In the United Aram Emirates, the Dubai Municipality has come up with a way to combine the use of alternative energy sources and the preservation of trees. D Idea Media has developed a solar-powered, 3D printed palm tree to provide a place for locals to rest and recharge.
The palm trees, known as Smart Palms are being developed as community tech hubs. The 20-foot-tall trees are made from concrete and 3D printed, fibre reinforced plastic with added ultra-violet and humidity protection. They are equipped with mono crystal solar panels, which collect enough solar power to not only provide illumination at night, but to act as WiFi hubs and access points for users to charge their phones, laptops and tablets. This can all be used for free.
Back in April, Dubai began deploying its first non-3D printed Smart Palms, designed to increase digital connectivity in urban hotspots. The city is ready to deploy its fourth. The structure will be the UAE’s biggest outdoor structure to be created using 3D printing technology.
The original two Smart Palms can be found at a beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel and a Zabeel Park. The third is located at the Dubai World Trade Centre’s Convention Centre. The location for the fourth model remains to be a mystery.
In the first four months of Smart Palms use, over 2,100 devices were charged and about 2,000 selfies were taken using the Smart Palms’ integrated cameras. Currently, the trees have the capability of charging 50 devices at a time, and project a WiFi radius of approximately 53 meters. Touch screens provide information about the surrounding area.
The city plans to add the palm trees to every beach in the communities of Al Mamzar, Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim. The trees also serve as beach information stations, with displays showing beach conditions, rules, events and public announcements.
If the Smart Palms are any indication, Dubai is poised to set an example for the rest of the world in terms of how technology can be used creatively to conserve resources.
Do you see a Smart Palm coming to a city near you?
Photo credit: Smart Palm facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SmartPalm
Smart Palm video: https://youtu.be/2sVLAZ40MEc