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  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 20:00
    MIT’s social computing group wants to initiate social change via data visualization at the rate of a map a day


    MIT Is Drawing 10 000 Maps To Save The World Co Design business design

    Fast Company has a great piece on the latest project from MIT’s social computing group.

    The little things that make an otherwise cramped-and-concrete urban life worthwhile (green space, bike lanes, coffee shops) are exactly what the You Are Here project is about.

    Over the next two and a half years, MIT Media Lab professor Sep Kamvar will lead a team of computer scientists, artists, architects, urban planners, designers, and educators to draw 10,000 maps–that’s 100 different cities, rendered 100 times each–in hopes of illuminating the details that make cities great. Or, in some cases, not so great.

    “I realized that whenever I look at a map, it just tells me the streets and the buildings, and that’s such a small fraction of what actually makes up a city,” Kamvar says. “I wanted to make some maps to help people understand their cities better.”

    MIT Is Drawing 10 000 Maps To Save The World Co Design business design

    Kamvar runs the relatively new Social Computing group within MIT Media Lab. Their goal, stated simply, is to leverage technology to help people help themselves. As for what this mission statement has to do with map-making, “Each of these maps may show a different aspect of the city,” Kamvar explains. “People will choose what to do with that information.”

    In the three weeks since the project has started, Kamvar’s lab has released maps of bicycle crashes, trees, and coffee shops, across cities like San Francisco, Cambridge, Seattle, Portland, and Chicago. None of these data sets comes with a specific suggestion from Kamvar’s team, like, “Hey Chicago, you need to add more bike lanes in the Loop because of all the biking accidents there,” but having said that, Kamvar allows that his team is trying to make maps that suggest what people might do.

    “As an example, we just did street greenery maps. And that might suggest places where one might plant a tree. It’s very simple,” Kamvar says. “We don’t know yet how to do that with some of the deeper more entrenched problems, but we’ll get there.”

    MIT Is Drawing 10 000 Maps To Save The World Co Design business design

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 19:32
    Announcing a new book – Make: Getting Started with Adafruit Trinket by Mike Barela published by @make


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    Announcing a new book – Getting Started with Adafruit Trinket by Mike Barela published by Maker Media. Mike tell us more :)

    Trinket is a great microcontroller – it provides much of the power you might use in an Arduino application in a smaller size and lower cost. This got me started building Trinket-based projects (rather easily which was great). When a discussion of a book was brought up, I thought it would be a natural. Not just because a number of project tutorials had been written (which helps). Trinket is a bit different from other microcontrollers, from the software, driver, libraries, and what might be encountered on use. Nearly all of the benefits and “gotchas” on Trinket have come out either through working on one or posting in the Adafruit forums. I thought a reference providing a “one stop” resource on Trinket’s use would be highly beneficial for both new Makers and those with experience on other devices. It follows the Maker zen, so to speak, provide the ability to focus on the concept and not have to dig into a fistful of datasheets and arcane code to even do the basics. You have the information to go from idea to project, which is a much more satisfying process. The book provides the reader with additional tools for the Making toolbox and ideas on “what are the possibilities” which is something we all look to do.

    Sign up, book is coming out soon!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 19:00
    This Snowboard has a turntable on it #musicmonday



    Signal Snowboards has come out with the Scratch & Shred Turntable Snowboard that actually functions while you board. Read more about it on youtube from NetworkA.

    ETT Season 4, episode 8: Are you ready? I said, are you READY for this pioneering turntable snowboard?! In true hip hop fashion, Signal Snowboards put together the ultimate collaboration teaming up with one of the greatest DJs in history and contributing member of the Beastie Boys, Mix Master Mike, who not only provided direction on this build but also an original track for the episode. Custom board graphics come courtesy of artist MadSteez, and the clutch components including the turntable and mixer come courtesy of leading DJ equipment manufacturer Vestax. From the ultimate collab comes the ultimate DJ board complete with a functioning turntable and mixer. We tested it twice—the DJ capabilities were proven at the Vestax Store grand opening on Melrose street in downtown Los Angeles, and ride-ability was confirmed on the slopes of Bear Mountain, California jamming to Mix Master Mike’s custom track. Aw yeah!

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 18:57
    Toward an open Internet of Things by @mikeloukides @radar #IoT


    Toward an open Internet of Things – O’Reilly Radar.

    With the Internet of Things, it’s deja vu all over again. The vendors who provide public APIs and support open standards will succeed in the long run. Likewise, the vendors who try to trap consumers behind proprietary software and non-interoperable products will eventually fail, to everyone’s detriment. If you win the IoT, you lose it.

