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Capta Hybrid Accessory will change the way you travel with smartphones

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 01:01 PM PST

Asmita Prasad:

Capta hybrid smartphone accessory
Capta hybrid smartphone accessoryCapta combines the features of a tripod mount, phone stand, and cable management into an accessory that is easy to transport and store.

The world of mobile phone accessories is expanding by the minute and with every new phone that is launched in the markets, we get a whole set of accessories that can only be used with that particular phone. Since mobile technology is also evolving at an unprecedented rate, users too have developed a tendency to discard or replace their old phones in favor of one with newer and more exciting features every few months or so. This has led to the creation of massive amounts of waste, most of it in the guise of mobile phone accessories that cannot be worked with other phones and gadgets as easily and are rendered useless since most gizmos that need earphones, chargers and data cables, etc. already come bundled with them upon sale.

What adds to this culture of waste is the fact that though most cellphone manufacturers have widespread recycling programs that accept old phones, most of these centers still don't take old mobile phone accessories and even if they, they don't count them towards the purchase of a newer model like they do for handsets which tempts the users to retain them "for future use". On the users' end, this just means an extra drawer-ful of useless cellphone accessories that are a useless to them and offer no monetary value when returned to manufacturers. Unique Design, a Houston, Texas-based design studio have come up with a solution to this problem of waste creation with the innovative Capta- a hybrid accessory for smartphones.

Picture Gallery
Capta hybrid smartphone accessory
Capta was primarily designed to be a tripod mount and has developed into an amazing hybrid accessory that allows you to do much more with your smart phones.

The main purpose behind the invention of the Capta was to have a single elegant, functional and universal mobile accessory that could combine the functions of a cable management system and also serve as tripod mount and a phone stand. This system allows users the freedom to carry a single accessory that would incorporate charging and data output modules as well as a single transport-friendly mount that would allow users to access the navigation and mapping apps, and entertainment features of their smartphones more easily.

The Capta was created to fulfill three basic functions- managing the charger/sync cables and head phones, offering landscape and portrait views by propping the smart phone at any angle, and offering a 1/4-20 stud to mount the smart phone on a standard tripod.

Crafted to hold onto the phone at any angle for extended periods of time, the Capta creates a very strong bond with your phone thanks to a proprietary mix of PU materials. The Capta's shell comes with a strong scratch resistant finish and a hard anodized airplane grade polished aluminum construction for durable use.

Via: Kickstarter

Beehive concept to promote urban beekeeping

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 12:35 PM PST

Sonia Renthlei:

Beehive Concept
Beehive ConceptBeehive concept to promote urban beekeeping

The concept

Harvesting honey has been practiced for centuries. Ever since humans realized the value of honey, visits were made to bee colonies to harvest this medicinal substance. Proof of this is etched in rock carvings dating back to 13,000 BCE! However, the population of honey bees has been on a gradual decline though no one really knows why. It could be due to modern use of pesticides or spread of diseases. Either way, these little honey-producing creatures are dying out and efforts are now being made to ensure their survival. One method is beekeeping where bees are maintained in places called apiaries. Honey and other products produced by bees and their hives like pollen, beeswax and royal jelly are then collected.

What is interesting is that colonies of honey bees seem to be doing better than in the countryside. While the reason for this is not yet known, urban beekeepers are doing what little they can to stem the population decline. Dutch electronics giant, Philips, has designed an Urban Beehive that people can keep in their homes to collect honey. It is part of the company's Microbial Home design. The device contains honeycomb frames covered by tinted glass. To collect the honey, smoke is released into the hive after which the cover is opened and a small cord is pulled so the honey drips.

There are concerns, however, about the practicality of such a device. The fact that the Urban Beehive is used inside homes and bees are smoked out of it leads some to believe that this could be dangerous to the people around.

The inspiration

The recent decline of honeybees prompted Philips to attempt to come up with a solution. Like most insects, bees are vital for successful pollination, not only of flowers but of crops. In fact, out of 100 types of crops, around 74 varieties are said to be pollinated by these little helpers. The Urban Beehive is part of Philips's concept of creating an ecosystem that advocates finding solutions to the problems of energy, human waste, food preservation and lighting.

