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Rethinking the Small House Sweet Spot

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first_imgEven after growing by 50%, the houses are smaller than the average American home was in 1950 — 983 square feet, according to the National Association of Home Builders — and a fraction of the 2,422 square feet median for single-family homes built last year.Bigger, with more optionsTiny houses measuring only a few hundred square feet have gotten plenty of press over the last few years. Converts sing the praises of their small abodes, citing lower construction and maintenance costs, a lighter tax burden, and the joys of unloading possessions they don’t really need.But McIver’s experience is going in the opposite direction: potential buyers wanted more, not less, space. And they’re willing to pay for it. Starting prices for houses on A Street were $129,900. Buyers moving to C Street will pay $219,900. They’ll get bigger lots, an attached garage, and the chance for more custom features inside — a fireplace, for example, radiant-floor heat, more choices on paint colors and flooring.McIver anticipated the difficulties some buyers would have as they moved into a house as small as 610 square feet, so he originally included separate buildings for garage and storage. But with houses and lots both growing in size, and packages now including an attached garage, those ancillary buildings are no longer needed. B Street, and the housing pods that will follow, don’t have them.Solar is still a popular optionMcIver and then-partner Mark Lopez pitched the first group of houses not only on their size, but on how little buyers would pay for energy. By spending an extra $9,000 on a 3 kW photovoltaic system, developers said, buyers could look forward to electricity bills of just $35 a month. Although never marketed as net-zero energy houses, they certainly promised far lower operating costs than Maine’s typically older and leaky housing stock.Interest in solar hasn’t waned, McIver said. As many as 80% of buyers opt for solar panels.One of them is Richard Bouthillette, who lives in a 924-square-foot house on B Street. He said the highest monthly bill he’s seen for heat and hot water since moving in was $77.The Cottages at Willett Brook, a 55-plus development in Bridgton, Maine, is heading into phase three, featuring larger houses, higher prices, and more amenities.Houses originally were framed with 2x4s and raised-heel-truss roofs. Exterior walls were insulated with 2 1/2 inches of closed-cell spray foam and sheathed with Zip System R-Sheathing, which includes a layer of rigid foam insulation. Newer houses are framed with 2x6s 24 inches on-center with stud cavities filled with open-cell spray foam, McIver said. The rigid foam on the outside has been eliminated. Roofs of the newer houses are insulated to R-60 with a combination of spray foam and blown-in cellulose.Tiny is not for everyoneThere are no signs that interest in tiny houses is fading. Articles like the one published last month by Country Living magazine are jammed with photos of these appealing Lilliputian homes, and websites such as The Tiny Life are all about the moral and financial benefits of going small.But as McIver has discovered, really small is not everyone’s cup of tea.“We had a concept, and that worked great for some people,” he said. “There were also people saying, ‘Could you just do it a little bigger?’ I heard that a lot, and I wanted to accommodate those people, too.”Or, take the experience of Gene Tempest, who with her husband lives in a 492-square-foot apartment in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Writing in The New York Times, Tempest says she has unwittingly become part of the tiny house movement. She adds: “But deep inside the expensive custom closets and under the New Age Murphy beds, the pro-petite propaganda has hidden some unseemly truths about how the other half lives. No one writes about the little white lies that help sell this new, very small American dream.”Tempest complains that in the small footprint of a very small apartment, objects like an unattractive plastic laundry hamper assume oversized importance and “become tyrants.” Smaller spaces get used more intensively, she says, so carpets and couches show signs of wear before their time. Carmelizing three pounds of onions for a recipe infused the space and everything in it with “eau de onion” for weeks.“For generations, writers have warned about romanticizing the lives of the poor,” Tempest says. “Beware the nostalgie de la boue. Small can be a bad fit.“So we daydream big,” she continues. “Dreams of unfashionable, politically incorrect, old American aspirations that our generation isn’t supposed to believe in anymore. Dreams of design features so vast that they sound like foreign countries. I dream of kitchen islands. I dream outside this box.” With the launch of The Cottages at Willett Brook, Justin McIver thought he’d found the ideal house size for 55-plus buyers who were ready to downsize but weren’t interested in squeezing into a house of just a few hundred square feet. Turns out he was almost right.McIver planned to build the 60 single-family houses in Bridgton, Maine, in phases of 10 houses each. The 10 units on A Street came in two sizes — 610 and 640 square feet. That was two years ago. McIver’s company, Maine Eco Homes, has since completed the second group of houses, on B Streeet, but this time they measure from 700 to 924 square feet, an increase of as much as 50% over the originals. And McIver doesn’t see much changing as he moves ahead with the next 40 homes.“The smaller houses were going great, but we had a lot of demand for something a little bigger with an attached garage, and a bath and a half,” he said. “That seems to be the sweet spot.”Just down the hill, work is underway on the third pod, where the houses also will be in the 924-square-foot range, possibly a little bigger. McIver says he’s accepted reservations on several of those houses already. If buyers ask, those houses can be made slightly larger, and they’re coming with amenities like a porch on both front and back. Some have walk-out basements. RELATED ARTICLESFinding the Small House Sweet SpotTiny Houses Join the Building CodeWhy Tiny Houses Make SenseLumber Store Chain Now Offers Tiny HousesSpace as a Green MetricCities Think Small to Ease the Housing Crunchlast_img read more

