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Good Thinking

The self-sustaining city of the future

It looks like a cross between an ancient Mayan citadel and a far-off space port where Han Solo would happily dock the Falcon, but the Gwanggyo Power Centre is actually an award winning design for a self-sustaining city that is moving towards reality in Korea. Consisting of a series of circular, terraced buildings that appear as hills covered in greenery, the project will be located in a forested area 35km south of Seoul and will incorporate a mix of public amenities, retail, housing, office and parking space. Read More

The Top 10 things you CAN have for Christmas 2008

Following last week's look at some of the coolest gear you definitely won't find under the tree this year, here's a selection of our favorite items from 2008 that just might. From sleek TVs to home surveillance robots and self-tuning guitars, consider yourself lucky if you find yourself unwrapping one of the following items this holiday season... and if you're still looking for that elusive gift for the person who seems to have everything, there's always the cheeseburger in a can.Read More

Piezoelectric road harvests traffic energy to generate electricity

Isreali engineers are about to begin testing a 100 metre stretch of roadway embedded with a network of Piezo Electric Generators (IPEG™). The piezoelectric effect converts mechanical strain into electrical current or voltage and the system is expected to scale up to 400 kilowatts from a 1-kilometre stretch of dual carriageway. The IPEG™ is a pioneering invention in the field of Parasitic Energy harvesting and generates energy from weight, motion, vibration and temperature changes and will certainly have other parasitic energy harvesting applications in many fields. Initially though, the system can be configured to generate and store energy from roads, airport runways and rail systems at the same time as delivering real-time data on the weight, frequency and spacing between passing vehicles. The harvested energy can be transferred back to the grid, or used for specific public infrastructure purposes such as lighting and widespread use of the system would enable far greater scrutiny and hence understanding of the behaviour of road vehicles. Read More

Smart speed-humps retract at low speed

Speed-humps are an undeniably effective way to slow down traffic in areas where high-speed poses an increased risk, but you can often get more of a bump than you bargained for, and if you happen to drive a low-slung sportscar this can be bad news indeed. Here's an idea that solves the problem by ensuring low-speeds while minimizing the impact on the motor vehicle.Read More

The Pyranna eats clamshell packaging for breakfast

Despite an Amazon-led initiative to rid the world of the frustrating (and dangerous) "clamshell" packaging we all love to hate, you're likely to receive or give at least one item this Christmas that's trapped behind a near-impenetrable clear plastic exterior. Enter the Pyranna.Read More

Where's the "Who's that guy?" button?

Now that our living rooms are equipped with massive flat screen TVs pushing 1080p resolution at a film-mimicking 24 frames per second, and 5.1 surround systems providing reference quality cinema sound (and all this source material coming off a single disc of 50GB capacity) I ask you this: When do we get a "Who's that guy?" button.Read More

Intelligent Queue Management

December 4, 2008 I hate queues. It’s why I never went to Disneyland a second time, why I have developed an industrial-sized, alcohol-proof bladder and why I’d rather bank and shop online than do it in a dysfunctional real world environment. Time is a commodity I can’t get more of, my time is valuable, and, for-crying-out-loud, I WANT IT NOW! So I’m tipping that Irisys’ (InfraRed Integrated Systems) Intelligent Queue Management (IQM) system will be hot property in a commercial world attempting to reduce and better allocate human resources without further degrading the customer experience. IQM uses infrared sensors that measure and track numbers and behaviours of customers, and predictive algorithms to work out how many checkouts will be required in 15 and 30 minutes time to meet customer demand. It even sends alerts to managers so they can proactively manage staffing levels in real-time to ensure optimal levels of customer service. If you tell everyone you know about IQM, it will ultimately lead to shorter queues. Read More

New textbook supports entrepreneurship training outside of the business school

November 19, 2008 Very few of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs went to business school, so it’s somewhat incongruous that Business Schools have claimed ‘ownership’ of the teaching of entrepreneurship. A new book aims to support the growing amount of entrepreneurial training taking place outside of the business school, teaching the skills and essential practical knowledge for specific markets. Entrepreneurship for Everyone challenges the notion that teaching entrepreneurship and creativity is all that is required to succeed in business. Read More

Touch Sight camera for the blind

Capturing an image takes on a different meaning with the Touch Sight camera. The device makes it possible for the visually impaired to take digital photos by using a Braille-like screen to make a raised image on the user’s forehead of whatever the lens sees.Read More

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