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Environment

Recyclable solar cells created using trees

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology and Purdue University have developed new solar cells based on natural substances derived from plants, including trees. The organic solar cells have an efficiency of 2.7 percent – a new high for cells on substrates derived from renewable raw materials – and can be easily recycled. Read More

Good Thinking

Boomerope loops ropes over high objects

If you’ve ever tried to loop a rope over a high branch, girder, pole or whatnot without using a ladder, then you’ll know that it can be pretty frustrating. As with most frustrating tasks, however, someone has invented a gizmo to make it easier. That gizmo is the Boomerope. Read More

Environment

Laser un-printers could help save the trees

If you’re concerned about deforestation, you likely blue-bin the no-longer-needed sheets of paper that have been run through your printer. You should keep in mind, however, that even though the recycling of that paper saves trees, the process still requires considerable energy, and most recycled paper still contains some virgin wood pulp. What would be better is if there were an “un-printer” that took the toner off of the used paper, so you would be left with a blank sheet that you could reuse. Well, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Cambridge, there soon may be.Read More

Music

This record player reads tree rings instead of LPs

Artists often say they can find music in everything, particularly nature. The question they often face is how to get the general public to hear the same tune that they do. One German artist, Bartholomäus Traubeck, seems to have hit on one straightforward method to accomplish this with some clever technology. Using a digital camera and some software, the artist has built a unique record player that spins cross-sections of trees instead of vinyl and translates the rings into piano music. Read More

Around The Home

Maximizing the number of floorboards per tree by going off the straight and narrow

There was also a time when wood was relatively cheap and plentiful in much of the world thanks to the number of trees just standing around waiting to be turned into useful things like floorboards. Unfortunately wood is neither as cheap nor plentiful as it once was, so it’s important to make the most of every tree. Instead of following the traditional line of straight-edged floorboards, Dutch company Bolefloor maximizes the coverage area of floorboards made from a particular tree by following the tree's natural curves.Read More

Environment

i-Tree software puts economic value on trees

Trees make a huge contribution to the green infrastructure of our towns and cities, both in carbon sequestration and aesthetics, yet the economical value of them is often forgotten leading them to be undervalued or seen as a nuisance. The i-Tree tool aims to change the way people see trees – it is a freely available software suite from the US Forest Service which provides analysis, benefit-calculations and assessment tools to quantify the contribution made by trees in the urban environment to allow communities to understand the economic benefit of protecting our urban forests. Read More

Environment

World's first solar-powered Christmas tree lot

San Diego residents can feel particularly warm and fuzzy this festive season as their Purdy Farm Christmas trees have been lovingly trimmed and lit up via solar power. In what is believed to be a world first, Stellar Solar's Mobile Solar Station has been contracted to power the Purdy Farm Christmas tree lots in Del Mar, Carlsbad, and San Diego. The Mobile Solar Station is being used to power the compact fluorescent lights (CFL) on the lot perimeter and the electric chain saws used to trim customer's trees. Read More

Environment

Groasis Waterboxx lets trees grow up in unfriendly places

It’s not often that you hear about an invention that was modeled after bird poop, but there’s a first time for everything. In fact, this fecally-inspired device could ultimately be responsible for reforesting billion of acres of parched land, and it just won Popular Science’s Best Invention 2010 award. It’s called the Groasis Waterboxx, and it’s a low-tech product that helps seeds or saplings grow into strong trees in eroded, arid and rocky environments.Read More

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