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Energy Efficient

— Architecture

Self-sufficient floating home to create its own water and energy

Living on a houseboat may seem very romantic, but the day-to-day misery of hauling water from shore and listening to the thump of the generator can soon take the icing off the cupcake. As a glimpse into what could be the future of aquatic living, two Fraunhofer Institutes and their partners are working on a self-sufficient floating home that creates its own water, electricity, and heat without looking like a works barge.

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— Tiny Houses

Tiny green-roofed home can be packed up and moved on with minimal ecological footprint

Ecuadorian architects Luis Velasco Roldan and Ángel Hevia Antuña have joined forces to develop a 50 sq m (538 sq ft) green-roofed home called the Nelson Homero ESPE Prototype II. The aim was to create an energy-efficient housing prototype that combines natural materials with traditional building methods, which could be dismantled and moved to different locations for energy efficiency testing in different climates.

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— Biology

Secret to jellyfish propulsion could be applied to human tech

Until now, scientists weren’t entirely sure how marine life like jellyfish and eels are able to move so effortlessly from point A to point B, using less energy than it takes any other moving life form ever measured. But researchers at the University of South Florida (USF) believe they may have now found the answer. Rather than propel themselves forward by pushing against the water, jellyfish and eels actually suck the water toward them.

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— Science

Ultra low-power wireless communication through the human body using magnetic fields

Be it on the inside or the outside, the human body is becoming host to an ever-increasing array of electronic devices that need to wirelessly communicate with each other. Now engineers working at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) have come up with a different type of wireless communication that sends ultra low-power magnetic fields through the human body. This makes it extraordinarily more energy efficient and secure from prying eyes than comparable wireless communication technologies. Read More
— Around The Home

New "smart window" material selectively blocks light and/or heat

In an effort to improve the energy efficiency of building, researchers have sought to develop windows that change transparency to let more light – and therefore heat – through when it's cold, and less when it's hot. Unfortunately, these methods tend to impede the passage of visible light, some by tinting panes and others by complete obscuration. But a team at the Cockrell School of Engineering at The University of Texas at Austin has developed a "smart window" technology that allows the passage of visible light while blocking heat, or vice versa.

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— Robotics

Changing instructions to make robot joints more energy efficient

Getting robots to carry out repetitive tasks precisely and untiringly is relatively easy. Getting them to do it in the most efficient way possible is another thing entirely. Unai Ugalde-Olea, lecturer in the Department of Electronics Technology of the UPV/EHU-University of the Basque Country is working on a new way of controlling robot joints that promises energy savings of up to 40 percent by changing the way the robot handles instructions. Read More
— Around The Home

Haiku smart ceiling fan knows when to go for a spin

If you're already finding it hard to keep up with all the smart climate control systems for the home that are hitting the market, then this might just be the one to send you into a spin. Big Ass Fans has added its SenseME technology to its Haiku ceiling fan, which includes Wi-Fi connectivity and sensors that enable it to regulate temperature and kick into action when someone enters the room. Read More
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