The Top 5 mobile and independent home sweet homes

Weigh the anchor with the Lusation Autartec project
Built in a former coal mining region converted into artificial lakes near Dresden, the floating house designed by the Fraunhofer Institute is fully autonomous. There’s no need for a generator or a connection to a dock: this top-of-the-range residence uses a combination of sustainable energy solutions to generate its own electricity. Solar cells located on the building charge up lithium polymer batteries hidden in the textile concrete walls and stairs. Heating and air conditioning are provided by a chimney and circuit powered by a saline solution that stores heat. This is then distributed using radio-control technology to achieve the exact temperature required. In summer, the damp outer faces of the building simply evaporate heat away from the walls. And as for water, there’s no need to import that either: hidden under the pontoon is a waste water treatment micro-plant. 100% independent.
Sunhouse 360°, the sunflower house

This house will make estate agents glad they no longer have to answer questions on the direction this or that room faces. The Marbella Sunhouse 360° is a house that, like sunflowers, can turn to face the sun the entire day, turning on the spot. You’ll never get tired of the view. But the house turns for a different reason: to expose an array of photovoltaic panels to the sun’s rays for as long as possible. The result is enough current for 100% LED lighting, with a heat pump and underfloor heating making this home both cosy and economical – its architects claim it uses up to 70% less energy.
Kasita – a Lego brick that’s conquering cities

Small, foldable, and you can take it wherever you want: 60 m2 modular accommodation designed in Austin, Texas, Kasita has everything to attract city dwellers looking for low rents – if only for its ability to squeeze into the tiniest gap in our dense and saturated cities, or to nestle into any available area and provide the required square footage. Fitted with batteries connected to solar panels, this smart home allows residents to set the temperature, light and music with their voice alone! And the ultimate luxury – just like a container, it’s easy to transport using an application. It means travel lovers can be sure they’ll never have to suffer from nostalgia for their home sweet home.
“B-10” – the aim of triple zero

Rarely has such a model student been given so many zeroes. Zero imported energy, zero waste, and zero fossil fuels used – in Stuttgart, ‘B-10’, a metal, glass and wooden box designed by architect Werner Sobek, is showing itself to be the perfect example both in terms of environmental friendliness and energy. The roof is fitted with 40 photovoltaic panels. One of the outside walls features bay windows formed of layers of ultra-insulating glass, keeping it warm in winter and cool in summer. Polluting binding materials such as plaster or adhesive are nowhere to be seen, giving way to polyurethane and concrete. And it’s made with 100% recyclable materials. The result: this busy home of 85 m2 generates twice as much energy (8300 kilowatts per year) as it consumes (4200 kW). In order not to waste this surplus, the house is fitted with an 11 kW/h lithium-ion battery to reuse energy after dark or during cloudy weather. And if more energy is still being produced, it also supplies two electric cars and bicycles as well as a neighbouring museum, the Weissenhof! ‘B-10’ can also identify which rooms it should heat based on whether residents are present or not on and variations in daylight. And of course, home automation plays a key role – residents can control the temperature and lights as well as opening windows using their phone. Ecocapsule, the caravan of the future

After all, respect for nature is every camper’s aim, isn’t it? The Slovakian architecture firm Nice Architects has taken this on board and designed a fully energy-independent caravan that promotes green energy generation. A retractable wind turbine and solar panels make sure the Ecocapsule is fully autonomous, and it can adapt both to weather conditions and the changing seasons. Any surplus electricity is stored in a battery. And a rainwater collection and filtration system adds the finishing touch. Now you can travel the world with an enviable carbon footprint – without compromising on comfort.
2016 EDF Pulse AwardsDiscover the projects competiting in the Smart Home category
To go further
50 shades of green housing
Innovation for smarter and greener homesThe house that grows inside a tree

Source:: The Top 5 mobile and independent home sweet homes

Planet progress: an autonomous quadricopter and a smart shower

In this latest episode, discover a smart alarm clock that only stops when you walk on it for a given length of time, making sure you’re properly awake. And once you’ve bounced out of bed, it’s time to hit the shower with Hydrao. The winner of the 2015 Energie Intelligente smart energy competition, this smart shower head tells you when you’re using too much water. Then you can improve your posture with help from Alex, a strange little smart object that vibrates if you don’t sit up straight. All these fascinating innovations and more are waiting to be discovered in this new episode of Planet Progress.
In this episode of Planet progress:

Ruggie: an alarm clock that turns off when you walk on it
Hydrao: this shower head tells you when you’re using too much water
Alex: this smart object helps you sit up straight
Centinel Wheel: this wheel transforms your bike into an electric vehicle
Varibel: these glasses also work as a hearing aid
Ehang 184: an autonomous electric aerial vehicle

