Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Water

To address the material weakness of traditional hydrants, Sigelakis chose to go with a sta...

The traditional fire hydrant, that innocuous little cast metal tube with a hat, is one of those everyday objects that is so commonplace most people tend to overlook them. For over 100 years this life saving device has changed little in terms of design or functionality, but now an ex-fire fighter hopes to change all that with his next generation Spartan fire hydrant.  Read More

Researchers at ORNL have created an air- stable water droplet network (Photo: Kyle Kuykend...

Harvesting water out of thin air, might seem like a pipe dream, but the air-stable water droplet networks, currently being developed by Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) researchers could prove to be a step in the right direction. Created with the aid of a new technique, these water droplet networks could also potentially find use in membrane research and biological sensing applications.  Read More

One of the modified nanocellulose sponges soaks up oil (red) while repelling water (blue)

As the Deepwater Horizon incident showed us, oil spills can be huge environmental disasters. That said, there are also considerable challenges in dealing with the waste products generated by the forestry and agriculture industries. Now, scientists from Switzerland's Empa research group have come up with a method of addressing the one problem with the other – they've developed sponges made from cellulose waste, that can soak up 50 times their own weight in oil.  Read More

A water sample being added to a vial for testing, using one of the new pills

Wondering if it's safe to drink the water from your remote village's well? Typically, the only way of finding out involves sending a sample of that water off to a lab, or using testing agents that must be shipped in and kept on dry ice. Now, however, scientists from Canada's McMaster University have developed simple pills that can do the job – and they were inspired by breath-freshening strips.  Read More

Port X, by Czech architecture firm Atelier SAD (Photo: Port X)

Czech architecture firm Atelier SAD recently unveiled an interesting modular prefab home that can either be installed on the ground like a normal home, or float on the water like a (non-motorized) houseboat. Dubbed Port X, the unusual dwelling comes in several sizes, can be expanded upon to increase living space if needed, and operates either on or off-grid.  Read More

A demonstration of how the phosphorus-laden particles can be removed from water using a ma...

Phosphorus is a mineral that's widely used in fertilizer, which itself has an unfortunate tendency to leach out of farmers' fields and into our waterways. Now, researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research have devised a method of retrieving some of that phosphorus from the water – thus both reducing pollution, and providing a source of reclaimed phosphorus.  Read More

Droplet works by selectively watering the plants in your garden

There's no two ways about it: your common or garden sprinkler (so garden, in all probability) is a blithering half-wit. Rain or no, if you don't turn it off, it'll water your lawn whether it needs it or not, and much more besides. The Droplet wants to change all that. A sort of "smart" water cannon, it knows which parts of your garden to water, and when.  Read More

In this false-color image, E. coli bacteria (green dots) can be seen trapped around pit me...

In many parts of the world, the presence of harmful bacteria makes it vitally important that water from lakes or rivers be thoroughly filtered before being consumed. While materials such as silver nanoparticles and titanium dioxide will do the job, people in developing nations or rural settings typically need something a lot cheaper and easier to manufacture. As it turns out, wood from pine trees works great.  Read More

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter doing what it does best – orbiting Mars (Image: NASA)

NASA's Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter has transmitted further measurements of curious seasonal marks on the surface of Mars. They could be the most compelling evidence yet of flowing water existing on the Red Planet in the present day.  Read More

The WaterWheel is designed to transport three to five times as much water as traditional m...

Since landing in India in September of 2011, social venture Wello has carried out extensive research in an effort to improve the efficiency of water transport and storage in developing countries. For many people living in these areas the chore of walking long distances while carrying buckets of water is inefficient, dangerous and counter-productive. The team's work has culminated in what it believes could form part of a solution, a prototype for a pushable high-quality plastic container dubbed the WaterWheel.  Read More

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