Yes and definitely the end of the "throwaway" society where items are made more and more flimsy, less robustly, easier to break or wear out.
I'd like to have an upgradeable iPad with an easily accessible slot to put in a new faster processor when one comes out, stuff like that.
Of course the ultimate will be when 3D printing gets a little more advanced, you will be able to print out that new processor yourself and never go to the store, no warehouse full of boxes of these things, no shipping parts and products around the world using highly polluting cargo vessels, no manufacturing except right there on your table top. This is possible today but too expensive. In a couple of decades, the idea of "manufacturing" may be outdated.
The printed world
Three-dimensional printing from digital designs will transform manufacturing and allow more people to start making things
Feb 10th 2011 | FILTON | from the print edition
FILTON, just outside Bristol, is where Britain’s fleet of Concorde supersonic airliners was built. In a building near a wind tunnel on the same sprawling site, something even more remarkable is being created. Little by little a machine is “printing” a complex titanium landing-gear bracket, about the size of a shoe, which normally would have to be laboriously hewn from a solid block of metal. Brackets are only the beginning. The researchers at Filton have a much bigger ambition: to print the entire wing of an airliner.
Far-fetched as this may seem, many other people are using three-dimensional printing technology to create similarly remarkable things. These include medical implants, jewellery, football boots designed for individual feet, lampshades, racing-car parts, solid-state batteries and customised mobile phones. Some are even making mechanical devices. At the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Peter Schmitt, a PhD student, has been printing something that resembles the workings of a grandfather clock. It took him a few attempts to get right, but eventually he removed the plastic clock from a 3D printer, hung it on the wall and pulled down the counterweight. It started ticking.
Engineers and designers have been using 3D printers for more than a decade, but mostly to make prototypes quickly and cheaply before they embark on the expensive business of tooling up a factory to produce the real thing. As 3D printers have become more capable and able to work with a broader range of materials, including production-grade plastics and metals, the machines are increasingly being used to make final products too. More than 20% of the output of 3D printers is now final products rather than prototypes, according to Terry Wohlers, who runs a research firm specialising in the field. He predicts that this will rise to 50% by 2020.
Using 3D printers as production tools has become known in industry as “additive” manufacturing (as opposed to the old, “subtractive” business of cutting, drilling and bashing metal). The additive process requires less raw material and, because software drives 3D printers, each item can be made differently without costly retooling. The printers can also produce ready-made objects that require less assembly and things that traditional methods would struggle with—such as the glove pictured above, made by Within Technologies, a London company. It can be printed in nylon, stainless steel or titanium.
Using 3D printing technologies such as laser sintering and electron beam melting, "rapid prototyping" evolved into "rapid manufacturing," in which short runs of actual finished parts are made. Such techniques are also used to create products customized for each person, such as hearing aids, dental crowns and medical implants.
http://gpiprototype.com / - GPI Prototype & Manufacturing Services, Inc.
And you can buy your own 3D printer for less than $1500 now. With further advancement and mass production the price will come down as the capabilities of these home 3D printers advances.
Morris Berman, author of "Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline" speaks with The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur and co-host Ben Mankiewicz.
November 1, 2011
The author describes his post mortem analysis.
Check out the movements of this fully articulating robot:
Harvest City presented a bold plan to expand the island's habitable and productive area that bolsters both the economy and community of Haiti.
While the concept was designed specifically with Haiti in mind, it is an idea that could easily be extended to many coastal population centers. Over the past year, we have worked to turn conceptual designs into compelling visuals and animated video that would communicate the designer's vision to a global audience.
This concept seems applicable in a large number of areas. Where would you like to see one built?
"Floating cities for environmental refugees"
People displaced due to sea level rise will have a safe place to live once the Lily Pad floating cities are constructed. I believe they should be constructed on the sea floor and then floated to the surface of the water once construction is completed.
These cities would be far more ecologically benign than current cities of today. Because of the distances involved in transporting our food from farms hundreds or thousands of miles away, every calorie of food we eat requires 10 calories of OIL (ref http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NmRoc7_jVdo... ). Residents of floating cities will grow their own food, farm their own fish and recycle all their waste in an environmentally sustainable way. In addition to the solar panels and wind turbines that surround the city, the waste could be turned into fertilizer and methane to provide electricity.
But won't it take forever to construct these cities??? Let's take an example of a custom house which takes 3 months to 6 months or even more to complete construction. But here's a robot that can do it in a single day, really it's more like a giant 3D printer: (ref http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31jkjsZPjtQ ). It can use many different materials so it should be just a matter of experimentation to see which material works best under the ocean.
Floating cities will provide those most harmed by our stupidity and short sighted burning of fossil fuels with a second chance at life. They should be paid for with a tax on fossil fuel sales (Coal, Oil, Natural Gas) commensurate with their impact on global climate change.