The key to smarter farms? IoT farm application ecosystems

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first_imgRelated Posts Cloud Hosting for WordPress: Why Everyone is Mo… ReadWrite Sponsors Farming is getting smarter every day. From large commercial operations to local organic growers, technology is at the forefront of reducing cost, improving yield and guaranteeing optimal delivery to market. The key ingredient in smart agriculture is data.Modern farmers have more tools for gathering intelligence than ever before. Soil chemistry data informs fertilization decisions. Moisture sensors and precision irrigation controllers optimize irrigation, while reducing water consumption. Drones precisely apply pesticides. Autonomous harvesters traverse fields under the watchful eye of location and capacity sensors. The list goes on. Almost every agricultural process can be instrumented using sensors generating data that can optimize processes and inform decision making. The Internet of Things is at the center of this revolution. IoT hardware has rapidly evolved to offer low-cost sensors for almost every conceivable need. These sensors are being built into IoT devices with battery life that can be measured in years and access to affordable low-power mobile networking. IoT device management platforms have also evolved rapidly, and have the ability to securely onboard and manage devices on a large scale. IoT cloud services provides suites of application enablement services that can easily be consumed by developers, allowing them to focus on building their application’s business logic. These developments are driving the creation of powerful new IoT applications in almost every vertical, including agriculture.But what makes today’s farm truly smart? Let me ask that another way. When will smart farm technology reach the point where the domain intelligence it provides exceeds that of experienced professional farmers? The answer may not be as straightforward as you think. Data is not enoughIt‘s true that gathering precise data helps farmers make better decisions. Obtaining soil moisture readings at several depths definitely provides more precise information than if the farmer simply sticks a finger down in the soil. Satellite weather reports provide better forecasting than the farmer’s old barometric weather station. Precise soil chemistry data can help a farmer fertilize the soil, at the lowest cost per acre, and avoid the risk of some soil-borne diseases. A precisely controlled low-flying drone may apply pesticide more efficiently than a traditional crop duster. But this data simply informs the farmer. It is the farmer’s experience that integrates this intelligence to make the best decisions to optimize operations. An assortment of technology “tools” is not enough. Dean Hamilton, Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Service Creation Business Unit, AcceleriteSmart farming calls for data integration . . .The applications themselves that the farmer uses must be designed and built with the ability to communicate and work together to optimize outcomes. An experienced farmer intuitively integrates all of the knowledge available. Irrigation decisions will not simply be based on the weather and the type of crop, but by the nature of the soil and its chemical composition. It’s not enough to know how to efficiently apply pesticides over an area. A farmer will also consider the irrigation cycle to maximize the effectiveness of the pesticide. The problem with many of today’s smart farm IoT technologies is that these applications exist in silos. Even if fully-automated, they do not work efficiently together. The algorithms for scheduling irrigation don’t take into account when fertilizer was last applied. A truly smart farm is one that can be highly automated so even a novice farmer can optimize their operation. But to do so, valuable data from the many silos throughout the farming operation must easily and automatically integrate.. . . And IoT service creation and enrichment platformsA new class of IoT platform-building technology now provides such capabilities — IoT service creation and enrichment platforms (SCEP). SCEPs, such as Accelerite’s Concert IoT, provide a suite of complementary services that developers can use to create cloud-based IoT applications while building and monetizing application partner ecosystems. IoT platforms for vertical markets such as smart farms enable developers to create ecosystems of highly integrated and targeted apps. However, a full-featured SCEP must provide these three critical capabilities for IoT application developers:Tools for visually modeling and orchestrating IoT applications, allowing non-programmers to participate in developing and refining IoT solutions. With a smart farm platform, the farmer should be able to modify the application without extensive programming effort. This reduces the development cost and time required to create and evolve the applications.An IoT “platform builder” offered as a service, with capability to easily create new platforms from the applications themselves. Applications use the platform builder to expose APIs, allowing their services to be leveraged by partner applications. API and partner management capabilities, integrated into the SCEP, allow application developers to create and offer new, vertically-oriented IoT platforms-as-a-service. A monetization engine that simplifies forming commercial relationships with partners who want applications as services and data via APIs.SCEPs build on existing IoT enablement cloud platforms, such as Microsoft Azure and Amazon Web Services IoT, and are designed to complement the suite of IoT services offered by these platforms. With SCEP technology, IoT vendors across agriculture, manufacturing, retail, supply chain and logistics, and government can not only rapidly create ecosystems of innovative IoT applications, but can integrate – even monetize — those applications by offering them as platforms to additional application partners. And when a farm runs on such a service creation and enrichment platform, instead of silos, the underlying data throughout the entire agriculture operation grows smarter each day. The farmer can fine-tune operations, based on precision intelligence and knowledge from an ecosystem of partners. It’s when the vision of a truly smart farm becomes reality. Interested in learning more about building an IoT service-oriented application ecosystem, optimized for targeted industry markets such as agriculture? Contact us for an introductory demo on the Concert IoT service creation and enrichment platform today.This article was produced in partnership with Accelerite. Top Reasons to Go With Managed WordPress Hostingcenter_img Tags:#Accelrite#Internet of Things#IoT#Smart Cities#smart city#smart farms 4 Big Reasons Retailers are Racing to Embrace IoT Is Voice Search the Next Big Travel Technology …last_img read more