    Read more.


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    On September 9th, 2013 – The New York Times asked Adafruit’s founder and engineer, Limor “Ladyada” Fried to contribute to an article series called ROOM for DEBATE. The article can be viewed here and Limor’s contribution can be viewed here.

    We believe Internet of Things devices should all come with a well established expectation of what they will and will not do with consumer’s data. In the article we put together the start of what we hope will help this effort – Minimizing Risk Is Easy: Adopt a Bill of Rights

    • Open is better than closed; this ensures portability between Internet of Things devices.
    • Consumers, not companies, own the data collected by Internet of Things devices.
    • Internet of Things devices that collect public data must share that data.
    • Users have the right to keep their data private.
    • Users can delete or back up data collected by Internet of Things devices.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 18:13
    Awesome Gipsy Danger with a Chain Sword Costume


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    Pacific Rim has my heart for many reasons, and one is because it gave us Jaegers. Cosplayers are building replicas of the mechs, and Nona Neon Cosplay made an incredible femme version of Gipsy Danger. She crafted the armor and painted it just right and guess what? She also made the chain sword. Awesome.

    She crafted the piece from wood. You can see a couple of in progress photos below. She cut the notches with a jigsaw, used a table saw for the bevels, and a hand sander to make the blade’s tip. She applied 2mm foam for the plates. Here are a few specifics:

    The base is cut from a piece of pine wood, the middle details are 2mm foam detailed with a woodburner. Spray painted with dark gray and metallic silver spray paint and finally hand detailed with acrylic paint

    Total Cost: $7.50

    Work Time: approx 6 hours

    gipsy danger chainsword 2

    gipsy danger chainsword

    See more photos and learn more about the costume at Nona Neon Cosplay.

    via Kaiju-What

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 18:00
    Trinket powered geiger counter #trinket



    Trinket powered geiger counter:

    Lately I have been messing around a bit with microprocessor powered geiger counters. One smart guy came up with the idea of generating high voltage using PWM signals from the microprocessor itself. With some additional external parts a HV supply and negative going pulse suitable for microprocessors is easy to make. H

    …The circuit works as follows: A ~1 Khz squarewave turns the MPSA44 high voltage transistor on and off, generating high voltage when the  inductors current is shut off. The voltage depends on the pulse width of the square wave which can be tweaked in software. The 1N4007 diode rectifies this voltage, and the HV cap removes most of the ripple on this voltage. The resistor limits current to the GM tube. The current pulses from the tube generate a voltage drop over the 100K resistor which turns on the BC546. When this happens the voltage through the 10K resistor is pulled to ground, generating a negative going pulse each time the GM tube detects an ionizing ray or particle.

    To drive this circuit I used my new Adafruit Trinket, a small board with a Attiny85 microprocessor. Using the tutorials on the Adafruit website it is easy to work with from the Arduino environment….

    Read More.

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    Featured Adafruit Product!

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    Adafruit Trinket – Mini Microcontroller – 3.3V Logic: Trinket may be small, but do not be fooled by its size! It’s a tiny microcontroller board, built around the Atmel ATtiny85, a little chip with a lot of power. We wanted to design a microcontroller board that was small enough to fit into any project, and low cost enough to use without hesitation. Perfect for when you don’t want to give up your expensive dev-board and you aren’t willing to take apart the project you worked so hard to design. It’s our lowest-cost arduino-IDE programmable board! The Attiny85 is a fun processor because despite being so small, it has 8K of flash, and 5 I/O pins, including analog inputs and PWM ‘analog’ outputs. We designed a USB bootloader so you can plug it into any computer and reprogram it over a USB port just like an Arduino. In fact we even made some simple modifications to the Arduino IDE so that it works like a mini-Arduino board. You can’t stack a big shield on it but for many small & simple projects the Trinket will be your go-to platform. (read more)

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 17:53
    Drone films fireworks





    Drone films fireworks.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 17:37
    Ask your Wearables Questions! LIVE Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern 4/23 2pm ET


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    What questions do you have about wearable electronics? Ask them now in the comments, and you could win our live giveaway!

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    All inquisitive askers whose questions are featured on this week’s LIVE Wearable Electronics with Becky Stern will be eligible for a special giveaway. Post your Qs in the comments here, on Google+, Twitter, or YouTube, and then tune in at 2pm ET on Wednesday for the answers and to see if you’ve won!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 17:00
    Breadboard based modular system #MusicMonday



    Via Studio for STEIM.

