By Lana BirbrairPosted 02.24.2012 at 2:45 pm 2 Comments
About 2.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to a sanitary toilet. To fix this, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation awarded eight grants last year to scientists and engineers to invent a toilet that could function without piped water, a sewer system or outside electricity—and would cost less than 5 cents a day to operate. With the funding, scientists are working on using processes such as evaporation, combustion, pyrolysis and anaerobic digestion to break down waste in toilets into three essential resources: water, fertilizer and fuel. Click here to see how it works.
By Justin DiPlacidoPosted 02.24.2012 at 10:30 am 8 Comments
Instant hand warmers are great--just shake 'em up, and you've got spontaneous warmth to thaw your hands during the cold winter months. But they're awfully expensive, and not because they're complicated to manufacture. In fact, you can make them yourself in a few very easy steps.
By Stewart WolpinPosted 02.23.2012 at 11:20 am 7 Comments
In late 2010, Verizon rolled out its 4G LTE network, which offers data speeds 10 times as fast as 3G networks. But as mobile data traffic continues to grow—experts anticipate that it will increase 26-fold in the next three years—it's unlikely that any network will be able to keep up. Fortunately, something else is set to happen over the next three years: Wi-Fi could become as ubiquitous and easy to access as cellular is now.
E Ink, makers of the electrophoretic screens for the Kindle and Nook, are going color
By Amber WilliamsPosted 02.23.2012 at 10:08 am 4 Comments
LCD e-readers have one big advantage over e-paper ones: color. But what makes LCD screens so vibrant is also their downfall—the backlight necessary to illuminate pixels adds heft, slashes battery life, and can strain readers' eyes. LCDs require a protective layer, typically glass, so they suffer from extreme glare in direct light. E Ink's new Triton e-paper display, which came out in the U.S. this year on the Ectaco jetBook Color, produces 4,096 colors (the same palette as a newspaper) with ambient light alone.
In October, manufacturing 100-watt incandescent lightbulbs will become illegal under the U.S. Energy Independence and Security Act. As part of the same legislation, 60- and 40-watt ones will be banned by 2014. Compact fluorescents (CFLs) are the simplest-to-make replacement but contain the neurotoxin mercury, have a bluish hue, and don't illuminate instantly. The regulations are prompting lighting companies to develop new, environmentally friendly ways to produce light that have none of CFLs' downsides.
By Lawrence UlrichPosted 02.21.2012 at 5:36 pm 24 Comments
Since the days of $4 gas began, the single-cylinder motorcycles and scooters that dominate international megacities have become increasingly common on American streets. Engineers at Yamaha created the Y125 Moegi concept to capitalize on that trend. They based it on the company’s first motorcycle, the 1955 125-cc YA-1, but they also included some modern touches, in particular an ultralight frame and a new cylinder design that could help make the Moegi one of the lightest and most fuel-efficient motorcycles ever.
By Babak Parviz, as told to Flora LichtmanPosted 02.21.2012 at 10:13 am 5 Comments
"We made a lens that displays a single pixel that can be turned on and off wirelessly. An integrated circuit stores the energy, and a light-emitting diode shoots light toward the eye, but the optics are tricky. You can't focus on something that's that close. To correct this, we put a series of tiny lenses between the LED and the eye—imagine holding your finger too close to your eye so it's blurry; you could bring it into focus by putting a magnifying glass between your eye and your finger.
By Amber WilliamsPosted 02.20.2012 at 4:01 pm 7 Comments
Maybe, but it’s going to take a long time. For the past 200,000 years or so, fatty and sugary foods were hard for humans to come by and well worth gorging on. Fats help maintain body temperature, sugars provide energy, and craving such food is hardwired: Eating fats and sugars activates reward centers in the brain.
By Bette MarstonPosted 02.20.2012 at 10:30 am 8 Comments
Yes. Marc Levine, the chief of gastrointestinal radiology at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania, has found that a competitive eater’s stomach works more like an expanding balloon than a squeezing sac.
Light 18-volt batteries have become the standard for cordless power tools, but they often underperform when faced with difficult tasks such as boring large holes into wood or metal. To produce more strength without resorting to a heavier, higher-voltage battery, engineers at Milwaukee redesigned the motor of the new M18 Fuel drill.