A SmartFlower installed at Mary Baldwin University. Homes of the future will increasingly be built with sustainability in mind; California will require solar panels on all new homes by 2020. But exactly what that solar power might look like may surprise you. The bulky tack-on solar panels will be something of the past, and companies like Tesla , Sistine Solar , and Forward Labs are introducing sleeker, low-profile designs that cleverly blend into, if not actually serve as, the roofing of the house. One of the most interesting designs we’ve been following is the SmartFlower . Originally an Austrian company but now based in Boston, Massachusetts, the SmartFlower is a portable, adjustable petal system that tracks the sun’s path throughout the day. When the sun rises in the morning, the SmartFlower automatically unfolds and begins producing energy by setting its petals at a ninety-degree angle. The flower goes “back to sleep” into a folding position at night or whenever high winds make it unsafe to operate. It does all of this autonomously through algorithm-based dual axis tracking. It also boasts a cooling and cleaning system that brushes the front of each panel every time the unit folds and unfolds. […]


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