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Environment

Dr Peter Jansen has so far created two prototype Science Tricorders featuring an array of ...

If Star Trek has taught us anything, it's the importance of gathering as much information about the alien planet you've just been beamed onto as quickly as possible. To that end, the Science Officer on the away team would perform a quick scan of the surroundings with a handheld, multifunctional sensing device called a Tricorder. Fortunately, we now live in an age where the science fiction of yesteryear is increasingly becoming the science fact of today, and the once futuristic Tricorder is no exception. For his Tricorder Project, Canada's Dr Peter Jansen has designed and built some pocket-friendly devices housing a number of sensors which reveal the secrets of the unseen world around us.  Read More

Designed by Norwegian architects Jensen & Skodvin, Juvet is a nature retreat that blends s...

Designed by Norwegian architects Jensen & Skodvin, Juvet is a nature retreat that blends seamlessly with its wild environment. It's a striking landscape hotel, featuring seven small wood cabins perched on a river bank and nestled amongst birch, aspen, pine and nature-sculpted boulders. Located outside the small town of Gudbrandsjuvet, Norway (approximately five hours drive north of Oslo), the hotel is positioned amid its main attraction - the pristine forest.  Read More

Some realistic-looking 'meat,' created by Fraunhofer's vegetarian cutlet factory

There are a number of reasons that some people choose not to eat meat – for instance, they may not want to support the slaughter of animals, they may wish to avoid the health risks associated with consuming too much animal protein, or perhaps they’re not big fans of the environmental impact of raising livestock on a commercial scale. Unfortunately, if these people still want to eat meat-like foods, a lot of the meat alternatives currently available are kind of ... yucky. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Process Engineering and Packaging, however, is working on a device nicknamed the “vegetarian cutlet factory.” It produces continuous slabs of veggie-based mock meat, which is reportedly quite similar to the real thing.  Read More

NYU-Poly's tail-flapping biomimetic fish

A couple of years ago, a team of scientists from the University of Leeds succeeded in getting live stickleback fish to follow a computer-controlled “Robofish” as it was moved through their aquarium. Part of the reason for the experiment was to learn about fish behavior, in hopes that human interference in their migration routes could be minimized. While the Robofish was simply a plaster model, researchers from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University recently conducted a similar experiment, but using an actual tail-flapping robotic fish. Their discoveries could help save wild fish populations in the event of environmental disasters.  Read More

Eco-PERCH is a prefabricated treehouse that provides a low-impact hideaway for four guests...

While we love the dangling treetop retreats located at Sweden's Treehotel, and the House Arc had us yearning for a private backyard hideaway, the eco-PERCH has to be the Rolls Royce of modern modular tree-houses. This eco-lodge concept was created by the UK architectural firm Blue Forest, which has a background in the design and construction of luxury treehouses and lodges.  Read More

A slight shift in traffic composition from cars to motorcycles has been found to significa...

The answer to the world's growing urban traffic congestion may be as simple as promoting motorcycling to commuters. A Belgian study has found that even a slight modal shift from cars to motorcycles in traffic composition significantly reduces traffic congestion and emissions. When 10 percent of cars are replaced by motorcycles, total time losses for all vehicles decrease by 40 percent and total emissions reduce by 6 percent.  Read More

UK-based bargain airline easyJet has thrown its weight behind the development of an electr...

UK-based bargain airline easyJet has thrown its weight behind the development of an electric taxiing system in a bid to cut its fuel consumption and enhance its environmental credibility. The "electric green taxiing system" (EGTS) is a joint venture by engineering and aerospace conglomerates Honeywell and Safran. Safran claims that four percent of easyJet's fuel consumption is used taxiing aircraft before take off and after landing from and to gates.  Read More

A newly-developed magnetic soap could be used to minimize the environmental impact of oil ...

When oil gets spilled in a waterway, clean-up crews will often introduce a solution known as a surfactant. This is a detergent that lessens the surface tension between the water and the overlaying oil slick, causing the oil to form into individual droplets which then sink or get dispersed by wave action. Unfortunately, such detergents aren’t entirely environmentally-friendly themselves, so the use of them on oil spills has been criticized as simply replacing one pollutant with another. Now, however, scientists from the University of Bristol have created a magnetic soap, that could be removed from the water once it had done its job.  Read More

The Xbox Kinect turns an ordinary sandbox into a thriving interactive environment.

The Xbox Kinect has certainly become a useful tool for innovation, with modders finding applications in medical imaging, robotics, and even aids for the visually impaired, to name just a few. Now it looks like you can add "topography" to that list with the development of the SandyStation. Created by two students in the Czech Republic, the SandyStation projects a realistic ecosystem over an ordinary sandbox, which can be altered in real-time.  Read More

Professor Eyal Ben-Dor has created a portable hyperspectral sensor, which can be used to d...

When any two compounds are combined, the resulting chemical reaction shows up as a specific color when natural sunlight reflects off the area where that reaction is occurring. Therefore, by assessing the colors of an object, material or environment, it is possible to determine what compounds are present within it. Unfortunately, many of those colors fall outside the mere three bands of light (red, green and blue) visible to the human eye. Spectral analysis equipment can detect a much wider range of light, but it is typically located in labs, which samples must be transported to. Now, however, a scientist from Israel’s Tel Aviv University (TAU) has created a portable hyperspectral sensor, that can “see” over 1,000 colors – this means that it could be used to detect pollutants in the environment, on location and in real time.  Read More

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