With the Urban Beehive, the bees enter via a tunnel situated above a flowerpot filled with pollen. On entry, they can lay their larvae in the honeycomb and store pollen and honey. There is an opening to smoke out the hive which, incidentally, is done to calm the bees down as well as to be able to collect honey safely. However, while the concept seems attractive, some experts believe that it isn't viable on a large scale as the number of bees that can be kept is too small.

Where we are now?

With the Urban Beehive, it is possible for people to indulge in individual beekeeping. With more tweaks to the design, the concept could prove fruitful on a larger scale. Of course, keeping an apiary in one's backyard will allow you to grow more bees which is more feasible. The Urban Beehive, then, is a good way for beginners to start off. Once accustomed, they can move on to creating multiple colonies in their backyards.

What makes it stand out?

The Urban Beehive's small size sets it apart. Small enough to be placed in an average home, it is the answer to urban beekeepers. And while it isn't big enough to successfully breed bees such that their dwindling numbers rise substantially, it is ideal for those who have limited space to culture multiple colonies of bees.

Where do we go from here?

If designers could take inspiration from the pod-like Urban Beehive and reproduce it on a more sophisticated and larger scale, then perhaps the number of honeybees could rise. If just a handful of people were to use the Urban Beehive, then we may not really see their population increase. But with a few modifications and more research into designing it a few levels higher, the concept could very well push people into gaining an interest in sustainable beekeeping.

Related trends

1. Beehaus

BeehausBeehaus an urban beekeeping

Conservationists and nature lovers are coming together to save the honeybee. If you thought that the Urban Beehive was the only modern device available for urban beekeepers, think again. Named the Beehaus, the affordable plastic device can be set up in backyards and on rooftops. Designed by Johannes Paul, the Beehaus is suitable for people living in urban areas and gives them a chance to play conservationist. It is hoped that bee lovers will be able to contribute to the bee population by setting up colonies which will make them more resilient to disease and attacks by creatures that prey on them.

2. Britain’s new bee hives

Britain's newest bee hive
Britain’s newest bee hiveBritain’s newest bee hive for urban beekeeping

Like the Beehaus, more and more plastic hives are being designed for city dwellers. They can be placed almost anywhere like on terraces, rooftops, gardens and backyards. Spreading out colonies of bees will be able to protect them in the event of a disease outbreak. The United Kingdom government is urging interested persons to seek professional advice before committing themselves to the culturing of bees. They have also been advised to plant insect-friendly flowers and plants to attract bees.

Picture Gallery
Beehive concept
Beehive concept to promote urban beekeeping

Seven stadiums designed to add green to the sports world

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 08:57 AM PST

Shahnawaz Naaz:

Green stadium
Green stadiumThese stadiums are innovative designs to make sports green and entertaining.

The demand to save the environment by adopting the green methods is fast gaining prominence. These days many eco-conscious people are working tirelessly to pass the message highlighting the importance of adopting the eco-friendly ways in our daily life. Many countries are now building stadiums that are eco-friendly and built using recyclable and green materials. Here is a list of seven stadiums designed to add green to the sports world:

1. Qatar solar powered stadiums for World Cup 2022

QatarThe proposed soccer stadiums intend to import soccer into the green realm by being carbon neutral.

The high-tech Quantum stadium built in South Africa for the 2010 World Cup was nothing less than amazing and now all eyes are set on Qatar, which is set to host the world's biggest sporting extravaganza in 2022. The Qatar government has announced that it would construct three new stadiums especially for the 2022 showpiece event. These stadiums would use state-of-the-art technology but will be carbon neutral. This shows Qatari government's desire to make football a green sport. These three new stadiums would use solar energy. Besides the construction of these three new solar-powered stadiums, Qatar will also update its two existing stadiums.

2. New Dalian Shide soccer stadium

New Dalian Shide soccer stadium
New Dalian Shide soccer stadiumIt is designed to emulate a garden with green walls, which filter air, reduce greenhouse gases and also provide an adequate level of insulation.

The proposal to redesign the Dalian Shide Football Stadium in China was put forward by NBBJ. The name of the new stadium is Garden Stadium and the design of the new structure would be like a garden with green walls. This new stadium will emulate a garden which reduces the air pollution and greenhouse gases. Besides this, an adequate level of insulation will also be provided by the Green Stadium. Stunning views of the ocean will be seen from the new stadium.

