Waterproof boots are made from corn

January 22, 2018

Your new rain boots could offer something quite distinctive; the smell of popcorn while doing chores or stomping through puddles. These nature-inspired, waterproof boots are made from rubber and recycled non-food-grade corn. They’re designed by Sebastian Thies and manufactured by the German company nat-2™ in Italy. Besides the distinct smell of popcorn, the semi-transparent boots …

“The Shoe That Grows” designed for children

January 8, 2018

In 2007, Kenton Lee was living in Nairobi, Kenya. One day he noticed a little girl wearing shoes that were way too small for her feet. Lee wondered, “Wouldn’t it be great if there was a shoe that could adjust and expand, so that kids always had a pair of shoes that fit?” And “The Shoe …

NASA’s BEAM textile module will stay on the ISS

December 20, 2017

NASA has decided to keep the Bigelow Expandable Activity Module (BEAM) on the International Space Station (ISS). The textile module will stay attached to the ISS through 2020, or possibly longer. The ISS crew’s studies have shown that soft materials can perform as well as rigid ones for habitation volumes and that BEAM has performed …

Soft robot “muscles” draw inspiration from origami

December 11, 2017

Researchers from the Wyss Institute, Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, and the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory have developed origami-inspired robot muscles that can lift up to 1,000 times their own weight. According to TechCrunch, the researchers say that the new, soft, robotic artificial muscles can be constructed in as little as 10 minutes …

Pleated fabric canopy tops a floating church

December 6, 2017

The Diocese of London has commissioned architecture studio Denizen Works to design an unusual means of reaching church-goers: a floating church. The studio will collaborate with Turks boat builders to construct a canal boat church, meeting parishioners and neighbors where they are along the waterways. A canopy of translucent pleats crafted from sail material mimics …

Researchers create an energy-harvesting bio-battery

November 20, 2017

Researchers at Imperial College London have created a two-in-one solar bio-battery and solar panel by printing living cyanobacteria and circuitry onto paper. The photosynthetic microorganisms have been used as ink and printed onto conductive material. The resulting experiment was able to harvest the sun’s energy and provide small amounts of electricity. An article on TechXplore reported …

New loom promises make-at-home textiles

November 8, 2017

“Doti” desktop loom may add scale to cottage industry weaving. The Dot-Matrix Fabric Printer, nicknamed “Doti,” is an open-source, desktop jacquard loom designed for textile production at home. Pamela Liou is developing Doti as a project resident at Eyebeam, a nonprofit studio for collaborative experiments with technology located in Brooklyn, N.Y. The Doti loom is …

Saving money by 3D printing at home examined

November 7, 2017

Michigan Tech researchers set out to determine if the average U.S. home could save money by using a desktop 3D printer versus buying products from online retailers. An article by Beau Jackson at 3D Printing Industry outlines the findings. The researchers used NinjaFlex filament in an upgraded FlexyStruder extruder. The material was loaded into a …

Carbon fiber roof appears to float

October 23, 2017

A lens-shaped carbon fiber roof weighing 80.7 tons seems to float above the lobby of the Steve Jobs Theater at Apple Park in Cupertino, Calif. The project was a partnership between international architecture and design firm Foster and Partners, headquartered in London, and Apple Inc. The lobby is reported to be the largest glass-supported structure …

Architectural exhibit is an ultra-thin, self-supporting structure

September 25, 2017

Architect and artist Marc Fornes has created “minima | maxima,” a site-specific installation made of ultra-thin powdered aluminum in composite layers. Not exactly “fabric,” but the TED Fellow’s concept in construction mimics the behavior of fabric, but with a structural strength that almost defies gravity. The exhibit in Astana, Kazakhstan, was first presented during the …