If You Like Butterflies…

If You Like Butterflies…

Then you will appreciate knowing they are being accessed for some scientific inspiration. The nature born wing technology of the butterfly has actually been studied – and replicated – for use in human designs with elements of biomimicry. In 2009, a group of researchers found that scales on the wings actually act as onboard solar collectors, productively collecting light. Imitating the scales as a model they successfully advanced the way solar cells that are sensitive to dye were able to gather and store light. The wings of the Swallowtail butterfly were examined due to interest in how their fairly flat… read more

From Quiet Achiever To The World Solar Challenge

From Quiet Achiever To The World Solar Challenge

What’s more fun that racing around a solar powered vehicle? How about a race that involves 47 teams of them from 26 countries in a world solar and electric car competition that is the largest of its kind in the world? The World Solar Challenge is a global event that was initially the idea of Hans Tholstrup, who built a solar vehicle called the Quiet Achiever. In 1982 he took his handcrafted vessel on a drive from the west through the east of Australia. Not wanting to contain the fun and challenge of building a solar car, he enticed others… read more

Weird Solar Science

Weird Solar Science

A few years back a sort of strange solar nanotechnology was being tossed about. A new kind of way to use solar cells that doesn’t involve a regular panel display was being looked at to recharge batteries. Researchers at Shanghai, China’s Donghua University and a company in Potsdam, Germany called the Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces, examined how to power up batteries inside implanted objects with photovoltaic cells. They found that this can actually be done by concentrating a specialized infrared laser beam through the skin. By implementing uncommon upconverting nanophosphors from the earth that can soak in… read more

Teen Turns Banana Peels into Bioplastic

Teen Turns Banana Peels into Bioplastic

Taking an organic waste material and turning it into an alternative feedstock for a product usually made from petroleum could be a big step toward a more sustainable world. That’s the type of design thinking that can really bridge the gap between our ever-present needs and our growing waste stream, and if this teenager is an example of what the next generation of scientists are capable of, we’re in good hands. When I take a look at a pile of banana peels, I see something that might be useful in a compost pile, but when 16 year old Elif Bilgin… read more

Edible, Dissolveable or Biodegradable

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There is no waste in nature, as at the end of every living thing’s life it serves as a source of nutrients once it returns from where it came. Thus, waste in a modern sense is a human creation – and modified materials like plastic, a mutation of nature. While many companies have introduced “green packaging”, and certainly the efforts have been impressive, it would be incorrect to herald them as sustainable. For a package to be sustainable, its existence must create zero waste. It also cannot rely on finite resources for its manufacture and use. This is because sustainability… read more

Cyborg Cockroaches Could Assist First Responders

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Future first responders may get a helping hand from remote-controlled cyborg cockroaches, which could be sent in to disaster sites to gather data and map the area before human rescuers enter the site. Combining video game technology with cockroach biology, researchers at North Carolina State University have been able to remotely steer the insects through a controlled environment, using Kinect tracking technology. “The researchers have incorporated Microsoft’s motion-sensing Kinect system into an electronic interface developed at NC State that can remotely control cockroaches. The researchers plug in a digitally plotted path for the roach, and use Kinect to identify and… read more

Teen Invents Efficient Solar Array

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Math is one of those things we’re all taught at a young age, and told that it’ll come in handy someday. We never believed our teachers, but a 13-year old boy certainly took that information to heart, and used the Fibonacci Sequence to create an efficient solar array. The mathematical integer sequence, named after Leonardo Fibonacci, is a system of numbers that has multiple forms and identities, and is also found in nature. The sequence has many applications, including number generators, parallel computing, number conversion, etc. Aidan Dwyer, a 13-year old 7th grader from New York, went hiking in the… read more

Space Colonization

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It’s something of a tragedy that the prospect of colonizing space never fully materialized after the end of the Cold War, when nationalism was at an all-time high, and our eyes looked to the stars for the next great adventure. As they say, lack of competition means a lack of progress. Traveling to the Moon in 1969 was achieved largely in part by the rivalry between the United States and Russia. The two superpower nations were battling it out for control of the cosmos, and the United States gained the upper hand when Neil Armstrong famously traversed our solar cousin…. read more

Mobile Lightweight Takes Load off Automobiles

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The technology entrapped in the slender pane through which millions view their Smartphone screen display will soon be utilized to make automobiles lighter and thus, improve fuel economy. Corning’s Gorilla Glass is a strong yet pliable glass that is currently used on 1.5 billion electronic devices worldwide. With Gorilla Glass, Corning developed a new atomic composition for glass that has contributes less damage to the environment than competitor materials like Sapphire Glass, which is not actually glass but a crystalline material. First launched in 2007, the company has introduced three versions of the material. All of them greatly improve the… read more

Famous Scientists On The Environment

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We’ve written about famed entrepreneurs who do their part for the environment, and now it’s time to look towards the intellectual world for solutions on our planet’s many problems. From climate change, to space travel, to farming, and even the singularity, these brilliant minds share their ideas on how to save us from ourselves. Ray Kurzweil: The famed thinker recently gave an interview with The Futurist, and shared his thoughts on several issues, one of which was the problem of declining fossil fuels. Kurzweil believes that we need to look to nanotechnology for the solution. It’s a low-cost alternative to… read more