Smog affects many major cities around the world and can cause health problems for those breathing it in. To highlight this issue, Dutch artist Daan Roosegaarde is building what he calls the world's largest air purifier. The Smog Free Tower is designed to allow people to breathe clean air in a city ... plus it also turns the smog into jewelry.
Google has teamed up with Aclima to incorporate environmental sensors into its Street View cars. Initially tested on three vehicles in the Denver metro area, the partnership should lead to a better understanding of overall air quality in urban environments.
Gathering good biological data about whales can be difficult without bugging the big mammals with large planes, boats, tags, sampling darts or even biopsies and lethal study techniques. Instead, the Ocean Alliance wants to send custom drones to collect whale mucus – aka snot – for study and they've enlisted the help of Sir Patrick Stewart for the crowdfunding effort to finance the project.
Vertical farms present an efficient, cost-effective and sustainable means of producing food in the face of growing worldwide population. A see-through, mobile vertical farm project called Isabel is aiming to take this message on the road.
A community space, garden and kitchen in the King's Cross area of London
is feeding its customers with food grown in skips (aka dumpsters). The Skip Garden is
designed to be easily moved around unused development spaces. It is
built with recycled materials and employs organic farming techniques.
Humanity's industrial processes have a huge impact on the and, releasing harmful substances such as mercury, arsenic and lead into the water. Chinese researchers are hoping that synthetic coral that mimics the ability of the real thing to collect harmful heavy metals from water could help in the clean up effort, with tests on the effectiveness of the aluminum oxide structure so far showing promising results.
Getting eyes in the sky could mean great things for conservation efforts of all kinds. Already we are seeing drones put to use in ridding Australia's rainforests of invasive weeds, warding off would-be poachers of African wildlife and monitoring killer whales off the west coast of North America. Another beneficiary of this versatile technology could be endangered chimpanzees living in remote jungle locations. By equipping drones with cameras researchers have been able to pick out their nests from above, greatly assisting in efforts to conserve their dwindling populations.
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.
If you're enjoying a serene natural area, you might not appreciate
seeing a very techy-looking pollution-hunting robot putting along the
surface. That's why scientists at the National University of Singapore
have developed an alternative – water-quality-monitoring robots that
look like swans.
It wasn't long ago that we heard about an effort to create synthetic rhino horn,
the low price of which could be used to put suppliers of real horn out
of business. Now, however, the Protect project is aiming at catching
poachers in the act. Amongst other things, it would involve putting
video cameras in the horns of living rhinos.