    From May 1 through May 14th, Pete Edwards and Phillip Stearns have been working on developing an open platform for endless musical and electronic invention, exploration, and discovery from the bottom up or the top down. This system is based on minimizing the differences in the input and output “languages” used in various musical electronic formats. This means finding a way to allow free communication between logic, analog and eventually digital electronics. We are working to achieve this by finding a middle ground between these mediums where signal format and amplitude can be shared freely with minimal need for translators and adaptors. Our proof of concept models have shown that unhindered communication between binary logic and variable analog systems renders wildly adventurous possibilities and a unique musical character.

    The form factor ethos is one where our passion for invention and performance are given equal attention. The key to achieving this goal is designing a hardware system with maximal scalability of size, quality and hardware format. Thus allowing the experimenter to quickly and cheaply connect circuit boards with simple jumper wires. Meanwhile the traveling musician may prefer to adapt their system to be held in a rugged housing with large format control hardware. This is effectively achieved by adopting a standard layout for a set of core modules which can be built up to the appropriate scale using a series of shields and pluggable add ons.

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    After a series of discussion on what such a system might look like and how to establish a standard that could be as flexible as possible, allowing for the nesting of micro and macro elements, we began prototyping modules and stackable hardware interfaces.

    Project documentation is still underway, with schematics for the prototypes still in development, however, we have, after only two weeks, produced a functional system that fulfills many of our goals including portability, quick system (re)configuration, open patchable interconnection architecture, and stable breadboard compatible form factor with the potential for stackable shields and interfaces.

    Future plans discussed for the project include the development of VCO, VCA, and VCF modules that operate on 5 volts, releasing schematics and system specifications to the public, production of low profile breadboard compatible modules in kit and pre-fabricated form with options for either through hole or smd components.

    Get more details and read more here.

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  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 16:43
    SONY patents self cleaning robot – Patent US20140074292


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    Patent US20140074292 – Robot device, method of controlling robot device, computer program, and … – Google Patents via IEEE Spectrum.

    Provided is an excellent robot device capable of preferably detecting difference between dirt and a scratch on a lens of a camera and difference between dirt and a scratch on a hand.

    A robot device 100 detects a site in which there is the dirt or the scratch using an image of the hand taken by a camera 305 as a reference image. Further, this determines whether the detected dirt or scratch is due to the lens of the camera 305 or the hand by moving the hand. The robot device 100 performs cleaning work assuming that the dirt is detected, and then this detects the difference between the dirt and the scratch depending on whether the dirt is removed.

    Read more.




    Huh, wonder if they’re bringing back the QRIO.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 16:00
    This online test will help determine if you are tone deaf #MusicMonday


    ToneDeafTest com Find out if you are tone deaf or not

    Try it out for free here! Here’s some information from the site:

    Most people who think they are tone deaf do in fact have the pitch discrimination abilities necessary to be great musicians. It is actually a lack of musical training which is to blame for their apparent difficulty judging notes.

    This Tone Deaf Test is designed to measure your pitch sensitivity. This tests whether you have the fundamental abilities you need, which can then be developed and improved through ear training and singing practice.

    The test is divided into three stages, each of which tests a different pitch judgement skill. Your overall score is used to determine the likelihood that you are truly tone deaf. If you pass the test you can be quite confident you have the fundamental pitch abilities required to become a good musician.

    Please note that although the test has been designed by experienced music educators based on scientific research into tone deafness, it is not a clinical diagnosis. If you fail the test, this is not diagnosis of a cognitive impairment and it is possible you can still develop your ears for music.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 15:00
    James Dyson Is Designing A Giant Vacuum-On-A-Boat To Clean Ocean Trash


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    Fastcoexist has a story on James Dyson’s plans to develop a giant vacuum designed to clean up pollution in our water.

    “By skimming a highly concentrated flow of larger sized plastics in polluted rivers, the M.V. Recyclone would effectively mine a major source of the pollution before it reached the sea,” the British engineer explained in an email.

    “Large skim nets unfurl from the rollers at its stern and are anchored on each side of the river. Hydraulic winches wind them in and out. The nets face upstream and skim the surface of the river for floating debris. The plastic waste is shredded on board and then different grades of plastic are separated by a huge cyclone–very similar to the way our cyclonic vacuums work,” he said.

    Dyson first sketched out the idea for Time, but we asked him for a few more details. Originally, he thought the machine would be more like a “grid” fixed at certain strategic points of the river. But he eventually decided that wouldn’t have the scale or mobility of a boat. Hence the M.V. Recyclone barge.

