James Dyson is making a vacuum cleaner to sweep our rivers

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Considering the amount of pollution that Man excreted into our oceans and rivers (think of the Great Garbage Patch of plastic in the Pacific Ocean), isn’t it amazing that we still enjoy so many its fruits, including seafood to eat, beaches to swim, corral reefs to gaze at, etc.)?  But these benefits will not be around much longer unless we act to clean up after ourselves.

James Dyson (an entrepreneur/inventor responsible for creating the vacuum cleaner industry) now wants to build a floating vacuum barge that will clean up debris in our rivers, before it washes out to sea.

Read the article here

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Will we have renewable batteries (made from rhubarb?) in our basement in the future?

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What do you think about a battery made from rhubarb or some other plant that can grow in your garden?  Such metal-free flow batteries have the capability to transform grid-scale energy storage.

Researchers have been searching for a flow battery that relies on electro-chemistry of naturally abundant, organic molecules — to solve the problem of renewable energy storage.

Based on this paper, quinones, which are found in green plants, seem to be the leading candidates for the job.  They act as eletrocatalysts, dissolve in water, and are found in green plants.  The day when the average basement will have its own renewable energy storage tank is getting closer.

To read more about it, see this article about the Harvard School of Engineering.

What if water pipes can self-grow to accommodate flash storm run-off?

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MIT is investing in the future of making things through a process called “Self-Assembly”.   Consider that in the world of natural systems, DNA with three billion base pairs that can replicate in roughly an hour — with far more efficiency than anything we can build, and with virtually no mistakes.

Think of the implications!  What if regular geologic phenomena like volcano eruptions, minor earthquake tremors, flash storms, or even falling trees could cause a “Self-assembly” chain reaction to make something useful that is completely natural?  Like water pipes that can grow to accommodate more storm run-off, or dynamic sensor networks that acquire the intelligence to respond to a tsunami without human intervention?

Find out more about the MIT Self-Assembly Lab