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The Boeing 787 Dreamliner aircraft initially suffered from problems with its lithium-ion b...

Last year, lithium-ion battery fires became a hot topic, pardon the inescapable pun, with both a Tesla automobile and the Boeing 787 Dreamliner succumbing to fires. In cross-disciplinary research at the University of North Carolina (UNC), a compound being studied to prevent marine life from sticking to ships may also be the solvent (and the solution) to keep lithium ion batteries from catching alight when they overheat.  Read More

Yu Wang and Katie Zhong, with their gum-inspired electrolyte

Although high-capacity lithium batteries make many of today's mobile electronics possible, they do have one flaw – they occasionally catch fire. This can happen when they overheat, and their liquid acid electrolyte ignites and leaks out. Now, however, scientists at Washington State University have created a gummy electrolyte material that could make such fires a thing of the past.  Read More

Firefighters testing the shoe-based digital positioning system 25 m below ground (Photo: E...

Disorientation inside smoke-filled and unfamiliar buildings can be a major obstacle for firefighters – and it's not as if they don't have enough to worry about already. Researchers at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm have addressed this problem by developing fancy footwear that allows firefighters to be tracked in places where GPS fails, including up to 25 m below ground.  Read More

The Spruce Stove in use, prior to being closed around the log

I speak from experience when I say that it's actually fun to go into the woods, saw up fallen trees, then bring the wood home to burn over the winter. What isn't so much fun is subsequently sawing the logs into stove-length pieces. With the Spruce Stove, however, you don't have to – you just continuously feed one long log in as it burns, sort of like feeding a pencil into a pencil sharpener.  Read More

SafeFlame technology converts water into hydrogen and oxygen gas

The pressurized acetylene and propane gas used in brazing and related tasks is highly flammable, and thus very dangerous. You know what isn't flammable, though? Water. Bearing that in mind, the European Union-funded SafeFlame consortium has developed a torch system that generates a flame using nothing but H2O and electricity.  Read More

The 5aver combines LED lantern and triple-filter mask

The thought of getting caught in a building fire is terrifying. Flames raging, smoke obscuring your vision and making it difficult to breathe, infrastructure crumbling, and you're trying desperately to remain calm and get out. The 5aver won't douse the flames, but the grab-and-go combination of lantern, alarm and mask is designed to help you find your way to safety in a hurry.  Read More

Nest Labs' new Protect smoke and carbon monoxide alarm brings an Apple-like penchant for c...

Say you're a former Apple engineer and VP. Now say you leave the company, but you just can't shake your hankerin' to take clunky products, simplify them, and make them consumer-friendly. What do you do? Well, if you're Tony Fadell, then you found your own company that gives boring and complicated home sensors an Apple-like makeover. After finding success with its Nest thermostat, Fadell's Nest Labs is now expanding into the realm of smoke alarms.  Read More

The FlameStower – where there's fire, there's electricity

We're constantly seeing inventors attempt to create new and interesting ways to charge our cell phones. VOTO is one product we've seen that uses fire to charge our smart devices, and now a new take on the idea is hitting the scene. Called FlameStower, it utilizes very similar technology, but with a few twists.  Read More

A Tesla Model S that did not have a battery fire (Photo: Crixxor)

A Tesla Model S electric automobile, a model which recently won Consumer Reports' Top Scoring Car award and aced the NHTSA's crash rating system, caught fire yesterday in an incident near Seattle. Tesla's shares fell 6.2 percent on the day as a result of the incident.  Read More

The VOTO fuel-cell charger gets power from cooking fires

Just because someone is getting close to nature doesn't necessarily mean they need to ditch their smartphone. However, keeping a device charged while in the great outdoors is not always the easiest thing to do. After all, those trees don't come equipped with power outlets. We've already seen the BioLite stove that generates its own power. A new product called VOTO performs a similar function, but with any cooking fire.  Read More

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