Kirigami-inspired solar panels
The ancient art is inspiring the design of solar cells so they can change shape to catch the sun
To round up this exciting 2018 we have selected our most read stories, just in case you missed any of them amidst all the online news.
This year we have covered a wide range of topics regarding technological innovation. Our site has witnessed carbon dioxide rocks to combat global warming, moss-covered tires that purify the air while on the move, an endless number of biomimetic solutions such as buildings with refrigeration systems inspired by pine-tree cones or tide turbines based on the movement of seaweeds, smart nightwear that monitors vitals… And nanotechnology, loads of nanotechnology.
1. You surely use one kind of wearable or another to track your fitness and maybe show off on social media, but this technology goes a step beyond. A new range of clothes that alert of heart conditions and other health issues. Hopefully, they will soon be used in hospitals to aid doctors in their daily work.
2. Biomimicry, i.e., the science that draws its inspiration from nature to innovate is a fascinating field of knowledge. In fact, we devoted a whole article to it a while ago. Among the news that piqued our interest was the implementation of pine cone structures, which expand or contract in the presence of moisture, to building roofs. Thus, the structures would fold when exposed to rain and, conversely, open on sunny days.
In the never-ending quest to minimize energy consumption, smart buildings 🏙️ have found an unexpected ally-pinecones 🌲 and their structural peculiarities 👉 https://t.co/pdZssSPONt #Imnovation pic.twitter.com/7Z7FN4v0sJ— ACCIONA (English) (@ACCIONA_EN) 9 de diciembre de 2018
3. We are used to dealing with topics related to renewable energy, but this system is quite remarkable, as it can generate electricity based solely on the temperature variations in the day/night cycles.
4. If global warming were to be a movie, carbon dioxide would certainly be cast as the villain. In this article, while waiting for a reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, we explored other innovative solutions as the mineral carbonation of CO2. Yes, transforming this gas into a harmless rock.
Is the solution under our very feet? An article published in @sciencemagazine reports on an alternative method for reducing CO2 in the atmosphere: https://t.co/coLK5unJPo #Imnovation pic.twitter.com/8ONmeCm2qk— ACCIONA (English) (@ACCIONA_EN) 14 de octubre de 2018
5. Solar thermal is one of the least known alternatives within renewable energy. This project improves the efficiency and costs of this type of plants by combining them with solar PV, which allows developing solar thermal farms where the heliostats (reflectors) behave like sunflowers and follow the sun automatically to optimize the amount of solar radiation absorbed.
Central-tower solar plants are still the most promising technology. PHOTON, an innovative technological project codeveloped by #ACCIONAIndustrial, could mean another step in the optimization of the current systems: https://t.co/0eCXPr0R37 #Imnovation pic.twitter.com/DVwEZWPdSG— ACCIONA I'MNOVATION (@Imnovation) 24 de noviembre de 2018
6. Driverless cars receive a good deal of news coverage, but this type of vehicles also have applications in other fields, especially in hostile and extreme environments. For instance, mining is one of the industries where robotics will improve the safety and efficiency of work environments.
7. And, speaking of extreme environments, underwater exploration and the offshore industry are also benefiting from the use of autonomous robots. Dangerous maintenance tasks are now carried out by swarms of machines working round the clock. Learn about the SWARMs project and its applications.
Submarine vehicles ready to watch over underwater landscapes, maintain infrastructures and preserve natural environment. Get to know the @SWARMS_Project, in which we participate: https://t.co/S33C7uxG8Y #Imnovation pic.twitter.com/a7eCBnydXg— ACCIONA (English) (@ACCIONA_EN) 9 de septiembre de 2018
8. Seawater desalination is an expensive and power-hungry technology. Any solution, therefore, aiming to optimize its efficiency is good news indeed. In this case, the scientists created a nanostructured membrane inspired by the fur of polar bears. By the way, we also learned that the polar bear fur isn’t white, but actually translucent.
Scientists at the Complutense University (@unicomplutense) draw their inspiration from polar bear's fur to develop a nanostructured membrane capable of desalinating water https://t.co/X2KCAMZ1mR #Imnovation pic.twitter.com/AThNPtEymf— ACCIONA (English) (@ACCIONA_EN) 16 de septiembre de 2018
9. And more biomimicry. The sense of touch in robots is a rapidly developing field: the new machines can handle heavy loads, but also are able to work with fragile and delicate objects. This technology was inspired by the whiskers of seals to develop a new generation of extremely sensitive robots.
An array of ultra-thin hairs inspired by the whiskers of seals could provide robots with a higher sensitivity than even human skin: https://t.co/mlXsBk9x9P #Imnovation #HappyMonday pic.twitter.com/WUGnA1JQhN— ACCIONA I'MNOVATION (@Imnovation) 3 de septiembre de 2018
10. Sometimes, looking for the latest news we tend to forget that some of the answers to our contemporary challenges can hide in the most distant past. For example, an Egyptian pigment that is being used to cool buildings thanks to its unusual reflective properties.
The #Egyptian blue can absorb solar radiation and reflect it as infrared radiation. This fact had been known for some time, but new technological research proves that it’s much more efficient than previously thought: https://t.co/oRfoRTvQCX #Imnovation pic.twitter.com/78Fh1DhVOA— ACCIONA I'MNOVATION (@Imnovation) 9 de diciembre de 2018
11. If you thought that electric vehicles were the apex of green technologies, wait until you read this. A tire manufacturer suggested transforming cars into gardens on wheels by implementing moss in them. The goal was to capture carbon dioxide and create smart wheels that would warn other drivers about any maneuvers.
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