Enjoy the bad weather

QQ截图20130506002938We talked a little bit about the double layer umbrella design last Friday, then as usual, I got pretty interested in windproof umbrella, also it reminded me a series of problems that traditional umbrella could cause, like it will go inside-out and even break when it’s windy, it limits visibility, doesn’t protect our back. Then I googled windproof umbrella, the stealth bomber shaped umbrella by Senz caught my eyes first. The Senz windproof umbrella can withstand up to 70 mph winds, even in a force 10 gale, without turning inside out, which has been tested at the wind tunnels of the Delft University of Technology. Dutch firm SENZ, the creator, claims this is the biggest advance since the Chinese invented the collapsible umbrella thousands of years ago. It is said that this umbrella can find the best position in the wind and funnels air around itself. The umbrella has a cut-away front which allow you to see ahead and a long shape to keep the rain off your back. It is said that they just used nine days to have their initial stock of 10.000 umbrellas sold out in 2006.


Then let’s talk about the difference between this windproof umbrella and traditional umbrella (ideas from Quora). Firstly, this windproof umbrella turn against the wind with its short side, by which way the umbrella won’t allow any air to get underneath it but instead flows over the umbrella. What traditional umbrella does is it’s like a chute, creating drag when wind get underneath the umbrella because it’s positioned against the wind. Secondly, Senz’ boning runs all the way down the umbrella which allows for a better distribution of force while traditional umbrella has the attachment points of the boning positioned halfway down the umbrella, which makes it snap easily.


Another type of windproof umbrella is the one has a stronger frame– a double-spoke and are hinged, so that it can reshape with no damage to the spokes when the umbrella blows inside out.

A third type is the one with two layers canopy. THe top layer has holes in it that allows the wind to pass through and make both interior and exterior pressure of the umbrella same. Some of them have vent holes to allow wind go through.QQ截图20130506014627


Bioinspired architecture by Thomas Heatherwick


The UK pavilion at Shanghai’s Expo 2010 themed “Building on the Past, Shaping our future”, also known as the Seed Cathedral, is a building that could move in the wind and a celebration of growth and light. The area around it look like a wrapping paper, making it seem as if the wrappers have fallen open to reveal a sparkling jewel of life. Thomas Heatherwick took 66,000 seeds and trap each one of them in optical hair and grow that through this box. In the daytime, each one is an optic that brings light into the center. The entrance of this seed cathedral is like a small area of shaved skin on a pet.


This high-rise apartments in Malaysia that are also designed by Thomas Heatherwick. It provides greater commercial value of creating more of the valuable top floor by chopping the low-value bottom part away and putting it at the top, also creating 90 percent of the siteas a rainforest ecosystem by linking these together.


The left figure shows a traditional apartment building design with a few trees squeezed around the building. In the right one, the designer really tried to think about what would be better for the city. However what I’m thinking is whether this building can support itself in an earthquake. I guess that depends. Like in my hometown is an earthquake zone, but we have a very famous flipped tower called ‘Wenfeng’ tower that was built in year 952 also has small bottom. It’s 38.65 meters tall and has 5 floors. It’s amazing because this tower has been sat there for more than 1000 years and experienced magnitude 7 earthquake twice.



bioinspired Architecture in China

Located in Chengdu, China, this cell-shaped building is a croos-disciplinary collaboration between MIT bioengineer Shuguang Zhang, architecture major Sloan Kulper and software engineer Audrey Roy. It’s for the institute for Nanobiomedical Technology & Membrane Biology with 170.000 sq ft of laboratory and research spaces. According to Dr. Zhang, conventional buildings with boxy shape are boring, he said, whether “they like it or hate it,” and children will be inspired to learn biology! So I guess the best place for this cell-shaped building that is supposed to inspire children to explore the world of biology is elementary school then China will have more biologiests haha.

The Beijing National Aquatics Center, also known as the Water Cube, was used as the place where hosted swimming and synchronized swimming events in Beijing 2008 Olympics. The design is a basic box juxtaposed with an organic “bubble” structure that makes up the building cladding. Andrew Frost said, “Our concept is a simple and concise square form that ultimately uses the water bubble theory to create the structure and building cladding, and which makes the design so unique. It appears random and playful like a natural system, yet is mathematically very rigorous and repetitious. The transparency of water, with the mystery of the bubble system, engages those both inside and out of the structure to consider their own experiences with water”. This is also a very efficient green house that heats and cools itself, 90% of the solar energy falling on the building is used to heat the pools and the interior area.