To go further
More Planet progress’ episodes on YouTube

Source:: Planet progress: an autonomous quadricopter and a smart shower

The first bionic plant: a rosy future for electricity

It’s not a plant-induced hallucination – the first bionic plant has been grown in the organic electronics lab at the University of Linköping in Sweden. The researchers, led by Professor Magnus Berggren, have effectively managed to incorporate electronic circuits into a flower’s vascular system, making it possible to circulate an electrical current within the plant without damaging it. They have gone one step further than the architects, biologists and designers who have adopted biomimetics, qtaking inspiration from nature to create innovations. “Our findings pave the way for new technologies and tools based on the amalgamation of organic electronics and plants in general,” predict the authors of the study, published on 20 November 2015 in the periodical Science Advances. So are we living in the age of flower power? Perhaps not: research is in its infancy and promises of such abilities – boosting photosynthesis and storing energy – is still a thorny topic.
Turning flowers into transistors
To turn their rose into a plant cyborg, the authors simply cut off the bottom of a stem before placing the flower in a PEDOT-S:H (or ethylenedioxythiophene) solution, a water-soluble polymer known for its properties of electrical conduction (it is often used in printed circuits). What then? Well, not much. By itself, the plant absorbed part of the mixture, which, through capillary action, entered the plant via its xylem (the equivalent of human arteries through which large quantities of water and nutrients are transported from the soil to the ‘photosynthetic factories’ of the leaves) before structuring itself within the plant tissue. And, in another experiment, it was even possible to change the colour of (living) rose petals by applying a current using this electrical circuit.
Roses in all colours
Removing the plant 24 hours after the start of the experiment, the researchers found that the solution had risen around ten centimetres along the rose’s vessels and solidified, forming an electronic circuit around ten centimetres in length – without affecting the plant’s vital functions. And so the plant had been wired up! By placing two gold electrodes at various points along the circuit, the researchers were able to measure a conductivity of 0.1 siemens per centimetre, almost the same as that of traditional transistors made using PEDOT. And, in another experiment, it was even possible to change the colour of (living) rose petals by applying a current using this electrical circuit.
“Power plant”
The infrastructure – although it still needs to be perfected – is in place. So what now? Firstly, the system could be used as a sort of probe designed to precisely measure the concentration of different substances circulating in the roots and stalks. It would then be possible to adjust the supply of water and nutrients, thus promoting plant growth. The researchers’ dream is to use the technology to produce a ‘power plant’. Converting natural ionic signals into electrical signals could lead to us being able to use photosynthesis in plants as a source of energy for humans. Our entire relationship with nature would be turned on its head: “When we have tapped out resources from nature in the past we have always chopped it or burnt it, “Professor Berggren explained to Motherboard. “Maybe this could be a way of tapping energy from plants without having to kill them.”

To go further
Power-generating wind trees
Energy storage: the philosopher’s stone of the 21st century?Glow-in-the-dark trees that could replace street lights
Electronic plants (in Science Advances)
Scientists Made an Electronic Circuit Inside a Rose (in Motherboard)

Source:: The first bionic plant: a rosy future for electricity

[EN] Planète progrès : un quadrirotor autonome et une douche intelligente

[EN] Un nouvel épisode pour découvrir un réveil connecté qui ne s’arrête que si l’on marche dessus durant un certain temps, pour être sûr de bien se réveiller. Après un lever dynamique, voici l’heure de la douche avec Hydrao. Lauréat du concours Energie Intelligente 2015, ce pommeau intelligent indique lorsque l’on dépense trop d’eau. Puis on améliorera notre posture grâce à Alex, un étrange objet connecté qui vibre si on ne se tient pas droit. D’autres innovations intéressantes seront ensuite à découvrir dans ce nouvel épisode de Planète progrès.
Les sujets de Planète progrès :

Ruggie : un réveil qui s’arrête lorsque l’on marche dessus
Hydrao : ce pommeau indique lorsque vous utilisez trop d’eau
Alex : cet objet connecté aide à se tenir droit
Centinel Wheel : cette roue transforme votre vélo en véhicule électrique
Varibel : ces lunettes sont aussi une aide auditive
Ehang 184 : ce véhicule aérien est électrique et autonome

Pour aller plus loin
Retrouvez les précédents épisodes de Planète Progrès sur YouTube

Source:: [EN] Planète progrès : un quadrirotor autonome et une douche intelligente

“Innovation is an essential tool for fighting global warming.”

