Topic: innovation

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Plastics 101: What is plastic and how is it made?

Once a completely natural product, much of today's plastic is man-made and largely dependent upon fossil fuels. From polymers to nurdles, learn how plastic is created and what we can do to slow the lasting repercussio...

Origami Changes Everything: Mass-producing an ancient art with 3D printing

Can origami, the art of folded paper, be used to 3D-print parts for our cars, pieces of clothing, art that we display, and other products? Can we build machines that can create patterns based on scans, and then cut, f...

Fungus: The Plastic of the Future

In 2014, Ecovative Designs was working to combine mycelium with local crop waste to make a compostable biomaterial for packaging, and continue to expand their efforts. One example: A collaboration with Netherlands-bas...

An innovative edible spoon, a smart alternative to plastic waste

Plastic cutlery has been around for years, widely considered the only choice for cheap, disposable cutlery. Knowing the threat plastic poses to our environment and health, Narayana Peesapaty created a tasty and nutrit...

What is public life?

In parks, at bus stops, on the sidewalk, in playgrounds, in street and farmers markets: These are just some of the public spaces where we can participate in our city's diverse and thriving public life, where people fr...

The Exhale Bionic Chandelier: Microorganism-filled ‘leaves’ that ‘breathe’

An air purifier, an art object, and a piece of lighting design all in one living, 'breathing' chandelier. This is London-based inventor and bioengineer Julian Melchiorri's Exhale Bionic Chandelier, a microorganism-fil...

Magnetic fields make this tiny robot roll, jump, swim, and wriggle

This very small elastic strip is a robot that can walk, roll, jump, swim, and wriggle like a worm. Infused with magnetic particles, it responds to the strength and direction of magnetic fields surrounding it. As scien...

Is Your Fleece Jacket Polluting The Oceans?

When you hear “plastic” pollution, you might picture six-pack rings wrapped around seagulls or beaches littered with plastic bottles. But now, researchers are discovering a new menace -- microfibers. They’re tiny stra...

The Courage To Invent: A NASA Roboticist Tells Her Story

When educator, researcher, and innovator Dr. Ayanna Howard was a kid, she decided that she wanted to invent robots. When she grew up, she made that dream come true with a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and a job at N...

Lisa Winter, Robot Builder

When Lisa was 10, she built Doughboy, her first robot. For her, it’s all in the family — her father’s a robot builder and her mother collects them. But she really got hooked when her father came home from a Robots War...

How A Children’s Toy Led To An Essential Medical Device

"We were out in a primary health center talking to health care workers [in Uganda] and we found a centrifuge used as a doorstop because there's no electricity." The workers said that they really needed a powerful cent...

Catching fog to help combat Peru’s water shortage

Along the foggy coasts of Peru, where millions of people don't have access to clean water, Abel Cruz Gutiérrez helps catch 200 to 350 liters (around 50 to 100 gallons) of water per day with each 'fog catcher' he sets ...

The power of creative constraints – TED Ed

Imagine you were asked to invent something new. It could be whatever you want, made from anything you choose, in any shape or size. That kind of creative freedom sounds so liberating, doesn’t it? Or ... does it? if yo...

How to fit 4 years of trash into a mason jar, a zero waste experiment

Recycling, carrying reusable bags and coffee cups, buying compostable or metal straws, investing in solar energy... these are just a few of the eco-focused habits that consumers have embraced in recent decades. How di...

Octopus, elephant, & human arm robot assistants from Festo

Inspired by an octopus tentacle, this OctopusGripper bionic arm can grab and hold a variety of round objects, both taking and passing it back to a human counterpart. It was designed and built by Festo's Bionic Learnin...

A Fold Apart: Origamist Robert Lang’s Incredible Paper Creations

Twenty five years ago, physicist Robert Lang worked at NASA, where he researched lasers. He has also garnered 46 patents on optoelectronics and even wrote a Ph.D. thesis called "Semiconductor Lasers: New Geometries an...

Seashell inspiration: Growing cement bricks with bacteria

Imagine an 8-year-old girl studying a seashell on the sand in Gulf Shores, Alabama in 1985. It's her first trip to the beach and it's a moment that will set the course of her career: “The 8-year-old version of mys...

Tents that turn into jackets: Humanitarian fashion by designer Angela Luna

In 2016, Parsons School of Design graduate Angela Luna designed a utilitarian collection of transformable outerwear to help address the shelter, flotation, and visibility challenges that confront refugees, "people who...

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