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Environment

By infusing the leaves of an Arabidopsis thaliana plant with nanoparticles, MIT researcher...

In 2010, Stanford University researchers reported harnessing energy directly from chloroplasts, the cellular "power plants" within plants where photosynthesis takes place. Now, by embedding different types of carbon nanotubes into these chloroplasts, a team at MIT has boosted plants' ability to capture light energy. As well as opening up the possibility of creating "bionic plants" with enhanced energy production, the same approach could be used to create plants with environmental monitoring capabilities.  Read More

The Audi traffic light system uses icon prompts

One of life's small but satisfying pleasures is hitting the sweet spot while driving across town and catching all the green lights. At the moment, having that happen is a matter of luck, but Audi is developing a system that will make never getting caught by a red light an everyday thing as a way of speeding up traffic while improving fuel efficiency and cutting emissions.  Read More

A rubber mat forms the 'carpet,' and sits atop a grid of hydraulic actuators, cylinders an...

Many organizations around the world are looking at ways to harness the power of waves as a renewable energy source, but none are covering quite the same ground as a team of engineers from the University of California (UC), Berkeley. The seafloor carpet, a system inspired by the wave absorbing abilities of a muddy seabed, has taken exploring the potential of wave power to some intriguing new depths.  Read More

The Riverview system is a symbiosis of two robots – an Autonomous Surface Vehicle (ASV) an...

The string of disastrous floods currently plaguing Britain demonstrate that managing rivers and other waterways is about more than protecting curlew nests and counting otters. To help provide a better understanding of riverine areas, a team headed by José Barata and Pedro Santana of the University of Lisbon are developing a “marsupial” robotic system called Riverwatch that teams a robotic catamaran with an on-board hexacopter to survey areas beyond the reach of the hip-boots and rubber raft brigade.  Read More

An inbuilt sensor notifies the organization that it's time for a pickup (Photo: SFGoodwill...

Goodwill of San Francisco has launched a smart donation bin called goBin that aims to make donating old clothes and other textiles a snap. Instead of having to make a regular trip to a Goodwill store, the bin will allow residents of apartment towers to donate their stuff from the comfort of their buildings. Developed in collaboration with the global product strategy firm, Frog Design, the high-tech textile-recycling bin is expected to help the city's environmental department reach its goal of making San Francisco a zero waste city by 2020.  Read More

The PLEASED project aims to turn plants into environmental biosensors (Image: Shutterstock...

Many claim that talking to plants helps them grow faster. But what if the plants could talk back? That’s what the EU-funded PLants Employed As SEnsing Devices (PLEASED) project is hoping to achieve by creating plant cyborgs, or "plant-borgs." While this technology won't allow green thumbs to carry on a conversation with their plants, it will provide feedback on their environment by enabling the plants to act as biosensors.  Read More

A new type of carbon nanotube sponge containing sulfur and iron could help clean up oil sp...

A new type of carbon nanotube (CNT) sponge that contains sulfur and iron has been developed and is proving to be more effective at soaking up water contaminants, such as oil, fertilizers, pesticides and pharmaceuticals, than previously seen. The magnetic properties of these nanosponges also make them easier to retrieve from the environment once the clean-up job is done.  Read More

Approximately 5,000 bees are receiving RFID tags like this one

Bees are integral to the pollination of major crops around the world, so the more that we understand how they go about their business, the better we can facilitate the process and thereby boost yields. With this in mind, scientists from Australia's Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) are taking the unprecedented step of equipping up to 5,000 honeybees with RFID (radio frequency identification) tags.  Read More

Gizmag gives the nod to 10 outstanding forest-based retreats

From children’s fables to cheesy horror movies, the archetypical cabin in the woods has long provided inspiration for storytellers. This makes sense when one considers the unique experience that living isolated amid nature offers. With this in mind, Gizmag gives a nod to 10 outstanding forest-based retreats.  Read More

Nestled amid the diverse Icelandic landscape, the ION Adventure Hotel is in prime position...

While the use of geothermal energy and recycled materials would normally be starting points for Gizmag's look at a new holiday destination like the ION Adventure Hotel, there's one element here that stands well above the pack – location. The hotel is nestled amidst the diverse Icelandic landscapes in the heart of the Mt. Hengill region, offering guests the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the spectacular aurora borealis or midnight sun, depending on which time of the year it is.  Read More

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