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InstantTrust is a new product that uses UV light to instantly kill bacteria in drinking wa...

There are presently a number of products available that use ultraviolet light to kill microorganisms in drinking water. Many of these are used on the water after it has been dispensed, requiring users to wait before drinking it. Others are fairly large, or require the water to be within a certain temperature range. Philips Lighting, however, has just released a compact UV water disinfection device known as InstantTrust. It is said to kill bacteria instantly, at the point of use, and at any temperature.  Read More

A new understanding of the workings of a DNA-repairing enzyme could lead to medications th...

While there may be medications that help soothe sunburnt skin, when it comes to healing that skin ... well, we pretty much have to just wait for our bodies to do that on their own. Recent research conducted at Ohio State University, however, suggests that an actual healing treatment for sunburn may be on the way. It all comes down to some new understandings about an enzyme named photolyase.  Read More

Graduate students Guoping Wang (L), Sheng Chu (R) and professor of electrical engineering ...

Although ultraviolet semiconductor diode lasers are widely used in data processing, information storage and biology, their applications have been limited by the lasers’ size, cost and power. Now researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering have overcome these problems by developing a new semiconductor nanowire laser technology that could be used to provide denser optical disc storage, superfast data processing and transmission and even to change the function of a living cell.  Read More

Students Chin Jung Cheng, Charlie Matlack, Penny Huang and Jacqueline Linnes designed a wa...

The worldwide shortage of clean drinking water is a serious problem, although in many cases there’s a relatively simple solution – just leave the tainted water outside in clear plastic bottles, and let the sun’s heat and ultraviolet rays purify it. This approach is known as SODIS (SOlar DISinfection of water in plastic bottles), and it removes 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses – results similar to those obtained by chlorine. Unfortunately, however, there’s been no reliable way of knowing when the water has reached a safe level of purity. Now, four engineering students from the University of Washington have created a simple, inexpensive device that does just that... and they won US$40,000 in the process.  Read More

The Germ Genie, mounted above a standard keyboard

According to a 2008 study conducted for England’s Which? magazine, computer keyboards can contain up to five times the amount of bacteria as toilet seats. This is particularly yucky news for users of public or shared keyboards, who are being exposed to other peoples’ bacteria. In settings such as hospitals, where doctors and nurses share keyboards, it’s a situation that definitely should be addressed. Fortunately, a study recently conducted at the University of Hertfordshire determined that an ultraviolet light device very effectively sanitizes keyboards.  Read More

The University of Copenhagen's Prof. Matthew Johnson, inventor of the Cleanair system

According to the University of Copenhagen’s Prof. Matthew Johnson, approximately one-sixth of the energy consumed in the world is used for heating, cooling and dehumidifying air in buildings. Because that air accumulates toxins and pathogens, he explains, it must constantly be expelled and replaced with new air that’s drawn in from outside. That new air must then be heated, cooled and/or dehumidified all over again. If only the air already in buildings could be cleaned up and reused, far less energy would be used on continuously conditioning fresh air. That’s why Johnson has invented the Cleanair system.  Read More

How humans see the Bird-Protection Glass (left) and how birds see it (right)

Someone has apparently crunched the numbers and estimated that more than 100 million birds are killed every year due to collisions with glass surfaces – not to mention the untold numbers of beverages spilt by surprised people as a bird slams into a nearby window. Birds see the tree or sky reflected in a window or the environment behind the glazing, but not the glass itself. German company Glaswerke Arnold (or Arnold Glass) has come up with a simple way to prevent these collisions by producing a glass that appears normal to humans but is visible to birds.  Read More

The new PV cell can generate electricity from ultraviolet and infrared light as well as vi...

Last month at the meeting of the Japan Society of Applied Physics, a research group from the Kyoto Institute of Technology introduced a new photovoltaic cell that is capable of generating electricity not only from visible light, but from ultraviolet and infrared light as well. The research group, led by associate professor Saki Sonoda, hopes that this will lead to a more efficient PV cell that can be single-junction rather than the more conventional multi-junction.  Read More

The Wi-Fi connection in the HUB-Robeson Center at Penn State being used by students. Resea...

Sending and receiving data over a wireless network is generally undertaken via radio waves. But that's not the only method. Using the optical spectrum offers the advantage of better security and blisteringly fast transfer rates to boot. Engineers from Pennsylvania State University have now succeeded in moving data outside the usual line of sight restrictions at speeds of over one gigabit per second, more than double that achieved by Siemens recently.  Read More

Research from Penn State could improve UV blocking in eyewear (Photo: Gizmag)

Most people are aware that ultraviolet (UV) rays can cause damage to the skin, but it can also damage the eyes. The cumulative effect of not protecting eyes from the sun can cause unpleasant problems such as cataracts, skin cancers around the eye and pterygium - an abnormal growth which starts in the corner of the eye but can grow over the cornea. Researchers from Penn State are hoping that a new recipe for making glass will further improve the protection offered by UV blocking sunglasses. The team has discovered that adding cerium oxide to phosphate glass could result in sunglasses, windows and solar cells that block UV light more effectively and have increased radiation resistance.  Read More

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