The ENESSERE Hercules wind turbines will learn local wind patterns and predict optimum working periods.
Wind turbines have been lauded as an alternative energy source, but have suffered from negative associations due to the way they look and its inconsistent net energy production. But Italian-based ENESSERE are addressing these issues to promote wind as a viable source of green energy.
Bringing together a team of engineers, designers and master craftsmen, ENNESSERE have developed a highly functional turbine that aims to change NIMBY attitudes. The contoured cedar wood sails of the rotating turbine have been designed to accentuate their surroundings. The turbines are small and targeted towards homeowners, with natural wood aesthetics made to appeal to garden landscapers. The sail design promotes wind capture from any direction, and is capable of generating enough power for the average family home throughout the year. Developments are underway to make the turbines smart — they will learn local wind patterns, predicting optimum working periods and power down during low wind activity. The ENESSERE Hercules turbines are currently only available in Italy, but production will be expanded to other countries later this year.
By approaching technology from a design perspective, the company could help make a viable alternative energy source desirable for a family home or business. Can a design approach be used for other industries with public perception issues?
Slow Down GPS switches to a child’s voice anytime the vehicle is near a school or another area that is heavily populated with children.
One of the most powerful ways to remind motorists to drive safely in areas where there are kids, is to let them know who is at risk. That’s the reasoning behind If Insurance’s new Slow Down GPS, which switches to a child’s voice anytime the vehicle is near a school, day care centre or other area that is heavily populated with children.
Despite most cities having signage, motorists are often driving on autopilot and fail to notice that they have entered a particularly hazardous area — this carelessness leads to almost 400 children under 15 being killed by cars in the US each year. The Slow Down GPS navigation system is a free app that works like a regular GPS, providing real-time audio directions for the driver. When the car enters a dangerous area, the voiceover switches to the child’s voice. Since most people inherently care for children, this causes a visceral, physical, cognitive and behavioral reaction in the listener — prompting them to pay closer attention to the road.
Could this simple tool become a standard in all GPS systems?
Crowdmanagement has already hit the farming industry in the UK in the form of the National Trust’s MyFarm project, which has called upon farmers to help run an estate over the web. Now a Portuguese enterprise with a similar name – MyFarm.com – is offering online farmers a chance to reap a share of the produce.
Developed by a teacher and students from the Polytechnic Institute of Beja, the project offers a 49 sq m plot of land for an initial payment of EUR 60, which is converted into 600 points to be used when controlling the activity on the farm via the internet. The monthly lease of the plot costs EUR 25 and users can purchase more points with cash (EUR 1 equals 10 points). The user interacts with the plot through a game-like interface — think FarmVille — choosing what seeds to sow, when to sow them, and how many to sow. Information is offered to help online farmers get the best out of their crops. When the user has designed their plot, details are sent to farm management teams, who set to work within three working days, weather permitting. Customers are sent a message whenever they need to make a decision, with technical help on hand for those without thorough knowledge of farming. Users enter a delivery address and receive a sample of their work once it is ripe for eating. MyFarm.com enables city dwellers to get a taste of running their own vegetable farm, while gaining knowledge of the process which has gone into making the food they receive at the end.
The project aims to engage consumers with the food they eat in an exciting and interactive way, as well as promote healthy living by offering organic vegetables for a low monthly cost. One to consider replicating where you are?
Japanese-based Asahi Kasei has previously used RFID technology in portable charms to alert medical personnel to important patient information when dealing with emergencies. Now, using stickers featuring QR codes, Code d’Urgence in France is also on a mission to improve data delivery to those responding to accidents and emergencies.
Those registering for the service must first fill out a medical questionnaire from the company, which must be validated by a doctor. Users pay for an annual subscription, costing EUR 36, and this information is then stored on a secure server approved by the Ministére de la Santé for one year. The company then sends out ten stickers featuring a unique QR code to the user, suitable for placing onto motorcycle helmets, bike frames, behind watch faces or on the back of cell phones — the company provides a list of recommended sticker locations upon subscription. The code can be read quickly by medical professionals equipped with the secure Code d’Urgence smartphone app, enabling them to respond in the best way possible. According to the developers, Code d’Urgence is the only system of its kind to have been made in collaboration with the country’s SAMU (Service d’Aide Médicale Urgente) and SMUR (Service Mobile d’Urgence et Reanimation) doctors. It is also compliant with the Commission Nationale Informatique et Liberté, which means all the medical data is secure and only accessible to medical professionals. The video below contains more details:
The stickers are small, but noticeable, and are by their nature 2-D rather than 3-D, allowing them to be applied almost anywhere. What’s more, by using QR codes rather than RFID, the information can be accessed via a smartphone, avoiding the need for a dedicated reader. Backed with recognition from national health officials, this could prove to be an idea that saves lives. One to replicate or partner with?
In recent times, we’ve seen the fashion industry innovate with products such as biodegradable shoes, as well as charitable initiatives such as Community Collection, which donates a portion of the sale price to good causes. Now Honest by, a brand launched in Belgium this January, has built its whole business around the principle of honesty.
Transparency is key to Honest by’s operations and, in its own words, it is the “first company in the world to share the full cost breakdown of its products”. It collaborates only with designers willing to be open about where their materials and labor come from in order to guarantee customers a clean conscience when updating their wardrobe. The company encourages its providers to work with organic materials and avoid animal products. With an emphasis on reducing waste, Honest by is also ditching the season model by offering summer and winter items until they sell out, saving them from obsolescence.
Honest by has taken the idea of social responsibility and made it their entire business philosophy. Even if this isn’t feasible for your business, there’s plenty to be inspired by here!