The stadium's roof will be made of cables and fabric, which will make it flexible. Living plants clad the stadium's wall. The important thing about these plants is that they change their appearance depends on the seasons. LED panels adorn the inside walls of the Green Stadium. Wind turbines and solar cells power these LED panels. The walls, roof and the site have solar panels and wind turbines.

3. Njiric + Arhitekti's blue volcano stadium

Blue Volcano stadium
Blue Volcano stadiumThe sustainable stadium is housed within an artificial hill made of recycled rubber, with a blue pigment sprayed onto corrugated aluminum sheets.

The Blue Volcano Stadium is designed by Njiric and Arhitekti. This eco-friendly huge stadium is located on an artificial hill. The hill is made of recycled rubber. The blue color is due to the blue pigment sprayed onto the aluminum sheets. An open roof adds to the beauty of the stadium and it allows the natural light inside the stadium's premises. The zeppelin-like balloon structure present in the stadium covers its central area. The structure provides shade. This 188,905 m2 stadium can be used to host different sports including skateboarding and free-climbing.

4. Volcano-shaped soccer stadium

Volcano-shaped soccer stadium
Volcano-shaped soccer stadiumThis stadium has been created especially for the Chivas team and it is covered with greenery.

The eco-friendly stadiums have become a necessity now because these energy-efficient structures are cleaner and healthier. French architects, Jean-Marie Massaud and Daniel Pouzet have also come up with a green stadium shaped like a volcano. This unique-shaped stadium is located in Mexico's Guadalajara city. This green stadium has been built for Team Chivas. The shape of the exterior of this stadium is like a volcano and it has been designed to capture rainwater. This stored rainwater is then used to water the pitch. This stadium can seat 45,000 people and it has a huge parking space.

5. Herzog & de Meuron solar powered stadium in Bordeaux

Herzog & de Meuron
Herzog & de Meuronhe airy, prismatic stadium is set to be completed in time for de l’Euro 2016 de football

Swiss architecture firm, Herzog & de Meuron, has come up with the design of a solar-powered stadium to be built in Bordeaux. This eco-friendly airy stadium is expected to be completed before the 2016 de l’Euro de football. This 43,500 stadium will be the home ground for Girondins de Bordeaux. Various events including football, rugby and musical concerts will be held here. The stadium will have a large photovoltaic plant, which will be used to pump out renewable energy. Located in green belt district of the city, this stadium will have tree like poles on all sides.

6. Solar-Powered piezoelectric sports stadium breaks ground in India

Piezoelectric Sports Stadium
Piezoelectric Sports StadiumDesigned by Studio Symbiosis, the Athletic Ripple Project was recently commemorated by India’s National Congress President, Sonia Gandhi.

Studio Symbiosis has designed the Athletic Ripple Project under which a stadium will be built, which will be powered by solar energy. The stadium will harness the piezoelectric energy that will come from the crowds entering inside it. The shape of this green stadium is like water droplets. This stadium will hold different events. Solar panels are fitted on the roof of stadium. The project is scheduled to complete in 2012.

7. Tokyo solar-powered stadium for 2016 Olympics

Tokyo solar-powered stadium
Tokyo solar-powered stadiumApart from providing green power, the stadium will also be offering the most compact games plan in history.

Before placing its bid for the 2016 Winter Olympics, Tokyo announced that it would construct a solar-powered stadium for the 2016 Olympics. This new stadium will be constructed using recyclable materials and it will add to the green effect of the neighborhood.

Seven solar-powered LED lamps to harness green energy

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 08:34 AM PST

Jancy James:

Solar-powered LED lamps
Solar-powered LED lampsSolar-powered LED lamps to harness green energy

LED lamps are brighter and more energy efficient than our ordinary incandescent lamps. The fact that they can save up to 80 percent energy is enough to make us prefer them for our houses. What if LED lamps are solar powered? Wouldn't it be much better if we can save a little more of the energy that can be conserved for the well being of our universe? Here are some magnificent ideas for solar powered LED lamps that you can install at home and forget about atrocious electricity bills.

