Materials

A Robot-Made Habitat for Mars Could Bring Sustainable Building Down to Earth

According to a 2018 report by the International Energy Agency and UN Environment, the global construction industry is responsible for 39% of energy-related carbon-dioxide emissions. That is a huge, scary number—but one that comes with an equally large opportunity to mitigate climate change. The 2015 Paris climate talks revealed that by using existing technology, construction could cut global carbon emissions by up to a third.

Such a reduction requires finding a new way for the industry to move forward, or as CEO and chief architect of New York–based AI SpaceFactory David Malott puts it, “a high-tech way of going backward.”

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/mars-habitat/.

Photo Credit: A hypothetical Martian neighborhood of Marsha dwellings. Rendering courtesy of AI SpaceFactory and Plomp.

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99% Invisible Podcast: Why Sand Scarcity Threatens the Building Industry

If you’re a fan of the popular 99% Invisible podcast and the kinds of stories published on Redshift, then you’re in the right place. Autodesk and Redshift partnered with 99% Invisible host Roman Mars and his crew for six podcasts tied to the show’s mission of uncovering the fascinating—yet inconspicuous—ways that architecture and design shape the planet.

In this second episode in the partnership series, Mars explores sand scarcity in construction. The notion that the planet is running out of sand might come as a shock. After all, it’s the most abundant resource next to water and air. But it’s also a major ingredient in concrete, asphalt, and glass, and since reinforced concrete became a building material of choice in the 20th century, the demand for sand has increased exponentially.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/sand-scarcity/.

Photo Credit: Courtesy of National Park Service (NPS.gov)

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5 Ways Industrial-Manufacturing “Dinosaur” Claudius Peters Staves Off Extinction

Claudius Peters is hardly a household name. The huge manufacturer of materials handling and processing systems for cement, gypsum, steel, and aluminum plants won’t challenge Amazon’s or Tesla’s news-cycle dominance. But Thomas Nagel, the company’s chief digital officer and operations director, is establishing Claudius Peters as a global leader in—of all things—digital innovation.

Founded in 1906 and headquartered in Buxtehude, Germany, near Hamburg, Claudius Peters and is an international company with a dozen offices worldwide. Scale and longevity are reassuring. “But 100 years of operation also means that we are a dinosaur,” Nagel says. That presents a fundamental challenge: How does a “dinosaur” avoid extinction?

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/claudius-peters/.

Photo Credit: Courtesy Claudius Peters

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“The Great Good Place” Uses Sustainable Innovation to Connect Bangkok Residents

Bangkok, Thailand, is a vibrant metropolis. This colorful capital city, one of the most visited in the world, offers amazing food and culture, tourist-friendly floating markets, golden palaces, great shopping, and booming nightlife. But—as is true of life in other big cities—its residents also deal with issues of social isolation, lack of access to green spaces, and other urban woes.

Magnolia Quality Development Corporation, Ltd. (MQDC), a Thailand-based real-estate developer, recognizes that potential home buyers might want more than just a building complex and created an integrated 17-acre campus called WHIZDOM 101. The venture is called The Great Good Place, after sociologist Ray Oldenburg’s 1989 book, which posits that to live well, a balance between home life, the workplace, and sociable “third places” to build community is crucial. WHIZDOM 101 is a sustainable smart city within a large metropolis designed to help residents lead more efficient, healthier, and more fulfilling lives through innovation and technology.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/sustainable-innovation/.

Photo Credit: Sustainability and community inform Bangkok‘s WHIZDOM 101 housing concept, which integrates work, home, and a common “third place.” Courtesy MQDC.

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8 Construction-Technology Innovations That Changed the Game in 2017

On November 17, the UK’s Institution of Structural Engineers announced its 2017 Structural Award winners. The globe-spanning projects included a billowy football stadium roof in Bilbao, Spain; an adaptable, easily transportable stage structure for Adele’s 25 tour; and an elegant and seismically robust Bahá’í temple in Chile. As diverse as the entries are, they have an inventive artistry in common, stretching the bounds of construction technology to realize previously unbuildable visions.

Technological innovations are spreading like wildfire in all sectors. If you make your living in architecture, engineering, or construction, chances are good that something is coming on the market soon that will improve the quality, aesthetics, and profitability of your projects, as we’ve seen in these eight emerging solutions that made an impact in 2017.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/construction-technology-2017/.

Photo Credit: A Gaudí-inspired pedestrian footbridge in Madrid was constructed on-site using commercial 3D printers. Courtesy IAAC – Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia.

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New Metal Means a Wave of Additive Manufacturing Technologies (Not Limp Bizkit)

After 20 years of iteration on the same basic additive-manufacturing technologies for metal, a new wave of innovation is emerging. Lower-cost, safer processes are replacing the old ways of doing things, offering vastly different material properties through resolution, surface quality, and design freedom.

But first, a little 3D-printing history: Since the invention of the selective laser melting (SLM) process at the Fraunhofer Institute in 1995, metal additive manufacturing has relied primarily on three processes: the first, and most common, selectively melts a cross-section of a metal powder with a laser or electron beam, layer by layer, to build up a metal object in a range of alloys. The second, a lens/directed-energy approach, blows the metal powder into the path of the laser. And in the third, a powder-bed approach, the metal powders are glued together, then sintered to achieve metal-like properties.

As transformative as these processes have been in enabling custom and complex parts, they aren’t perfect: Using metal powder for additive manufacturing means handling potentially dangerous materials, and thermal-distortion issues have seen many prints relegated to the bin of broken dreams.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/additive-manufacturing-technologies/.

Photo Credit: Courtesy XJet

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Blackbird Guitars Unifies Sound and Manufacturing Vision With Ekoa “Wood”

Inspiration comes in many guises: a glimpse of an old photo, a ray of sunlight on the skin—or the crash of a digital watch against a concrete wall, which was the childhood inspiration for industrial designer Joseph Luttwak. Although the watch did not survive, his budding interest in making things that last did.

Based in San Francisco, Luttwak is the founder of Blackbird Guitars and Lingrove, a biocomposite-materials company. And the things he builds are lightweight, great-sounding instruments.

This article originally appeared on Autodesk’s Redshift, a site dedicated to inspiring designers, engineers, builders, and makers. Continue reading the article: https://www.autodesk.com/redshift/blackbird-guitars/.

Photo Credit: Blackbird Guitars’ El Capitan on a bed of Ekoa. Courtesy Blackbird Guitars.

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