Can WiFi Signals Kill Plants?

Can WiFi Signals Kill Plants?

Noteworthy science isn’t only reserved for grant funded research studies. A team of ninth grade students from Hjallerup School in North Jutland, Denmark have created an international buzz among the realm of the scientifically involved. Lea Nielsen, Mathilde Nielsen, Signe Nielsen, Sisse Coltau and Rikke Berg recently decided to investigate WiFi routers and their effect, if any, on plant life for a class science project. Their findings are profoundly interesting. Similar published studies have also been done, many with related results. They had the idea for the study when they thought about their nightly cellphone habits, which sometimes included sleeping with them… read more

“Sensor on a Chip” Could Enable Inexpensive Environmental Monitoring

"Sensor on a Chip" Could Enable Inexpensive Environmental Monitoring

Researchers are working on tiny sensors that could eventually enable inexpensive real-time monitoring of water and air for pollutants. The researchers, at University of Delaware’s Department of Materials Science and Engineering, are developing highly sensitive devices capable of detecting chemical molecules in the environment, even at low levels. These sensors could replace current molecular detectors, which are both unwieldy and costly, and be used in the field to detect environmental contamination. “In the end, the device will be very sensitive compared to current technology. We expect around two to four orders of magnitude improvement. It will also be small and… read more

Samsung Galaxy S4 Awarded Sustainability Certification

Samsung Galaxy S4 Awarded Sustainability Certification

If you’re in the market for a smartphone, and want to pick a device that is certified sustainably designed and responsibly manufactured, the Samsung Galaxy S4 should be at the top of your list. We just wrote about the Fairphone, an “ethically sourced” smartphone that is due on the market sometime later this year, but the Galaxy S4, Samsung’s flagship phone, is already out and being touted as “a real life companion“, so this sustainability certification is kind of a big deal. The S4 is the first to receive this certification, as a “TCO Certified Smartphone” from TCO Development, which… read more

Case of Bass Providing a Cool Way to Upcycle Tunes

Case of Bass Providing a Cool Way to Upcycle Tunes

They have deemed it an anti-earbud movement with style. Ezra and Alex Cimino-Hurt, brothers and business partners, have found a creative way to reuse tossed out suitcases, train boxes, speakers and electrical components. And what is even better than an upcycling project is one that ends up with a dual duty purpose. Located in Portland, Oregon, their brainchild, Case of Bass, offers musical reincarnations of the carrying case. They refurbish discarded cases and turn them into sound systems, complete with inner audio workings powered by lightweight, rechargeable battery packs. They only resort to using new materials and electronics when worthy… read more

Simple, Affordable Near-Infrared Camera Captures Secret Life of Plants

Simple, Affordable Near-Infrared Camera Captures Secret Life of Plants

In the hands of activists, farmers, students and hobby scientists, a cheap infrared camera can enable better assessments of landscapes and fields, from the leaf to the lot to the field. Originally developed to assess damage to wetlands after the BP oil spill, a new project from Public Lab is now developing a simple open-source hardware and software tool for taking near-infrared images that can be used to monitor plant health, document environmental damage, or study the progress of environmental restoration projects. The Infragram project, now in a crowdfunding phase, aims to bring near-infrared imagery to the hands of the… read more

First Ethically Sourced Smartphone Available for Pre-Order


Could buying a phone start a movement? If that phone was one that was built around core principles such as social values, open design, better worker welfare, a long lifecycle, and full transparency, it just might. Sometimes the tools that make our modern lives richer and easier are responsible for keeping oppressive and dangerous conditions in place in other places of the world, and the ubiquitous smartphone is a great example of that. But there will soon be another option for those who wish to have a high-tech smartphone while knowing it was produced in the best way possible, putting… read more

Real Life Tricorder Sends Your Smartphone to Medical School


This is one of those moments when the present catches up to the future and delivers a new technology that we once only envisioned as a sci-fi accessory. A wireless sensor/scanner, called Scanadu Scout, is bringing the Tricorder to life, and yes, it’s crowdfunded. The Tricorder, that ubiquitous piece of equipment from the show Star Trek, allowed instant assessment of the state of health (or illness, as the case may be), in the form of a handheld gadget, and with the launch of the Scanadu Scout, you may soon be able to have your own medical grade wireless body sensor…. read more

LivingPlug Redefines the Electrical Outlet


For most of us, the design of the basic household electrical outlet has changed very little over the course of our lives, and for something so common, it’s kind of surprising that it hasn’t been updated to match our modern lifestyles. Sure, we’re starting to see networked “smart” outlets, but those are mostly for people interested in home automation, not for general household use. But a new kind of electrical outlet is on its way, one which could see wider adoption simply because of its ease of use and the simplicity of installation. The INLET, from LivingPlug, which is currently… read more

7 Ways to Help Reduce Mobile Phone Radiation

Mobile Phone Radiation

Even Martin Cooper, commonly known as the father of mobile phones could not have imagined the penetration of his device into our lives. To the extent that mobile phones are being called the “third hand” of human beings. Despite their prevalence, there are still concerns about the radiation emitted from the devices into our ears, and therefore brains. In this post you can find some simple ways to protect yourself from radiation. 1. Go hands-free: Recent research say that wired telephones are less dangerous than mobile phones, so whenever you have access to fixed line phones go for them. 2. Use headphones:… read more

What a Clever Keyboard

TransluSense keyboard

Since the first computer and monitor combination were created in the early 1970’s, very little has changed in the actual design and layout of keyboards. While some are shaped differently and vary in ergonomics, a keyboard has always been a plastic or metal slab with keys spread out on it. That all changes in 2013. A company called TransluSense has debuted their Luminae Keyboard+ and Trackpad+ typing device. It is a glass surface keyboard that uses state-of-the-art lasers and infrared sensors to detect finger movements and key presses on the glass. It’s curved for an ergonomic feel and design. It… read more