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Top 5 Marble Designs

Top 5 Marble Designs

Here are 5 gorgeous Marble designs for you. 

STND

Bringing together natural materials and modern technology, STND marries the beauty of marble with crisp design. This beautiful iPhone holder is available in white marble, with a black version coming soon. The design looks beautiful enough, as an iPhone stand, and the fact it also charges your phone is an added bonus.

 

Affordances #1 (You only reincarnate infinitely)

Possibly the most exciting feature of this design, is that it is three modular pieces of marble and granite effortlessly joined together to make one side table which means that the possibilities are limitless as each table looks different to the last. Designed by Jonathan Zawada, Affordances #1 (You only reincarnate infinitely) is a strong design, defined by its uniqueness.

 

Riviera

The Riviera tables designed by Zurich-based designer Alfredo Häberli, take marble in a new direction. Designed to be transportable, Häberli reimagines this material in a flat pack design. Without requiring additional hardware, the table slots together effortlessly with thanks to crisp cut joints and using the weight of the marble to its advantage. This design challenges our perception of marble furniture, and gives it a fun new twist.

 

Marble Lamp

This table lamp from Novecento is a collection of LED table lamps. Designed by Davide G Aquini, the lamps are available in either black or white. Art Deco inspired, and crisp in appearance, these lamps make a statement even when the light isn’t on. The thick marble discs sit on a triangular metal structure, with either a brass or green-water finish.

 

Marble and recycled stone grinder

Designed by London based Laetitia de Allegri and Matteo Fogale, to create an alternative solution to the traditional pestle and mortar. This design works by rocking the marble section back and forth to crush the herb/pepper/salt. The base of this design is recycled stone, sourced from Dutch company, StoneCycling who create building materials from waste. The marble looks striking in contrasting colours compared to the stone, and with the shape, texture and colour combined, this is a really beautiful design.

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Earth Day 2016

Earth Day 2016

Happy Earth Day everybody! 🌍

Earth day, is a day, which highlights environmental issues. The mission is to promote a healthy and sustainable environment to combat climate change and protect the Earth. Through education, awareness and campaigning, this day brings environmental issues to a world stage and engages people all over the planet to stop and think about the environmental challenges we face.

Today, I’ll be looking at 3 fantastic designs, which are eco friendly, and sustainable. I hope you like them!

 

Seabin

Fully funded on Indiegogo, the Seabin comes from Australian duo, Pete Ceglinski and Andrew Turton. Designed to filter and collect rubbish from water in sheltered bodies of water where winds and currents move debris around. The Seabin floats on the surface of the water and separates rubbish and other liquids such as oil and detergents. The collected liquids are filtered and added back to the ocean in a continuous process. The bag, which catches all of the litter, is made from natural fibre and can be manually emptied every day, easily removable by just one person. This is such a fantastic design, and others have found great uses for collected ocean plastic, such as eco-friendly trainers, clothing and furniture.

 

Sustain Packaging

London Bio Packaging manufacture packaging that is eco-friendly and sustainable. They have two brands of Eco food and drinks packaging, Sustain and Revive. Sustain is made from plants and is compostable, whereas Revive is made from recycled materials and is recyclable. Sustain packages use bio-plastic, which is made from plants such as corn. Regular plastics are made from oil with is finite, whereas bio-plastic sources are easy to re-grow and are a great renewable resource. Revive uses old water bottles and papers, which end up in landfills, to create recycled packaging.

 

The Moss Carpet

Designed by Nguyen La Chanh as a final project for her degree at ECAL Switzerland, this lush green bath rug made from recycled vegetal latex foam is populated with three varieties of moss. This low maintenance, natural product is now available for purchase from HoO Design who pride themselves on their use of sustainable manufacturing methods and recycled materials. Many species of moss have antibacterial properties, and this living material regulates itself and fights off disease, which is much more hygienic than using a regular fabric bath mat.

Written by 

Katherine Thomson 

 

 

5 Christmas Gadget Gift Ideas

5 Christmas Gadget Gift Ideas

There’s nothing wrong with being prepared right? 🎄

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1.     Parrot Hydrofoil Drone

This is the ultimate big kids toy! A propeller driven unit sits on top of the body and travels at speeds up to 5.4 knots (6mph), lifting it clean out of the water by about 2 inches! Not only is it water based, the structures can be separated allowing the structure to fly through the air.

2.     Bowsers & Wilkins P5 Wireless Headphones

If this isn’t a good gift, then I don’t know what is, though on the pricier end of the Christmas gifts list scale, I’d save this item for someone you really want to buy for, and not a Secret Santa or something! With no wires, this set of Bluetooth headphones keeps the great sound quality that you’d expect but with the convenience of not getting tangled in cables. The headphones have a 17-hour battery life and are supplied with a USB cable so you can conveniently charge them through your laptop.

