Toyota’s ePalette

Toyota, the second biggest automaker in the world, announced an ambitious plan today to tackle mobility and delivery services in the age of autonomous cars. Apparently it involves weird, see-through self-driving boxes roaming through cities, delivering people, packages, and pizza.

Toyota is calling them “e-Palettes” and describes them as “fully-automated, next generation battery electric vehicle[s] designed to be scalable and customizable for a range of Mobility as a Service businesses.” Think of them as transparent cargo or shipping containers on wheels that grow and shrink in size depending on their specific task.

Toyota envisions these serving a variety of functions, from typical mobility services like ride-sharing and carpooling, to less-typical purposes like serving as mobile office and retail space, medical clinics, hotel rooms, and more. Need a new pair of shoes? Summon the mobile shoe palette and try on different sizes as you travel from here to there. Hungry from some pizza? Hail the roaming pizza oven, complete with (prisoner?) chef. As far as concepts go, this one is pretty out there.

“Just think how good e-Palette would be at Burning man,” quipped Akio Toyoda, Toyota Motor Company’s bespectacled president, from the stage at CES in Las Vegas today. That about sums it up.

Visit the original article on The Vergehttps://www.theverge.com/2018/1/8/16863092/toyota-e-palette-self-driving-car-ev-ces-2018

Robot Farmers

Recently shared on EngadgetBlue River Technology in Sunnyvale, California is testing “See and Spray”– machine learning and AI software inside a robotic tractor attachment that aims to change the chemical game. The program can recognize the difference between crops and weeds, then sprays herbicide only on the unwanted plant.

Traditionally, farmers applying herbicide and other chemicals spray the entire field. CEO and co-founder Jorge Heraud says using his AI and machine learning sprayer would cut chemical costs a tenth of the cost. If a mid-sized operation is about 700 acres, only spraying the weeds on a farmer’s fields could knock herbicide costs down from about $100,000 to $10,000.

“You can save on the impact that we have to the environment, right now we are frankly overusing chemistry… about 80 percent of the chemicals we use don’t end up in the right place,” Heraud said.

Visit the original article here: https://www.engadget.com/2017/08/15/dnp-the-future-irl-robot-farmers-do-the-dirty-work/

Professor & Mr. Trash Wheel

Based out of the waterfront partnership of Baltimore, Maryland and going by the name “Professor & Mr. Trash Wheel” these devices are vacuuming plastic from our oceans much like a Roomba for waterways. They operate exclusively on the energy they get from sunlight and water. Collecting litter and debris, keeping trash from winding up in the ocean, the device uses two trash containment booms in order to direct the waste up a conveyor belt and into the dumpster barge on the other end.

Since being installed, the trash wheels have kept over one millions pounds of litter out of the Atlantic ocean!

Thanks again to @mchllsong for the share!

To visit a link to the YouTube video from Mashable go here;

Etee Food Wrap

How often do we find ourselves using plastic wrap to preserve and/or cover our fresh food?

Etee is helping us say goodbye to plastic wrap, sandwich bags & bulky storage containers. Preserve your food and protect your family (and the planet!) – naturally – with these reusable food wraps.

Etee wraps are:

Non-toxic | Plastic Free, Sustainable | Reusable, Biodegradable | Compostable

There is currently free shipping for U.S. and Canadian orders: https://www.shopetee.com

Net-zero Nottingham Homes

A pilot project to turn 10 homes in Nottingham into net-zero emission properties without residents even moving out is nearing completion.

Developer Melius Homes and social landlord Nottingham City Homes have worked together on the scheme, with UK solar manufacturer Viridian Solar providing photovoltaic roofing.

The upgrades also include better insulated outside walls and upgraded heating systems.

After the refurbishment, tenants will pay an energy services fee instead of paying for gas and electricity.

With this guaranteed additional income, to which savings on planned maintenance costs are added, the landlord can borrow enough money to fund the upfront costs.

The goal is to drive better economies of scale so the work can be completed at an attractive price requiring no government support.

Stuart Elmes, CEO of Viridian Solar, said: “The opportunity it offers to completely regenerate whole areas of our towns and cities, increasing the value of property and improving the comfort of tenants, all financed by energy savings is amazing.”

The 10 homes in Nottingham are a pilot study, with an option to extend the programme to 400 more.

Biocarbon Engineering Drones

Biocarbon Engineering, headed by CEO Lauren Fletcher is a company seeking to plant 1 BILLION trees every year using drone technology. By mapping out a grid in deforested regions, a single operator can control and automate up to 15 drones which can put in roughly 360 current-standard man hours of tree planting each day. Each drone precisely propels down biodegradable seedpods that are designed to enhance germination success. With their research and development they are looking to overcome varied challenging environments, manage large-scale projects and utilize their drone technology for precision planting to help restore entire ecosystems for the planet.

Their team is comprised of experts in the fields of physics, environmental engineering, biomedical engineering, UAV swarm intelligence, UAV design and control, environmental resource management, forestry maintenance, electrical engineering, mechatronics, robotics, automation engineering, environmental data analysis and more.

For more information visit their website: https://www.biocarbonengineering.com

CEF FFT: Imagine a world where we see their goal met of 1 billion trees planted per year. What kind of effect would that have in drawing down carbon emissions?