Glen Rice Jr. drops triple-double as TNT nips NLEX

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first_imgJayson Castro had 13 points, including a clutch 3-pointer that gave the KaTropa a 110-106 lead with 1:12 remaining.“That was a hard-fought win. It’s good that we’re able to play together especially on the defensive end. We struggled a bit offensively but we’re able to organize ourselves in the endgame,” TNT coach Nash Racela told reporters.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSSEA Games: Biñan football stadium stands out in preparedness, completionSPORTSPrivate companies step in to help SEA Games hostingSPORTSBoxers Pacquiao, Petecio torchbearers for SEA Games opening“The last few days were really tough for us. And for us to really have a good chance today, important thing is we accept the change, embrace the change right away and move forward right away,” Racela, whose squad improved to 6-3, said.The KaTropa played their first game without veteran forward Ranidel de Ocampo, who was sent to Meralco on Monday in a shocking three-team deal. Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next “Practice was emotional yesterday. Ranidel dropped by practice to say goodbye. Fortunately, the guys were able to focus.”De Ocampo won six championships at Talk ‘N Text during his eight seasons with the franchise.Aaron Fuller led the Road Warriors, who remained in second place despite sliding to 7-3, with 28 points and 18 rebounds while Alex Mallari had 19 points, nine rebounds and five assists.Larry Fonacier, the former longtime TNT swingman, who was traded to NLEX four months ago late in the Commissioner’s Cup, played against his former team for the first time and had 10 points off the bench.ADVERTISEMENT Glen Rice Jr. PBA IMAGESANTIPOLO — Glen Rice Jr. did a little bit of everything and TNT scraped past NLEX, 112-107, in the 2017 PBA Governors’ Cup Wednesday night at Ynares Center here. Rice notched a triple-double with 25 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists with five blocks while Troy Rosario added 17 points and 12 rebounds.ADVERTISEMENT Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Duterte tells PSC to include IPs, out of school youth in recruitment Lacson: SEA Games fund put in foundation like ‘Napoles case’ Robredo should’ve resigned as drug czar after lack of trust issue – Panelo View comments Ethel Booba on hotel’s clarification that ‘kikiam’ is ‘chicken sausage’: ‘Kung di pa pansinin, baka isipin nila ok lang’center_img Hotel says PH coach apologized for ‘kikiam for breakfast’ claim MOST READ Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles02:14Galvez OK with ‘selective’ martial law in Mindanao01:53Gov’t, MNLF creating panels to ‘move forward’ in peace talks02:49Robredo: True leaders perform well despite having ‘uninspiring’ boss02:42PH underwater hockey team aims to make waves in SEA Games01:44Philippines marks anniversary of massacre with calls for justice01:19Fire erupts in Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City01:07Trump talks impeachment while meeting NCAA athletes02:49World-class track facilities installed at NCC for SEA Games Celebrity chef Gary Rhodes dies at 59 with wife by his side Trump signs bills in support of Hong Kong protesters LATEST STORIES NATO’s aging eye in the sky to get a last overhaullast_img read more

