Video: Plastic sand bricks offer affordable and sustainable housing in Kenya

By Lisa McDonald / October 7, 2020

Recycling plastic into bricks is an emerging industry in some developing countries that are looking to clean the environment while addressing affordable housing concerns. Gjenge Makers Ltd. in Kenya is one example of a company pursuing this production platform.

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Video: Stackable GaN wall chargers expand charging capabilities while saving space

By Lisa McDonald / September 30, 2020

Having enough outlet space on campus is a perennial problem for college students. A new Kickstarter campaign looks to fund creation of stackable gallium nitride wall chargers, which could expand USB charging capabilities while saving space.

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Video: How Crystal Palace Dinosaurs brought paleontology to the people

By Lisa McDonald / September 23, 2020

More than 100 years before the movie Jurassic Park captured public interest, curiosity in dinosaurs was piqued by the Crystal Palace Dinosaurs, the first life-sized models of extinct animals ever made. Though the scientific accuracy of the sculptures is largely incorrect based on current knowledge, the sculptures’ impact on public interest in paleontology is recognized to this day.

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Video: Battery-free computing restores retro gaming device

By Lisa McDonald / September 16, 2020

When restoring old technology, sometimes substituting modern alternatives for original parts can improve the classic design. Researchers at Northwestern University and Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands created a clone of the 8-bit Nintendo Game Boy using an energy-aware gaming platform.

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Video: Lebanese recycle glass from Beirut blast

By Lisa McDonald / September 9, 2020

The August 4 port explosion in Beirut killed dozens, injured thousands, and caused billions of dollars in property damage. As the city looks to rebuild, volunteers, nongovernmental groups, and entrepreneurs are trying to salvage some of the wreckage by recycling at least part of the tonnes of glass littering the streets.

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Video: Brew coffee sustainably using ceramic and glass filters

By Lisa McDonald / September 2, 2020

Coffee is one of the most consumed beverages in the world, yet the environmental impacts of the drink can be significant. Metal and cloth are the main alternatives to paper for creating reusable filters—could ceramic and glass materials play a role in sustainability as well?

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Video: Glass-walled restrooms open to the public in Japan

By Lisa McDonald / August 26, 2020

Toilets are likely one of the last technologies people associate with innovation, but creating high-tech toilets is big business in Japan. And innovating the bathroom experience is not just limited to personal and private settings—the new Tokyo Toilet project looks to dispel perceptions that public toilets are dark, dirty, and smelly.

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Video: Tracking the moon with laser beams

By Lisa McDonald / August 19, 2020

For more than 50 years, the Apollo-era Laser Ranging Retroreflector experiment helped scientists track the moon’s orbit and distance from Earth. The efficiency of the moon-based reflectors decreased over time, though, so NASA scientists looked to reflect light from a spacecraft-based reflector instead—a feat they recently achieved for the first time.

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Video: The hidden history of Vietnamese ceramics

By Lisa McDonald / August 12, 2020

In the 15th and 16th centuries, the village of Chu Dau in Hải Dương Province, Vietnam, produced unique ceramic pieces that were shipped throughout the world before war put an end to the practice. This history was only recently uncovered in the 1980s, and a recent documentary details the story.

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Video: I “Spot” a new application—novel uses of robots during the COVID-19 pandemic

By Lisa McDonald / August 5, 2020

When Boston Dynamics premiered their dog-like robot Spot in September 2019, they imagined the robot being used in hazardous environments, such as construction and electric utility. Now in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, Spot has stepped into some unusual roles that previously were not considered primary applications.

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