How Amazonian Lily Pads Inspire Building Design

Not only is an Amazonian water lily massive, with leaves that can grow up to 10 feet, but it’s also strong enough to withstand the weight of a small child. For years, researchers have attempted to ascertain how lily pads can do this. A recent study from Science Advances uncovered how a network of fractal veins, which radiate concentrically from a central stem, efficiently support the …

Apple, Google and Amazon Join Forces for More Connected Smart-Homes

A new coalition (which officially launches this year) between Apple, Google, Amazon and the Zigbee Alliance will result in most new devices being compatible with each aforementioned brands’ smart-home products. Setting an official standard for how products should coexist and connect will “make it easier both for consumers to build their ideal smart-home environment and also for manufacturers to develop new products.” That means one …

Nest LivingHome Toolkit Drastically Reduces Costs of Housing Construction

Starting at $57,900, Plant Prefab and architecture firm Brooks & Scarpa offer modular unit designs that can be assembled with prefabricated, customizable parts—from shelters that house hundreds of people to standalone units that run off the grid. These designs, named Nest LivingHome Toolkits, seek to combat the housing crisis in many US cities by employing innovative design in situations that usually require costly construction sites …