    Read more.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 14:29
    From the desk of Ladayada – Cell phone module board #manufacturing


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    From the desk of Ladayada, upcoming cell phone module breakout board and more!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 14:07
    Cyber Spider testing



    Cyber Spider testing via MAKE.

    Initial walking tests of the Cyber Spider by Matthew Garten.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 14:00
    Use the MaKey MaKey to make DIY assistive technology for computer access #makeymakey #makeymakeymonday


    Makeymakeyassistive

    Jason Webb shared his recent tutorial detailing how to “use the MaKey MaKey to make DIY assistive technology for computer access“. He also did a live Google Hangout on Air sharing more details about how one can approach the MaKey-MaKey as a tool for developing assistive technology here.

    In this Instructable we will be looking at how to use an innovative device called the MaKey MaKey to create customized, low-cost, DIY computer access interfaces for users with disabilities.

    What is a computer access interface?

    A computer access interface is anything you use to interact with your computer. Normally this is simply a keyboard or a mouse, but for some individuals these devices are impractical or difficult (perhaps even impossible) to use.

    Many commercial options exist that let people use their computer in various ways, but the vast majority of them are extremely expensive, hard to use and rely on relatively outdated technology and design principles.

    In this Instructable, I will show you how to make your own simple, transparent interfaces out of common objects like aluminum foil and cardboard and an awesome $50 piece of technology! …

    Read More.

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    Every Monday is Makey Makey™ Monday here at Adafruit! The MaKey MaKey – by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, made by JoyLabz! Ever played Mario on Play-Doh or Piano on Bananas? Alligator clip the Internet to Your World. MaKey MaKey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Find out more details at makeymakey.com or watch the video at makeymakey.com. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything in between! If you have a cool project you’ve made with your Makey Makey be sure to send it in to be featured here!

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:35
    Quick teardown- what’s inside a Home Depot 7in LED Easy light
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:18
    voLumen – volumetric 3D display – amazing video
  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:00
    Our top 10 favorite photos from underwaterphotography.com’s annual photo contest #photography


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    Underwaterphotography.com has a yearly contest for underwater photography and the winners this year are incredible! We’ve posted 10 of our favorites here but be sure to check out the site to see all the winners and runners up. Above is the first place winner from the over/under category. It was taken in Mexico by Uwe Schmolke. Here’s some more information on the contest:

    Winning here (or even just being placed) is Underwater Photography’s most coveted accolade because it says you succeeded in the most competitive environment there is, against the top talent of the moment.

    Every year a panel of judges select the best images entered in our online photo contest from the previous year. Gold, silver, and bronze medals are awarded for the top three from each category in order of merit.

    The judges comprise of industry professionals, previous year’s World Champions, our site moderators – anyone we can rope in! They are unpaid, non-affiliated, and (of course) cannot vote for themselves.

    Here’s 9 more of our favorites!

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    This one is the first place winner from the wide angle wrecks category and was taken by Ellen Cuylaerts in the Cayman islands. It’s a, “Fly free diver at the bow of the EX-USS Kittiwake”.

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    This one is the first place winner of the wide angle – close focus category. It was taken by Helmy Hashim in the Red Sea in Egypt.

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    This super creepy photo is the second place winner of the Macro – Close-up category. Taken by Doris Vierkötter in Indonesia.

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    This one is the 3rd place winner from the Wide Angle – Natural Light (no strobe) category. Taken by Shane Gross in Sri Lanka.

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    3rd place winner from the Wide Angle – Marine Life category. By Valda Fraser taken in South Africa.

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    2nd place winner from the Macro – not swimming category. By Ellen Cuylaerts taken in Mexico.

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    3rd place winner from the Macro- swimming category. By Uwe Schmolke taken in Indonesia.

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    2nd place winner from the Macro – super macro category. Taken by Iyad Suleyman in the United Arab Emirates.

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    First place winner from the sharks category. Taken by Petteri Viljakainen in Mexico.

  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 13:00
    Symbiotic Machine: A robot that feeds on algae #robotics



    Ivan Henriques has made this strange but cool robot that feeds on algae.

    Sealed with a transparent cylinder a motor, an endless worm and a pepper grinder aligned and connected by one single axis compose the mouth/anus, like a jellyfish. This cylinder has a liquid inlet/outlet (for water and algae spirogyra) placed at the end part of the endless worm. The endless worm has an important function to pump liquid in and out and to give small propulsion for the machine. Once the motor is activated the endless worm can turn to the right or to the left. If it turns to the right it sucks liquid in. If it turns to the left it pushes liquid out. The machine is programmed to pump algae and water in and out by the information transmitted by the sensors.

