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Environment

This toy robot won't decompose naturally, unlike those which researchers are hoping to dev...

While many people are busy working on how to build robots capable of doing everything (and more) humans can do, few are considering the impact that creating a legion of robotic workers will have on the environment. Two university researchers aim to change this, by investigating how to build robots from biodegradable materials that will simply decompose at the end of their lives.  Read More

KeepCup, who claims to be “the world’s first barista standard reusable coffee cup”, has ar...

KeepCup, which claims to be “the world’s first barista standard reusable coffee cup,” has arrived on the shores of Italy, bringing to 32 the number of countries where the cup is now available. Developed in 2009 in response to the large global waste generated from disposable coffee cups, KeepCup attempts to blend the best elements of disposable and reusable cups.  Read More

Seedlings did eight times better in New York City's Central Park than at comparable suburb...

Many people view urban areas as hostile for plants – concrete stifles root growth, and pollution from vehicles makes it difficult to gain nutrients. A study conducted by The Earth Institute at Columbia University not only discredits those theories, however, but suggests that urban environments have a lot to offer plants to promote growth.  Read More

With its rubberized dial, the 999Bottle tracks your impact

We all know that using a stainless steel or polycarbonate water bottle is much more eco than using (and tossing) a disposable water bottle. It's kind of the trendy thing right now. But do you really know just how much garbage and energy that you're saving the Earth from? With the 999Bottle, it's easy to find out.  Read More

The MicroPEM measures air pollution, along with its wearer's activity level

For decades now, scientists have been monitoring air pollution in order to better understand how atmospheric contaminants affect our health. The gathered data can tell us the amount and type of pollutants that are in the air, which can in turn sometimes be linked to health problems in the area. What that data doesn’t tell us, however, is the effect that different types of physical activities can have on the amount of pollutants that are breathed in – if a smog warning is issued, for instance, does that mean we shouldn’t go outside at all, or just that we shouldn’t go jogging outside? A new personal exposure monitoring device, known as the MicroPEM, has been designed to answer such questions.  Read More

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

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