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Sam Marginson

Top Articles by Sam Marginson
The 'tea bag' in place near the mouth of the special water bottle

Stellenbosch University's Hope Project has produced a disposable water filter shaped like a tea bag. When placed in the neck of a water bottle, the bag removes all harmful chemicals and microbes. Each bag cleans one liter (1.06 quarts) of water, so a lot will be needed to make any significant impact on water-related health issues globally. However, when compared to competition such as the LifeStraw or LifeSaver, it would seem to be a cost effective solution. The product is currently being tested by the South Africa Bureau of Standards.  Read More

Colorado Integrated Solar Project

The world's first hybrid solar/coal power plant has been built near Palisade in Colorado. Xcel Energy and Abengoa Solar are partnering on the demonstration project which uses solar parabolic trough technology to supplement the use of coal. Initially, it's expected to reduce the emissions generated by the Cameo Station's Unit 2 plant by three to five percent, but it's thought that this could increase to up to ten percent.  Read More

NETRA offers a simple, quick and inexpensive way to use mobile phones to measure refractiv...

Until now, an eye test has meant a trip to the optometrist for most people. NETRA, from MIT's Media Lab, is set to change that. Combined with a modern mobile phone, the US$2 device allows eye glass prescriptions to be produced simply and quickly in any location. Preliminary testing has shown that it can achieve results comparable to the standard aberrometer test and clinical trials are due to begin shortly. Initially targeting parts of Africa and Asia, the company responsible for manufacture, PerfectSight, is expecting the product to be a boon for the developing world, where the sophisticated equipment currently required for eyesight tests has been cost prohibitive.  Read More

Green Box features four built-in plates

Thought there wasn't much you could do with the design of a pizza box? Wrong. Environmentally Conscious Organization, Inc., (E. C. O.) has come up with what it calls the "Green Box" – a pizza box made from recycled cardboard with a perforated lid that you can easily turn it into four plates and a base that becomes a storage container for leftovers.  Read More

RavenWindow in cold and hot weather, from left to right

Windows that change their tint are not new, but this window by RavenBrick does so without any energy use required. The RavenWindow changes its transparency depending on the temperature, so basically if it's hot outside less heat passes through it and if it's cold outside then it becomes more transparent, allowing in more heat from the sun. The implications are obvious – savings on your energy bill as a result of reduced use of your heater or air conditioner. With "America's Greenest Building" commissioning the first commercial installation of the product, it's bound to have a bright future.  Read More

BioLogic ReeCharge Power Pack makes the most out of pedal power

If your bike has a hub dynamo, the BioLogic ReeCharge Power Pack lets you run portable USB powered devices while you ride. Whilst we've recently seen bicycle recharge kits, the ability to charge via USB is pretty novel. Basically it's a battery with a USB port that charges from the energy generated by your dynamo and then tops-up your device when you plug it in. That means you can charge the battery and then charge your device when you arrive at your destination, or, if it's practical, charge your device on the go, allowing you to use your smartphone's GPS function whilst riding.  Read More

Aerofarms' aeroponic system

With increasing pressure on global food supplies requiring ever more intelligent use of technology, urbanized vertical aeroponic methods are shaping up as a promising alternative to traditional farming. Aeroponics requires less space, less water and no pesticides and the AeroFarms system takes things further by using LEDs in stacked units to maximize efficiency and use of available space.  Read More

iSolar: portable, lightweight, folding solar panel kits

UPDATED June 14, 2010: Portable solar kits aren't new, but the performance and design of these off-the-grid power solutions is continually improving. iSolar's 20 and 40W kits are the latest examples to come to our attention... and with even the 40W kit folding down to only 30 x 25 cm, this is getting into seriously portable territory.  Read More

Mike Thompson's algae powered lamp

Tired of cranking that wind-up torch? Perhaps it's time to grow some algae. Inspired by recent research into harnessing energy directly from plants, Netherlands-based designer Mike Thompson has come up with a concept for an algae powered lamp that runs on only sunlight, water and your breath.  Read More

The Bumblebee City Nesters

A competition in London has designers vying for the attentions of a type of lodger not usually considered when drawing up the plans for a hotel: insects. British Land and the City of London Corporation chose to celebrate the year of biodiversity by holding a competition to see who could design the best "hotel" for insects. It's narrowed the list of entrants down to five finalists, with one winner to be selected by public vote and another to be selected by a panel of experts.  Read More

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