Model Sonia Dara first South Asian to feature in Sports Illustrated’s swimsuit issue

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first_imgLife has not been the same since 21-year-old Sonia Dara became the first South Asian model of Indian descent to feature in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue in 2010.An economics major at Harvard University, US, Dara recently appeared as a guest judge on the show America’s Next Top Model and,Life has not been the same since 21-year-old Sonia Dara became the first South Asian model of Indian descent to feature in Sports Illustrated’s annual swimsuit issue in 2010.An economics major at Harvard University, US, Dara recently appeared as a guest judge on the show America’s Next Top Model and had some vital inputs for the contestants. But rather than letting success go to her head, Dara says she intends to use her fame for the causes she believes in. Is there a beauty pageant winner in there?last_img read more

Moto E3 Power with 3,500mAh battery launched at Rs 7,999

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first_imgLenovo, the company that now owns Motorola Mobility for all intents and purposes, launched the ultra-affordable Motorola phone Moto E3 Power in India on Monday. The phone will be sold exclusively on Flipkart from Sept 20 at an MRP of Rs 7,999. The Moto E3 Power is a slightly upgraded version of the Moto E3 and comes with more RAM and a bigger battery.Boasting of an all-plastic body, the Moto E3 Power belongs to the rare category of smartphones that still carry a removable battery. The Moto E3 Power also has a water-repellent nano-coating that protects the phone from accidental spills, splashes or light rain. The phone is also smudge-resistant, claims Lenovo. The design is very much similar to the Moto G4, which was launched in the country a few months ago. And that is a good thing. Compared to the earlier Moto E phones, the E3 not only looks much better and has a bigger screen but also sports better build quality.Also read: Motorola Moto G4 Plus review: Two steps forward, one step backThe Moto E3 Power comes with a 5-inch 720p display and is powered by a 1GHz quad-core MediaTek MT6735 processor with 2GB RAM and 16GB internal memory which is further expandable by up to 32GB via microSD card. The dual-SIM phone runs Android 6.0 Marshmallow and supports 4G LTE, including the Jio 4G. It also likely supports the VoLTE, a calling feature that Jio is popularizing.The Moto E3 Power sports an 8-megapixel camera on the rear and a 5-megapixel camera on the front. The phone is backed by a 3,500mAh battery and supports fast charging.advertisementIn India, the phone will compete with the likes of the Redmi 3S and Lenovo’s own Vibe K5.  On paper, it is a win-some, lose-some situation for the Moto E3 compared to what competitors offer. The appeal of the phone is in its software. The Moto E3 Power, like all other Moto phones, runs almost unmodified version of Android Marshmallow aka Android 6.last_img read more