1. SolarBulb

SolarBulbSolarBulb Solar Powered LED Lamp

These bulbs can be installed at home if you have old plastic bottles lying around without any use, which you probably have in plenty. The colourful gadget can be attached to any plastic bottle and it works on 0.18W solar module cells. The plastic bottle has to be attached to the fixture and it gives about six hours of uninterrupted light. The light may not be very bright, but they are very sufficient as garden or a mood light. As it is a solar panel, they have to be let in the sun for sufficient charging before they can be used. They come in a variety of interesting colors and look very sophisticated and elegant.

2. Lightimus

LightimusLightimus by Mustafa Emre Olur

Created by Mustafa Emre Olur, this solar powered light is known as Lightimus. Shaped like an hour glass, these beauties are shaped in such a way that one part of the design consists of solar panels and the other part contains LED lights. The part where the LED lights are located comes in varying glass shades which add to its overall appeal. They have to be kept under the sun for gathering energy with the solar panel side up. When the hourglass is turned upside down, the 12 LED lights turn on. It works for 8 hours when charged fully. For turning it off, you can place them upside down again.

3. Solar Spark Lamp

Solar Spark Lamp
Solar Spark LampSolar Spark Lamp

The spark lamp looks very sophisticated and fit for modern environments. This lamp has a WiFi system that can help you assess your energy consumption and notify you when you have gone overboard. When the consumption is high, the spark lamp shows red, yellow if you are right on target and green when you have done better than you expected. Once it announces your energy consumption chart, it lights up entirely, giving bright white illumination.


IKEAIKEA Solar-Powered LED Desk Lamp

These lamps known as Sunnan are sleek and colorful and meant to be desk lamps. Sunnan lamps work for 4 hours when charged fully. A variety of vibrant shades are available to grace your desktop, depending on your mood and style choices. They are also excellent bed lamps for a kid's room or for your bedroom. They also work well on vibrant areas of your living or dining room and can pep up the entire atmosphere with their minimalistic style quotient.

5. Solar Lampion

Solar Lampion
Solar LampionSolar Lampion

A creation by designer Damian O'Sullivan, this solar powered LED lamp can be used inside as well as outside, as a night lamp for your courtyard. They look very beautiful and the stunning geometric design that illuminates the entire atmosphere is very engaging and eye catchy as well. You can hang them in your garden where the sun's rays are at its best and just forget about it until they show their illuminated face in the night. It contains 36 standard solar cells and one rechargeable battery.

6. Turner

TurnerTurner Solar Powered LED Lamps

This simple and elegant looking LED lamp emanates a subtle glow that is very soothing and relaxing to the eye and the mind. They have a serene quality about them that is tantamount to rest and peace. The lantern must be left upside down in the morning, to be charged under the sun. Turn it back on in the evening and you will be enlightened by its evening glow until you go to sleep in the cozy atmosphere.

7. Snake Light

Snake Light
Snake LightSnake Light Solar-powered LED lamp

The snake light, as the name suggests is a snake shaped LED light that is free standing, without the need for a socket or battery for charging it. It either comes with a solar charger that is in built or comes with a separate solar charger that can be used for charging multiple LED lamps. The wonderful thing about this lamp is that the neck can be twisted any way you like and can even be worn around the neck or hand or on a bicycle handle.

Pupa pavilion recycled from shipping pallets and cardboard

Posted: 12 Nov 2011 08:12 AM PST

Aravind Balasubramanya:

Pupa pavilion
Pupa pavilionPupa is a habitat by Liam Hopkins of Lazerian

The ordinary:

Recycling and reusing are not new concepts. And so, when reclaimed shipping pallets and cardboard are sent into the recycling process, it is nothing out of the ordinary. Cardboard and the packing pallets are known for their strength. At the same time, they are flexible too. They can be pulped on a mass scale and re-fabricated into tough building materials. In fact, many homes in earthquake-prone Japan are built largely from such light and recyclable materials that do not cause much damage in case of a collapse.


Nature is a great teacher. It inspires ideas that are simple in their concept but profound and elegant in their impact. All the building activity in nature - be it the hives of the bees, the webs of the spiders or the nests of the excellent weaver birds - occurs through the patient and repetitive construction of a single sub-unit. Though the whole process seems monotonous, the results are simply magnificent. The spider web glistening in the sunlight or the bee hives with its million hexagonal cells are wonders of nature. Simplicity and multiplicity going hand in hand seem to inspire great elegance and beauty in construction.