 

3.     Classic Blutune DAB /Bluetooth sound system

This gorgeous classic looking radio allows you to surf the airwaves as well as streaming from your own device using Bluetooth! Roberts Radio has a great selection of vintage looking DAB radios, which look effortlessly cool and are beautifully designed. This is the perfect gift for someone who wants a slice of the modern world but loves traditional looking items.

4.     Gameband

This is the ultimate gift for Minecraft players, enabling them all of their created worlds in one place, playable off Mac, Pc or other Linux-based computers. Wherever the wearer goes, they have all of their data with them, ready to play whenever they like. Not only is this a storage band, it also works as a watch and comes in several variations.

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5.     Happy Plugs Sound Piece

Swedish brand, Happy Plugs, have delivered a sleek looking speaker with changeable grills to suit your style and mood. This Bluetooth speaker has two 20W speakers as well as bass vents for when you really want to kick out some bass. This speaker looks absolutely amazing in so many different colours and patterns. I am pleasantly surprised by what a lovely shade the mint green grill is.

 

Written by 

Katherine Thomson

10 Beautiful Designs - October

10 Beautiful Designs - October

1. Times 4

Inspired by a pie chart, this piece designed by Gonçalo Campos for French brand Polit, is a highly organised piece of furniture. The table is divided into four colour coded interior sections, which are exposed by rotation. The tabletop and legs are made from natural finished beech wood, and the quarters and frame from white metal.

2. YC1 Chair

Japanese designer, Mikiya Kobayashi has designed a chair that is both sleek and functional. This aesthetically pleasing piece is made from rope and leather woven into a wooden frame, making it entirely unique. This is a beautiful piece, which is functional and still offers a balance between comfort and modern design.

3. Winnie

Winnie, a lighting concept by Finland based Nikolo Kerimov, is a lovely design inspired by honey pots in Winnie the Pooh.  This clever collection has several different sized pieces, each with different cork sizes and one with a cork light fixing too. 

 

4. Reverb Lamps

Crafted entirely from metal except the cord, Alessandro Zambelli draws inspiration from carbide lamps. Available in red, beige and turquoise, they are a contemporary take on an antique lamp.

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5. Aeris Air Purifier and Planter

This dual function air purifier and planter from Lab Fabrici purifies the rooms atmosphere with a high speed fan and a terracotta-coloured substrate of expanded clay and activate carbon. This piece is in two parts and the aerated planter sits perfectly in the base. Stylish and practical, I’m a big fan of this!

6.  Gabbia Lamps

Portuguese designer, Rui Pereeira and Japanese designer Ryosuke Fukusada envisioned these ‘inverted basket’ shaped lamps. Perfect for both ceiling and table, these lamps are designed to be used with LEDs. Handcrafted in Kyoto by a studio that works predominantly with bamboo, these lamps combine bamboo weaves and colourful acetate.

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7. Toon Chair

This chair combines characteristics of other projects from Redo Design Studio. Created by Polish designer Radek Nowkowski, this chair continues the brands style in a beautiful way. Joined together with metal fittings where the legs meet the bent wooden back, the result is a very light piece, both physically and visually.

8. Buster Bulb

The Buster bulb by Buster + Punch is the worlds first designer LED bulb. I’m a big fan of this new collection and love how eco friendly it is. This bulb uses just 5% of the energy burned by a conventional bulb and promises 10,000 hours of life, which means it could last around 5 years.

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9. Skurniture

Skateboard inspired furniture by California based studio, Swenyo. I’m a really big fan of this design! It’s so simplistic yet looks so good and I especially love the black skateboard with white legs combination. This is a fantastic design because you can buy the legs separately and play around creating your own designs perhaps upcycling an old deck of your own.

10. Stick Modular Shelving

This entirely customizable shelving creates storage for whatever you need it for. Whether it’s clothing storage or for displaying your items and ornaments on, this shelving creates a sleek solution. Designed by eco conscious, Jan Plecháč and Henry Wielgus, the construction is completely organic which they classify as “Soft Minimalism”.

Written by

Katherine Thomson

 

Earth Day

Earth Day

‘As Earth Day is about encouraging people to remember to care for the environment, the organisation behind it urges people to do anything they can to help - from volunteering and installing solar panels on your roof, to organising you own event or just changing a habit.’ Source; The Independent – Earth Day Quiz

In order to celebrate Earth Day in a slightly different way, I’m going to look at how technology plays a role in protecting the world. We have made and continue to make amazing advances in technology. Technology is not just for human benefit, lets see how these advancements are used to save and enhance lives, everyday in our World.

