Oct 24, 2015 | By Benedict

The municipality of mega-rich Dubai is to cross the city’s palm with silver once again, as it plans to deploy another of its successful “Smart Palm” technology hubs. The structures, of which this new 3D printed member will be the fourth, are palm tree-shaped, solar-powered technology hubs able to offer free WiFi, as well as phone and gadget charging. The municipality’s announcement of the fourth Smart Palm was made at the Gitex Technology Exhibition Week. The structure will be the UAE’s biggest outdoor structure to be created using 3D printing technology.

Back in April, Dubai began deploying its first non-3D printed Smart Palms, impressive pseudo-botanical structures designed to increase digital connectivity, in notable urban hotspots. Both those original models and the latest 3D printed Smart Palm are equipped with solar panels to harbour energy from the sun for technological use. The six-meter-tall Smart Palms can generate around 7.2 kilowatt hours per day, more than enough power to suffice for their modest purposes. Citizens can use the tech trees to look up city information, access Wi-Fi, and charge their phones and tablets, all for free. In the first four months of Smart Palm use, over 2,100 devices were charged and about 2,000 selfies were taken using the Smart Palms’ integrated cameras.

The original two Smart Palms can be found at a beach near the Burj Al Arab hotel and at Zabeel Park. The third is located at the Dubai World Trade Centre's (DWTC) Convention Centre. Whilst the location of the forthcoming 3D printed Smart Palm remains a mystery, developers are excited about its potential. ”The fourth unit will be another milestone as it will be a unique structure created using 3D printing technology and it will be the biggest such outdoor structure,” said Viktor Nelepa, founder of D Idea Media, the company responsible for designing and building the structure for the municipality. "The launch details will be announced by the municipality later,” he added.

The 3D printed Palm will be made of fibre reinforced plastic (FRP) as opposed to steel, ensuring both lightness and durability. It has been designed to resist the demands of the fierce weather conditions of the Middle East, and is equipped with ultraviolet and humidity protection to reduce maintenance requirements of the additively manufactured structure.

Images from Smart Palm

Pamela Nelepa, the Smart Palm PR and media coordinator, was delighted with the attention received by the Smart Palm project, and the consequent exposure given to the Smart Dubai initiative. "The Smart Palm received coverage in more than 20 languages. Over 600 articles have been published on the project including those by many leading international media houses such as the Time Magazine, The Independent, The Telegraph and Reuters.”

The Smart Palm project is one of several initiatives aimed at increasing green energy in Dubai. The combination of its Smart City plan, Green Economy Initiative, and the United Arab Emirates' declaration of 2015 as the "Year of Innovation” should see the city becoming increasingly environmentally friendly in the coming years. Over the next 12 months, D Idea plans to install 103 Smart Palms across the city. With so many locations providing free WiFi, charging points, and city information, tourists and citizens alike will get to know the city like the palms of their hands in no time.



Posted in 3D Printing Application



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