Photokina 2014 highlights

Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya

Biological concrete panels

An ivy covered building is a lovely thing, but ivy roots can rip into brickwork and the vines are a highway for vermin looking for a way inside. Modern vertical gardens try for the same aesthetic effect with some added environmental advantages, but they’re often complicated things full of hydroponics gear and difficult to maintain. An alternative is being developed at the Structural Technology Group, Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Barcelona, where a team led by Antonio Aguado has come up with a “biological concrete” designed to act as a substrate for vertical gardens that is simple, low maintenance and requires little or no attention.  Read More

A prototype bathroom scale not only measures the user's weight, but also performs an elect...

People being monitored for heart conditions currently have to go into a hospital or clinic on a regular basis, to have an electrocardiogram performed on them. That may be about to change, however, as researchers from Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya have developed a bathroom scale that performs the procedure right in the user’s home.  Read More

uWhisp creators Iuri Aranda, Joan Casas, Miquel Las Heras and Miquel Puig

It’s probably safe to say that with some of our friends, we communicate with them almost exclusively via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. While these networks are fine for sending typed messages and photos, however, there are times when the sound of someone’s voice is much more appropriate. Video is one alternative, although many people are uncomfortable appearing on camera. That’s why four graduates from the School of Informatics at Spain’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya created uWhisp – it’s a plug-in for use on existing social networks, that lets users send prerecorded voice messages.  Read More

Researchers Carlos Diaz (left) and Tzanko Tzanov (right), working on the biodegradable car...

Have you ever wondered what happens to old carpets, after they're thrown away? For the most part, they're incinerated, with only about 20 percent of the material being recycled. Given that over 700 million square meters (837 million square yards) of carpets are produced in Europe every year, with the U.S. reportedly producing ten times that amount, that's a lot of burning floor coverings. Dutch companies Bond Textile Research, Best Wool Carpet, and James wanted to change that, so they commissioned a research team from Spain's Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) and Austria's University of Graz to come up with a solution. The result was a new type of wool carpet that is reportedly cheaper and lighter than traditional products, and that can be completely composted when worn out.  Read More

Spanish researchers have created the dAlh2Orean, a radio-controlled model car that creates...

As anyone who has seen Back to the Future will remember, the movie ended with Doc Brown fueling the time-traveling DeLorean’s “Mr. Fusion” reactor with household waste. Well, a student and a professor from the School of Industrial and Aeronautic Engineering at Barcelona’s Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC) have taken a step towards making that scenario a reality by adapting a radio-controlled model car to run on hydrogen fuel derived from waste aluminum and water. In a nod to the movie, they have named the car the dAlh2Orean ... as in, d-aluminum-water-rean.  Read More

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