Let’s start with how technology is changing the world of our domesticated friends. Derby the dog is a heartwarming example showing that it’s not just humans reaping the benefits of 3D printing. Derby was born with two shorter, under-developed legs, which impacted his mobility. After being taken to the Peace and Paws Dog Rescue by his previous owners who could no longer care for him, Derby was fostered by Tara Anderson, director at 3D systems, a 3D printing company. After trialing a wheeled cart to aid his mobility, Anderson suspected her team of designers could do better. The designers at 3D systems began crafting a set of custom prosthetic legs that would help Derby to move more naturally and freely. After a few different trials, Derby was ready to try his finished set of prosthetics! Derby now runs freely using this technology and has newfound freedom of movement, the ability to run on concrete and the ability to play with other dogs too.

Our domesticated animals are not the only animals that need our technology. Prosthetics and Bionics are used worldwide. My example of this is ‘Beauty’ the bald eagle who was fitted with a life like prosthetic beak. After a bullet shattered in her beak, Beauty narrowly escaped a poacher. The prosthetic now allows her to grasp her own food, giving Beauty her independence back and a new lease of life.

As well as being able to change the lives of animals on our planet, we are able to reverse climate change and deforestation in a way we’ve never been able to do before thanks to technology.

Green energy includes the development of alternative fuels, new means of generating energy and energy efficiency. Solar Panels are a perfect example of how people can lessen their carbon footprint and generate electricity using the suns rays. Solar panels (PV cells) are made from layers of semi-conducting material, when light shines on the cell it creates an electric field across the layers, therefore producing electricity. A typical Solar panel system saves over a tonne of carbon dioxide every year.

Now, earlier on I mentioned how technology can help to tackle deforestation. There are two ways we currently plant trees, by hand and by delivering dry seeds by air. Hand planting is slow and expensive, and dry seeds result in low uptake rates. Ex-Nasa engineer, Lauren Fletcher is planning to plant one billion trees per year with a fleet of drones. Fletchers company, ‘BioCarbon Engineering’, based in the UK, are developing a system for planting trees with drones for just 15% of the cost and must faster than traditional reforestation methods. The seedpods are encapsulated in a nutrient-rich hydrogel, for high take up rates. After planting, the drones will also be used to audit and monitor the reforested sections to check the success of the area.

Now, this is a very broad and non-exhaustive topic, and cannot be covered in just one blog post, but I hope you’ve enjoyed reading about these technologies.

Happy Earth Day, not just today but every day!

http://www.earthday.org

http://biofriendly.com/blog/environment/50-ways-to-make-your-life-more-environmentally-friendly/

Written by

Katherine Thomson

Technology for Summer

Technology for Summer

Summer is on it’s way, and contrary to what ‘Game of Thrones’ keeps telling us, Winter is actually very much behind us now, so we better crack out the coolest cooler and get our shades on.

Coolest Cooler?’ I hear you ask. I’m going to explain that, and also open your mind to some of the best summer tech out there.

So the ‘Coolest Cooler’, really is very cool. It is basically summer in a stylish box. Don’t believe me? Let me explain. Not forgetting that the cooler is there to keep all your favorite beverages and snacks cool, it also has these super cool features to enhance your summer… 

1.     The Coolest Cooler has a 5-watt Bluetooth Outdoor Speaker with dual drivers and a resonator plate for excellent clarity base and volume. Bluetooth 4.0 allows you to stream music from up to 30 feet.  Let the party commence!

2.     Not only does this Cooler have an amazing speaker, but it also has an accessory desk which lets you store your personal accessories in a safely secured and hidden from view deck compartment.

3.     You know those beautiful sunny days when all you want is a refreshing drink filled with ice? Yet you’re out in the garden enjoying the weather, and the kitchen just seems so far away. Well, the Coolest Cooler has a built in 18-volt ice-crushing blender, enabling you 6 gallons worth of pure blended joy. Frozen ice tea, anyone? Most certainly!

4.     Did I mention that the Cooler has a 20-volt battery? Well, it does, and with the speaker and blender, you can get even more out of it. The USB charger is fully waterproof and allows you to recharge your gear wherever you are!

5.     The lid keeps the party going all night with built-in LED lights at the push of a button. By this point, you’re no longer dreaming of being at a summer party, you are the party and complete with the extra-wide, easy-rolling tires, the party goes wherever you go.

