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High-tech wool keeps auto interior cool

January 1, 2010

Swiss automaker Rinspeed introduced the iChange, a vehicle that changes shape to adapt to the passenger load, in March 2009. The streamlined, lightweight, zero-emission iChange shifts to save energy, and its futuristic design includes high-tech wool for seat covers, door panels and roof liners that keep even dark-colored interiors comfortable. The spun, dyed and finished …

Pinwheel-shaped panels for backdrops

Tom McPhillips of Atomic Design, Lititz, Pa., became fascinated with the pinwheel shape while staging a Japanese music festival for his rental display and stage fabrication company. “It’s such a fantastic dimensional shape, both simple and complex at once,” says McPhillips. His absorption has now emerged as a modular Pinwheel Panel, a two-by-two-feet square panel …

Creating computational textiles

It’s called a LilyPad Arduino, and designer Leah Buechley and a team of educators and scientists plan to show more than 400 students how to combine it with traditional fabric arts to create computational textiles—computers embedded into fabrics. Buechley, director of the “High-Low Tech Group” at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Media Lab, developed …

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Multi-functional structures aid agricultural producers

Cattle need fresh air, sunlight and protection from cold, damp conditions. ClearSpan Fabric Structures International, South Windsor, Conn., offers a range of custom-designed arched, fabric-covered shelters that can accommodate animal pens, stalls, nurseries or seclusion areas, designed from 25 to 200 feet wide and in any desired length. For smaller agricultural producers, ClearSpan partner FarmTek, …

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Tensioned fabric sculpture on display in Sydney

The Eora aborigines viewed the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788 from the current location of the Sydney Customs House, Sydney, Australia, which has served as a gateway to people and goods entering the country since 1844. Now this historic building hosts events and exhibitions, including a five-story, translucent green tensioned-fabric sculpture dubbed the …

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Tensioned canopies cover outdoor escalators

[Fabritec Structures] Dallas, Texas, U.S.A. In 2008, California adopted an ordinance that mandates the covering of outdoor escalators to control water run-off during rainstorms. To that end, Fabritec designed tensioned canopies to cover four escalators in downtown Oakland, Calif. Fabritec’s design differed from the traditional barrel-type covers most often used for this type of application …

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Artistically designed awning meets customer needs

[Miami Awning Co.] Miami, Fla., U.S.A. Miami Awning took an exceptionally artistic approach to designing this 12-by-12-foot awning for an exclusive 26th-floor penthouse residence overlooking the bay and Atlantic Ocean. The awning covers a marble-topped bar area and is designed with flowing curves and accents that conform to the customer’s discriminating taste and love of …