Tiny, self-propelled microsubmarines could pick up and tote droplets of oil away from contaminated waters, according to a new study. The cone-shaped objects are extremely water-repellent, improving their oil-grabbing capabilities, and could serve as simple helpers in oil spills.
The second-place finalist did a little more than half that well
By Rebecca Boyle and Clay Dillow
Posted 10.11.2011 at 4:00 pm 10 Comments
Last summer, as sweet crude oil gushed unabated into the Gulf of Mexico, the overriding emotion was one of frustration. It wasn't just directed at the well owner, BP, or at rig-builders Transocean and Halliburton, or even the government and its difficult-to-understand oil flow estimates. The inability to shut off the well was one thing — but why, in an era of nanotubes and autonomous robots and invisibility cloaks, couldn't we just clean it up?
Five amazing, clean technologies that will set us free, in this month's energy-focused issue. Also: how to build a better bomb detector, the robotic toys that are raising your children, a human catapult, the world's smallest arcade, and much more.