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Genius and Technology

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Genius and Technology

Human ingenuity:

Appliances, machines, gadgets, apps, widgets and gizmos. They shape our lives and most of us couldn't survive without them.

Location: #science
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Comment by Chris on August 3, 2013 at 7:51pm

Bioluminescent trees will replace streetlights?

Most people know about light emitting organisms such as jellyfishes, fireflies and mushrooms. Some time ago, genetic engineers transferred genes responsible for the luciferin and luciferase proteins into a tobacco plant. These firefly proteins were then manufactured by the tobacco plant, causing it to glow and emit light.

What if this technology could be extended further to say, a maple tree or a juniper bush? Designer Audrey Richard-Laurent speculates on combining trees and streetlights into bioluminescent trees. In urban areas, one usually sees a row of trees parallel to streetlights. Why not hybridize them?
concept-audrey-copie_530.jpg
An elegant, yet far fetched idea? Don’t be to sure. Already in 2007 Edward A Quinto of the International Society for Bioluminescence and Chemiluminescence produced a glowing christmas tree.

Bioluminescence works to replicate processes for creating light found in chemical reactions in the natural world–such as with certain jellyfish or bacteria–for human purposes. Chemiluminescence refers to the emission of light with limited emission of heat as a result of chemical reaction. Many researchers feel that both of these processes have the potential to produce sustainable, non-petroleum-based light sources.

Other potential applications might be glow in the dark designer pets, agricultural crops and domestic plants that luminesce when they need watering, new methods for detecting bacterial contamination of meats and other foods and glowing grass on golf yards that allow you to play golf after dark.

Comment by Doone on August 2, 2013 at 9:06am
Comment by Chris on July 5, 2013 at 1:09pm

Flashlight Powered By Hand's Heat

Ann Makosinski has a solution that could put an end to getting left in the dark. The 15-year old from British Columbia has invented a thermoelectric Hollow Flashlight that shines simply from the heat of your hand.

Makosinski determined that the heat of a person’s palm generates about 57 milliwatts of electricity — more than enough for the half of a milliwatt needed to illuminate her flashlight’s LED.

Key to the Hollow Flashlight are Peltier tiles, which generate electricity when one side of the tile is heated and the other is cooled. Makosinski mounted the tiles and other circuitry inside a hollow aluminum tube, where air inside the tube would cool one side of the tiles, while heat from the user’s hand would warm the other.

Her invention provided a modest amount of light and worked for a half hour at an ambient temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

“The flashlight I have made is more of a prototype then a final product, but the components in my device are quite strong,” Makosinski wrote. “Of course, if it was to be used and manufactured, I would try to seal off the electronic components in some sort of casing so that it wouldn’t get heavily exposed to the elements (example water), and therefore last longer.”

The Hollow Flashlight has earned Makosinski a spot among the 15 finalists at the Google Science Fair. In September, the Canadian teen will travel Google’s headquarters in Mountain View, California, where Google will choose a winner to receive a grand prize of $50,000 and a trip to the Galapagos Islands. Hear Makosinski wax eloquently about her invention in this video.

via NBC News Credit: Ann Makosinski, YouTube

Comment by Doone on July 4, 2013 at 9:34pm
Comment by Davy on July 1, 2013 at 3:22pm

Interesting about the Roman Concrete and how they produced it!

Comment by Doone on June 30, 2013 at 6:02pm

Ancient Roman Concrete: The Building Material of the Future?

June 27, 2013 at 9:45:00 AM by Tim Layton | 4 Comments
 

Image: Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 

It only took us two millennia to figure out how the Ancient Romans made such amazingly durable concrete. Scientists at the Berkeley National Lab and a team of researchers from around the world have discovered the unique recipe used to construct Roman cities and landmarks—a surprising number of which still stand after 2000 years of use. 

Compare that with modern concrete, which is engineered to maintain its design strength for anywhere from 50 to 100 years, and you can see the value of the Roman recipe. The two most surprising ingredients: Volcanic ash and seawater. 

In addition to longevity, the Roman recipe is reported to be a much greener material, requiring substantially less energy in the manufacturing process. Making Portland cement—which makes modern concrete stick together—produces an enormous amount of CO2. It turns out that the Romans would've baked their ingredients at much lower temperatures, reducing the amount of fuel burned to make concrete. 

If you're as intrigued by this new development as I was, here's plenty more

Tim Layton is a home and DIY blogger for Popular Mechanics. Follow him on Twitter: @RemodelingGuy



Read more: Ancient Roman Concrete: The Building Material of the Future? - Popu... 
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Comment by Doone on June 21, 2013 at 7:22pm
Comment by Neal on June 21, 2013 at 10:14am

Here come the Cylons. =)

Comment by Doone on June 21, 2013 at 8:18am

ROBOT EVOLUTION

Quadrupedal-robot

Emily Monosson in Aeon:

In a laboratory tucked away in a corner of the Cornell University campus, Hod Lipson’s robots are evolving. He has already produced a self-aware robot that is able to gather information about itself as it learns to walk. Like a Toy Story character, it sits in a cubby surrounded by other former laboratory stars. There’s a set of modular cubes, looking like a cross between children’s blocks and the model cartilage one might see at the orthopaedist’s – this particular contraption enjoyed the spotlight in 2005 as one of the world’s first self-replicating robots. And there are cubbies full of odd-shaped plastic sculptures, including some chess pieces that are products of the lab’s 3D printer.

In 2006, Lipson’s Creative Machines Lab pioneered the Fab@home, a low-cost build-your-own 3D printer, available to anyone with internet access. For around $2,500 and some tech know-how, you could make a desktop machine and begin printing three-dimensional objects: an iPod case made of silicon, flowers from icing, a dolls’ house out of spray-cheese. Within a year, the Fab@home site had received 17 million hits and won a 2007 Breakthrough of the Year award fromPopular Mechanics. But really, the printer was just a side project: it was a way to fabricate all the bits necessary for robotic self-replication. The robots and the 3D printer-pieces populating the cubbies are like fossils tracing the evolutionary history of a new kind of organism. ‘I want to evolve something that is life,’ Lipson told me, ‘out of plastic and wires and inanimate materials.’

Posted by Robin Varghese at 02:29 AM | Permalink |

Comment by Michel on June 15, 2013 at 10:39am
 
 
 

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