By Pawan Deshpande “Recently, Kimberley Isbell of the Nieman Journalism Lab cited a Harvard Law report and published an extensive post on news aggregation and legal considerations. From a curation perspective, the whole article is interesting, but what was the most surprising was that her recommendations for being an ethical content aggregator, were the same as being an effective content curator.”

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Instead of heating or cooling your whole house, imagine a fabric that will keep your body at a comfortable temperature — regardless of how hot or cold it actually is. That’s the goal of an engineering project called ATTACH (Adaptive Textiles Technology with Active Cooling and Heating) at the University of California, San Diego, funded with a $2.6M grant from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Advanced Research Projects Agency – Energy (ARPA-E).


By regulating the temperature around an individual person, rather than a large room, the smart fabric could potentially cut the energy use of buildings and homes by at least 15 percent, said project leader Joseph Wang, distinguished professor of nanoengineering at UC San Diego.


“In cases where there are only one or two people in a large room, it’s not cost-effective to heat or cool the entire room,” said Wang. “If you can do it locally, like you can in a car by heating just the car seat instead of the entire car, you can save a lot of energy.”


The smart fabric will be designed to regulate the temperature of the wearer’s skin — keeping it at 93° F — by adapting to temperature changes in the room. When the room gets cooler, the fabric will become thicker. When the room gets hotter, the fabric will become thinner, using polymers inside the smart fabric that expand in the cold and shrink in the heat.


“93° F is the average comfortable skin temperature for most people,” added Renkun Chen, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at UC San Diego, and one of the collaborators on this project.


The clothing will incorporate printable “thermoelectrics” into specific spots of the smart fabric to regulate the temperature on “hot spots” — such as areas on the back and underneath the feet — that tend to get hotter than other parts of the body when a person is active.


“With the smart fabric, you won’t need to heat the room as much in the winter, and you won’t need to cool the room down as much in the summer. That means less energy is consumed,” said Chen.


The researchers are also designing the smart fabric to power itself, using rechargeable batteries to power the thermoelectrics and biofuel cells that can harvest electrical power from human sweat.


The 3-D printable wearable parts will be thin, stretchable, and flexible to ensure that the smart fabric is not bulky or heavy. The material will also be washable, stretchable, bendable and lightweight. “We also hope to make it look attractive and fashionable to wear,” said Wang.

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“We can make all sorts of assumptions about the way technology is changing learning, but what does the science actually say? According to Alfred Spector, Google’s vice president of research, it says a lot. For example, virtual tutors have helped average students reach the top 2% of their course; video games provide immersive environments that take the bordedom out of studying; and social networks are being used to increase interaction between students.”

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Margot Krasojevic‘s latest proposal, a mesh shelter that takes the concept of snow caves and applies it to an artificial structure, is built for an eminently practical purpose: a built emergency shelter for climbers and others caught in extreme conditions.

The elaborate, high tech and naturally contoured structure is as much a thought experiment as it is a serious architectural proposal, with the carbon fibre mesh acting as a snow-catcher, forming a frame for a large snow drift. The captured snow works as both building material and insulation, allowing for the creation of a shelter of several rooms. Inside sits a wooden frame suspended from the mesh and attached to the landscape by climbing ropes, which avoid freezing by swaying. This frame can have canvases attached to it, and contains cell-like modules that would act as sleeping areas…

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