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D229   Category: General     Status: New
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http://bit.ly/a95tsz

 

A Chicago green roof connects two of the windy-city’s largest buildings –DePaul University and its student housing. The student housing building is taller than the university building so the walkway so the Green City Roof is sloped. The design allows stairs for students to cross from one building to the other, with a park and garden plots allocated throughout the green incline. Could the inclined surface be used for recreational uses such as jogging or playing Frisbee?

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D228   Category: Design and Maki...     Status: New
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http://bit.ly/cjeeT8
E-skin is the thin membrane that will go over future robots’ metal hands and give them the ability to sense different pressures when picking up and moving objects. The material could also be used in conjunction with prosthetic limbs in humans. The ability to determine the optimal amount of pressure with which to grasp an object has long been a problem with many robots, which should cease to be a problem with E-skin.

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D227   Category: General     Status: New
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http://bit.ly/8YIrQT

A less intimidating and easier way to innovate at a large firm than changing the structure of operations or other similar paradigm shift is to change the symbols used. Little things such as where people sit, what facilities they use, how success is recognized, and how employees interact with one another are all signs of the culture of an organization. To improve the culture of an organization, it requires re-examining these signs. They can be analyzed to provide important information about what signs employees view as positive and negative. Negative signs, which make employees tense, fearful for their job security, and frustrated, can be dealt with. The key is speaking with employees, observing these signs, and constantly improving the culture of the organization.

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D226   Category: General     Status: New
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http://bit.ly/cOy6pM

We have all given up on problems that seemed not to have a solution. But later, the answer may have come to us “out of the blue” as it were. Poincare, the French polymath of the 1800’s offered a 4-part creativity model that offered insight into this process. Conscious thought occurs while the subject is working on the problem. After the subject gives up, his desire for a solution is incubated inside him so unconscious thought still occurs. As the unconscious thought keeps working, a path of action is illuminated. The subject follows the illuminated path, which hopefully leads him to the solution he was searching for. What solutions have been unconsciously illuminated to you?

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D225   Category: General     Status: New
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http://bit.ly/aCXemP

A new kind of elevator uses pneumatic vacuum to literally suck the elevator up a tightly sealed tube. The polycarbonate tube creates an air-tight duct. Air pressure is used to push the cab up the tube. Controlled airflow and gravity result in a gradual drop through the tube. It travels fairly slowly (three floors per minute) so it would make sense to include a chair or a bench inside. The pneumatic vacuum elevator only requires air pressure, is cheaper than a traditional elevator, and takes up less space.

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D224   Category: Design and Maki...     Status: New
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http://bit.ly/9KNmXU

Solar funnels, with 30 million carbon nanotubes compacted into several inches of a thin metal antennae could generate as much energy as several hundred square feet of photovoltaic cells. The conversion process is still photons from light hitting releasing electrons in the solar cells. The difference comes from where the electrons are converted into electrical current. In traditional cells, the electricity forms loosely and spread out inside the cell. In the case of the solar funnel, the electricity is compacted into the funnel and released with over 100 times more energy than solar cells. Given the complexity of building solar funnels it may be a long time before they are seen in homes and gardens. Where would you think would be the most important areas where they could be installed at present?

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D223   Category: General     Status: New
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http://bit.ly/asDboU
The problem with much of the robotics development is that each robotics team pieces together the robot from scratch. There has not been a template to work with, until now. A company is selling a human sized robot that performs some basic functions, but is basically a blank slate for developers to create their own programs for. This is expected to increase the rate of robot development. The PR2 robot has been trained to shoot billiards and fold clothes. How would you program your own personal robot?

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D222   Category: General     Status: New
Tags:  hitchhiking 

http://bit.ly/aC75v6

Car2gether is an online service that matches hitchhikers with cars that are open to picking up hitchhikers in the area. The service is currently only available in a university town in Germany, but will expand if it proves successfully. Users sign in with information about their music taste, if they will be eating food, and if they will pay to get picked up. What additional information/ features should Car2gether offer to ensure its success?
 

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D221   Category: General     Status: New
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http://bit.ly/dmpBza

Kids rely on creativity and imagination to keep their games alive. They play until they get tired and then move on to something else. They pretend to clash swords, duck and dive over obstacles and enter new worlds with every playtime session.

Adults, on the other hand, play games with a whole bunch of rules and regulations, making strategy the most important skill. Test results indicate that 98% of 5-yr olds are creative thinkers, while on 2% of adults are creative thinkers.

If the employees of a company are encouraged to play kids games (without rules, time limits, or a defined environment) will this bring out their creativity? Should companies provide more opportunities (like company-sponsored games) for employees to test their creative skills?

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D220   Category: Design and Maki...     Status: New
Tags:  aviation 

http://bit.ly/cyFSCi

A new product in the personal aviation market is sure to be a big hit with those with the interest and finances to own an aircraft. Called The Transition, this highly compact private plane, upon landing, folds up its wings becoming the width of a car, and literally able to join the traffic with other vehicles on the road. No more having to wait for a ride from the airport. Of course once you are on the road, you are in car mode and cannot fly over traffic to make it home any quicker.

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