Six More Carriers to Start Calling at German Wilhelmshaven

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first_imgzoom Six more container shipping lines will start calling at Germany’s only deep water port, Wilhelmshaven, from April 2017, Bremen-based terminal operator EUROGATE informed.The newly formed shipping alliance OCEAN Alliance is to include EUROGATE Container Terminal Wilhelmshaven in its schedules as part of Asia-North Europe 1 service.The alliance, comprised of French shipping company CMA CGM, China’s COSCO Shipping, Hong Kong-based Orient Overseas Container Line (OOCL) and Taiwanese Evergreen, will call at the port with ultra large container carriers (ULCVs) once a week.The Asia-North Europe 1 service will have the following port rotation: Shanghai, Ningbo, Xiamen, Yantian (Shenzhen), Singapore, Felixstowe, Rotterdam, Gdansk, Wilhelmshaven, Felixstowe, Singapore, Yantian (Shenzhen), Shanghai.Furthermore, as a result of forthcoming operational changes, Germany’s Hamburg Süd and South Korea’s Hyundai Merchant Marine (HMM) will extend their offering to include Wilhelmshaven, starting from April.German container carrier Hamburg Süd is likely to be acquired by Danish shipping giant Maersk Line. Additionally, HMM reached an agreement with Maersk Line and Switzerland-based Mediterranean Shipping Company (MSC), which together make the 2M alliance, to enter into a new strategic cooperation.“The six further shipping lines in Wilhelmshaven will significantly extend and complement the existing Maersk Line services,” the terminal operator said.Due to the re-formation of the alliances as a result of the intensifying consolidation process on the part of the shipping lines, the industry is currently undergoing a process of change.Given the ever larger vessels operating the services between Asia and Northern Europe, carriers decided to include Wilhelmshaven at larger scales as this German terminal is able to accommodate mega containerships with a draught of up to 16.5 meters.last_img read more

Dang the rules for naming Jupiters new moons are super strict

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first_img Hey @JupiterLunacy, you should name the newly discovered moon S/2018 J1 Pheraea. Pheraea was involved with Zeus, and their daughter was found and saved by a shepherd, or should I say Sheppard.  #NameJupitersMoons— Carnegie Science (@carnegiescience) February 21, 2019 13 Photos Post a comment But wait. There’s more. Each individual moon has more specific needs. Three of the moons are retrograde (they orbit in an opposite direction to Jupiter’s rotation) and must have names ending in “e,” while the other two must end in “a.”Carnegie wants the public to offers suggestions on Twitter by tweeting to @JupiterLunacy with the hashtag #NameJupitersMoons.Some of the suggestions so far don’t fit the brief, but one viable idea comes from Carnegie Science itself: Pheraea, one of Zeus’ lovers. I was ready to suggest Persephone, but there’s already an asteroid with that name. NASA view of Jupiter looks like an infamous South Park character NASA captures cosmic ‘dolphin’ swimming in Jupiter’s clouds Space Sci-Tech 0center_img Share your voice While the rules seem strict, there are some good reasons for them. The International Astronomical Union, which governs the names of space objects, already has a stringent list of requirements. The moon rules will also keep the new names on theme for Jupiter. Jupiter has 79 known moons, including famous satellites Europa and Io and the likes of Adrastea (Zeus’s foster mom) and Callisto (one of Zeus’s lovers).     We’re lucky there are so many characters in Roman and Greek mythology. As it turns out, sometimes a good name is hard to find. Jupiter swirls Tags Jaw-dropping Jupiter: NASA’s Juno mission eyes the gas giant Jupiter as seen by Hubble. Space Telescope Science Institute Polyphonte, this may be your time to shine.The Carnegie Institution for Science put out a call Thursday asking for the public’s help naming some recently discovered moons found orbiting Jupiter. But don’t get carried away. There are rules. Carnegie announced the 12 moons in mid-2018, and we get a say in draping monikers on five of them. Some of the ground rules are pretty straightforward: 16 characters or less, nothing offensive, nothing too similar to existing moon or asteroid names. You also can’t name them after a living person.Now the tunnel starts to narrow. The moons must be named after characters in Roman or Greek mythology who were either descendants of or lovers of Jupiter (Roman) or Zeus (Greek).  OK, maybe we can still work with that, even though that rules out calling any of them Elon, Moony McMoonFace or Buzz. last_img read more