The extraordinary:

Inspired from the hard-working bees and spiders, Liam Hopkins has constructed an amazing pavilion, complete with tables and chairs, for the Bloomberg Philanthropy offices in Bloomberg. Named as the Pupa, most probably in honor of the stage in the metamorphosis of an insect where it emerges from an elaborately built cocoon, the pavilion is shaped like a long tunnel and built entirely from recycled wastes. It is definitely a piece of art and it carries a message - Waste not, want not! And so, using all the cardboard and packing wooden pallets waste from Bloomberg along with the inspiration from nature, Liam Hopkins has conjured up a masterpiece of a pavilion.

The making:

The cardboard and other wastes from Bloomberg arrived as bales. These were pulped in Stalybridge at a John Hargreaves factory and then reconstituted with 1910 machinery! Computer aided designing came very handy to generate the basic layout and the structure of the basic building units. This helped in the visualization part of the project. It was then that the individual units were made.

The frame for the pavilion was made with triangular cardboard borders numbering 3972. The same number of triangle inners fill up the frame. The frames and legs for the chairs and table were made from about 180 wooden pallets that were taken apart. More than 10,000 nails have been used along with leather offcuts to make the seats. The triangular sections are arranged repeatedly and the cardboard has been suitably modified to present a stable structure with ’sound’ acoustics.

Picture Gallery
Pupa pavilion
Pupa Pavilion Made From Recycled Shipping Pallets and Cardboard

The target group:

This Pupa pavilion could be an excellent addition to huge corporate offices. It could also form a part of their activities for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) for it concerns reducing wastes by recycling and reusing them. It would also form a good section in restaurants and even games arcades. That being said, the main target audience would be big companies.


The pavilion is definitely inspiring as a piece of art by itself. It is a structure that is sturdy and stable. It makes for a refreshing change in decor where it pierces through the visual clutter and brings in a whiff of architecturally fresh air. It brings into corporate offices, the harmony, symmetry and beauty of nature.

Related trends:

1. Matthias Loebermann's Pallet Pavilion

Matthias Loebermann's Pallet Pavillion
Matthias Loebermann's Pallet PavillionGerman Pavillion Made From 1300 Shipping Pallets

Oberstdorf in Germany, hosted the Nordic Alpine Skiing World Championship in 2005. It was for that event that the pallet architecture or palletecture of Matthias Loebermann came into light with the construction of a pallet pavilion which was made from 1300 shipping pallets. He used tie rods and pull straps to hold the structure together. The lighting provided was brilliant and the in-built glare reflectors ensured a grand look for the structure as light streamed out of the gaps of the pallets.

2. The Living Nature Pavilion

Living Nature Pavilion
Living Nature PavilionPavilion Made From Hundreds of Cardboard Boxes

Hector Ruiz Velazquez, a Spanish architect, created a pavilion entitled, Living Nature. Made entirely out of recycled cardboard boxes, the idea is truly out of the box if we can say so! One can walk through the aesthetic alleys and gangways that have been created from the boxes. The lighting is all the spaces is through the intelligent design and arrangement of the boxes.The structure resembles a brick one but is definitely much lighter and movable than one.

3. Temporary ‘Roll’ pavilion in Sydney

Temporary Pavilion for The Sydney
Temporary Pavilion for The SydneySydney Architecture Students Build Pavilion From 2000 Recycled Cardboard Tubes

The Sydney Architectural Festival had a CH4 Student Design Competition among its various other activities. Creativity was seen at its architectural best and the students’ team from the University of New South Wales created a temporary pavilion from cardboard rolls used in the carpet manufacturing industry. The rolls had donned new roles as housing materials! 2000 tubes went into the making and they were held in place by plywood frames. The best part of this pavilion is that after a few months, it can be taken down and completely recycled into some other useful thing.

4. The BOXEL

BOXELSummer pavilion made from over 2000 recycled beer boxes

The University of Applied Sciences at Detmold had its architecture students design a pavilion entirely from beer boxes that seem to have taken an entirely new avatar as buildings block of some ‘constructive’ activity.The design is visually appealing and it occupies minimal floor surface. It was done with the help of tools in digital design and fabrication. The construction involved a lot of engineering concepts because the boxes have been freely organized next to each other and have not been stacked up. Stacking is the usual format that is followed in such constructions. The spatial design of the structure is very conducive for concerts, presentations and other outdoor events.

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