Local Motors New Olli

“This is the world’s first autonomous on-demand shuttle. So basically you call it on an app and it picks you up just like Uber and it will talk to you,” says Justin Fishkin, Local Motors’ Chief Strategic Officer.

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Local Motors, the manufacturer of the world’s first 3D printed vehicle, is actually local to us with a micro factory and base right here in Chandler, Arizona.

The newest addition to their line up is the uberly-cool (pun intended) Olli “Your friendly neighborhood mobile solution”. The self-driving Olli was the genius of industrial design student, Edgar Sarmiento, who at the age of 22, entered his concept into a Local Motors competition.   With an app on your smart phone, the coolest micro bus ever, will pick you up and take you where you need to be … in style.

More on Edgar Sarmiento and Olli from NPR here.
More on Local Motors read more here!

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Floating Farms of the Future


This is an excerpt from an article appearing in the August 20, 2016, Science News with the headline, “Quenching society’s thirst: Desalination may soon turn a corner, from rare to routine.” 

Coastal crops

When Khaled Moustafa looks at a beach, he doesn’t just see a place for sunning and surfing. The biologist at the National Conservatory of Arts and Crafts in Paris sees the future of farming.

In the April issue of Trends in Biotechnology, Moustafa proposed that desalination could supply irrigation water to colossal floating farms. Self-sufficient floating farms could bring agriculture to arid coastal regions previously inhospitable to crops. The idea, while radical, isn’t too farfetched, given recent technological advancements, Moustafa says.

Floating farms would lay anchor along coastlines and suck up seawater, he proposes. A solar panel–powered water desalination system would provide freshwater to rows of cucumbers, tomatoes or strawberries stacked like a big city high-rise inside a “blue house” (that is, a floating greenhouse).

Water desalination could allow farming to take to the sea. The idea sparked the imagination of a Spanish architecture firm, which mocked up an elaborate floating farm complex (illustration). The triple-decker structure would include solar panels on top, crops at midlevel and fish farming on the lower level.

SMART FLOATING FARMS

Each floating farm would stretch 300 meters long by 100 meters wide, providing about 3 square kilometers of cultivable surface over only three-tenths of a square kilometer of ocean, Moustafa says. The farms could even be mobile, cruising around the ocean to transport crops and escape bad weather.

Such a portable and self-contained farming solution would be most appealing in dry coastal regions that get plenty of sunshine, such as the Arabian Gulf, North Africa and Australia.

“I wouldn’t say it’s a silly idea,” Voutchkov says. “But it’s an idea that can’t get a practical implementation in the short term. In the long term, I do believe it’s a visionary idea.”

Floating farms may come with a large price tag, Moustafa admits. Still, expanding agriculture should “be more of a priority than building costly football stadiums or indoor ski parks in the desert,” he argues.

Whether or not farming will ever take to the seas, new desalination technologies will transform the way society quenches its thirst. More than 300 million people rely on desalination for at least some of their daily water, and that number will only grow as needs rise and new materials and techniques improve the process.

“Desalination can sometimes get a rap for being energy intensive,” Dave says. “But the immediate benefits of having access to water that would not otherwise be there are so large that desalination is a technology that we will be seeing for a long time into the future.”

 

Advising Guides for Engineering Students

Engineering students at the Maricopa Community Colleges have a new resource for navigating the maze of courses and sequences needed to prepare for transfer to ASU.

The recently updated Advising Guides provide students with information from five other common sources in a handy two-page format.

They are a great tool designed to save students and advisors time and money.

Here’s the link!
https://advisementblog.wordpress.com/20162017-engineering-advising-guides/