Motorized shades for customer comfort

December 1, 2018

People often agree that a meal tastes better outdoors. That’s why restaurant patios never go out of style. Not only is it enjoyable for patrons, the restaurant benefits from a larger service area with more tables. Princi Italia, a casual dining spot in West Plano, Texas, is one of three locations owned and operated by …

Washing bag fights plastic pollution

The millions of tons of plastic pollution that end up in the oceans and other waterways each year is quickly becoming a global crisis. One of the culprits is clothing made from synthetic textiles. With each laundering, numerous small plastic fibers make their way from the washing machine down the drain and into oceans, lakes …

Tuft love for natural carpets

Industrial textile designer Liset van der Scheer enjoys the challenge of taking traditional materials and using them in an innovative way. For a recent collection of carpet and poufs for Casalis, a Belgian designer and producer of contemporary interior textiles, van der Sheer explored the idea of bringing the outdoors inside. As she imagined the …

Heat-conducting graphene jacket

Part jacket. Part science experiment. That’s how the makers of a new graphene-coated jacket describe their garment. Only a single atom thick, graphene is invisible to the naked eye. It’s lightweight, highly conductive, and is the strongest material known to humankind. But graphene also comes with challenges. It’s hard to work with and very expensive …

Parachute system ensures safe landings for astronauts

What does it take to get astronauts home safely from a deep-space mission as their crew module hits the earth’s atmosphere and slows from 20,000 mph to a mere 325 mph? A strong, agile parachute system. NASA has been testing such a system for the Orion spacecraft. It consists of 11 parachutes, including three main …

Soft and flexible fabric generates electricity

November 1, 2018

What if your favorite shirt could also power your digital watch? Researchers at Sweden’s Chalmers University of Technology have created a woven fabric that generates electricity when stretched or exposed to pressure. Working in cooperation with the Swedish School of Textiles in Borås and the research institute Swerea IVF, researchers Anja Lund and Christian Müller …

Light-filtering awnings enhance a view

It’s all about the view when your apartment is located in the town of Teramo on the slopes of Italy’s Gran Sasso, the highest mountain in the Apennines range. Panoramic ceiling-to-floor windows installed in each room take advantage of the landscape. There’s only one problem: All that spectacular scenery and light also comes with the …

Tropical greenhouse housed under ETFE dome

Imagine entering a tropical utopia where the weather is always a perfect 82 degrees and a beautiful setting of flowers, lush greenery, ponds, waterfalls, butterflies, birds and other creatures awaits. This environment isn’t just a dream. Plans are in development to build the world’s largest tropical greenhouse under a single dome in the Pas-de-Calais area …

Ultra-sustainable electric car uses biological materials

The mantra, “reduce, reuse, recycle” has been taken to a new level by students at Netherlands Eindhoven University of Technology. They developed an ultra-sustainable electric car that gets a remarkable 744 miles to the gallon. The students considered the environmental impact of every aspect of the automobile, including production, consumption and recycling, in order to …

Patch offers gear-repair on the go

It happens when you least expect it. That new down vest or cozy sleeping bag catches on something and suddenly it’s ripped. Repairs can be costly and time consuming. The common “duct tape” patch doesn’t quite cut it. That was the thinking of Kelli Jones, an active outdoorswoman who wanted to find a better and …