Elon Musk Is Innovating Change in Space and on Earth (1 of 2)

In the first installment of a two-part blog series, we take a look at one of the most innovative minds in the world today: Elon Musk. The PayPal, Tesla, and SpaceX polymath has been moving forward with visionary plans, including utilizing a revolutionary new rocket design both for interplanetary exploration and high-speed suborbital travel.

At the International Astronautical Congress (IAC) in Adelaide, Australia last week, Musk announced that SpaceX planned to send unmanned cargo ships to Mars by 2022 and human explorers by 2024 (Pulse, 10/3/17). This is going to be possible, according to Musk, by utilizing a new rocket, called the “BFR,” that is even larger than NASA’s Saturn V that carried astronauts to the Moon during the Apollo program. Furthermore, SpaceX is no longer going to put resources into its current line of Falcon 9 rockets (which are being used to carry satellites into orbit and to ferry cargo to the International Space Station) or its larger, next-generation Falcon Heavy (the Verge, 9/30/17). Instead, all resources will go into developing the new spacecraft, which will carry a payload of 150 tons and of which Musk reportedly hopes to begin construction “within the next six to nine months.” Continue Reading…

The New Tappan Zee Bridge’s Smart Technology Makes It Built To Last

One of the most technologically advanced bridges in the U.S. opened to traffic shortly after 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, August 26, partially replacing the old Tappan Zee Bridge, New York State’s longest bridge.

The Gov. Mario M. Cuomo Bridge is on schedule to replace the entire Tappan Zee Bridge when its second span is completed later this year. Once both spans are open for traffic, the new bridge will have eight lanes, including four for breakdowns and emergencies, bicycle and walking paths, and a future mass transit crossing. ENR reported in its March 20/27 issue that the new $3.98 billion bridge is designed to use smart technology systems to keep it operating smoothly and safely for the next 100 years—without needing any major repairs. Continue Reading…

Help HAKS #InnovateChange Today

Is there a project, innovation, technology, issue, or anything else that you would like to share with HAKS and others in the industry at large? As HAKS’ professionals go about their project work and spread the company brand at conferences, exhibits, trade shows, engineering fairs, cultural celebrations, and other industry events, we are capturing these occasions on our social media sites—Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram—through our new #InnovateChange social media campaign. But we can’t do it without you. We need your input, feedback, conversations, content, and updates to make the campaign a success! Continue Reading…

No Ropes Attached: A Revolutionary New Elevator Has Arrived

Tired of waiting for elevators?  You’re not alone.  A Columbia University study revealed that, in one year, New York City office workers spent a cumulative 16.6 years waiting to travel up or down.  But help is on the way in the form of the “MULTI,” created by a German elevator company (thyssenkrupp), that enables sideways movement and cuts wait time to no more than 30 seconds.  Likened to a metro system inside a building, the MULTI features multiple cabins that operate in a loop, thereby revolutionizing the options for high-rise building design.

Continue Reading…

Building a Virtual Future

Virtual reality (VR) technology has advanced rapidly in the past few years and is a potentially powerful tool for the AEC industry. VR, in which a user is completely immersed in a virtual environment and is able to move about in and interact with virtual features and objects, has its roots in the 1980s but has become increasingly relevant.
Continue Reading…

A Grand Feat for Lower Manhattan

HAKS led the REI joint venture for this ambitious $40 million public works project that reconstructed water mains and utility infrastructure along Grand Street, from Broadway to Essex.  Subsurface challenges included active subways, non-functioning water main valves, active steam lines, underground building vaults extending into the street, and a high density of secondary electrical and communication lines.  Abandoned, heavily reinforced trolley track foundations also interfered with the work.  Continue Reading…

Earth Day and Arbor Day Notes

Ash Tree

Credit: W. Carter (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)

Having recently observed Earth Day, we thought it would be appropriate to share some tips for protecting the environment. First, however, since today is Arbor Day, it is important to take a moment to appreciate trees. Everyone knows that trees transform atmospheric carbon dioxide into oxygen during photosynthesis. Trees cool the Earth during this process as well, not only by removing the greenhouse gas CO2 but also by the absorption of sunlight used to synthesize hydrocarbons.

Trees are used as building materials and to manufacture paper. Four billion trees are cut down each year to produce paper; and compared to building joists or wooden furniture, the lifecycle of paper tends to be ephemeral—used once, and then discarded. About four million tons of paper that could be recycled are thrown out each year in the US—enough to build a 12-foot-high wall from New York to California. Paper consumption in offices is particularly egregious; 45 percent of office paper printed each day ends up in the trash. Continue Reading…

Drones Set to Take Off

Drone-4Unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), popularly known as drones, were originally designed to carry out military missions that were deemed too dangerous for humans or for which manned aircraft were impractical. What we would recognize today as drones were jointly developed by Israel and the US during the 1980s and deployed against Iraq during the 1991 Gulf War, and have since become a staple of modern warfare and antiterrorism activities. However, due to ongoing improvements in technology and miniaturization and decreasing costs, the use of drones has since expanded far beyond the military sphere to many other applications, including science, recreation, aerial photography, product delivery, agriculture, law enforcement, surveillance, and even protecting elephants from poachers. Continue Reading…

Eco-Friendly Cooling from an Innovative Metamaterial

services-762103_960_720Conventional air conditioners are energy hogs. According to the US Department of Energy, air conditioning in the United States accounts for 117 million metric tons of CO2 released into the atmosphere every year. Air conditioning is expensive, too—according to the Texas utility Austin Energy, households in warmer regions of the country can expect cooling their homes to account for 60 to 70 percent of their summer electric bills. Continue Reading…

Action Steps to Improve Your City

As we begin 2017, HAKS would like to share Curbed New York’s suggestions on initiatives we can launch to improve our cities.  We have culled a small number from the list; you can access them all at 101 Small Ways You Can Improve Your City. Continue Reading…