Tag: design

Meet ELIA, A New Tactile Reading System

The top row shows a standard alphabet. The middle row shows ELIA. And the bottom row depicts braille.

In 1829, Louis Braille published the first book introducing the braille system—and while the applications of braille have been immense, the system still relies on the outdated technologies of the 1800s.

This company created a modern, efficient alternative that’s incredibly easy to learn for people who have a visual impairment.




ELIA letters—known as ELIA Frames—leverage modern printing technology and design principles to optimize each letter’s design and create easily identifiable characters.

According to this company, ELIA Frames on the standard Roman alphabet, since roughly 70% of the world’s population uses it to read and write.

ELIA emerging from a specialized printer.

 

Each ELIA Frame features an outer frame (circle, square, house) and interior elements that combine to form the main characteristics of standard alphabet letters.

Currently, the employment rate among individuals with visual impairment is at an estimated 43%. For those who read braille, that rate soars to 85%. ELIA can have the same benefit for the 99% who can’t read braille.

A tactile ELIA skin on top of a standard keyboard.

ELIA Frames can be learned tactilely in as little as 3 hours—and visually in a few minutes—since the font leverages a previously established alphabet.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

First Wattway Solar Road Pilot In US Pops Up In Rural Georgia

The first Wattway solar road pilot in America has popped up in rural west Georgia.

The Ray C. Anderson Foundation, named for sustainable manufacturing pioneer Ray Anderson, is testing renewable technologies along an 18-mile stretch of road, and recently installed 538 square feet of Colas‘ Wattway solar road system near the border between Georgia and Alabama.

Part of Georgia’s Interstate 85 was named for Anderson, but as over five million tons of carbon dioxide are emitted yearly on that road portion alone.

Anderson’s family felt placing his name there didn’t honor his legacy, and began to look into renewable technologies to clear the air – so to speak.




Thus began The Ray, an 18-mile living laboratory for clean technologies, including not only the solar roads, but also a solar-powered electric vehicle charging station, and WheelRight, a system people can drive over to test their tire pressure, which could lead to improved fuel inefficiency.

The first Wattway solar panel pilot is part of The Ray near a Georgia Visitor Information Center in West Point, Georgia.

According to Wattway by Colas, the average expected output for the 538-square-meter pilot is anticipated to be 7,000 kilowatt-hours per year, which will help power the center.

And these technologies are just the beginning. The foundation will also construct bioswales, or shallow drainage ditches filled with native Georgia plants to capture pollutants during rain.

In a right-of-way space, they’ll build a one megawatt solar installation. They’re working with the Georgia Department of Transportation to bring such ideas to life along the 18-mile road stretch.

Not only will several of their projects beautify the highway, but will generate clean energy and bring in money for investors. And other parts of the state have shown interest in building their own Wattway roads.

The Ray executive director Allie Kelly dreams of a day when highways will “serve as a power grid for the future,” but she believes that day is coming sooner than we may think.

She told Curbed, “We’re at a tipping point in transportation. In five to ten years, we won’t remember a time when we invested a dime in infrastructure spending for a road that only did one thing.”

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Your Burning Questions About the Olympic Torch, Answered

John Mark, the last runner in the 1948 relay bringing the torch into Wembley Stadium.

After 101 days of traveling by plane, train, automobile, Korean warship, zipline and even robot, the Olympic torch will finally reach the site of the Winter Games in PyeongChang, South Korea.

Last Friday, a lucky honoree will use it to light the Olympic cauldron in a grand, symbolic start to the games.

While the blaze looks like any other, its origins are special: It was lit not with matches or a Zippo lighter, but with a parabolic mirror, echoing rituals from Ancient Greece.

To brush up on algebra, a parabola is a particular type of arc that is defined by the exact curvature of its sides.

Mathematically, these symmetrical curves all take some form of the equation, Y = X^2. Revolve a parabola around its axis, and you have the shape of a parabolic mirror.

