This Solar Hydropanel Can Pull 10 Liters of Drinking Water Per Day Out of the Air

By Derek Markham

By harvesting water vapor from the air and condensing it into liquid, atmospheric water generators can essentially pull water from the air, and these devices hold a lot of promise for providing an independent source of drinking water. And although drought-stricken regions and locations without safe or stable water sources are prime candidates for water production and purification devices such as those, residences and commercial buildings in the developed world could also benefit from their use, and they make a great fit for off-grid homes and emergency preparedness kits.

The statistics speak for themselves:

  • 40 percent of America’s 50,000 community water systems have had water quality violations, according to the EPA.
  • 15 percent of Americans still rely on wells as their main source of water. A full 50 percent of that water wouldn’t pass a quality test.
  • Over 450,000 California residents who are served by a Community Water System are subjected to water that is failing to meet the Safe Drinking Water Act.
  • Evidence shows that American households facing water insecurity and poor water quality are likely to have lower incomes and live in areas where infrastructure has been systemically underfunded.
  • 100 percent of California’s failing systems serve less than 100,000 people; 96.4 percent serve less than 10,000 people. Tulare County, where Allensworth is located, has largest number of systems without safe water. (Community Water Center’s Drinking Water Tool identifies exactly where communities have the environmental burden of no clean water and are also disadvantaged.)
  • The most common contaminants found in these water systems are arsenic, nitrate, lead, copper, Uranium, and E.Coli.
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This see-through wood could replace glass windows

BY ADELE PETERS

It’s lighter, stronger, easier to make, and would make it easier to heat and cool buildings.

A sheet of transparent new material at a University of Maryland lab looks like it might be plastic. But it’s actually wood—and it could eventually be used to make energy-efficient windows or even see-through buildings.

“Compared to glass, wood has lower thermal conductivity, and it’s lighter, stronger, and more environmentally friendly,” says Liangbing Hu, a materials science professor at the University of Maryland and one of the authors of a new study of the material. The idea is to employ the material in buildings. With a window made from transparent wood instead of glass, for example, a building would take less energy to heat and cool. Because of the structure of the wood, the windows could also reduce glare from the sun while allowing in natural light.

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The first camera for blind people

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2C3D is a camera that enables the blinds to see. The camera, is a development and design of a tactile camera concept for the vision impaired. The camera creates 3D photos and videos and has a 3D screen. The screen, inspired by “Pin Toy,” is built by numerous 3D pixels that shift depending on the photo to forms the 3D shot on the screen surface (giving the term “touch screen” a new and more literal interpretation).

The user can touch the screen while photographing and feel what the camera is seeing, in real time. When the users like what they feels, they can click and save the photo. The saved 3D file can be felt again later. The 2C3D performs as a camera for blind and as physical-digital photo album.

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Smart concrete could pave the way for high-tech , cost-effective roads

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 Every day, Americans travel on roads, bridges, and highways without considering the safety or reliability of these structures. Yet much of the transportation infrastructure in the US is outdated, deteriorating, and badly in need of repair.

Of the 614,387 bridges in the US, for example, 39 percent are older than their designed lifetimes, while nearly 10 percent are structurally deficient, meaning they could begin to break down faster or, worse, be vulnerable to catastrophic failure.

The cost to repair and improve nationwide transportation infrastructure ranges from nearly US$190 billion to almost $1 trillion. Repairing US infrastructure costs individual households, on average, about $3,400 every year. Traffic congestion alone is estimated to cost the average driver $1,400 in fuel and time spent commuting, a nationwide tally of more than $160 billion per year.

I am a professor in the Lyles School of Civil Engineering and the director of the Center for Intelligent Infrastructures at Purdue University. My co-author, Vishal Saravade, is part of my team at the Sustainable Materials and Renewable Technology (SMART) Lab. The SMART Lab researches and develops new technologies to make American infrastructure “intelligent,” safer, and more cost-effective. These new systems self-monitor the condition of roads and bridges quickly and accurately and can, sometimes, even repair themselves.

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Medical innovations that will revolutionize the future of you healthcare

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2020 has ingrained in me an age-old adage my mom loves to quote – health is wealth. Focus on our healthcare and the strain on our healthcare system has increased exponentially this year. While the world altogether has jumped up to help improve our healthcare systems, what can truly help is improved preventive methods, devices that help the patients monitor their health from home as well as to stay in touch with their doctors virtually while providing accurate data. The best example of the data’s impact is how an Apple Watch helped saved a man’s life by detecting problems with his heartbeat – and this is just the beginning. The products here show the best of healthcare we can provide to make this world a better place!