How does technology contribute to humans’ comfort and well-being?
Today, digital technology is directly integrated into the home. Soon, everyone will be able to control their homes’ heating, lights, and appliances when away by using their smartphones, helping them to better manage their budgets by adapting their consumption habits.
Is technology a way to make individuals more responsible in terms of energy consumption?
Yes, it allows consumers to be more and more active in managing energy. Connected interfaces in the home will be more instructive and intuitive, just like the “e.quilibre” service we offer, which allows consumers to track energy consumption, even when away from home, and to compare to other households. Each individual can know and understand their energy profile and get a handle on their “equipment”. Technology thus helps us to act more responsibly.
How is EDF positioned in regards to this (r)evolution?
EDF invests more than 500 million euros per year in R&D, particularly in the areas of low-carbon electricity production and energy efficiency. EDF is helping develop the connected home, smart cities, and electric mobility, among other innovations. We encourage innovation every day. For example, we created Electranova Capital, an investment fund dedicated to “clean-tech” start-ups, and we developed an Open Innovation department. We also launched the EDF Pulse Prizes three years ago, which support innovation in Europe and reward start-ups who innovate in the areas of connected homes, low-carbon cities, and e-health.
What are the next steps?
The world continues to question its ability to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, even if important pathways opened up at the COP21 climate conference in December 2015. At EDF, we are convinced that innovation is an essential tool for fighting global warming and being a major player in the transition to green energy. We also offer the 50 solutions from “EDF for the climate” to help customers manage their energy consumption and reduce their CO2 emissions. For example, the SmartFlower is a technological sunflower that follows the movement of the sun. Its photovoltaic petals produce the equivalent of the yearly electricity consumption for a family of four (excluding hot water and heating).

To go further
#MaddyKeynote : See the Innovation Summit 2016 [in French]

Source:: “Innovation is an essential tool for fighting global warming.”

Big Data – a big bang for the health system?

“The use of Big Data in health is a revolution that is inescapable and will have an extremely significant structural impact on the health system in general,” believes Dr Eric Baseilhac, Director of Economic Affairs at Leem, one of the main associations of pharmaceuticals manufacturers.
Big data = big bang? Everything could change: how care is organised, the relationship between patients – who become active participants in their own health – and doctors, the financial balance of the system, and more. We take a look at five start-ups that highlight the paradigm shift taking place in the world of medicine.
Remote monitoring: with Cordiva, scales become a heavyweight ally
What if it was enough to step on the scales every day and answer a few questions on topics such as breathlessness, tiredness and sleep problems to stop people from being hospitalised for heart failure? That’s the idea that home monitoring programme Cordiva, developed by Alere, is testing. The data is automatically transmitted and analysed, triggering an alert whenever values head off course. Patients whose heart doesn’t pump enough blood to meet their body’s needs could receive care before their illness worsens.
Already tested by around 60,000 patients in the United States and Germany, the device seems to have already proven itself : a study carried out between 2007 and 2010, including patients from Bavaria and the Berlin region, concluded that people who were monitored by Cordiva went to hospital less often (28.3% reduction in re-hospitalisation rates). Several clinical trials are under way in France, including the Osicat programme led by Toulouse University Hospital. If the results are conclusive, the French health insurance scheme could decide to reimburse patients for the cost of the device and bank on future savings: the 200,000 hospital stays every year alone represent over 60% of the total cost of illness.
Telemedicine: the right dose of insulin at the right time with Diabéo
Diabéo describes itself as an electronic monitoring file for patients with diabetes. The principle is as easy as pie: before each meal, patients fill in their blood sugar levels and what they are planning on eating. The application then calculates the dose of insulin they require, taking their physical activity into account. If the results are worrying, a healthcare team to whom the data is sent can perform a remote consultation as soon as possible.
The application – developed by Sanofi with the start-up Voluntis and the French Centre for Studies and Research into Diabetes Treatment Intensification (CERITD), an organisation attached to the Southern Paris Region Hospital – is currently only available for patients involved in a clinical trial. In the long term, it could be made even simpler, with the app analysing a meal’s composition based on a photo. Google’s involvement – it has been working with Sanofi since summer 2015 – could speed up research. Not to mention making the issue of data confidentiality even more relevant.
Diagnostic help: artificial intelligence supporting doctors with Khresterion
The start-up Khresterion has published a software programme designed to help the decision-making process in a medical setting. The artificial intelligence it has developed works a bit like the Watson supercomputer, which, according to its manufacturer, IBM, is capable of processing the entire scientific literature on a disease as well as patient data (history, symptoms, doctors’ notes, etc.) in just a few minutes. In both cases, the system compares the options and analyses their advantages and disadvantages, as well as the potential side effects, based on the patient’s history and physiology. It then produces the best customised treatment options, based on which the medical staff make their choice.
At the moment, the solutions being developed by Khresterion are currently focused on treatments for patients suffering from diabetes or cancer. By integrating best practices from national and international professional organisations in its software, Khresterion also intends to help increase the quality of healthcare and standardise medical practices.
Participatory research: with Epidemium, two laboratories are joining forces against cancer
Renewing the epidemiology – frequency, distribution and risk factors – of cancer using Big Data. Reinventing research based both on data and unique collaboration. These are the aims of the partnership between the pharmaceutical giant Roche (which is providing €200,000) and the network of community laboratories, La Paillasse. This scientific alliance, called Epidemium, stems from an observation: “We want to mix experts and enthusiasts. The right idea won’t necessarily come from where we’d expect,” says Olivier de Fresnoye, member of the La Paillasse community, which is responsible for the programme.
The collaborative programme takes the form of a ‘data challenge’, the ‘Challenge4Cancer’ launched in autumn 2015: over a six-month period, multi-disciplinary teams are tackling data challenges to discover – with the help of technology including machine learning algorithms – new approaches to caring for patients, new preventative methods, and new treatments. As a result, links could be discovered between cancer risk and factors such as sexual behaviour, climate, or diet. All approaches which could allow doctors to better anticipate cancer, or even prevent it from occurring.
Remote monitoring: IPaCT maintains a link with the hospital even after release
The Santinel application, developed by the start-up IPaCT, has been trialled since March 2015 by the mobile pain and palliative care team at the Institut Claudius Regaud (Toulouse-Oncopôle), promoting the monitoring of patients who have returned home after being hospitalised.
Using the data entered, the medical team can monitor changes in their patients’ pain levels and associated symptoms. By strengthening home monitoring, Santinel allows health institutions to reduce the length of hospital stays while offering their patients the assurance of not facing their disease alone.
2016 EDF Pulse AwardsDiscover the projects competiting in the E-Health category
To go further
Making diagnosis available to everyoneWhat is big data used for?Which inventions will keep us healthy in the future?