6.     I guess by this point you’re getting a bit peckish, it’s mid afternoon and you’re all partied out, time to recharge your own batteries with a snack from the cooler. If only you had a plate for your snacks, and a chopping board to whip up some cucumber batons to accompany your well-chosen dip selection…well, you guessed it, there is! While your drinks and snacks are busy chilling, the cool box divider doubles up as a chopping board, and the integrated storage contains four colour matched reusable plates and a sharp rust-proof knife.

Do you really need more points to be convinced?

No?

I didn’t think so.

Now lets look at what summer tech you can use if you don’t want to constantly party for the next 5 months.

If you’re more the outdoorsy type and nothing excites you more than a walk into the wilderness with nothing more than a flask and a childlike sense of adventure, then let me introduce you to Earl.

Earl is an android powered, solar-charged, two way radio enabled, waterproof tablet. Full solar powered charge lasts for 20+ hours so you’re never left in the dark about where you are or how to get in touch with the authorities if you’re in an emergency situation.

Earl’s GPS chipset gives you a precise reading of your location, direction and elevation. Combine Earl with ‘everytrail.com’ and instantly have access to over 300,000 trails so you can get the most from being outdoors. If you would like to keep track of your heart rate, pace and cadence then you can do this too, all you need to do is connect ANT+ or a Bluetooth 4.0 device.

Mother Nature will never catch you out because Earl’s internal weather sensors accurately forecast the weather even in the most remote location.

This is the ultimate outdoor tool for when you want an escape from everyday technology, but not from all communication. Earl’s built in waterproof radio lets you tune in to the world no matter where you are, and the built in walkie-talkie means you’re never far from being able to reach out too. Water/dust/shock and mud proof, this durable device works in temperatures between 0-50 degrees and altitudes up to 40,000 feet. The glove friendly touchscreen means this device will work in almost any condition.

Looking for something for your camping trip? It get’s pretty cold in the woods at night, and sometimes you just want some hot food and a cuppa to warm your bones. Alas, the woods don’t have streams of hot soup or waterfalls of tea, so you’re going to have to sort this one yourself.

This is where the ‘BioLite CampStove’ comes in. Burning only wood, the CampStove creates a smokeless campfire that can cook food and boil water.

Did I mention that this super efficient fire also produces electricity? BioLite’s core technology captures the waste heat from the fire and converts this heat into useable electricity. The USB attachment on the side, allows you to charge your phone, gadgets, torches and more.

This product folds into itself for ultimate space saving convenience so you don’t need to allocate tons of space in your rucksack to take this stove with you, and it weighs only 2.06ibs!

Like to Kayak to a beat or wish you could party in your canoe? No, probably not, but at least now you have the option. The ECOXBT waterproof Bluetooth speaker is the ultimate pool speaker. With a 12-hour battery life, you’ll not have to worry about your music stopping while you’re out.

Being fully waterproof, the ECOXBT also floats, so you can drop it in a pool, or whatever watery setting you’re in and not have to worry about it sinking or malfunctioning.

The British weather is so unreliable’, I hear you cry.

Don’t despair! Just download a good weather app. BBC Weather keeps you up to date on all the latest weather, breaking it down hour by hour so you know exactly when to plan your adventures, when to get your party going and when to pack your raincoat.

Well, there you go. You’re all set!

Written by

Katherine Thomson

International Astronomy Day

International Astronomy Day

Our amazing planet is hurtling around a Galaxy full of spectacular star formations, neighboring planets and meteors. Yet so few of us take the time to look up and appreciate what is above us, and unfortunately Light Pollution makes it even tougher to see the wonderful night skies.

Don’t despair though; I’m going to talk about some of the greatest places to enjoy the beautiful night sky, with and without a telescope.

Right, let’s kick off with Galloway Forest Park. The picturesque park is located in the west of Scotland and is one of the darkest places in the North of Britain making it a perfect place to enjoy the stars. Over 7000 stars and planets are visible from the park with just the naked eye.

The Forest Park has a Sky Quality Meter (SQM) scale reading of 21 to 23.6, which considering the scale only runs to 25 and a Photographers dark room measures at 24, it’s a desirable place for stargazing. 

Next up is Exmoor National Park in the South West of England, which has been designated the first International Dark Sky Reserve in Europe. As well as being able to see astronomical sights through the naked eye, even more spectacular sights can be seen though a telescope or binoculars. If you do not own either of those, telescopes can be hired from the park to help you explore the amazing skies.

Let’s see how technology plays a role in helping us explore the Universe in a way we can’t do with the naked eye or even with the average telescope. As part of Bristol’s new ‘Smart City’ revamp project, where they will bring technology and interactivity into the heart of their city. One feature launching on April 25th ’15, is the spectacularly designed Planetarium, which will allow people to journey through the stars and planets in an immersive planetarium featuring 360-degree digital 3D, incredible 7.1 surround sound and 4K ultra high definition.

