We know CFL bulbs are world-changingly efficient, producing the same level of light as their incandescent parents while using a quarter of the energy. But they're still a relatively new device, and few long-term studies have been carried out on them. One of the most recent, a new report from a team at Stony Brook, suggests CFLs might cause damage to skin by releasing UV rays.
Lithium-ion batteries work by stacking active ingredients in layers. In your laptop and phone, the layers are stacked into a block, but a new process could make that seem quaint: spray-paint the necessary layers onto any surface like paint, to make an instant battery anywhere.
The Energy and Design Research Lab at The Cooper Union, an arts and engineering college in New York City, is probably best known for the Cooper Cooler, which in 1992 became the fastest machine to chill beer, wine, and other beverages: three minutes, from room temperature to frosty cold. It's every college student's dream. And that makes sense, because as it turns out, it was created by students.
Two decades later, the lab's breakout success has positioned it at the center of innovation in a small but important commercial sector—how to make things very cold, very quickly. So what comes next?