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MetaLayer's new data community 'Delv' promotes visualization sharing

VentureBeat writes about Philadelphia startup MetaLayer as the "Photoshop of data" related to its new data community for users to share the visualizations they create from complex data sets.

People can pick apart the data that others have put together, and point out flaws or ask questions. Down the road the company hopes the platform will become a place to share data visualizations created by “real people”, not statisticians and professional analysts.

Original source: VentureBeat
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Vote expected this week on 40-foot sculpture for new Barnes

The New York Times teases the Philadelphia Art Commission's expected Wednesday vote to approve plans for a 40-foot high stainless steel sculpture at the new Barnes Foundation site on the Ben Franklin Parkway.

The sculpture, called “The Barnes Totem,’’ was designed to echo the vertical forms of the red maple trees lining a path to the museum’s entrance. Mr. Kelly selected the site in collaboration with the landscape architect Laurie Olin and architects Tod Williams and Billie Tsien.

Original source: The New York Times
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Navy Yard transition keeps 793-acre site bustling

It has been 40 years since new ship construction at Navy shipyards ended, and Area Development delves into redevelopment at a few, including the transformation in South Philly's Philadelphia Navy Yard.

The 167-acre historic core of the Navy Yard, with more than 2.5 acres of waterfront, is actually on the National Register of Historic Places. The core offers opportunities for renovation of existing buildings for commercial use, and for the conversion of older loft space to residential use.

Original source: Area Development
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Philadelphia Water Department $47.5M wastewater-to-biogas facility could save $12M in energy

Triple Pundit reports on the Philadelphia Water Department's partnership with Texas-based Aeresco on a $47.5 million wastewater-to-biogas facility, which will have a capacity of 5.6 megawatts and is expected to save PWD $12 million on its energy bill over the course of a 16-year contract.

That’s part of a broader renewable energy goal the city set under its sustainability plan. In 2008 Philadelphia received only 2.4 percent of its electricity from alternative sources, and the aim is to get that up to 20 percent by 2015.

Wastewater treatment plants naturally produce copious amounts of biogas, since they involve the fairly straightforward process of  decomposition. As microorganisms digest the organic material in wastewater, they produce gas. In the past, the gas was simply flared off for safety and odor prevention, but with impurities removed biogas can be stored, transported and used just like any other gas.

Original source: Triple Pundit
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Hot or Not, Philadelphia: Beautiful Streets project compares 200 of our streets

Architizer takes a look at Beautiful Streets, which uses pairwise surveys to compare 200 randomly selected streets in Philadelphia.

The site model may seem a bit antiquated (the dubious ethics behind its content is beyond dispute at this point), but here we are, with Beautiful Streets, which pairs two randomly selected Philadelphia streets and asks the user to decide which is more beautiful. "What makes a beautiful street, or a pleasant neighborhood?," the site asks. "Maybe that’s hard to define, but can you tell a beautiful place from somewhere that’s not so hot?" What turns out to be another outlet of fleeting distraction can actually provoke some interesting insights.

Original source: Architizer
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When Robots dance: Drexel engineers unleash power of humanoids

The Star-Ledger writes about Drexel University engineers who kicked off national Engineers Week by displaying seven adult-sized humanoid robots on Monday.

"These are world-class, state-of-the-art robots, says Youngmoo Kim, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering. "No one has ever seen that many on the same stage before. Never in the world, and never in history."

But don't get excited just yet. "They are not ready to sweep the floor," says Kim, who also is assistant dean of media technologies in the College of Engineering and director of Drexel's Music and Entertainment Technology Laboratory. While the HUBOS (a contraction from "humanoid" and "robot") stand about 4 feet tall and weigh in at about 100 pounds each, developmentally, they seem a lot like babies. "We're working on getting them to walk without falling over," Kim says, "getting them to climb stairs, pick up small objects." They also can't talk or see or hear (which, actually, makes them also a bit like teenagers...). The computer-driven robots will be outfitted with cameras, microphones and tactile sensors and other apparatus that will allow them to make their way around in the real world, Kim says.

Original source: Star-Ledger
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Locally designed overhaul of library's second floor promotes collaboration at Villanova

Campus Technology checks in on Villanova University's transformation of the second floor of its Falvey Memorial Library into a state-of-the-art learning and student support center.

Philadelphia-based BLT Architects designed Villanova's new Learning Commons. The layout of the physical space follows a shared "street" concept to enable library users to easily access academic support resources. The space also features high ceilings, improved lighting, multi-purpose rooms with flexible furniture, an open lounge area for informal group study, and smaller spaces for individual study. The Commons' large conference rooms have been outfitted with display systems and digital whiteboards for presentations, meetings, and informal classes.

Original source: Campus Technology
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OLIN in NY: Philly firm's design 'as dramatic as anything I'd ever seen,' says philanthropist

Philadelphia landscape architecture and urban design firm OLIN has a history of wowing New York crowds with its work, and is now part of an ambitious plan to transform the city's Museum of Modern Art, reports The New York Times.

OLIN, the Philadelphia landscape architecture and urban design firm behind the renewals of Bryant Park and Columbus Circle, has planned the project and will serve as its lead designer. David H. Koch, a Met trustee and the philanthropist who in 2008 pledged $100 million to renovate the New York State Theater at Lincoln Center -- which was renamed for him -- is providing $60 million to finance it. But the plaza will not be named after him.

"It all began when I was invited to attend the restarting of the fountains on Lincoln Center’s plaza" in 2009, Mr. Koch said in a telephone interview. "When the water started shooting up and was so beautifully illuminated, it blew me away. That's when I suddenly got the idea that it would be great if the Met did something similar with their crummy fountains."

