Tag: Officegarden

Food Technology

Dumpster Fish the Future of Farming

Cities have seen guerilla gardens, rooftop honey production, and fire escape chicken coops. Now, urban farmers may be adding aquaculture to the mix. Headed by ex-banker Christopher Toole, the Society for Aquaponic Values and Education in the Bronx, New York, raises tilapia in tanks and trashcans. Closed recirculating systems use the waste from the fish to fertilize herbs like mint and basil. Toole and his girlfriend and partner, Anya Pozdeeva, envision a future where neighborhood fish like “Bronx Best Blue Tilapia” become a thriving local industry.

Efforts from Toole and other New York tilapia pioneers like NYU professor Martin P. Schreibman may represent the future of fish. As cities grow, and wild fish stocks dwindle to near-depletion by 2050, the urban production of hardy, freshwater species like the tilapia could be a sustainable way for city-dwellers to have their fish and eat it too. Urban aquaculture faces some steep hurdles before becoming a profitable venture. Similar small-scale city fish farms have flopped over costs and lack of demand. However, there is one bright spot: In China, which has practiced fish farming since 2,000 BC, indoor recirculating aquaculture is doing a booming business.

Photo via Blue Ridge Aquaculture.

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anthropomorphism and design

Rule #7: Respect Social Standards

Part 7 of the 11 part series Golden Rules of Anthropomorphism and Design. 

Anthropomorphic products enter the human social space. Humans have the most complex social behavior of any organism on Earth. Anyone or anything trying to join in should be careful to do it right. Although an anthropomorphic product may function perfectly, if it crosses social boundaries it will still tick people off. This can cause the product to become a social reject, which won’t do sales much good. Luckily, it’s not hard to figure out why things go wrong. Imagine a scenario where a person and a product interact, then replace the product with a second person. If the actions of the second person and the product don’t match up, then there’s something off about the product’s design.

Image via Anvari.

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Humane-Technology

A Fake Sun for Your 25/7 Life

The earth operates on a 24 hour cycle, and so do humans. For most of history, we didn’t have much choice in the matter. However, in the absence of visual cues light sunlight, some research indicates that humans naturally stick to a 25 hour schedule. So why rely on the earth’s rotation to order our lives?

I-Weather is a website and app that cycles through blue and orange light for a period of 25 hours, 40 minutes and 7 seconds. The blue ‘day’ suppresses the hormone melatonin and promotes wakefulness. The orange ‘night’ has no impact on melatonin or other hormones, allowing users to work or to drift off as they please. I-Weather acts like an online sun,”creating the world’s first artificial climate to satisfy the metabolic and physiological requirements of a human being in an environment partially or completely removed from earthly influences.” It’s good for travelers, insomniacs, and anyone with a grudge against sunlight.

For a more practical way to regulate your circadian rhythms, check out F.lux.

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Biomimicmarketing

Growing Cement like Coral

Corals are the master builders of the animal kingdom. Powered on plankton and their symbiotic algae, hard corals extract the carbon dissolved in seawater and turn it into their calcium carbonate skeletons. Now a company is trying to replicate this process, not to grow reefs, but to create cement.

Cement, though it may seem like a neutral material, is a massive source of carbon emissions. The cement industry is responsible for 5% of global carbon emissions, with each ton of cement producing a ton of CO2. Biomineralization expert Brent Constantz hopes to green the production of cement by capturing flue gases from factories, running them through a saline solution, and using electricity to convert the gases into solids. For 542 million years, corals have been sequestering carbon dissolved in water. Constantz’s company Calera may have figured out how to do the same on a much shorter time scale.

Story via Fast Company. Image via Jurvetson.

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Manufactured Animals

Augmented Cat beats Dog

Normally a house cat would not stand a chance against a dangerous pit-bull dog. But with a little help of an electric vacuum cleaning robot, supersmart cat Max-Arthur emancipates himself from its presumed fate. Don’t you just love it when old nature and nextnature come together?!

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Humane-Technology

Flap to Freedom

It works like this. Position yourself with a friend in front of a battery hen and flap your arms as fast as you can when the music sets in. The harder you flap the faster your bird will move towards a hole in the chain fence – which means freedom!

This installation was displayed at the Village Fete at the Victoria & Albert Museum, where young British designers show their talents. One of them, the creator of Flap to Freedom, is Chris O’Shea, an artist and designer who uses technology to create interactive environments.

O’Shea’s work shows that machines and technology can respond to human needs in a fun and playful way.  However, Flap to Freedom doesn’t work like a rollercoaster or DVD player. Through the interaction emerges a certain connection between human and machine that could change our perception of them. It stands in the tradition of Philippe Starck’s design, which is intended to give the object a place in the human environment. The device becomes our companion and colleague.

Watch the video here.

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Back to the Tribe

Mushrooms in the Mokum

Mediamatic is hosting a pop-up urban mushroom farm in the middle of Amsterdam. Rows and rows of shiitake, oyster, and the elusive almond-flavored Agaricus subrufescens are sprouting on metal shelves. With its experimental vibe, Paddestoelen Paradijs (Mushroom Paradise) proves that mushrooms might just be our best friends in the age of resource scarcity. They grow off dead, decaying, and often discarded organic matter, are low emission, and their roots can produce a material that’s stronger than wood, as light as packing foam, and completely biodegradable.

Click through to see a living wall, the Christian mushroom cult, and Philosopher’s Stones.

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