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Building and Construction

'The In-situ Scour Evaluation Probe (ISEP) is the first technology that allows technicians...

Erosion through water flow (called scour) causes the majority of bridge collapses in the U.S and was responsible for the levee failures in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. It has been difficult to assess the erosive potential of a soil profile without extensive digging on site followed up by hours of off site testing, but researchers at North Carolina State University (NCSU) have developed a device that significantly improves the process by measuring the scour and erosion potential of soils without the need to excavate and remotely test samples. Having tested the sensor in the lab the team are ready to conduct their first field tests.  Read More

Looks like a job for BacillaFilla (Image: Shaire Productions via Flickr)

Earlier this year we took a look at the development of self-healing concrete that repairs its own cracks using a built-in healing agent. While this kind of technology holds promise for construction in the future, it’s not so useful for the vast amounts of existing concrete in need of replacement or repair. UK researchers have come up with a solution to this problem that uses bacteria to produce a special "glue" to knit together cracks in existing concrete structures.  Read More

The Tiger Stone laying a brick road

Laying down paving bricks is back-breaking, time-consuming work... or at least, it is if you do it the usual way. Henk van Kuijk, director of Dutch industrial company Vanku, evidently decided that squatting/kneeling and shoving the bricks into place on the ground was just a little too slow, so he invented the Tiger Stone paving machine. The road-wide device is fed loose bricks, and lays them out onto the road as it slowly moves along. A quick going-over with a tamper, and you’ve got an instant brick road.  Read More

The ingenious Anthony Emergency Housing System

The seeming increase in natural disasters such as tsunamis, earthquakes floods and wildfires around the world has continued to highlight mankind’s need for emergency housing. Gizmag has reported many clever designs for emergency housing over the last decade, but Peter Anthony’s collapsible, lightweight mobile platform is the most viable we've yet seen for airdropping and rapidly-deploying housing for large numbers of people. Each self-contained 8' x 8' x 8' living space is constructed of composite material, and hence weighs less than 200 pounds, folds flat and can be assembled with a single spanner by two people in less than 30 minutes.  Read More

'Protocell drivers' in a flask surrounded by carbon structures, in the Hylozoic Ground ins...

Architects have been looking at ways to improve city buildings with living walls and living roofs that add some much needed greenery and help remove carbon from the atmosphere. Now researchers are looking at using a different sort of “living “ material created from protocells – bubbles of oil in an aqueous fluid sensitive to light or different chemicals – to create a coral-like skin that could be used to clad city buildings, build carbon-negative architecture and even "grow" reefs to stabilize the city of Venice.  Read More

The Eco-Cool Remodel Tool allows you to take a virtual tour through a house for green impr...

King County in Washington has launched two new online initiatives to help you make ecologically-informed decisions with regards to your next home remodel: a virtual home tour with lots of tips and ideas for greening up your house, and Eco-Cribz, a video diary of local homeowners as they undertake the green transformation of their homes.  Read More

On show at Viv'expo in Bordeaux - a cutaway model of a Domespace home

Taking up a large section of the Eco Habitat zone at the recent Viv'expo exhibition in Bordeaux was a walk-in cutaway model of a rotating wooden house known as Domespace. Built on a central concrete pedestal, the Domespace home benefits from little or no damp penetration, and its aerodynamic shape has been found to be resistant to cyclonic winds of up to 174mph (280kph). It also makes the most of passive solar energy, has a central chimney with a designer open fire and is surprisingly spacious.  Read More

Younghwa Lee's door provides shelter in the event of an earthquake

What are you supposed to do when an earthquake hits? If you answered “Go stand in a doorway,” you get a gold star... although "Get under a table" would also be correct. Doorways are structurally stronger than most other parts of a building, and are often the last thing left standing when a structure has been destroyed by an earthquake. A narrow doorway offers little, however, in the way of protection from falling debris. That’s why an MA Design student from England’s Kingston has University invented a special kind of door.  Read More

The 320 square-foot EDGE house

If small is beautiful, then the 320 square-foot EDGE house from Wisconsin’s Revelations Architects is absolutely gorgeous. EDGE stands for Experimental Dwelling for a Greener Environment, and true to that acronym, the award-winning little modular home includes Earth-friendly features such as rainwater collection, geothermal heating and cooling, air-to-air heat recovery, passive solar windows, and insulated exterior shutter doors that minimize nighttime heat loss. Making the most of every square inch of interior space, the house has multi-functional transformable furniture, plus two overhead bedrooms. It's also made for easy construction and relocation, to the point that the prototype has been assembled, taken apart and moved three times in six months.  Read More

THK's linear motion systems will absorb most of the shock of an earthquake

This technology might not be fully appreciated by readers located in earthquake-free locales, but if you've ever felt the ground move beneath your feet you'll be pleased with this technology. At Tokyo Big Sight last week Japanese company THK was demonstrating how their linear motion systems could dampen the shock of an earthquake. One of their systems, when placed underneath an object that you'd like to protect, will absorb most of the shock of an earthquake.  Read More

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