Want to get up close and personal with our universe? The Mansfield and Sutton Astronomical Observatory offers you just that. The observatory is open at various times through autumn and winter to allow the public to enjoy the night sky and is open in summer for the public to be able to view the Sun through filtered telescopes.

The North Yorkshire Moors offer breathtaking views of the night sky. Due to the low light pollution levels and the clear horizon, the moors offer one of the best stargazing views in Britain. Unlike the skewed view of the night sky in the cities, the moors offer views where it is possible to see 10 times more stars.

So let’s look at what equipment there is out there which could enhance your viewing experience of our wonderful solar system.

Starting at £39.99 the CELESTRON 76/700 Reflector Telescope is a great starting point for first time telescope buyers. The 35x magnification from the first eyepiece and the 175x from the second allows you to explore constellations, celestial bodies and events. The x Barlow lens triples the magnifying power of each eyepiece for superb viewing quality.

Looking for something with a bit more power? The Jessops 800-80 Astrononical telescope has a magnification range from 40x-399x, which is considerably more powerful than the Celestron. Views of the moon and Jupiter should be no issue for this Telescope.

However, if you would like to explore even more of the night sky and your Telescope budget includes the Sky-Watcher Skyhawk-1145P SynScan AZ GOTO telescope at £243, then you’ll be able to feast your eyes on a considerably clearer and more detailed view of the Solar System. With this telescope, there should be no issue seeing the craters on the moon, Jupiter’s stripes and moons.

The final Telescope on the list comes in at £1345. The Celestron CPC 800 GPS XLT Telescope is a superb example of a telescope, which can give you excellent views of the night sky. The built in GPS in this camera allows you to select which planet you wish to view. The built in technology then locates the planet and directs the telescope directly at it. It’s really rather wonderful and an excellent piece of kit if you are looking for a more advanced Telescope. With views further into our solar system.

There’s a telescope for all you budding astronomers out there.

Whether you want to view the night sky through technology or go and experience it with your own eyes, there’s so much to discover and so many places offering a complete dark sky experience. 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

Top apps to manage your health

Top apps to manage your health

To celebrate World Health Day, i’ve assembled a list of 10 of the best health managing apps for you to take a peak at.

So, in no particular order…

10 – Argus – This app is an all in one activity tracker and food diary. Without compromising your privacy, Angus is designed to monitor your lifestyle using mobile computing. Designed beautifully, this app makes lifestyle tracking easy with a honeycomb layout displaying all information tracked from your day, including your food and water intake, exercise, sleep duration, step count and heart rate.  Argus calculates your active calories compared to your resting calories, allowing you to see how many you have burnt through exercise alone and how many you have burnt by simply functioning.

9 – Yoga Studio – This app makes Yoga accessible from wherever you are! Whether you’re in your home, in the park or even waiting for your train (if you’re particularly eager). Yoga studio puts the power of yoga into your hands at a time when it’s convenient for you! For £2.99 this app includes 24 hours of ready-made HD video classes to allow you the freedom to choose the workout you want to do. Perfect for beginners all the way through to experts, if Yoga is something you want to try or something you’re proficient in, this app is the perfect yoga companion for you. (I think I’m going to have to download it myself.)

8 – Headspace – ‘Your Gym membership for the mind’. This app uses meditation and mindfulness to help you live a healthier and happier life. The app works on a subscription basis, which opens up hundreds of hours worth of Headspace content, with guided and unguided exercises at varying lengths to fit around your lifestyle. The app offers a free program designed to help you learn the basics of meditation and mindfulness in ten-minute sections over a ten-day period, just to make sure it's right for you.

7 – Zombies, Run! 3 – Yes, this app is exactly like it sounds, running from zombies (well, imaginary ones) for fitness. With over one million users, this app is a popular choice for those wanting to run further and faster. Ideal for both beginners and practiced runners, if you like the thought of being spurred on to run by a horde of Zombies then this app is probably the one for you. The app works through your headphones while you’re running to create a zombie scenario in-between your own customised playlists as you earn critical supplies for running further and faster. The app allows you to build your own base, which your supplies help to sustain.  

6 – Fitstar  - This app basically transforms your phone into a personal trainer. The developers of this app understand the difficulties of working out around work and other commitments and so have designed an app which enables the user to fit exercise in around other activities. Fitstar allows you to rate your workout on level of difficulty, which allows the app to show you new fitness sessions to help you progress and improve without getting bored of the same workouts over and over again. Another member of the Fitstar family is ‘Fitstar Yoga’, which works in the same way as Fitstar personal trainer except with yoga.

