Posts Tagged ‘transport’

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14Hermann Ørn Vidarsson

Hermann Ørn VidarssonSeptember 26, 2014

Bigger roads or smaller cars?

Most of the cars I see in the morning traffic jam have just one person in them.

One person occupying 6 square metres of road space.

Car-sharing lanes have been trialled with mixed success, but now the car companies themselves seem to be addressing the problem.

Toyota is launching a new electric concept car for urban transportation. It’s already cooperating with France’s Grenoble and energy supply company EDF to pilot a sharing scheme for it.

It’s a small 3-wheel electric vehicle available in both a single-seat and a two-seat model – and it looks really fun to drive!

According to the Foreigner.no, it’s considered for launch in Norway.

Could smaller cars, not bigger roads, solve our the congestion problems in our cities?

At our Share the Problem on the 2nd October we are looking at the future of urban transportation.

We need a shift of paradigm in the transport sector. We just don’t have the real-estate to support the growth and we certainly don’t have the planet to continue to do as we have been doing.

We invite you on 2nd October to Share the Problem, a crowdsourcing event with a group of people from diverse backgrounds: arts, engineering and social studies. Working together, we will get a better understanding of the challenge ahead and share some new perspectives.2

We’d love to see you there – please register yourself here.

Photo credit: Toyota

FluorescentTobacco
15Megan Jones

Megan JonesFebruary 17, 2014

10 Exciting Crowdfunded… Gadgets

With crowdfunding, anyone can help turn the craziest of dreams into a fully functional reality. From the innovative to the sustainable to the just plain wacky, these 10 successful campaigns give a taste of the great new tech coming out of crowdfunding.

1. WakaWaka Light and Power

WakaWaka Power

Image: WakaWaka

This lamp is solar powered and super efficient, lasting for up to 80 hours. It can stand up on its own or attached to a bottle top. The WakaWaka Power, released in 2013, can also be used to charge a smartphone, MP3 player or tablet.

Even better, the profits from sales in the West are used to give WakaWakas to some of the 1.2 billion people without access to electricity. Replacing kerosene lamps with solar light cuts down on CO2 emissions, reduces health problems like burns, and saves families money. That makes WakaWakas a win-win!

These nifty gadgets have had three crowdfunding campaigns – Kickstart and Symbid for the WakaWaka Light, and again on Kickstarter for WakaWaka Power. Or you can check out the website to buy the gadget yourself.

2. Glowing Plant

Image: WIRED

The boundaries between technology and nature are sometimes hard to define. No more so than with this crowdfunding project, which caused quite a stir last summer when campaigners offered to give away free glowing plants to their Kickstarter backers.

The project seeks to develop sustainable, natural lighting by genetically modifying plants to glow in the dark – but its wild popularity comes from its wacky, science fiction appeal.

The founders describe their crowdfunding success as an exciting new development for synthetic biology, but critics worry about the environmental risks when GMOs are freely distributed. In the wake of this controversy Kickstarter has banned GMOs as rewards, alongside guns and alcohol. Interested people in the US can still pre-order glow-in-the-dark seeds or plants on the Glowing Plant website, but distribution to Europe is illegal under EU law.

3. Wood. Head. Phones.

Image: Inhabitat

Except for the wire inside them, these headphones are made entirely of wood. The inventor, a 19-year-old product designer from Oslo, named them after the Norwegian word “treskalle” – literally meaning “wood head”, or “stupid” – because, as he says in his crowdfunding video, “this is, in a lot of ways, a stupid product”.

In spite of this modesty, the headphones supposedly have a sweet sound and are custom-made for each person in ash, oak, cherry, or walnut. It’s not clear if you can still buy your own Wood. Head. Phones., but the Facebook page is a good place to start looking.

4. Kano

Image: Kano

If you’ve ever wanted the satisfaction of building your own computer, then look no further than Kano. For geeks and newbies of all ages, this cool kit comes with 11 components – including how-to guides – and is cute enough to give mainstream laptops a run for their money.

With Kano you can make games and learn code, and it’s open source, so using it can only get more fun. The smash hit Kickstarter campaign raised 15 times the original goal, and you can find out more or pre-order your own at the Kano website.

5. Morpher

Image: Indiegogo

Do you use a helmet when you cycle? Many people don’t, and this British inventor thinks he’s found one reason why: helmets are too bulky, especially for people using a bike rental scheme. The solution? A folding helmet.

Morpher folds in half, making it easy to slip it into a rucksack or laptop bag. It should be as safe as an ordinary helmet – most of the crowdfunded money will be used to meet international safety standards – and even comes in pretty colours. Check out the Indiegogo campaign or Morpher website for more info.

