Printed electronics have the potential to make a significant impact on manufacturing by offering companies an inexpensive and relatively simple method of building electronic functionality into a number of different products. With some additional development, printed electronics could be used to produce cheap solar panels, interactive clothing and a number of other useful items.
Currently, most printed electronics require laboratory conditions and can only be printed at temperatures starting at 750°F (400°C). Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences may have boosted the appeal of printed electronics by discovering a method to print on ordinary paper at lower temperatures. Continue reading
I like it when designers deploy advanced technology to make everyday tasks easier, that’s why this self-coiling extension cord caught my eye. My own collection of extension cords are a perpetual mess; even when I have the time to try to properly coil them, they wind up in a tangle anyway. Texas-based Great Stuff has motorized the coiling process using sensors to wind a 50-ft. cable in 10 seconds. Continue reading
Science fiction has provided plenty of inspiration for designers and engineers over the past century—that’s one of the reasons people are still working on invisibility cloaks and tricorders. Earlier this month, Arizona State University’s Center for Science and the Imagination launched something call the Hieroglyph Project, which aims to bring sci-fi writers together with scientists and engineers to generate optimistic visions of the future that are grounded in real science. Continue reading
Plastic is everywhere. Soda bottles, shopping bags, TVs, mobile devices and many more items commonly found in most homes are made from plastic. Then we have packaging. I think the packaging for my iPod contained more plastic than the device itself did. Community efforts at recycling are trying to make a dent in plastic waste, but not every place insists on recycling, and plenty of people are too lazy to be bothered.
Inevitably, some plastic makes its way to water. It bobs along rivers and streams, which eventually dump out into the ocean. New plastic reefs are being formed in the oceans from thousands of bits of plastic rubbish. The Ocean Cleanup project offers a way to reduce the trash with minimal negative environmental impact. Continue reading