Source:: Big Data – a big bang for the health system?

Combining low-tech and high-tech to build the city of the future

Do you prefer proudly plain Y-fronts made of recycled organic cotton, or are you more the sort to wear a smart swimming costume that tells you how long you’ve spent in the sun? Smart cities stuffed with sensors or an eco-neighbourhood with aquaponic ponds and micro-wind turbines in the shared garden? A cosy jumper to keep the cold at bay or ‘smart’ heating? Essentially, low-tech or well-connected high-tech? Why not both?
Firing on all cylinders
Faced with the urgent climate situation and the forecasted depletion of natural resources, simple and cheap technology could be combined with the latest innovations to achieve the same goal: better energy performance – and less consumption, too. Fitting your home with lights that only turn on if sensors detect that someone is there doesn’t mean that you can’t build the walls out of wood and straw to improve the insulation. A building fitted with smart thermostats that limit heat waste, or with smoke detectors that can directly alert firefighters in the event of a fire, could also have a shared laundry room for all residents.
In the same way, ‘smart grids’ – with electric vehicles and ever more high-performance energy storage solutions (still a long way from being satisfactory) designed to support the boom in green intermittent energy sources – are also cutting-edge innovations that are part of the move towards smarter consumption. Essentially, it’s low-tech high-tech!
Cities designed for their inhabitants
The city of the future cannot just be focused on technology. In Paris, the sociologist (and city council member) Jean-Louis Missika reiterated that “a smart city is a lung breathing at the same pace as its inhabitants.”
Considering low-tech has the merit of bringing back the question of use: technologies have no value or meaning unless they meet needs when citizens want and are able to adopt them.
Grey areas of new technologies
So low-tech and high-tech aren’t incompatible. On two conditions. The first is that the energy needed to build high-tech solutions – to extract materials, transport them, the manufacturing process, etc. (so-called ‘grey energy’) – does not negate their aim, which is precisely to reduce energy waste.
In addition, high-tech must not lead people to expect it to provide ready-made solutions for every problem, or there is a risk that we will never reconsider our lifestyles. “Above all, low-tech is a reflection on needs, one that is located between an ecology of supply that advocates alternatives and transition and an ecology of demand that asks questions about our lifestyle choices: do we really need the progress we are being offered? Would it not be better to limit ourselves somewhat, to revise our relationship with mobility, to organise ourselves differently? Low-tech is an attitude that aims to better serve the high-tech products that are currently available,” concludes Philippe Bihouix in his book L’Age des low-tech (The Age of Low Tech).

