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Antonio Pasolini

Environment

New production process makes PLA bioplastic cheaper and greener

Polylactic acid (PLA) is a biodegradable bioplastic that is already used to produce a variety of everyday items, such as cups, trays, bowls and vegetable wrapping foil. Unfortunately, the current PLA production process is expensive and produces waste. Researchers at the KU Leuven Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis in Belgium have now developed a new production technique that is cheaper and greener and makes PLA a more attractive alternative to petroleum-based plastics.Read More

Environment

Adidas uses ocean trash to make footwear – and a statement

The world’s oceans are in peril due to a combination of pollution, overfishing and climate change. Recently, the Alfred-Wegener-Institut, a German center for polar and marine research, sent out a strong warning about fundamental changes that are occurring in those ecosystems. But awareness is growing and the fight to preserve the oceans has found an ally in Adidas, which has teamed with conservation group Parley for the Oceans to create footwear made with trash harvested from the ocean.Read More

Around The Home

Silk LED bulb emulates natural sunlight

Our well-being and mood throughout the day is largely influenced by the light we are exposed to. Following this principle, a start-up called Saffron has developed the prototype of a LED light that can sync our internal clock to the natural shifting color spectrum of the sun. The light is called Silk by Saffron, and the designers claim it can improve our humor and sleep patterns by giving us get the right kind of light for the each time of the day.Read More

Pets

Petzi Pet Cam enables video links – and treats – with pets left at home

Pet parents have a range of devices these days to keep their furry children fed and entertained consistently in their absence. Now a new addition to the remote pet care market adds images and sounds to the fun. The Petzi Treat Cam taps the power of internet-enabled devices not only to dispense food remotely, but also see, speak to and take pictures of their four-legged children when away from home.Read More

Hybrid road sweeper keeps air cleaner, too

A Swiss joint venture has developed a hybrid-electric powertrain for road sweepers that's said to consume half the energy of diesel-hydraulic vehicles and reduce emissions by more than 60 percent. The modular system can also be adapted to cleaner fuel types such as hydrogen. Read More

New study shows Peek eye test app works like a pro

Peek, the smartphone eye test app designed to improve eyecare in remote areas, has been found to be as accurate as traditional methods. According to a study published last week, tests with the app carried out between December 2013 and March 2014 produced levels of accuracy that were on a par with paper-based charts and expensive illuminated vision boxes found in clinics.Read More

Good Thinking

WINKpen: have your wine and write with it, too

If you're into handwriting, drawing, keeping diaries the old fashioned way and sipping wine, you may soon be able to merge all those activities into one. A new device created by Portland-based designer Jessica Chan adds a bohemian touch to the old fountain pen, by allowing it to be charged with any type of raw liquid with a staining property, including – you guessed it – wine. Called WINKpen, it also uses tea, beer, and anything else that tickles the user's fancy.Read More

Researchers try to improve smartwatch typing with two new keyboard concepts

Wearable devices are becoming more prominent, but, apart from voice control, they don't usually offer many ways of entering text. We have seen the ZoomBoard keyboard as one possible solution, as well as large, curved screens that use smartphone-like keyboards. Now a team of researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de València and the University of Stuttgart have developed two tiny QWERTY soft keyboard prototypes that supposedly allow users to enter text more easily into their wearables.Read More

Electronics

MirrorMirror reflects you and your digital info

Doing your hair and brushing your teeth are chores that may become a little more interesting and fun with a new mirror that, besides reflecting, can also display emails, news threads, tweets, public transport times and all kinds of online data. That's because a student team from the College of Science and College of Engineering at Purdue University has created a mirror that doubles as an information interface. Keeping up-to-date with bus schedules inspired the team to come up with the info-mirror.Read More

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