Unusual places to live and work and unusual ways to get around top this week's gallery of cool technology.
This lightweight, spherical aluminum structure called Cocoon offers users people a unique place to live and sleep. It accommodates two adults, sheltering inhabitants from the outside elements with a waterproof outer skin and mosquito screens. There are different models for three different locations: the Cocoon Tree, the Cocoon Beach and the Cocoon Jungle.
Sitbon Architectes and Architizer A+Awards
Bloom is a futuristic semi-submersible farm concept designed by Paris-based Sitbon Architectes. It is one of five finalists in an international design competition and shows how such a floating farm could grow phytoplankton-microscopic marine organisms that naturally remove CO2 from the atmosphere. The farm would also convert seawater into fresh water and employ sensors that monitor sea levels and issue tsunami warnings.
Exotic Thermo Engineering
French cyclist Francois Gissy broke his own land-speed record with this modified bicycle equipped with a hydrogen peroxide rocket. Gissy and his team set the record of 177.13 mph in just 6.7 seconds at an airfield in Interlaken, Switzerland.
Manta Resort, off the coast of Tanzania, offers a private suite where customers can sleep beneath the waves. A floating, three-floor structure, is anchored to the seafloor near a coral reef. Guests sleep in the master bedroom, which is submerged 13 feet beneath the surface. Four large windows provide a nearly 360-degree view of the surrounding sea life.
At the Tokyo Motor Show this week, Kawasaki introduced the J concept, a 3-wheel electric vehicle capable of morphing between a low-slung riding position to a more upright relaxed stance. Riders steer the J using two levers reminiscent of those used to control zero-turn ride-on lawn mowers.
The Platypus underwater exploration vehicle gives riders access to the ocean below the surface. Floating on top of the water is a catamaran-type boat, which has a platform that can be lowered into the water. Users ride the platform, while an air compressor supplies oxygen to them.
This week the world’s first two-seat electric helicopter -- E-volo‘s VC200 Volocopter -- completed its test flight. This emission-free multicopter is part of a two-year program lead by the German Federal Aviation Office (LBA) and the German Ultralight Aircraft Association (DULV) to demonstrate the reliability of a two-seater, electric copter.
Foster + Partners
The Cupertino City council just gave Apple the go-ahead to build its new headquarters. In return, Apple will fund a reduced sales tax rebate. The new building, shaped as a large glass ring, was originally designed by Steve Jobs.
DLR Robotics Center
The DLR Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics in Germany has developed a robotic system that allows surgeons to perform minimally invasive surgery remotely. The MicroSurge system is not meant to replace a surgeon, but instead improve their skills by assisting with the manual contact of knife to skin.
Radiological Society of North America
Researchers at Berlin's Charité Campus Mitte have found a way to print rare fossils to make them available for study. They used digital information collected from computed tomography (CT) scans to create files that could be output using a 3-D printer. The reproductions can then be poked and prodded without any damage to the real thing.
If you’ve ever wondered how someone is truly feeling, maybe you can convince her to don this mood-changing sweater. Embedded with sensors, the GER Mood Sweater has lights around the collar that change with the wearer’s emotions.
The Mood Sweater‘s technology is based on the classic lie detector test, which uses a Galvanic Skin Response or GSR for short, according to Sensoree, the design lab that created it. Hand sensors connected to the sweater read excitement levels and translate that data into different colors on the LED collar, the Guardian’s Nicola Davis reported.
Each color corresponds with a different emotion, as the Vimeo video below explains. Blue means calm or tranquil, pink means excited, yellow means ecstatic and red means nervous or in love. Maybe don’t wear this to the office if you have a crush there. Unless you can get away with saying, “It’s because I’m in love with my work!”
Sensoree was founded by San Francisco-based designer Kristin Neidlinger, who has a background in kinetic costume design and physical therapy. The site says her lab emerged from research into creating wearable tech for people with sensory processing disorder. She helps address their needs with wearable tech and interactive installations.
This isn’t a high-tech sweater I would necessarily need to wear since my feelings are usually fairly transparent, although the cowl-shape looks flattering. But perhaps it could help those on the autism spectrum who struggle to read feelings. And I know several people who could use a spin in the sweater. They’re the ones keeping their cards extremely close to the vest.
Photo: The GER Mood Sweater can show that the wearer is excited. Credit: Sensoree.