    In order to “hack” the algae spirogyra photosynthesis’ and apply it as an energy source, the algae cell’s membrane has to be broken. The pepper grinder that is connected at the end of the endless worm can grind the algae breaking the membrane cell, releasing micro particles. These micro particles in naked eyes looks like a “green juice” which is flushed inside the machine: the stomach.

    A tube that comes from the end of the mouth with grinded algae goes though the stomach inside the ellipsoid of revolution. This tube is fastened on a 2-way valve placed in the center of the spherical shape.

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    Inside the ellipsoid of revolution there is another bowl, just one centimeter smaller aligned in the center. Placing this bowl inside, it creates two chambers: 1] the space between the outer skin and the bowl and 2] inside the smaller bowl. In chamber 1 the photocells are placed in parallel and in series. The photocell is composed by a plate covered with gold, a spacer in the middle covered with a copper mesh. This set up allows the “green juice” rest between the gold and copper. After the light is shed on the electrons of the grinded algae they flow to one of these metals, as a lemon battery. As all the photocells are connected, with the help from the electronic chip LTC 3108 Energy Harvester is possible to store these milivoltages in two AA rechargeable batteries.

    (A life cycle with functions was idealized in order to program the machine and activate independent mechanical parts of the stomach: it has to eat, move, sunbath, rest, search for food, wash itself, in loop)

    The 2-way valve mentioned above is connected as: valve 1 hooked up with chamber 1 and valve 2 with chamber 2. When the stomach works is sent information to the machine that the valve 1 has to be opened. The algae flow to this chamber and the machine uses a light sensor to go towards where there is more luminescence to make photosynthesis. It rests for ten minutes. After the 10 min sunbath the machine has to clean its stomach – and the photocells – to be able to eat again. Water is sucked in again with the mouth, and via the same valve from the algae, it pumps more water inside chamber 1 in order to have an overflow of this liquid in chamber 2. The liquid, which is now in chamber 2 is flushed out by the motor turning the endless worm and having the valve 2 opened.

    Fixed on the edge of the structure opposite the mouth, an underwater pump connected by a vertical axis with a servo powers the movement of the structure giving possibilities to steer 0; 45 and minus 45 degrees.

    Read more.

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  • Monday, April 21, 2014 - 12:00
    AMLGM Envisions Urban Alloy Tower Over Transportation Hub in NYC


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    AMLGM has developed a city redesign plan called “Urban Alloy,” which focuses on re-imagining the space around existing transportation hubs in the outer boroughs of NYC. Via designboom.

    From AMLGM:

    Living Concept:

    The combination of escalating land prices and the acceleration of city migration have made urban renewal based modes of densification unfit for the contemporary city. Urban Alloy is the symbiotic re-purposing of the air rights above transportation corridors in New York. Urbanist’s have long touted the benefits of greater housing density near public transportation hubs – Urban Alloy proposes the advancement of this idea by locating the system directly on the intersections between surface and elevated train lines. We have chosen the intersection of the LIRR and the 7 train as a test case. The paradigm of one size fits all is obsolete. Urban citizens want diverse living situations where they can work, play, eat and rest within a pedestrian zone. As technology creates the market desire and a conditioning for personalization, society is more willing to pay a premium for spaces that are tailored to their particular needs. See Program Diagram describing the wide range of living options.

    Skin Concept:

    The wide range of programmatic options inspired a blend of floor plate geometries that transition from cylindrical to triangular from the base to the top of each tower. This blend, along with constraints instilled from the site, generates a complex geometry that requires a new facade optimization paradigm. A composite or alloy of multiple flexible systems is required to optimize a skin in which every point has a unique environmental exposure. The system is deployed on a grid that follows the geometric directionality of the surface. At each intersection of the grid, the normal of the surface is analyzed against its optimal solar shading and daylight transmitting requirements. An authored algorithm then generates vertical and horizontal fin profiles that blend with the profiles at adjacent nodes. The result is an optimized system of decorative metal fins that are unique to each specific solar orientation. Based upon the tenants of current solar facade design, the algorithm utilizes deep horizontal fins along southern exposure, and deeper vertical fins alongs east and west facing surfaces. This system generates specific fin depth and orientation for every point on the surface.

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    Read more.

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