Who Gives a Crap?

Who Gives a Crap is an organization determined to prove that toilet paper is about more than just wiping bums. All of their products are made with environmentally friendly materials, and they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets for those in need. To date Who Gives a Crap has donated over $1,100,000 Australian dollars to charity and saved a heck of a lot of trees, water and energy. Not bad for a toilet paper company, eh?

Who Gives A Crap was started when the creators learned that 2.3 billion people (roughly 40% of the world’s population) don’t have access to a toilet.  Around 289,000 children under five die every year from diarrheal diseases caused by poor water and sanitation. That’s almost 800 children per day, or one child every two minutes. Luckily, toilets are proven to be a great solution—they provide dignity, health and an improved quality of life. And in case that wasn’t enough, it’s been shown that a dollar invested in sanitation yields $5.50 in increased economic prosperity. You could say toilets are magical!

More people in the world have mobile phones than toilets. Think about that next time you’re texting on the loo!

For more info and to start wiping visit https://us.whogivesacrap.org/ 

Parachutes for the Planet

To raise awareness of people living sustainable lives and affected by climate change, Mother Earth Project is encouraging individuals, schools, and communities around the world to create PARACHUTES FOR THE PLANET!

So why go with parachutes? Saving the environment is vital to our health, safety and future, and parachutes are a metaphor for this process. Parachutes are safety nets and when held by groups during demonstrations or collectively displayed in large numbers, they transform into powerful messages of strength, hope and communal determination.

In the 1990s, thousands of HIV/AIDS Quilts (blankets) were exhibited in Washington, DC, to bring attention to a disease that was previously not understood. The result of this exhibition was dramatic – people became more aware and governments began to fund research to find a cure. Using artwork and text displayed on parachutes, the Mother Earth Project hopes to accomplish similar goals for saving the environment.

Display your parachute in your local community to raise awareness about sustainability (for example your school, company, city government, neighborhood, or on your car). Also, please encourage two other schools/clubs to create a parachute, as spreading awareness is the central theme of this project!

Litterati

Litterati, created by Jeff Kirschner, is a global community that’s crowdsource-cleaning the planet, from students in South Africa to activists in Italy, and neighbors across the US. They’re designing a mobile app that identifies, maps, and collects the litter that we pick up as a community, collecting a ton of data in the process, helping businesses and communities identify the root of the problem and drive change.
Upon the request of early users of the app, Kirschner has launched a kickstart campaign for Litterati!
Among these changes include:
1. Groups: Understand Combined Impact (“Our most requested feature. Schools, environmental groups, scout troops, and companies, they all want to understand their combined impact to drive change for their communities.”)
2. Maps: Measure Actions Locally (“In-app maps will provide the ability to search, browse, and filter by location or brand, so that anyone can map and measure their impact while understanding more about the litter in their neighborhood.”
3. Data Analysis Tools: Drive Bigger Change (“The community has already picked up nearly 1,000,000 pieces and we want to put that data to work. These additional layers of information, like retail locations, trash can placement, even weather and topography, will help us make more informed decisions and take effective action.”)
Change is happening! Check out their app and kickstarter to get involved:
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/litterati/litterati-join-the-community-thats-cleaning-the-pl
CEF FFT: Creating a greater awareness around how we treat our community environment is a great place to start in spreading awareness of the impact we have on the planet!

Graviky Air-Ink

A startup in India is capturing the black particles that float in air pollution and turning them into ink.

Anirudh Sharma was at a conference in India when he noticed black particles accumulating on his white shirt. The specks settling on him were from pollution in the surrounding air.

Byproducts from burning fossil fuels such as gasoline and coal are causing health problems and climate effects around the world, especially in India’s growing cities. In that moment a few years ago, though, Sharma saw the pollution particles as something simpler: A coloring agent.

He went back to MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, where he was a graduate student focused on augmented reality, and began working on an idea to turn carbon pollution into ink. Using candle soot to start, he came up with a prototype. After finishing his master’s degree, he went back to India and in 2016 co-founded a collaborative called Graviky Labs to continue working on Air-Ink and other ideas.

They developed a device that can be fitted onto the exhaust pipe of a car or portable generator and collected the soot that forms from burning diesel fuel. By mixing the fine black powder with solvents, they produced ink that then went into bottles and markers.

Kaushik says Air-Ink has a dual benefit: “It’s not just that we’re recycling that material into inks. What we are also doing is replacing the carbon black that otherwise would have been used to make black inks.” Manufacturers typically use the soot known as carbon black in rubber, ink, paints, and carbon paper.

After posting their endeavor on Kickstarter earlier this year, the team brought in $41,000—nearly three times the donations they sought to start producing Air-Ink in larger quantities. Through a sponsorship from a beer company, they’d already begun distributing the ink to artists, who created public pieces in London, Singapore, and other cities.

For the full article by Christina Nunez visit this link: https://relay.nationalgeographic.com/proxy/distribution/public/amp/2017/07/chasing-genius-air-ink-carbon-pollution-graviky

Thanks again to @mchllsong for the share!

(Photo Credit: Graviky Labs)