Category Archives: Design

Why We Don’t Have thorium Reactor Prototypes

Nuclear reactors that use thorium have been discussed for a long time. Initially (back in the 1950’s) they presented a better option for producing nuclear power. But uranium-based reactors could be used to make weapon-grade material.  So thorium designs were rejected.  Better, but rejected.

And that is still the story. But now the arguments for not exploring how to make commercial grade thorium reactors is that the cost of renewables will keep falling.  Errr … that sounds like a decent argument. But NO ONE in their right mind argues that energy from renewable sources will be enough to meet all of our energy needs for the foreseeable future.

In this article, you get the more complete picture of why thorium is very interesting, and why we are spending so little on it.

Do You Need a Space 10 Growroom?

I am rather confident that your immediate answer will be “no”. But wait! Check it out!

The Growroom

You have to admit that it is funky! And while you might not be drooling to build one of these yourself, it is cool that IKEA is paying designers to think of how urban gardening might look in the future.

This one looks a bit more my size

Image result for IKEA growroom

BTw, you cannot buy this, but you can build one yourself.

This is very cool! But will it fit into the living room?



Do You Live in Space … or the Place?

These days, I live in space only. I am in the middle of renovations. I suffer through this because I aspire to a place. A place that has my personal stamp on it.

But where does one get inspiration to build a “personal stamp”? Err … how about great design blogs? Well, that was what inspired some intrepid folks to go hog wild on design.

Saveur applauds six of the best. If you want eye candy, you got it at the link.

Go for it!

Who Knew? My Apps Want to Socialize!

I am excited about a certain tech trend that keeps on saying “mainstreaming is just around the corner!”

I first got the vision from this 1987 video made by Apple.

The digital assistant acts like an assistant! It is not stupid, like Siri is now.

We are not there yet. But we are getting closer. One way is in improving how apps can communicate with each other.

But welcome IFTTT.

Starting today, developers can embed IFTTT within apps and enable users to connect the hundreds of apps that the service supports. That means that the world of apps is about to get a bit more like the web. Just as any website can link to any other website, apps will readily exchange info with other apps.

But don’t we have this? Well, we do, but

Of course, tech companies have long offered APIs (application programming interfaces) that let third-party developers build integrations with their apps. The problem is developers must write code to support each app they want to integrate with. IFTTT solves this problem by acting as a hub between different apps.

Making these link ups easier means that AI powered bots can more easily connect to apps for services you want. So Alexa might be able to order a pizza and pay for it based on a voice command only.

We are not there yet. But improved integration of apps is a nice step forward.


Now that’s One Smart Flower!

I have posted before that I think solar will evolve faster than people think. These days, we think of clunky and expensive solar panels. Not for long. One likely thread of innovation will be to take solar off the roof and put it in other spaces that are easier to manage.

Smartflower POP is trying to lead the charge there.

Check out the video of the backyard installation. I thought it was cool in the extreme. And these specs might get your attention

Smartflower POP has been dubbed “the world’s first all-in-one solar system” and is easy on the eye and simple to use.  The system is constructed of petal shaped solar panels that automatically fan out to create a structure similar to a flower.  It also includes a self-cleaning system that cleans the solar cells daily and positions itself throughout the day to ensure that the maximum sunlight is being received at all times.  Thanks to the extraordinary design of the solar system it is now able to produce up to a whopping 4,000 kWh per year, which is enough to provide all the energy needed for the average central European household.