As you may recall, Contour Crafting is basically a giant sized 3D printer that can build a 2-story house in 1 day, or it can build a commercial building as well.
I wrote to the inventor of the Contour Crafting machine to see if he had any new info, etc. This is what he wrote me back:
Behrokh "Berok" Khoshnevis, Director
Center for Rapid Automated Fabrication Technologies (CRAFT)
Professor, Industrial & Systems Engineering,
Aerospace & Mechanical Engineering and
Civil & Environmental Engineering
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, CA 90089-0193
In the video they show a much improved (yet still commonplace) house design and explain a bit more about what the robotic builder will do and what the humans have to do as well (see, no loss of "human" jobs).
Then I googled a bit:
Khoshnevis's machines can create three-dimensional items in any desired shape -- cubes and boxes, bowls or domes, cylinders, cones; cones coming out of boxes, rings or disks, either geometrically regular or free-form. (See illustration, below)Of course, nobody wants a plastic house but the other options might be interesting, more so than concrete due to the energy intensiveness of that process. I wish someone would build a solar-powered concrete manufacturing facility...
The materials can be plaster, concrete, adobe, plastic or even wood particles mixed with epoxy into a paste. Guided by computer programming based on analysis of CAD-CAM representations, the Contour Crafting nozzle-and-trowel system molds these materials into shape while semi-liquid. Khoshnevis believes the resources of Information Sciences Institute, a nationally recognized facility specializing in computer research, will help sophisticate the programming and controls.
I started wondering what shape I would want my house to take if it were built by Dr. Khoshnevis's 3D house printer...
"SELECTION AND BREEDING OF DWARF CROPS The Crop Physiology Laboratory has a long history of identifying, characterizing, and hybridizing "Super-Dwarf" germplasm of the crop plants. In 1996, we released "USU-Apogee" an early maturing, dwarf wheat plant developed for use in the confined environments of spacecraft. "USU-Apogee" wheat was grown to maturity on the Russian space station MIR in 1998, and was used in a series of studies on the International Space Station in 2002. We recently completed the development of a new wheat cultivar, "USU-Perigee", which has a similar yield to "USU-Apogee", but is only half as tall (25 vs. 45 cm tall)."PS, 25 cm is about 0.82 feet tall (a little less than 10 inches).
You might think that making a wheat plant shorter would be a bad thing, right? Wrong:
"Dwarfing is an important agronomic quality for wheat; dwarf plants produce thick stems. The cultivars Borlaug worked with had tall, thin stalks. Taller wheat grasses better compete for sunlight, but tend to collapse under the weight of the extra grain—a trait called lodging— from the rapid growth spurts induced by nitrogen fertilizer Borlaug used in the poor soil. To prevent this, he bred wheat to favor shorter, stronger stalks that could better support larger seed heads. In 1953, he acquired a Japanese dwarf variety of wheat called Norin 10 developed by Orville Vogel, that had been crossed with a high-yielding American cultivar called Brevor 14.<18> Norin 10/Brevor is semi-dwarf (one-half to two-thirds the height of standard varieties) and produces more stalks and thus more heads of grain per plant. Also, larger amounts of assimilate were partitioned into the actual grains, further increasing the yield."
There are several hydroponic systems on the market that will make great use of the shorter varieties of wheat. This is but one of them:
It shows that 8 wheat plants of the "Apogee" variety can be stacked on top of one another.
Here's another example of "stacking" that uses aeroponics, a method where nutrient-rich water is sprayed onto plant roots. http://aerofarms.com/why/technology / The height of each level can be adjusted and it makes harvesting easy. There could easily be 8 or 9 stacks of Apogee wheat.
What stacking means is that each floor of a building can produce as much as a 9 story building. If you have a building 240 feet wide by 240 feet long (1 acre) with a 10 story vertical farm then you have, in effect, a 90 acre growing area.
And vertical farming is indoor farming so there is no "growing season" -- growing is year round. Here is a comparison of a crop grown outside, in a regular greenhouse, and in the AeroFarms system:
http://aerofarms.com/why/comparison / -- which shows that plants grow much faster as well, this means more crops per year:
"Growth Cycle 35 – 70 days -vs- 25 – 50 days -vs- 18 – 21 days"
So you have, with this example plant, instead of 2 crops per year and 1 acre of crops, we'd have 90 acres and 17 crops per year, thus the comparison: 2 acres worth versus 1,530 acres worth -- all in that same 1 acre plot of land.
That is a red flag to me.
For reference, see:
WHO: Air pollution kills more than 2 million annually
By Wendy Koch, USA TODAY
Updated 2011-09-26 3:35 PM
A licensed electrician to hook it up to your house wiring is extra (but shouldn't be more than $100 to $200).
Level II (Level 2) charging is 240 volt so it takes as little as 1/4th the time compared to Level I which is standard 110 volts.
