Category : Technology

Jun 26


The tuk-tuk, or the auto rickshaw, is a common public transportation vehicle seen across several developing nations. In recent years, the vehicle also called the auto rickshaw has crept into a growing number of major cities across the globe–mainly in Europe–as a tourist vehicle. Yet, in America the tuk-tuk has yet to catch on. Possibly sparked by the multiple transportation options already presented, Americans don’t seem too intrigued by the prospect of riding in a new vehicle, regardless of its ability to reduce traffic and energy output.

But those views may eventually change if a design of out Melbourne, Australia catches on with the world. RMIT University student Kyle Armstrong recently revealed designs for an electronic version of the tuk-tuk called the Lindo. Lindo derives from the Spanish word meaning, “a word that describes an object as either especially cute or beautiful to mean a great deal.”

Armstrong’s invention came about in a bid to redesign the rapidly growing Melbourne population and its transportation system. With the Lindo, Armstrong hopes to see a Melbourne where public transport leaves the linear confines of public transportation and instead becomes more like an Uber-based platform. By using the Lindo smartphone app, the user is able to book, pay and track their travels in an efficient manner. Armstrong’s design focuses on a carbon fiber chassis, and titanium space frame that makes it light yet strong and highly durable. In addition to the features, the Lindo also boasts lithium ion batteries that charge at a fraction of the time.

The Lindo is still a ways away from disrupting the current transportation system. However, Armstrong believes that the Lindo will eventually lead to a cleaner, safer and more efficient Melbourne. Check out the video above for a more detailed look at the Lindo.

Do you think the Lindo would work in your city?

May 26

LED via WIki

via Wikipedia

LED lights are nothing new, but they are constantly innovating. Originally invented in 1927 and entering the commercial market in 1968, Light-emitting diodes have evolved to serve various purposes and buying sectors. What started as indicators for electronics and other ancillary support components is now a thriving commercial option. The commercial push saw massive gains in recent years as efficiency of the lights increased, while the eventual price tumble slowly reveals itself to the market.

It’s amazing to think that in just over a century after its initial discovery in 1907 that LEDs are set to challenge the conventional method of lighting across the world. But that is just the beginning to the potential of LED lighting. If you Google ‘LED Lights’ on any given day, you are likely to find at least one or two articles covering a new breakthrough, innovation or theory regarding how life can improve thanks to LED.

Now, with all ranges of colors and types that include organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) and quantum dot LEDs, it remains to be seen where the ceiling for its innovation can go. While there are justifiable concerns about LED that includes heavy doses of “blue-rich” white light and other performance disadvantages, other areas are coming forward with ideas that could enhance life and nature.

In the healthcare field, two LED uses could bring improved comfort to patients and potentially ending a crippling disease in many African nations. Starting in 2013, Berlin’s Charité Clinic began using LED lights in its intensive care unit to create lighting effects on patients’ ceilings. The concept, in part with Phillips, aims to stimulate patients in the unit and reduce stress levels. Doctors reported positive results during its initial launch. Meanwhile, early hopes are that new LED lights could prove useful in the fight against malaria. The belief is that arthropods were much less attracted to customized LED lights than compact fluorescents. Now the hope is that the next round of studying will place the LEDs on the same level as no lighting, which proved least desirable to the species overall.

When it comes to improving the environment, LEDs serve as integral components to the growth of vertical farming. As an increasing number of cities and urban areas embrace the hydroponic growth movement, the need for the lights increases that much more. According to Gizmodo, LED lights help vertical farms harvest crops over 25 times a year with 85 percent less energy. The benefits of vertical farming include increased farming space and crop production. Since LEDs have quite a few varieties, they serve as ideal candidates to serve the varying needs of different plant types.

LEDs contributions extend into communities well beyond farming. The lights have helped brighten cities across the country as multiple other cities close in on joining the ranks. Neighborhoods have clamored for the bulbs to replace traditional street lighting due to LEDs ability to provide brighter and more focused glows. Not only do the bulbs provide increased safety for drivers and pedestrians, it also saves the environment and city’s finances. Once the project is completed in St. Paul, city officials estimate that the new lights will save the city $30,000 per year.

LED innovation shows little signs of stopping. With its price point falling, more customers and businesses should be investing in making the switch. It remains to be seen where LED lighting will end up in these sectors, but to take the old adage, “the future looks bright.”