6. BUILD

Image: Indiegogo

Tired of boring furniture? Well, designers in Germany have developed modular shelving that is non-toxic, long lasting and completely recyclable. Beneath its funky shape lies a high-tech structure of polypropylene plastic foam that also makes it lightweight and shock-absorbent.

With BUILD you decide what shape you want, and can put it on a wall or use it to divide up a room. Plus if you move house or need an extra few chairs for that big dinner party, each block doubles up as a box, a seat, or even a cooler. Check out the Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign, or go straight for the product.

7. ThePresent

Image: thepresent

OMMMMMMMMM.

Relaxed yet? No? Well maybe it’s time to welcome ThePresent into your life. Its New York inventor touts this as the first 365-day clock – in one year the hand only rotates once around the face. With its colourful display to evoke the changing seasons, this clock is a reminder to stop and smell the roses.

The Kickstarter campaign has a great video about how the clock was made. Check out ThePresent website to learn more or get your own.

8. JACK

Image: autoevolution

Between walking and cycling lies a third choice for the eco-friendly commuter: the electric, folding scooter. JACK, as this Dutch prototype is called, weighs less than 20kg, can be charged in a car or home, and fits easily in a car boot or on public transport.

JACK can travel at speeds up to 25kph (15mph), but with a full battery it only lasts 20k (12.5 miles) so it’s more suited to a city spin than a road trip. All the specs are on the Symbid campaign page or the JACK website.

9. Tellspec

Image: Tellspec

If you’re human, you’ve probably worried about what’s in your food at least once. Does that apple have pesticides on it? Are there nasty additives in my pre-packaged sandwich? How many calories are in that slice of cake?

Tellspec hopes to answer these questions. Through spectrometry, Tellspec uses a laser to scan the chemicals inside a piece of food, and then wirelessly sends the results to your smartphone. For anyone with a food allergy, watching their weight or just keen on good food, this is definitely a product to watch. The Indiegogo campaign finished in November, so stay tuned on the website for launch as early as August.

10. Emotiv Insight

Image: Kickstarter

It’s not a jetpack, but it comes pretty close. The Emotiv Insight will allow you to move objects with your mind. With previous models, people have used their thoughts to create music, drive a car, manipulate a robot, type on a keyboard, and operate a wheelchair. This new model, crowdfunded on Kickstart, should also be able to record emotions, stress levels, physical fitness and facial expressions.

Emotiv Insight works through electroencephalography (EEG) to interpret the neuron signals  in the user’s brain. To make it more accessible, designers are making this gadget lightweight and cheaper, and adding dry sensors (so you don’t need to smear gel on your head every time you use it). Whether it’s helping people recover from injury, manage a disability, or just try out something awesome, this gadget screams “watch out, world”.

 

Is there a gadget we’ve left out? Which one would you choose?

Photo by: (CC)
11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalAugust 21, 2013

Another example of roadway powered electric vehicles: Online Electric Vehicle

The problem with electric cars today is the short range of driving because of the battery capacity. In addition, recharging the batteries on charging stations takes time. In a blog post published 8 July, I presented an idea developed in Sweden on roadway powered electric vehicles. In South Korea they have also been working on roadway power electric vehicles, but their idea is different.   

Researchers in South Korea have developed a vehicle, called Online Electric Vehicle, which recharges while driving. The technology is already taken into use; in the South Korean city, Gumi, two electric buses are driving a 24 kilometre route, recharging the batteries as they are driving, getting electricity of the road.

The buses are powered by two electric cables that lie under the surface of the road.  The electric cables create magnetic fields, which are converted into electricity by a receiver under the vehicle.  The technology is called “Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance”. According to the researchers, it is not necessary that the entire road is built with cables, 5 – 15 % of the road is sufficient (nrk.no)

The core of the idea, developed in Sweden, is to place two power lines in the road.

Which solution on eco-friendly transportation do you believe the best – the Swedish power lines or the South Korean Online Electric Vehicle?

Photo by: (CC)

11Annette Hovdal

Annette HovdalJuly 8, 2013

Electric Roads – the future for a carbon neutral transport sector?

Did you have an electric racetrack growing up – a racetrack where the racing cars were powered by electricity provided by a slot in the track? Volvo and an inventor in the company Elways are working on to different projects to make this possible for real life cars. The conceptis to charge the electric vehicles directly from the road, by placing two power lines in to the road. In other words, the vehicles would charge directly from the road without the need of battery

Both Volvo and Elways have started testing electric roads in Sweden. The background for this testing is the Swedish government’s aim for the Swedish transport sector to be carbon neutral by 2030. Mats Alaküla, research adviser in Volvo, believes that the concept will be demonstrated on normal roads within 5 years. He believes that the technology will be used commercially before 20 years has passed (tu.no).  

What do you think – are electric roads the answer for a carbon neutral transport sector?