Unlike most curves, which scatter incoming light in many directions, the reflected beams bounce from a parabola and all concentrate to one point, the focus.




These reflective surfaces are used in a number of devices to concentrate not only reflected light, but also sound or radio waves.

Satellite dishes, some types of microphones, reflecting telescopes and even car headlights benefit from the reflective properties of parabolic dishes.

In the case of the Olympics, when the sun shines on a parabolic dish, known to the ancient Greeks as a Skaphia or crucible, the rays all bounce off its sides and collect at one blazing hot point.

Put a piece of paper—or a gas torch—in that focal point, and you get fire.

A lone parabolic dish does a decent job heating things up, achieving temperatures of at least hundreds of degrees.

That’s really very easy to reach,” says Jeffrey Gordon, professor of physics at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev in Israel.

Some may even be able to reach temperatures in the thousands of degrees, says Jonathan Hare, a British physicist and science communicator.

You can see the inner pilot light in the London 2012 torch through the perforations in the metal.

Hare has witnessed parabolic mirrors vaporize carbon, something that only happens at temps over 2,000 degrees Celsius

If conditions are absolutely ideal, light can be concentrated to match the same temperature as its source, Gordon explains. In the case of the sun, that means that the upper temperature limit when concentrating its rays is around 10,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

No matter what you do, no matter how brilliant you are, you can never bring any object on Earth to a higher temperature [by concentrating sunlight],” says Gordon.

But, of course, conditions are never ideal. First, some of that heat is lost to the atmosphere.

Then, some is absorbed into your reflective surface, and still another fraction is scattered away due to imperfections in the mirror.

The parabola is a good concentrator but not a perfect concentrator,” Gordon adds.

Gordon’s research is focused on pushing the limits of sun concentration to the max.

A backup Olympic flame from the Vancouver Games

Using multiple concentrating mirrors, his lab has achieved temperatures of nearly 3,000 degrees Celsius, applying the heat for a range of feats, including a sun-powered surgical laser and a reactor for creating nanomaterials.

But now, at some truly blistering temps, he has a different problem.

We start to destroy everything,” he says.

In the case of Olympic torch lighting, the issues are somewhat more mundane. For one, there’s the potential for clouds.

In the days leading up to the modern torch lighting ceremony at the ancient temple of Hera in Olympia, the organizers light a flame in a parabolic dish, just in case clouds obscure the sun on the day of the ceremony.

The preparedness proved useful at this year’s event, which took place on the drizzly morning of October 24, 2017.

The original torch used in the Berlin 1936 Games.

People have practiced the concentration of the sun’s rays for thousands of years. The most famous example of solar concentration comes from 212 B.C. during the siege of Syracuse, Greece.

The Greek mathematician and inventor Archimedes used the parabolic mirror, so the story goes, to deter a fleet of approaching ships, crafting a solar death ray using panels of what was likely polished bronze.

Though there’s reason to doubt the veracity of these somewhat fantastical claims—including a failed MythBusters’ attempt to replicate the feat—the ancient Greeks did have a handle on the magic of these special curves.

The first torches used in the games were modeled after ancient designs, writes Chapoutot. Built by the Krupp Company, Germany’s largest armament producer, each one only burned for 10 minutes.

The torches used today have come a long way.

In recent years, organizers have opted for high-tech features to keep the flame lit, no matter the weather.

This year’s torch, dreamed up by Korean designer Young Se Kim, has four separate walls to ensure the flame can withstand winds up to 78 mph.

It also has a tri-layered umbrella-like cover to prevent rain from extinguishing the blaze. It can even withstand temperatures down to -22 degrees Fahrenheit thanks to its internal circulation system.

If the flame goes out en route, support is always nearby with backup fire lit by parabolic mirror to swiftly relight it. Though the flame has averted major disasters this year, its robot transporter almost tipped over.

Organizers rushed to right the bot, preserving the flame.