May 18

spruce-image Vertical Farming

The future of farming could very well be found in America’s largest cities, and it’s all thanks to vertical farming. Vertical farming takes farming and puts it inside massive glass houses that could easily look like an office building. The process grows plants hydroponically, or without soil. The plants are then given ample amounts of artificial light to grow under. The process isn’t so new, but it has recently gained momentum in parts of the world–America’s cities included.

There are many alluring traits to vertical farming, including the ability to grow crops at a much faster rate than traditional farming. With new advancements in vertical farming technology, a number of advocates believe that this will be the standard by 2050.

With land for farming growing scarce and vertical farming moving towards a productivity rate 100 times better than the field, these cities have become the latest to jump on the bandwagon.


Buffalo, New York

After just a few months of work, Vertical Fresh Farms has 600 heads of Romaine lettuce to account for. “We want to try to provide produce to people locally,” Co-owner Jeremy Witt told ABC 7. “We were really discouraged that a lot of our produce comes from 1,500 miles away.” Additionally, the Vertical Fresh team uses aquaponics to create fresh water and nutrients for the plants and koi fish used in their process.

While the operation is small at the moment, the local press aren’t the only ones looking to work with the fresh farm. The group has spoke to local businesses in the region about possible partnerships. It has a ways to go, but this could become a significant trend for the often frozen Buffalo region.


Detroit, Michigan

As Detroit continues its climb out of disaster, the city has taken on several new endeavors to lure youthful, artistic and eco conscious people to the city. Now, the urban farming community has taken notice. By taking remnants of the city’s past failures, mainly its abandoned buildings, the city’s farmers have repurposed the structures to become the epicenter of Detroit’s vertical farming.

“It doesn’t necessarily take a huge building,” Ron Reynolds, one of the partners in Green Collar Foods, said to the Capital Press. “You don’t have to go to the city and say, ‘I’d like that 50,000-square-foot building.’ Effectively in 400 square feet you can have three stories up. So a lot of the buildings begin to open up for viability.” The city’s Brightmoor district is known for its stretch of abandoned buildings, which has made it the ideal location for the farming boom to begin. Those involved in the process take pride in ecological benefits that include reduced water use and less carbon outputs. Best of all, the region is eating directly from the contributions of its reemerging city.


Newark, New Jersey

Newark is a city that has long felt the pain of dying industries and lack of opportunities. Now, New Jersey’s largest and hard struggling city will house the world’s largest vertical farming center. Recently announced, the city a $30 million partnership with a group of investment and farming groups to revive the city’s East Ward. Not only will the venture bring fresh crops to the city, it will also bring jobs and hope.

“Newark is increasingly becoming a destination city for high-tech and environmentally-friendly commerce,” said Mayor Ras Baraka. “It will also expand the role of urban farming and locally-produced vegetables in our city. This will provide greater access to healthy and inexpensive food choices for our residents, helping them live healthier lifestyles.”

No timetable has been set for the project, but the initiative is sure to bring a new meaning to “The Garden State” once completed.


Jackson, Wyoming

As Fast Company Exist explains, Jackson is far from the ideal farming destination. With short growing seasons, high altitude and months of snow you’d be a massive risk taker to try your hand at traditional farming in the region. But that’s in the traditional sense.

Now, just like Newark, Jackson is gearing up to become one of the first vertical farming centers in the world. Unlike Newark’s East Ward, Jackson’s endeavor will convert an empty lot into a three-story greenhouse for local farming. “We’re replacing food that was being grown in Mexico or California and shipped in,” explains Penny McBride, one of the co-founders. “We feel like the community’s really ready for a project like this. Everybody’s so much more aware of the need to reduce transportation, and people like to know their farmer and where food’s coming from.”

Adding to the increased interest, the town will hold a stake in the project as it is being built on city land. With five years of planning with the city under its belt, the project looks set to go. The project expects to produce over 37,000 pounds of greens, 4,400 pounds of herbs, and 44,000 pounds of tomatoes in a year.

May 11

Source: NOAA Photo Library

Source: NOAA Photo Library

The El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) is a natural climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean. During El Niño, or ENSO’s warm phase, a band of uncharacteristically warm ocean water spreads across the central and eastern-central portion of the Equatorial Pacific. In recent years, El Niño has been a bellwether for droughts, intense rainfall and many other severe storms and weather systems across the world–including increased rain across the southern U.S. Now, we can add tornado forecaster to El Niño’s resume.