"The GE WattStation Wall Mount offers Level II charging, capable of reducing charge time from 12-18 hours to 4-8 hours, with service needs of 208-240VAC"
... http://www.lowes.com/pd_107343-76863-EVWSW... |0||p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&storeId=10151&rpp=24&searchQueryType=1
Why is this important? It speaks to the universal access to charging electric cars (or trucks) and the demand from consumers for a cost effective solution.
What are the downsides to this model? No smart grid communication. So your electric utility cannot tell your electric car to temporarily pause its charging if there is a spike in demand. But a lot of people don't mind that because they will not be charging their EV during peak hours anyway.
The "official" charger from Nissan was $2000 incl. installation when last I checked. So this is about half the cost! Saving money is what driving an electric car is all about, the excellent GE charger at half the cost is a win, win.
/edit to correct the price (had it as $995)
The Clean Air Task Force found a higher risk of death and hospitalization due to power plants.
Coal power plants, that is:
...click on your state in the map to see your potential risk of death due to living in a county with a coal power plant.
The ice caps are melting even faster than they were last year I hear.
The sea has risen so high recently that the nation of Tuvalu (home to 11,000 people) now has no fresh water due to sea water contaminating their aquifers. http://www.salient-news.com/2011/10/south-... /
A report by the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security and the German Alliance Development Works said the top 10 countries facing the highest risk are: Vanuatu, Tonga, the Philippines, the Solomon Islands, Guatemala, Bangladesh, Timor-Leste, Costa Rica, Cambodia and El Salvador.The combined population of these nations is in the hundreds of millions.
The risk index used in the report analyzed each country’s exposure to natural disasters like storms, floods, earthquakes, droughts and sea level rise.
It also estimated their susceptibility to damage based on the state of their economy and infrastructure, and the countries’ ability to respond to these disasters through preparedness measures and early warning systems. It also studied their ability to adapt to future disasters due to climate change.
You also have to add the city of Bankok, with 12 million inhabitants, because it is only 2 meters above sea level. Can these people survive years of drought followed by years of floods with the occasional earthquake thrown in for good measure??? And then there is sea level rise to consider.
One solution is to build floating cities that would house 50,000 residents. Bridges and rail lines could connect these cities to the mainland (or that which remains after sea levels rise).
A visionary French architect, Vincent Callebaut, has designed an elegant eco-haven for these climate refugees. His prediction was that we would need these cities by 2100... I'm not so sure we can wait that long.
Please see the Architect's renderings of this eco-polis meant to be not just above the floods but also inspiring to the soul. IMO these cities would be beautiful. The city will recycle all waste products, generate all of its energy from renewable sources and possibly have surplus to sell to the mainland.
My belief is that the cost of construction can be cut drastically by using robotic submarines and autonomous robots to do as much of the construction as possible. The subs would be tethered to a ship and would be controlled by a person somewhere else in the world, they would be outfitted with welding and grasping arms, and would have enough intelligence built in so that they do not get their lines tangled or run into another sub or robot.
As is the case with US Air Force drones that are remotely piloted from somewhere in the US but fly in Afghan air space (or wherever), these subs could be controlled from anywhere. I could imagine a contest being held to win a chance to build part of the floating city.
Since it would be built underwater the equipment needn't be as strong, especially if air pockets are integrated into the beams and other structural parts: they would be a little buoyant and a giant crane would not be needed to manipulate and weld them in place.
There may be other ways of construction that I haven't even thought of such as creating a scaffolding that naturally attracts the chemicals found in sea water in such a way that the structure would build itself (somewhat like the tissue scaffolding that scientists recently discovered that will grow a human bladder when kept in a proper solution).
Note: these cities are not escape vehicles for the wealthy as depicted in the movie 2012. They were envisioned by the architect to house the poor and others whose homes will one day become unlivable due to climate change.
This is from a German company called Miele
Using Sunlight to Dry Clothes – IndoorsCharis Michelsen
September 6, 2011
A conventional heat or air dryer uses quite a bit of energy, but, in exchange, it’s quick and super convenient. The Miele system reduces energy use by at least half, according to a study undertaken jointly with the solar heating system manufacturer Solvis, with a corresponding reduction in cost. The results – and the dryer – will be presented at the IFA 2011, and the dryer is available next fall.
The solar dryer can be installed directly into the SolvisMax solar heating system, which places the solar cylinder in the center (as opposed to having the furnace there). Solar energy always takes precedence, with the furnace kicking in only when solar energy is insufficient.
The clothes-drying process is a little more complicated than just letting the heat from the sun evaporate water from clothing, and it is applicable to not only dryers, but other household appliances, including washers and dishwashers.