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Researchers create a single-molecule switch

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A team of researchers has demonstrated for the first time a single-molecule electret—a device that could be one of the keys to molecular computers.

 Smaller electronics are crucial to developing more advanced computers and other devices. This has led to a push in the field toward finding a way to replace silicon chips with molecules, an effort that includes creating single-molecule electret—a switching device that could serve as a platform for extremely small non-volatile storage devices. Because it seemed that such a device would be so unstable, however, many in the field wondered whether one could ever exist.

Along with colleagues at Nanjing University, Renmin University, Xiamen University, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Mark Reed, the Harold Hodgkinson Professor of Electrical Engineering & Applied Physics demonstrated a single-molecule electret with a functional memory. The results were published Oct. 12 in Nature Nanotechnology.

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Amazon wants you to yell at your TV to buy things

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Alphabet is wrangling mosquitoes, Apple’s bendy phone and other patents from Big Tech.

Another week in lockdown has passed, and while the present might still feel quite uncertain, the future looks as zany as ever, at least as far as patents go. Alphabet is trying to trap mosquitoes, Amazon wants you to buy stuff off of your TV screen, Apple is getting in on the flexible phone trend, and Microsoft is trying to figure out your heart health from your camera.

And remember: The big tech companies file all kinds of crazy patents for things, and though most never amount to anything, some end up defining the future.

 

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LA debuts first firefighting robot in the country, deploys it in downtown blaze

The Thermite RS3 is capable of spraying 2,500 gallons per minute

 A firefighting robot got its first major test Tuesday in Los Angeles when it was put to use for the first time in the United States to battle a major blaze.

The Los Angeles Fire Department said the Thermite RS3 robot was supposed to have its official public introduction in the afternoon but got called into duty a few hours early due to a blaze downtown.

“It had already gotten dirty at an early morning major emergency commercial structure fire that morning – proving its value from the start,” the department said.

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Chitin could be used to build tools and habitats on Mars, study finds

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The manufacturing process would require minimal energy and no specialized equipment.

Scientists mixed chitin—an organic polymer found in abundance in arthropods, as well as fish scales—with a mineral that mimics the properties of Martian soil to create a viable new material for building tools and shelters on Mars.

Space aficionados who dream of one day colonizing Mars must grapple with the stark reality of the planet’s limited natural resources, particularly when it comes to building materials. A team of scientists from the Singapore University of Technology and Design discovered that, using simple chemistry, the organic polymer chitin—contained in the exoskeletons of insects and crustaceans—can easily be transformed into a viable building material for basic tools and habitats. This would require minimal energy and no need for transporting specialized equipment. The scientists described their experiments in a recent paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.

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Insect-inspired robots that can jump, fly and climb are almost here

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Roboticists who designed these robots, called Tribots, took inspiration from the real-life trap-jaw ant’s locomotion strategies.

Did you envision a giant machine assembling cars, Data from “Star Trek,” C-3PO from “Star Wars” or “The Terminator”? Most of us would probably think of something massive — or at least human size.

But a whole arm of robotics is focusing on bug-size ‘bots (and smaller).

It’s not just the size of tiny insects that are inspiring roboticists; it’s also the many complex tasks and physical feats that comprise the everyday lives of many fleas, flies and other six-legged creatures.

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Microsoft’s underwater server experiment resurfaces after two years

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Turns out, dunking data centers is a great idea

Back in 2018, Microsoft sunk an entire data center to the bottom of the Scottish sea, plunging 864 servers and 27.6 petabytes of storage 117 feet deep in the ocean. Today, the company has reported that its latest experiment was a success, revealing findings that show that the idea of an underwater data center is actually a pretty good one.

On the surface, throwing an entire data center to the bottom of the ocean may seem strange, but Microsoft’s Project Natick team hypothesized that placing would result in more reliable and energy-efficient data centers.

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Why Tokyo’s new transparent public restrooms are a stroke of genius

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Tokyo transparent bathroom

At first, it’s hard to fathom how a public restroom with transparent walls could possibly help ease toilet anxiety — but a counterintuitive design by one of Japan’s most innovative architects aims to do just that.

Around the world, public toilets get a foul rap. Even in Japan, where restrooms have a higher standard of hygiene than in much of the rest of the world, residents harbor a fear that public toilets are dark, dirty, smelly and scary.

To cure the public’s phobia, the non-profit Nippon Foundation launched “The Tokyo Toilet Project,” tasking 16 well-known architects to renovate 17 public toilets located in the public parks of Shibuya, one of the busiest commercial areas of Tokyo.

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