A new study at Columbia University finds that tornadoes are milder during El Niño years. The report shows the states affected most by El Niño’s temperament are those in the Southwest, like Texas and Oklahoma. “We can forecast how active the spring tornado season will be based on the state of El Niño or La Niña in December or even earlier,” said lead author John Allen, a postdoctoral research scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI), part of Columbia University’s Earth Institute.

Currently, the forecasts can’t predict exactly where the storms will touch down. Furthermore, their forecasts can’t predict if a wave of serious storms will break out at this time.  Allen wants to make this clear so that people don’t think all the scenarios are covered through the IRI’s analysis. However, Allen and his team believe it will still prove useful to governments and insurance agencies in preparation for the coming year.

Allen and his team anticipate releasing their own seasonal tornado forecasts. Currently, the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center’s tornado forecasts are about eight days in beforehand. Allen believes their team can forecast much farther in advance, “…you can actually forecast what the spring tornado season will be like.” This could be made possible if the team’s wish to combine their work with others in the field comes to fruition.

Instead of using erroneous old weather records, the team devised its own formula based on atmospheric pressure, wind shear and other conditions that can accompany bad weather. Theoretically, the formula could predict storm activity in the coming months.

Though the Columbia team would like to issue its tornado forecast next year, the ETA for this may be at least five years away. According to Storm Prediction Center meteorologist Ashton Simpson Cook, “We’ve already started on it, [sic] we’re in the beginning phase.”

Recently, IRI research discovered El Niño conditions over the Pacific, leading to believe this upcoming spring will be a milder storm season in the southern U.S. Additionally, El Niño conditions could prove to have an immense impact of California’s dire need for drought relief, as well as providing relief from severe winter weather in the northern Midwest. Some analysts outside of the IRI believe there is a high probability that the conditions could last through the fall.

Apr 21

Since 2011’s Margin Call succeeded with its day and date release through video on demand (VOD), the strategy and platform has grown to become a viable option for indie and big release productions. Other movies demonstrated the platform’s power as well. The Interview turned controversy into cash for Sony after its large screen release got squashed–raking in $40 million before landing on Netflix 30 days after its VOD release. Currently, indie horror film It Follows is showing that the “compressed window” strategy that closely runs theatre and VOD releases can result in massive earnings and exposure for indies that otherwise could drown behind small marketing budgets and limited release.


76 percent of homes in America currently use DVR, Netflix and/or other VOD services to stream content to their screens. As the number rises with each year, more and more services have come onto the scene to allow independent film and television makers a viable platform to host their productions on Hulu, iTunes, Vudu and countless other services. Now, Walla enters the fray with some incredible options that makes the process easier for content creators, as well as providing viewers with some often hard to find content.

What is Walla?

Walla is a service striving to make global aggregation and distribution a simpler process. Its proprietary tools leverage technology to resolve VOD issues while reducing costs for platform delivery. In turn, this should make the process much more efficient for creators while holding them accountable for producing high-quality content that will pass stringent quality checks employed by streaming platforms. If content passes the quality check, Walla ensures that movies and TV shows should reach iTunes distribution within 30 days. Additionally, with established agreements with top VOD distribution services in place, it can provide Distribution as a Service (DaaS) with ease to up to 110 territories.

During the initial phase, Walla’s Studio Service will guide you through the uploading process that offers an incredible ease of use for the client at the speed they prefer. Once uploaded, a quality check of your content will begin. Once completed, all the platforms your work qualifies for will become options to launch on. If there is a service you wish to be added to that you don’t qualify for, Walla will instruct you on how to reach that goal. After you make your distribution decisions, Walla handles the rest of the work.


With clear-cut pricing and no hidden fees, content creators can understand just what they are getting into. In addition to low, one-time fees clients are guaranteed to receive prompt payment each month that they can track in near real-time through the company’s sales reporting. With transparency as its goal, Walla strives to have clients know exactly what is going on with their project on each platform. Once you have your sales stats for the month, Walla will deliver prompt payments on time, every month.

Walla in the News

Walla’s name received a nice boost in April courtesy of two exciting pieces of news. First, the company announced a partnership with premiere South Korean distributor CJ Entertainment. The partnership brings the South Korean content to Facebook–including a 48 hour free streaming of the film Friend II: The Legacy. Furthering the month’s good news, Walla also launched support for the new iTunes Store Package from Compressor to make delivery to the iTunes Store simpler. It remains to be seen how Walla further impacts distribution, though the recent news bodes well for the service.

Have you tried Walla? What are your thoughts on Walla and VOD as a whole?