The Goods: The gloriously green building in bloom – and other stories everyone’s talking about


(Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures)

It’s a living, breathing, photosynthesising, carbon-capturing marvel

It looks like a building in which someone tried to remake The Day of the Triffids and then forgot to take the set down, but this sprouting colossus is actually a model of sustainability.

Proposed by Belgian architect Vincent Callebaut, the Botanic Centre Bloom is a renovated apartment block in Brussels, featuring hundreds of plant beds filled with 10,000 plants. All the photosynthesis from that thriving mass of greenery would, according to Callebaut’s calculations, capture almost 50 tonnes of carbon per year and improve the building’s thermal performance.

And that spaceship thing on the roof? A solar panel-coated ‘chrysalis’, of course, helping power a rooftop solar farm. Along with ‘vertical axis wind turbines’, the Bloom would allegedly generate a total of 128,340 kWh per year of renewable energy. Plus – if it ever does get the green light to go ahead – it’s hard to see how filmmakers could ignore it when that much-awaited The Day of the Triffids remake finally comes around.



(Image: Vincent Callebaut Architectures)


Eagle-eyed predators owning the drones

This week’s drone news is a little different than usual, in that the drone doesn’t come out of it looking cool and useful – mainly because it gets schooled and snatched by an eagle. Let us explain.

Dutch police have been trialling the use of eagles in taking down illegal or rogue drones from the skies, for occasions when drones pose a threat to the public. Apparently, the birds simply snatch the bots from the sky, and are so naturally skilled at grabbing stuff that they can do it without any fear of getting injured.

So far, trials have been successful and police are confident about rolling out the scheme. So if you’re a drone-junkie in the Netherlands, exercise a lot of caution, unless you want your little buzzing buddy to end up in the claws of a fearsome, majestic eagle.



Power your smartwatch from a sweaty workout

Thermoelectric generators do not sound like something most people would want to wear. But don’t let the scientific, techy name put you off – TEGs, as they’re known, are useful little things, and now they’ve been integrated into T-shirts which generate electricity from body heat.

Researchers at North Carolina State University have embedded the devices into a range of shirts. The material rests on the skin and then generates electricity by detecting changes in body temperature – primarily during exercise or a workout.

Putting the devices into lightweight T-shirts is a notable progression on previous TEG-integrating clothing, which was often bulky and uncomfortable. The aim here is that such clothing could power various forms of wearable tech, and even specific health-monitoring devices (such as technology that can detect asthma attacks) further down the line.



(Photo: news.ncsu.edu)

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