5 – Lumosity – Developed by Neuroscientists, this app is for Brain health and memory. It designs special programs, targeting the abilities important to you, such as problem solving, attention span and memory. Lumosity lets you track your progress over time to see how your brain workouts are improving and allows you to compare your results to people similar to you.

4 – MyFitnessPal – This is a simple to use platform to track your daily food intake. It’s a great tool to be able to count your calories and the app calculates your daily intake allowance based on your height, weight, and if you would like to lose, gain or maintain your weight. The app works with your phones camera to scan barcodes on food you eat to show you all the nutritional information and allow you to add it to your diary. As well as adding foods by barcodes, many restaurants have their nutritional information on the site and you can add your own meals too. Recent foods display in your breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks categories for ease of selecting frequent foods. The app allows you to add your friends who are also on the app and track your weight over time.

3 – Nike+ Training Club – This app is your very own personal trainer in the palm of your hand. The app allows you to select your fitness level and then creates a workout plan to work for you. Aimed at helping you to achieve your goals, whether you want to get lean, toned or build strength. Your motivation isn’t likely to dip from this app, as you are able to add your friends and connect with the Nike training club community, which shows you a newsfeed worth of other people’s workouts to spur you on.

2 – Map my Fitness – Using GPS this app tracks your activity route. With pre-programmed routes around your location you have the option to follow a planned route knowing the time and distance you want to travel. This isn’t just an app that tracks when you have signal though. Even if your GPS fails while you’re out and about, your route will still be tracked and your calories burnt will still be counted (trust me, I’ve been there). If you’re looking for a complete app with the ability to log foods, create training routes and connect with your friends, then this is the app for you.

1 – Sickweather – Want to know what illness is troubling the area where you live to better your chances of not getting it? Well, believe it or not, you can. The Sickweather app takes public information from Facebook and Twitter when people post updates with their location on such as ‘This flu is horrible’ and translates it into a sick bubble around the area they live to build up a picture of what illnesses are going around different areas, even traceable to the street where they live. Alternatively you are also able to report how you’re feeling anonymously to report symptoms or illnesses. 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

Budget 2015

Budget 2015

Each successive budget has made R&D tax credits more rewarding for companies engaging in eligible work. Budget 2015 follows this trend giving further support to the measures introduced last autumn to strengthen R&D tax relief. 

The focus in this budget is encouraging small companies to claim for the first time with the introduction of Voluntary Advanced Assurances. 

  • Small companies will be able to seek pre-approval for claims for a three year period
  • New guidelines for small companies will be published 
  • A two year publicity strategy has been announced to raise awareness of R&D tax relief with a road map for further development due in the summer
  • From 2016 the time taken to process R&D tax credit claims will be reduced 

We're excited to see increased incentives for innovation in business. The measures demonstrate Government's continuing commitment and investment in the mechanism as a support to UK companies. 

In their Small Business Consultation document from January 2015 HMRC recognise the role of intermediary R&D tax specialists to provide advice and assist companies with their claims. To find out how we can help support your business contact our R&D tax team. 

0115 824 0402

 

 

Privacy vs Freedom

Privacy vs Freedom

Many of us share large proportions of our lives with the social spheres without a second thought. We disregard the implications or consequences of sharing so much data, and do not consider what happens to it, even if we choose to delete it. How do we preserve our digital identity and what are our rights if we want to be ‘forgotten’.

We live in an age, where many of us have had social media accounts for a number of years, and if we scroll back a couple of years and read old tweets and status’, some of us cringe a little. I recently did this with my Twitter account, and there were so many statuses, which I wanted to delete, that it resulted in me deleting my entire account and I decided to start fresh with a new account.

So what happens to all the tweets I posted on my old account?

Well as far as I can tell, that’s the end of my account as a stream, however if I type in my old username into a Google search, there is still information and links to old posts, meaning that some traces of my old account still exist, and therefore deleting the account, hasn’t deleted everything associated with it. Sites such as ‘Myneeek’ and ‘Twicsy’ seem to have stored data from my old account consisting of my basic profile information and a few photos associated with the account. “Twicsy’ isn’t a website I’d ever come across before conducting my privacy research, yet it seems this website contains a lot of information associated with my old Twitter account. Although few of the photos can be displayed, all of the captions I wrote along with my Twitter photos are still there.