Original source: The New York Times
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NYT examines Philadelphia Media Network's move and digital signs' impact on Market East

The New York Times looks at the Philadelphia Media Network's move to Market East and the sign ordinance that will effectively create a digital district in Center City.

Philadelphia Media Network will have two digital signs on Market Street and two on Ninth Street, and each sign will be about 14 feet wide and 45 feet long, said Joseph F. Coradino, the president of Preit Services and Preit-Rubin, the commercial development and management subsidiaries of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust, the company that owns both the Gallery and the old Strawbridge site.

The sign ordinance has limits. For example, it will allow digital signs to appear only on properties that have 100 feet or more of frontage on Market Street.

"This is not Times Square, where the goal is to basically cover buildings with signs," said Paul R. Levy, the president of the Center City District, a business improvement group and an early supporter of the ordinance. "Our goal here was to integrate the signs into the existing architecture."

Original source: The New York Times
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Onion Flats and the nation's largest net-zero mixed-use development

The Architects Newspaper is a fan of green developer Onion Flats and its project known as The Ridge, which includes plans for the nation's largest Passive House, a net-zero energy building.

Onion Flats plans a new five-story structure to include 8,700 square feet of retail on the ground floor that will anchor a plaza along the river, and 126 predominantly one- and two-bedroom units above. McDonald said The Ridge’s design is an interpretation of the classic Philly townhome and its sociable stoop. Residences are clustered around a second-floor garden serving as a communal gathering space, reinforced by an open interior circulation system of elevated platforms. Special attention was paid to creating a building that uses a minimum of resources, generating its own power from a 200-kilowatt solar array, and includes a completely permeable, green-roof covered site.

Original source: The Architects Newspaper
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Rowhome redux: Postgreen plans for biggest year yet

Smart Planet brings us up to speed on Postgreen and its new home construction innovations.

With one house sold and three in the works, the Avant Garage project on Memphis Street is among Postgreen’s most expensive undertakings. (The base price of an Avant Garage house is $355,000.) Each home has a roof deck and a two-car garage. To cater to the neighborhood’s artists and professionals, the garage situates vehicles in front of each other, rather than side-by-side, and has a second door opening to the backyard. The idea is to create space suitable for a studio or workshop.

Original source: Smart Planet
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Cement job: Drexel materials scientists aim to reduce carbon under foot

Drexel University materials scientists Alexander Moseson and Michel Barsoum have created a low-tech, low-energy cement they hope will reduce carbon output as developing countries build more sidewalks, roads and housing.

Potential demand for lower-carbon building materials has sparked a race to replace Portland cement featuring a handful of manufacturers and scientists. Some claim to sequester carbon within the cement itself. Others use alternative fuels. Still others tap unconventional feedstocks, such as magnesium silicate, that require lower kiln temperatures.

Moseson and Barsoum are trying the latter, mixing recycled iron slag or fly ash with readily available limestone. "We literally used a bag of garden lime from Home Depot," Moseson said. Instead of a coal-fired kiln, they use a bucket with a spoon at room temperature.

Original source: Daily Climate
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It's going down in Yorktown: Neighborhood plan wins national award

A couple months ago we wrote about honoring Sister Rosetta Tharpe in Yorktown, a community on the verge of rebound, and now the American Planning Association has awarded a 2012 National Planning Award for Yorktown's recently completed community-driven master plan Yorktown 2015: A Blueprint for Sustainability and Survival.

"Yorktown 2015 capitalized on the energy and creativity of Yorktown’s residents by engaging them and using their input to create an action plan," said Marie L. York, FAICP, APA Board Director and 2012 Awards Jury Co-Chair. "Despite the small size of the community, participation was overwhelming, with more than 260 Yorktown residents participating in surveys, meetings, and groups to help shape this plan."

In addition to robust traditional community outreach and engagement components, Yorktown 2015 participation was enabled through a more innovative method. Interface Studio, conceptualized, designed, and fabricated a storytelling booth--the Yorktown Chatter Box--that invited community members to step inside and speak into a soup can telephone [actually a functional audio recording device] to tell stories about their memories of Yorktown, share their hopes for the future of the neighborhood, and describe the characteristics of the neighborhood they feel would be most important to preserve.

Original source: American Planning Association, PA-Southeast Blog
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StreamTV gives glasses-free Ultra-D 3DTV launch another shot at CES

Last January we introduced you to StreamTV's glasses-free 3D technology and the Philly company is aiming to introduce it to the world at this week's 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show, reports engagdet.

We don't recall seeing Stream TV's Elocity 3T autostereoscopic 3D TV on shelves after our CES demo last year, but to be fair, we don't get out much. Not to worry however, as the company will be back at CES 2012, this time touting Ultra-D "next generation 3D without glasses display technology" that it claims will surpass all 3D experiences to date. Lofty claims, but it's also banking on its tech for realtime 2D-to-3D conversion of any video content, with plans for the brand to reach TVs, converter boxes, tablets, PCs and more. Check out the press release after the break to drink in more hype, we'll be in line to see what's real at its press conference January 9th.

Original source: Engadget
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Wharton Innovation Tournament turns ideas into business prototypes

VentureBeat covers the Wharton School's Innovation Tournament, in which MBA students aim to create an internet business in four days.

At the end of the workshop, the organizers announced the winners of the Innovation Tournament. Each team won on a specific metric, such as most pageviews for the business website or best real world application.

The team that won based on pageviews and marketing created Chow4You, a service that helps you find meals based on nutritional value and dietary needs. Rohan Mirchandani, the acting CEO of Chow4You, said, "The workshop was focused on learning the steps to take to make a business viable, especially focusing on user experience, which I found to be the most important topic." The program is just a prototype now, but based on his experience in the course, Mirchandani said he felt confident that he could launch Chow4You as a real business.

Original source: VentureBeat
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146 Design Articles | Page: | Show All
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