So during last friday’s opening ceremony, as the Olympic cauldron is lit, take a moment to appreciate the fire that roared to life under a glowing bath of concentrated rays of sunlight.

As Greek archaeologist Alexander Philadelphus described during the planning of the first torch relay, the warm glow wasn’t lit by modern mechanics, but rather came directly from Apollo, “the god of light himself.”

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Pass it on: Popular Science

U.S. Bank Stadium In Minnesota Has Interesting Technology

With construction now complete, U.S. Bank Stadium will soon open its doors.

Those doors might not be what the stadium is most known for, but maybe they should be.

Since the beginning, all the way from design through construction, the stadium’s clear, see-through roof has been the headliner grabbing all the attention.

Which has caused the stadium’s doors to sort of slip under the radar. Which is kind of incredible.

Because on any other stadium, they’d be the star.




Passing through a door like this is like nothing else you’ve ever experienced,” Berg said.

Doors are about transition. You go from a bright sunny day like today, to a dark interior. [But] that’s not what these doors are like. You don’t know whether you’re inside or outside.

“It’s the absolute absence of contrast. That confuses you.

Rotating on hydraulic pistons, they are the five largest pivoting glass doors in the world, 55 feet wide and ranging from 75 to 95 feet high, consisting of 30,000 square feet of glass from Owatonna, attached to door frames manufactured in Tennessee, and weighing, altogether, 40,000 tons.

The Vikings initially thought the NFL might need to create a new policy for their first-in-the-league doors, similar to the one for opening and closing retractable roofs.

But the NFL informed the Vikings in May that its existing retractable roof and wall policy applies: The Vikings must make a decision — doors open or doors closed — at least 90 minutes before kickoff.

As for the factors that will go into that decision? The Vikings are planning to do some testing to determine what happens when the doors are open. Any wind, or other impact?

I think they might have an effect,” Berg said. “Certainly the architects know that there’s a ventilation effect, to having the doors open.

“I suppose there’s a chance that that might affect the game, [for example] the flight of a field goal kick.”

If that ever happens, no doubt the doors would surpass the roof as the U.S. Bank Stadium’s most famous feature.

Well the doors are a little underrated,” Berg said.

Berg’s book is available for pre-order right now from the Minnesota Historical Society Press, or the Vikings website.

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Pass it on: Popular Science

Work On Your Poker Face While Studying Graphic Design Essentials

Graphic Design is a hugely useful skill, and we are surrounded by it in almost every part of our lives, but most people know very little about it.

The Design Deck is a fun and simple way to learn the essentials of graphic design, improve your skills as a designer, and understand more about the design you interact with everyday.




The Design Deck contains distilled, essential information about the practice of graphic design.

Each of the 52 faces has a piece of useful design information, complete with a visual example, combining to create a well-rounded, thorough examination of the subject.

To curate the information, I combed through many of the best graphic design books on the market. I did my best to concentrate the wisdom of these brilliant authors, and put it in a concise, practical form.

Below is a photograph of the collection of design books that went into making The Design Deck.

Even with the large quantity of design information found on The Design Deck, it is also a fully functional deck of playing cards.

It is printed on thick 310gsm cardstock with a linen texture that makes them great for card games, and even magic tricks.

If the campaign continues on its great upward trajectory, we are almost definitely printing with Bicycle (USPCC), who make the very best cards in the whole world!

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3D Printing, AI, and The Future of Design With Greg Porter from Greg’s Garage

Greg Porter is an architect, designer, maker and the host of the YouTube channel Greg’s Garage, where he builds cool designs and solutions using 3D printing and fabrication machines that he built with his own hands.

In this interview, we talk about his journey to being an architect, what moves him as a maker and designer, and the future of design as we integrate our creativity with artificial intelligence.

You can find more about Greg on his website, www.gregsgaragekc.com.

You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPy-ulK_kHKVnSmb62uOncg