The next is Water cube’s best friend Bird’s Nest, Beijing National Stadium, which was designed for use throughout the 2008 summer Olympics. It looks like a big nest which embraces human beings, also looks like a cradle bearing human beings’  hope of the future. This design was accomplished by Swiss architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron and Chinese architect Li Xinggang and the others. You know human always like the natural look architechture:)

Inspiration dragonfly flight by Festo

dragonflyI happen to watch a vedio called “Festo-BionicOpter” on a Chinese networking website Renren, which is a platform for the college-educated students in China With 147 million registered users and 31 million active users per month. You can think of Renren as China’s facebook, as you know for whatever reson, facebook is blocked in China 😦 This vedio tells about a complicated flight red-veined-darter[1]characteristics of the dragonfly designed by Festo. I think it’s amazing because this huge ‘dragonfly’  can fly in all directions like the real one and has a very beautiful appearance with blue body and transparent wings.  This remind me of my childhood experiene with catch dragonfly after rain around ponds with my dad, but I didn’t know the cool facts about dragonfly until today, for example, dragonfly can glide in the air without the need to beat its wings, they live in the water, and have excellent 360°vision!  This is also the reason why I really like this course, as before I have never think about nature in daily life that is so cool, and everytime after class I have something to google which I know from class that is very interesting and cool, like this time, risug…What!! Haha 🙂 Here I found a very cool picture-dragonfly after rain shower, and can’t wait to share with you guys:p

Okay come back to our topic-Festo BionicOpter, the vedio above shows the natural model for flight nicely. It’s the first time to master this complex wing-flapping principle of the dragonfly.








This artificial dragonfly is made of flexible polyamide and terpolymer, which make the emtire system flexible and ultralight, it has a wingspan of 70 cm and a body length of 48 cm, but weighs just 175 grams. Although it’s very complex integrated system, you can control it via a smart phone.(Know more at http://www.festo.com/cms/en_corp/13165.htm)

Learn from coconut palms

The trunks of coconut palms are actually composed not of wood, but of fibrous, stout, overlapping stems and they is prime building material  Every part of coconut palms is useful for us.  The oil and milk derived from the edible flesh of the coconut are commonly used in cooking, and coconut oil is also widely used in soaps and cosmetics. The coconut water inside the shell is a very tasty beverage.

voyage Above is what we all know about, what’s interesting is coconut palm send  their seeds by sea!  The seed are  enclosed in a hard shell, which contains nutrient meat and water that are enough for a long voyage. Outside of the hard shell  is a fibre float, keeping it on the surface of the water. This combination enable coconut palms to survive on beaches throughout the tropics.

A coconut takes a full year to develop from a flower into a ripe nut. The following are the four food phases the fruit of the coconut passes through:

(1) The juice can be drunk when it’s bright green. It is sweet and refreshing at this stage.

(2) Then the outside turns into brown, and a thin white layer of meat inside begins to develop, which is soft at this time and can be eaten.
(3)Then the outside becomes harder and the meat inside thickens and hardens while the milk turns to tasteless water If the coconut remains on the tree.brown
(4) If the coconut is still on the tree, then it falls and starts to germinate. Now a white sponge-like ball develops within the had shell, absorbing the juice and hard meat.


QQ截图20130426144927sprounting coconut on beachQQ截图20130426145606

Learn from Bamboo


Speaking of my favorite plant bamboo, it’s giant panda’s favorite food, one of the fastest-growing plants on Earth, and the member of the four gentlemen in Chinese art (the bamboo, the orchid, the chrysanthemum, and the plum blossom, which represent the four different seasons: the orchid for spring, the bamboo for summer, the chrysanthemum for autumn, and the plum blossom for winter).


This picture shows my bamboo that I bought last winter, they grow very fast, live for a long time and only need water, and they are called ‘Fu gui’ bamboo in China. Generally speaking, bamboo have round, hollow tube, which provides support that allows the stalks to grow very tall and thin without snapping in half. What’s makes bamboo more unique is that they use not only leaves, but also chloroplasts on their stalks as site of photosynthesis. Their strong structure and efficient use of space provide inspiration for many areas, like building design, bike, and motorcycle. Bamboo bicycles offer a very smooth and comfortable ride and have many advantages, such as vibration damping, crash tolerance, and a natural look.

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Giant panda, native to central-western and south western China,  should be carnivorous because of their digestive systems and taxonomic classification , but they are instead so famously partial to bamboo. Do you know Panda hava six fingers on their front paws? Do you believe that that extra ‘thumb’ is specially adapted  to grasp bamboo stalks as they strip the leaves? This is true. Actually this “thumb” is not really a thumb, it’s a modified wrist bone. Look how cute when they are eating bamboo~


Waterproof Beehive

I cannot live without honey, yeah.. So definitely I need to know more about honey and write a blog for my favourate honey and lovely bees. Here is the story: “Honey Bee is the only insect to produce food that is eaten by man. A Honey Bee produces very less amount of honey in her lifetime-1/12th of a teaspoon. To gather one pound of honey, approximately 556 worker honey bees collect nectar from more than 2 million flowers while a single honey bee fly around 90,000 miles to make one pound of honey.There are about 20,000 species of honey and amazingly just four of them can make honey.” Honey benefit us a lot, not only very easy to digest as it is already digested once by Honey Bee, they also has the best healing effects.

I find it so interesting that such a tiny insect can make their hive, which is made of six-sided tubes and is for them to store honey and feed themselves throughout winter, in such a complicated way. They make their hive six sides shape because this requires less wax and can hold more honey. Pallasmaa studied plasterer bees, he showed that in order to protects their nests from water, they can secret a natural polyester. By linging the walls of their nest cavity with wallpaper, which resembles cellophane, made of an oral secretion, their home is totally waterproof now.  Researcher said the lining both prevents their collected nectar from leaking into the surrounding material and keeps away dampness and mold. (Picture from ©entomart) 721ebae0dfdca249c61d1c491469c81a[1]