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Featured Articles and News Releases

Soft Rocker with its Own Power Generation

By Christine Ethier (Energy Trace)

A very creative and forward thinking team at MIT have developed an interesting chair. It's a very cool looking chair in many people's opinion and many claim it's comfortable as well. It's also wonderful that the chairs are available outside where there are limited places to sit in such comfort. However, this is all beside the point. One of the main impetuses behind the design and promotion of the soft rocker is to make some of the power needs of the community the responsibility of its members, reducing reliance on non-renewable resources and simultaneously involving the consuming population in the provision of its own power needs. Each time someone pulls on the handle of a soft rocker to readjust the chair's orientation to the sun, that person participates in the solution. In power terms, the idea makes a small contribution to living off the grid; in empowering terms, this idea and others like it, may be the key to saving the planet.

The design is at once simple and deceptively complex. The technique that makes the design possible was originally pioneered under the name ZipShape by SchindlerSalmeron in Germany. Here it is extended into a multi-sheet system that allowed the designers Sheila Kennedy, Professor of Architecture at MIT and team members Phil Seaton, Shevy Rockcastle, Jungmin Nam, Kate Bogunschutz, and James Baylessto produce the continuous, custom-formed 29' curve that comprises the chair.


Across the landscape of any available space and carefully set for the correct local latitude, these chairs provide the power to both recharge devices like cell phones and computers and to radiate attractive lighting in hours of darkness.

Bravo to the team at MIT! The soft rocker may actually provide an answer to that nagging question "But what can I do about it?

Images reproduced with the permission of team member Phil Seaton. More are provided on his site under the heading 'soft rocker'.


May, 2016

TÜV SÜD accompanies Vestas' multi-rotor concept

Vestas, the Danish manufacturer of wind turbines, is addressing the further optimisation of wind-energy production by using an innovative multi-rotor concept. Having been installed in April at a Danish test site, the demonstration turbine with four rotors will be used for extensive investigations and assessment of the turbine concept. TÜV SÜD has accompanied the project during the design and development stage, and carried out third-party design examination and prototype certification according to IEC 61400-22.

To date, wind-turbine manufacturers have relied on ever larger turbines to increase energy production and reduce the cost of energy. Vestas’ multi-rotor concept now marks a new and innovative approach. To undertake in-depth investigation of the concept, Vestas installed a concept demonstrator turbine with four nacelles and four 29-m-diameter rotors attached to a single support structure. The support structure comprises one central steel tower and two rotor arm assemblies arranged vertically at two levels. The rotor arm assemblies can rotate individually around the tower. They are composed of beams, truss members and prestressed steel ropes, giving the rotor arm assemblies a slim appearance.

Press-contact: Dr Thomas Oberst


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