Digitally printed cyanobacteria can power small electronic devices

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first_img © 2017 Phys.org Explore further Demonstration of inkjet-printed bioenergy wallpaper. 1: Printed photosynthetic organisms in green; 2: Printed CNT anode; 3: Printed CNT cathode; 4: Paper substrate; 5: Solid medium. Credit: M. Sawa et al. Nature Communications The scientists, at Imperial College London and University of Cambridge, have published a paper on the new biophotovoltaic cell in a recent issue of Nature Communications.”Our biophotovoltaic device is biodegradable and in the future could serve as a disposable solar panel and battery that can decompose in our composts or gardens,” coauthor Marin Sawa at University of Arts London and Imperial College London told Phys.org. “Cheap, accessible, environmentally friendly, biodegradable batteries without any heavy metals and plastics—this is what we and our environment really need but don’t have just yet, and our work has shown that it is possible to have that.”In general, biophotovoltaic cells contain some type of cyanobacteria or algae that is phototrophic, meaning it converts light into energy. However, even in the dark these organisms continue to generate some energy by metabolizing their internal storage reserves. So when the organisms are connected to a non-biological electrode, they can function as either a “bio solar panel” when exposed to light or a “solar bio-battery” in the dark.Currently one of the biggest challenges facing biophotovoltaic cells is producing them on a large scale. Typically, the organisms are deposited onto an electrode surface from a bulky liquid reservoir. In the new study, the researchers demonstrated that inkjet printing can be used to print both the carbon nanotube electrode surface and the cyanobacteria on top of it, while allowing the bacteria to remain fully viable. This approach not only allows the cells to be fabricated quickly, but the set-up is also more compact and allows for greater precision in cell design.With these advantages, the inkjet-printed biophotovoltaic cells can generate a maximum current density that is 3-4 times higher than cells fabricated using conventional methods. To demonstrate, the researchers showed that nine connected cells can power a digital clock or generate flashes of light from an LED, illustrating the ability to produce short bursts of relatively high power. The researchers also showed that the cells can generate a continuous power output over the course of a 100-hour period consisting of light and dark cycles.In the future, the researchers plan to develop thin-film biophotovoltaic (BPV) panels and also explore potential applications as integrated power supplies in the areas of point-of-care medical diagnostics and environmental monitoring, both of which benefit from disposable, environmentally friendly biosensors. Another potential application is a bioenergy wallpaper.”The bioenergy wallpaper is a scaled-up application of our BPV system,” Sawa said. “The wallpaper will have carbon-based conductive patterns with electron-producing cyanobacteria. It turns an interior surface into an energy harvester to drive low-power applications like LED lights and/or biosensors, which can, for example, monitor indoor air quality.”The researchers also expect that the power output of the cells can be improved in a variety of ways, such as by improving circuit conductivity, optimizing cell design, and using more resilient organisms. More information: Sawa, M., Fantuzzi, A., Bombelli, P., Howe, C., Hellgardt, K., Nixon, P. “Electricity generation from digitally printed cyanobacteria.” Nature Communications. DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-01084-4 This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.center_img (Phys.org)—Researchers have used a simple inkjet printer to print a “bio-ink” of cyanobacteria onto a conductive surface, creating a biophotovoltaic cell. Unlike conventional photovoltaic cells that operate only when exposed to light, the cyanobacteria can generate an electric current both in the dark and in response to light. The researchers expect that the cell may serve as an environmentally friendly power supply for low-power devices such as biosensors, and can even be scaled up to print a bioenergy wallpaper. Citation: Digitally printed cyanobacteria can power small electronic devices (2017, November 27) retrieved 18 August 2019 from https://phys.org/news/2017-11-digitally-cyanobacteria-power-small-electronic.html Researchers develop wallpaper bio-solar panel Journal information: Nature Communicationslast_img read more