Twitter reveals a lot about us as people, and much in the same way that historians examine objects from the past, the ‘Twitter Archive’ at the Library of Congress is a system for collecting and archiving Tweets with the aim of preserving modern day culture. The agreement between the Library of Congress and Twitter was signed in 2010 meaning that the Library of Congress would receive an ongoing stream of tweets from 2006.

Do we know all of what we have shared on the Internet? Can we even remember all of those grumpy statuses and tweets that we should have thought twice about before clicking ‘share’? My answer to that is most definitely not. I recently downloaded my Facebook archive and I was shocked by how much information there is retained about me. Browsing through my catalogue of Facebook data was like taking a walk down memory lane. Some of the conversations I’d had with people and the places I had checked in at sparked real emotions and feelings of nostalgia. I also felt worried about how much online rubbish I had accumulated in a reasonably short amount of time. If there was a way of deleting back from a certain year then I certainly would, but Facebook only offers deletion as ‘all or nothing’ unfortunately. Is this the price we pay for using these free websites? It raises ethical questions, such as, do these sites have a duty to allow us to pick and choose the information we want to keep on the Internet, and the information we want to be deleted forever.                                                                                                                

The EU ruled last year that consumers could ask Google to remove potentially damaging content about them, known as the ‘Right to be forgotten’. This sparked split opinions with people on opposite sides of the argument for free online speech. Some say that being able to pick and choose what is online damages free speech; US Judge Ernest Goldsmith declared that editing Google’s search results would do just that, which is in contrast to the decision of the EU regulators.

Arguing for the right to be forgotten, Jimmy Wales, co-founder of Wikipedia, views online data as being something that should be within a person’s capacity to control. The Right to be forgotten becomes a form of Censorship, but why is that a bad thing? ‘Without the freedom to be private, we have precious little freedom at all.’

From looking in to my own online presence, I will be diving further in to the online world of privacy and the right to be forgotten. I have concluded that there is too much information out there, which I don’t want to share anymore. The fact that the website ‘I know where your cat lives’ does know where my cats live from photos I posted on a Twitter account that no longer exists, concerns me. Although that is a lighthearted website with no seriously damaging information on, it is quite incredible and indeed scary, how much of our lives are broadcast online, without us fully acknowledging to what extent. 

Written by

Katherine Thomson

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There's an app for that!

There's an app for that!

Technology: Where do we draw the digital line in the sand?

 

Technology surrounds us everyday, and for the most part, makes our lives easier and more efficient. Need to contact someone? Send a text. Want to do your food shopping? Use an app. Lose weight and be more active? There’s an app for that, and even a device you can wear too! The technology we use is endless and most of us would be lost without it. We no longer live in a world where we have to remember phone numbers or look at maps, because they’re readily available for us in the palm of our hand. We’re reliant, and increasingly so, on the comfort of how easy technology makes our lives.

But what happens when technology goes further, do we lose our privacy and our ability to disconnect? Do we have issues with the ethics behind some technology? Are we just apprehensive and worried about where it could take us? Or perhaps we’re scared of how the future might look and if we can keep up?

I think, it’s a mixture of all three. In a world where driverless cars and Robot hotels are no longer a product of a science fiction film is it any wonder that we as a species are a little bit apprehensive to accept some of these technologies in to our world?

Now, we can rule out an ‘I, Robot’ situation and the future certainly does not look like a scene from ‘Terminator’ either.

The astonishing developments in AI are really rather incredible.  The AI of today actually has nothing in common with the human brain and works on a basis of ‘if this, then that’ instruction. It cannot think for itself, it cannot feel emotion and it cannot operate in the same way that humans do.

The question is, when are we too reliant on technology, and how beneficial is it to us?

My example of the reliance on technology is the recent report made by Samsung, warning users not to discuss personal information in front of their Smart TV. A recent study showed that when the voice activation feature is active, the TV listens to what is being said, and this information may be shared with Samsung or third parties. 

So are we too relaxed and trusting of these technologies? Is some new technology damaging to our private information and to us? So, is this where technology has gone too far? Or is it simply that we need better security and more regulation on the uses of our information?

With driverless cars expected to be the norm on our roads by 2030, how do we change our behavior so drastically and accept the new technology? Driverless cars throw out new challenges for regulation and security; for example, will all of our movements in our cars be tracked, and can we take over the controls if there is an emergency situation? I have to admit; I feel really mixed about this, on one hand I would really miss driving my own car, but in contrast I also think about how much more I could get done! I could be reading a book, writing or relaxing to music on my journeys instead.

These technological developments don’t just mean a changing future for cars and hotels, but also huge leaps in the medical fields too! We now live in a world where 3D printing can save lives and enhance others. Wearable technology is helping people get in shape, iPhones are connecting with ‘diagnostic dongles’ to identify HIV and Syphilis and ‘Peek’ is an app which is leading the way in smartphone based eye examinations. 