To go further
Innovation for smarter and greener homes

Source:: Combining low-tech and high-tech to build the city of the future

Using low-tech and hi-tech side-by-side to build tomorrow’s cities

Do you prefer proudly plain Y-fronts made of recycled organic cotton, or are you more the sort to wear a smart swimming costume that tells you how long you’ve spent in the sun? Smart cities stuffed with sensors or an eco-neighbourhood with aquaponic ponds and micro-wind turbines in the shared garden? A cosy jumper to keep the cold at bay or ‘smart’ heating? Essentially, low-tech or well-connected high-tech? Why not both?
Firing on all cylinders
Faced with the urgent climate situation and the forecasted depletion of natural resources, simple and cheap technology could be combined with the latest innovations to achieve the same goal: better energy performance – and less consumption, too. Fitting your home with lights that only turn on if sensors detect that someone is there doesn’t mean that you can’t build the walls out of wood and straw to improve the insulation. A building fitted with smart thermostats that limit heat waste, or with smoke detectors that can directly alert firefighters in the event of a fire, could also have a shared laundry room for all residents.
In the same way, ‘smart grids’ – with electric vehicles and ever more high-performance energy storage solutions (still a long way from being satisfactory) designed to support the boom in green intermittent energy sources – are also cutting-edge innovations that are part of the move towards smarter consumption. Essentially, it’s low-tech high-tech!
Cities designed for their inhabitants
The city of the future cannot just be focused on technology. In Paris, the sociologist (and city council member) Jean-Louis Missika reiterated that “a smart city is a lung breathing at the same pace as its inhabitants.”
Considering low-tech has the merit of bringing back the question of use: technologies have no value or meaning unless they meet needs when citizens want and are able to adopt them.
Grey areas of new technologies
So low-tech and high-tech aren’t incompatible. On two conditions. The first is that the energy needed to build high-tech solutions – to extract materials, transport them, the manufacturing process, etc. (so-called ‘grey energy’) – does not negate their aim, which is precisely to reduce energy waste.
In addition, high-tech must not lead people to expect it to provide ready-made solutions for every problem, or there is a risk that we will never reconsider our lifestyles. “Above all, low-tech is a reflection on needs, one that is located between an ecology of supply that advocates alternatives and transition and an ecology of demand that asks questions about our lifestyle choices: do we really need the progress we are being offered? Would it not be better to limit ourselves somewhat, to revise our relationship with mobility, to organise ourselves differently? Low-tech is an attitude that aims to better serve the high-tech products that are currently available,” concludes Philippe Bihouix in his book L’Age des low-tech (The Age of Low Tech).

To go further
Innovation for smarter and greener homes

Source:: Using low-tech and hi-tech side-by-side to build tomorrow’s cities

Robots, patients’ little helpers

Beginning in October 2015, nurses and doctors gained new assistants for providing minor healthcare services to patients at Humber River Hospital in Toronto (Canada). There, robots are also wearing scrubs. Recording patient information, dispensing medication, delivering meals and performing blood tests: all sorts of tasks are being automated. The goal is to make life easier for healthcare workers, not to replace them. All these tasks are being carried out as part of a man-machine partnership.
It begins with maintenance. To deliver meals, medication or equipment to the rooms in the hospital, with its 13 floors and surface area of 160,000 square metres, the mobile Swisslog robots can push carts, take the lift, deliver orders and then return to their charging stations. All without any human intervention. The pharmacist is a robot arm that can prepare medications according to prescriptions and dosages entered into a computer by the staff. Stäubli is a conscientious professional who is also responsible for checking for patient allergies and treatment contraindications. One of its mechanical “selves” is in charge of working with the toxic chemicals that are used for chemotherapy. This helps prevent accidents.
The pharmacist is a robot arm that can prepare medications according to prescriptions and dosages entered into a computer by the staff.
In addition to added safety, having robots in the hospital provides greater comfort to patients. In the radiology unit, laser guiding, silent MRIs and 4D snapshots get images from every angle without forcing patients to contort themselves into awkward poses.
Meanwhile, the presence of robots in patients’ rooms does not mean there is no human contact. Quite the reverse, actually. The use of digital tablets makes it possible for each patient to not only consult their medical history, but also remain in contact with their loved ones or staff members.

To go further
In the future, will operations be carried in our living rooms with no human intervention?2016 EDF Pulse AwardsDiscover the projects competiting in the E-Health category

Source:: Robots, patients’ little helpers