First, water runs through pipes in solar panels and is heated by the sun. The hot water then flows through a perpendicular pipe with dispenser valves to the solar cylinder. The hot water stays at the top, warm water in the middle, and cool water is at the bottom. Heat for the dryer is supplied directly from the hot water in the top later, and as the water cools it sinks to the bottom.
When I was little (about 50 years ago or so) we used the sun to dry our clothes... by hanging them on a line outside. And when it started to rain the whole family had to make a mad dash to get the clothes inside.
We've all heard of solar hot water heating... this takes it a step further, using some of that hot water to also dry clothing - and with the option to help heat your home by adding on the SolvisMax heating system.
If you've read any of my posts touting the use of free solar heat for use in retail, office buildings, even manufacturing and processing plants then you've already read my opinion: it's stupid NOT to make use of free solar and wind energy whenever and wherever possible. IT'S FREE.
For those thinking of going off grid then these are worth a look.
See them in action here: http://www.youtube.com/user/GREENPOWERSCIE...
Then you can purchase them $300 for 124 watt @ 48 Volts. http://greenpowerscience.com/SOLARPANEL124...
... better price than Amazon and from a trustworthy source.
And for a simple explanation on how to hook up multiple solar panels to multiple batteries:
... Solar Panels >>> charge controller >>> batteries >>> inverter >>> to your electrical outlets to power AC equipment like drills/saws, lightbulbs, etc. Professional electrician required if it's your house...
What exactly is a vertical farm? In its current form it is the brainchild of Dr. Dickson Despommier. Think of a vertical farm as being like dozens of huge greenhouses stacked on top of one another. It's a skyscraper that has been designed to grow food instead of cubicle jockeys.
Learn more about Vertical Farms at http://www.verticalfarm.com / -- lots of artist renderings of what a full-size Vertical Farm might look like, lots of videos, an essay that explains the concepts far better than I ever could. Recommended reading!
Are these Vertical Farms just a fantasy that will never happen? Am I off dreaming in La-La Land? Not as of this year. There are now vertical farm prototypes in the UK, Japan, Korea, and Holland. Two are planned in the USA as well.
The Rise Of The Vertical Farm6/19/2011 3:33:58 PM
The concept of the vertical farm arose in my classroom in 1999 as a theoretical construct as to how to deal with a wide variety of environmental issues. It has been eleven years since that idea was carried forward by 106 of my graduate students. Today, I am pleased to share that several vertical farms have been erected between 2010 and the present. The first examples are mostly prototypes and are located in Japan, Korea, Holland, and England. I know of at least two more in the planning and fund-raising stages. Both of these are in the United States. The advent of such ambitious projects, given the short time between the emergence of the concept to operational prototype is astounding, to say the least. I personally visited the one in Seoul, Korea this year, two months after it opened (March 2011). It is owned and operated by the Korean government and the building’s supervisor, Dr. Min, informed me during my visit that the project was begun as the direct result of learning about the concept of the vertical farm at the 2008 Seoul Digital Forum, at which I spoke. Their eye-catching building is three stories tall and is designed to test various aspects of farming in a controlled environment on multiple floors. Lighting and automation are high on their list of things to work on. They are growing mainly leafy green vegetables using high tech LED lighting, and they want to begin indoor aquaculture, as well. Next to the VF is a much larger, newly built seed bank building (Agrobiodiversity) that stores all varieties of crop seeds and native Korean plants. Seed viability testing will be facilitated by the vertical farm. This is an ideal secondary use for the concept and the Korean government should be heartily congratulated for their wonderful efforts.
The vertical farm in Kyoto, Japan (www.Nuvege.com ) is housed in a 4 story quanset hut-like building, the rough size of a 747 hangar (2851 square meters) on 4780 square meters of land. Inside, there are many examples of automated growing systems being tested. I have not had the pleasure of visiting that facility-yet.
PlantLab (www.plantlab.nl/4.0 ) is located in Den Bosch, The Netherlands. It is currently under construction and is based on a smaller prototype that has been up and running for several years. Everything is grown by LED lighting, and they claim that their experiments, using a wide variety of LED fixtures, give a 3X increase in plant yield using precisely controlled frequencies of light in the visible red and blue spectrum. I have no knowledge as to when they will finish their construction phase and go into full production. All growing will be indoors with no natural light sources. In addition, they are putting it three stories underground, making PlantLab the world’s first and perhaps only “up-side-down” vertical farm!
A demonstration vertical farm of five stories is under construction in Manchester, England. It takes advantage of an abandoned warehouse and the designers plan to raise poultry in addition to the standard variety of indoor vegetables and fruits. I will have the pleasure of speaking at the opening of their vertical farm at the Manchester International Festival this July 17, 2011.
These are prototypes meant to test the concept so I expect a lot of experimentation with the actual mechanics of how to grow the most food in the least amount of space, It's an exciting time for me because I've been following the updates on Vertical Farms for years.
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