I think in a world of emerging technologies we have to be open to the developments on our doorstep. Some may be a little scary but there’s so much to look forward to and so much constantly being developed that can enhance our lives and enhance the world we live in!

Written by 

Katherine Thomson

Top Ten Amazing Materials

Top Ten Amazing Materials

 

Do you want to know the top ten amazing materials?

 

Of course you do. There are so many incredible materials in the world, it was a tough call to only choose ten, but here you go, I hope you like them.

 

 10 - D30 Impact Protection – This amazingly clever material is a substance used in impact protection. Now used in phone cases, body protection and electronics, this material is made up of D30 molecules. The material in it’s raw state is soft and flexible, much like ‘Play-doh’ to touch; however on receipt of shock, the molecules lock together to absorb energy and disperse energy to provide protection before returning to it’s flexible state.

 

9 - Fungal Foam - Environmentally friendly and cost effective. This foam is made from agricultural crop waste- plant stalks, rice and wheat husks, which are then bonded together with mushroom roots. The company is now developing this material to be an alternative to petroleum-based plastic foams which though convenient, threaten the environment

 

8 - Sweating Rooftops – Now, I know that this doesn’t sound extremely appealing but give it a chance. This new material from researchers at ETH-Zurich is really rather genius. Much like humans sweat to shed excess heat, this rooftop material absorbs water when it rains and only releases it when the temperature is raised to a certain point. Thus, keeping the house cool.

 

7 - Graphene – This is a remarkably strong material, in fact, it is about 100 times stronger than steel. In it’s pure form, pure carbon, one atom thick Graphene is an almost transparent sheet. It conducts heat and electricity with great efficiency.

 

6 - Gallium – Discovered by Lecoq de Boisbaudran in 1875, Gallium is used in industry every day. Though Gallium does not exist in a pure form in nature, scientists have found a way to extract it from Bauxite and Zinc ores. The product, Gallium (III) is a soft; silvery metal which when held on the palm begins to liquify in 5-7 minutes. (Pretty cool yeah?) Well, this amazing metal is used in a variety of ways every day such as, thermometers, mirrors, and solar devices.

 

5 - SilIca Aerogel – This is the lightest solid in the world, with a composition of 99.8% carbon dioxide and 0.2% silica gel. Aerogel is the best thermal insulator available with a melting point of 1200 degrees Celsius. Due to its impressive properties, aerogels have many uses from thermal clothing to spacecraft. The Glenn team is currently working on a NASA project called the Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator (HIAD). The HIAD is an inflatable vehicle, which is stowed inside the launch vehicle. Prior the entering the atmosphere the HIAD is inflated; this helps the spacecraft slow down and land safely on it’s destined location, which has an atmosphere. Covered by a thermal protection system, aerogels are used as an insulator.

 

4 - Self-Healing Concrete – This may sound like something out of a Sci-fi film, but self-healing concrete is a huge breakthrough in structural damage. Repairing cracks in concrete structures is time consuming and costly but necessary. Researchers have come up with a solution that involves creating a concrete mix that contains bacteria in microcapsules. When in contact with water, the bacteria will germinate, producing limestone as they go, thus sealing the crack before any damage to the structure can occur! (Amazing right?)

 

3 - Hydrophobic Metal – Scientists have developed a metal, which causes water to bounce off it. (as if by magic) Unlike chemical coatings like Teflon, etching microscopic structures into metal with the help of lasers creates this surface. This development is amazing, yet just to pattern a 1x1inch of this can take up to an hour, so don’t expect to see it in any consumer products any time soon.

 

2 -  Metal Foam – This is the substance you get when you add foaming agents and powdered titanium hydride to molten aluminum and then let it cool down. This is an incredibly strong material, which is also extremely light, making it a favorable substance with 75-95% empty space. It has been suggested that this material could be used to make space colonies and floating cities. (How very futuristic!)

 

Still reading? I hope so, because I’ve saved the best until last!

1 - (Drum roll please) E-Skin – Imagine a world where your health can be monitored, constantly and discreetly throughout your average day. A health monitor that continuously checks your blood pressure, pulse, monitors your sleep pattern and stress levels. A thin layer of electronic skin which then uploads the information to your smartphone and allows you to track your wellbeing. Well, with E-skin, this doesn’t have to be imagined. This amazing material (and well deserved of the top spot) has been designed for multiple uses. We could see wallpapers doubling as touchscreen displays and dashboards, which allow drivers to adjust electronics with the wave of the hand. 

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