certainly change it for good.

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lunes, 6 de abril de 2015

Recycled PET Plastic Bottle Plant Sculptures by Veronika Richterová

Photo by Michal Cihlář
Czech artist Veronika Richterová creates new life from repurposed plastic PET bottles. For the last decade the artist has used various methods of cutting, heating, and assemblage to build colorfully translucent forms of everything from crocodiles to chandelier light fixtures to plants. Her obsession with plastic bottles doesn’t stop with creating artwork, Richterová has also collected over 3,000 PET plastic objects from 76 countries and writes extensively about the history and usage of plastic in her article A Tribute to PET Bottles. You can see hundreds more sculptures in her online gallery. (via Mister Finch, Lustik)

Photo by Michal Cihlář
Photo by Michal Cihlář
Photo by Michal Cihlář
Photo by Michal Cihlář
Photo by Michal Cihlář

Photo by Michal Cihlář
Photo by Michal Cihlář
Photo by Michal Cihlář

Photo by Michal Cihlář
ORIGINAL: This Is Colossal
April 6, 2015

martes, 6 de enero de 2015

The projection mapping "bioluminescent forest" is made by artists Friedrich van Schoor and Tarek Mawad.
The artists spent six weeks in the forest fascinated by the silence and natural occurrences in nature, especially the phenomenon "bioluminescence". They personified the forest to accentuate the natural beauty by creating luring luminescent plants and glowing magical mushrooms that speaks volumes to any visitor that enters the minds of the artists through viewing "bioluminescent forest".

More information on the project:
Friedrich van Schoor:
Tarek Mawad

Many thanks to Achim Treu, Composer and Sounddesigner.
private homepage:
commercial homepage:

While we’ve seen many examples of projection mapping on the sides of buildings or other relatively flat surfaces in an attempt to add depth or dimension, it seems photographers and digital artists are getting progressively more innovative as the technology continues to evolve. Last week we saw a commendable dance performance making use of projection mapping, and now photographer Tarek Mawad and animator Friedrich van Schoor just spent six weeks embedded in nature to create Bioluminescent Forest. The 4-minute short film imagines what various plants, insects, spiderwebs, and mushrooms might look like if they possessed the ability to emit bioluminescent light, creating a strange wonderland of blinking and twinkling organisms. The filmmakers state that everything you see was created live, without any effects added in post-production. You can watch a behind-the-scenes clip here. (via PetaPixel, The Kid Should See This)

ORIGINAL: Colossal
January 5, 2015