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Environment

If we assume everybody is acting on the advice of their dentist and replacing their toothbrush every few months, then there's likely a lot of frayed bristles laying in landfill right now. But must our dental care devices take on such as short lifespan? The Goodwell open-source toothbrush is a modern take on oral hygiene, built from eco-friendly materials and made to last until you haven't got any teeth left to brush. Read More
Magic Dirt may sound like the soil used by Jack to grow his beans, but the Bioproduct Innovation of the Year award winner is just one result of a process that’s addressing the environmental issues caused by effluence from factory farm feedlots. The process starts with anaerobic digesters, specifically a patented two-stage model from Wisconsin-based DVO, which more efficiently converts manure into three valuable byproducts. Read More
Data scientists studying crop growth and weather patterns in Colombia have advised rice farmers not to plant crops, saving millions of dollars. The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) and the Colombian Rice Growers Federation have developed a computer model that can work out what crops work best under specific weather conditions in certain areas. Read More
Your typical air conditioning unit in an apartment or home is a stupid creature, failing to work intelligently to create the most comfortable temperature environment for you in the most efficient way. Start up Ambi Climate thinks it has built the better brain to solve this issue in the form of a new standalone device and smartphone app that tell your air conditioner how to optimize its performance. Read More
Like many fathers with young children, experienced rower Andras Bakos is concerned about what sort of shape the environment will be in by the time his son grows up. That's why in 2011, he began planning a trans-Atlantic rowing expedition to raise awareness of environmental issues. The boat that he had custom-built for the trip is now ready to go, and it looks like it could just as well be used for rowing to Mars. Read More
Sentinel-1A, the first of a planned fleet of ESA satellites central to the European Commission's Copernicus environmental monitoring program, has begun its operational life. Following the completion of its commissioning and transfer to the team in charge of its operation, users now have access to data from the satellite, which will provide all-weather, day and night radar imaging for land and ocean services. Read More
The animal kingdom contains many examples of efficient forms of locomotion, so it's no wonder that we've been seeing a lot of animal-inspired robots – recent examples have included a robotic cheetah, fish and snake. Plants, however, just sit there ... don't they? Actually, they do move, just not necessarily in a Point A to Point B manner. With that in mind, Europe's PLANTOID project consortium is now in the process of developing a tree-like robot. Its descendants might ultimately find use in the exploration of other planets. Read More
Students at California Polytechnic Pomona have been reinterpreting the cabins used by visitors to US state parks as part of a program by the Architecture Department Studio. Revamp the Camp aimed to make the cabins in California State Parks cheaper and greener, as well as more appealing to a wider range of park users. Read More
Armed with plywood, a glass tube and some empty chip packets, mechanical engineering students from the University of Adelaide have developed a low-cost water purification system capable of killing off harmful bacteria. The solution is designed for remote communities in Papua New Guinea (PNG), an area where water is particularly susceptible to pathogen infestation. Read More
NASA is developing a laser-based instrument for deployment on the International Space Station that will probe the depths of Earth's forests from space in a bid to reveal more about their role in the planet's carbon cycle. After its completion in 2018, this Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation (GEDI) lidar will join the likes of the Soil Moisture Active Passive satellite in studying Earth's vegetation on a global scale. Read More
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