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— Architecture

Life's a beach at the SandHotel

So you think you're a dab hand a building sandcastles? These two newly constructed hotels in the Netherlands put even the grandest and greatest bucket and spade creations to shame, taking the concept of a beach holiday to a whole new level in the process. Inspired by the Ice Hotels in Sweden and Finland, the SandHotels are claimed to be the first in the world to be built entirely out of sand.

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— Outdoors

KHW's all-new sand toboggan sleds the desert

Selling winter sports gear is a tough gig. You're severely limited by climate and geography, and even in places with the ideal mix of snow and terrain, you'll still find loads of people that aren't interested in playing in the cold. Then there's the whole global warming thing hanging over your head. These types of limitations inspired Germany's KHW, the self-described world leader in plastic toboggans, to develop a special sled purpose-built for the sand. Summertime is taking a snow day. Read More
— Robotics

Snake robot learns to climb sand hills better, by moving like a sidewinder

If a robot is looking for victims at a disaster site, or even exploring another planet, then it certainly better not get stuck in the sand. That may now be a little less likely to happen, as scientists recently studied one of the best sand-travelers in the animal kingdom – the sidewinder rattlesnake. After they analyzed its movement patterns and applied them to an existing snake-inspired robot, that robot was better able climb up sandy inclines. Read More
— Good Thinking

Ancient Egyptians likely used damp sand to help move pyramid-building blocks

In Egypt's tomb of Djehutihotep, a wall painting depicts someone pouring water into the sand in front of one of the sledges that hauled the blocks used in the construction of the pyramids. According to new research, they had a good reason for doing so – by wetting the sand, as little as half as much pulling force would have been required to move those sledges. Read More
— Around The Home

Dupe creates "biological concrete" from sand, bacteria and urine

With energy production and raw material shortages becoming increasingly pertinent issues around the world, designer Peter Trimble has demonstrated a radical method of manufacture that addresses both issues. Dupe is a portable machine that uses a mixture of sand, bacteria and urine to create a material called biostone. The machine is a proof-of-concept design only and is currently set up to create a small stool, but the method can be adapted to create just about anything. Read More

The magnetic sands of Normandy

Sandy beaches are a delight for swimmers, surfers, sailors, and people strolling down the boardwalk. A horde of beautiful shells and buried coins (not to mention the occasional dropped ring) awaits the skilled beachcomber. Beach sand also carries within it a variety of traces of the history of that beach. A prime example is the magnetic sands of Normandy. Read More
— 3D Printing

Self-sculpting smart sand could assemble itself into solid replicas of objects

Research currently underway at MIT’s Distributed Robotic Laboratory (DRL) could lead to an innovative replicative manufacturing technique with the disruptive potential equal to that of 3D printing. Imagine a sand-like material that could autonomously assemble itself into a replica of any object encased within. Incredible though this may sound, the DRL researchers have already managed to build a large scale proof-of-concept, with 10-mm cubes acting as the grains. Read More
— Good Thinking

Solar-Sinter 3D printer creates glass objects from sun and sand

We’ve seen a growing number 3D printers that use additive manufacturing technology to form objects one layer at a time, usually from resin or ABS plastic. But Markus Kayser, an MA student at the Royal College of Art in London, has created a 3D printer that creates 3D objects using two things found in abundance in the desert – sun and sand. As well as being powered by the sun via two photovoltaic panels, the Solar-Sinter also focuses the sun’s rays to heat sand to its melting point so it then solidifies as glass when it cools, allowing the computer controlled device to produce glass objects from 3D computer designs. Read More
— Good Thinking

3D-printed sand Microclimates to cool public places

The lack of cooling in large open areas inevitably sends people scurrying for air-conditioned buildings on hot days. Taking a leaf from traditional Islamic architecture that dealt with the harsh desert climate with Mashrabiyas – a projecting latticework window that provides shade from the hot sun while allowing cool air from the street to flow through – London-based design firm PostlerFeruson has designed a kind of three dimensional Mashrabiya that can cool the immediate area in an energy-free way. Read More