Topic: problem solving

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The toy-inspired Paperfuge, an innovative new tool in healthcare

Bioengineer and Stanford researcher Manu Prakash has developed another inexpensive scientific device. The Paperfuge is a hand-spun, ultra low-cost, paper and string centrifuge that was inspired by the ancient whirligi...

This invention helped me write again – Emma Lawton

Graphic Designer Emma Lawton would draw and write as a large part of her work and daily life, but after being diagnosed in 2012 with early-onset Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative brain disorder, using her hands...

Goffin’s cockatoos try to create tools to reach a treat

Are cockatoos as smart as a human 3 year old? Watch these four Goffin's cockatoos attempt to create their own tools from a twig, larchwood, cardboard, and beeswax, an experiment by researchers from the University of V...

What’s the fastest way to alphabetize your bookshelf?

You work at the college library. You’re in the middle of a quiet afternoon when suddenly, a shipment of 1,280 books arrives. The books are in a straight line, but they're all out of order, and the automatic sorting sy...

The Rolling Dance Chair, an omnidirectional, hands-free wheelchair

So often, knowing someone who deals with a challenge can help us become more empathetic and more aware of possible solutions for that challenge. Having grown up with a father who she felt was "boxed in" by his manual ...

Can bumblebees teach each other to pull a string?

This worker bumblebee has been taught that if she pulls the string, she'll be able to get to the artificial blue flower's sucrose solution center. Scientists from the Bee Behavioural and Sensory Ecology Lab at Queen M...

A Slaton Co-op Gin truck easily flips 20,000lbs of cotton

Cotton may look like a cloud, but an eight foot or 2.44 meter square cotton bale is heavy: around 5,000lbs. When you put one (or four) in your truck, it's probably best that the bales don't roll around on their sides,...

Can you solve the frog riddle? – TED Ed

You’re stranded in a rainforest, and you’ve eaten a poisonous mushroom. To save your life, you need an antidote excreted by a certain species of frog. Unfortunately, only the female frog produces the antidote. The mal...

Is this the largest Rubik’s Cube in the world?

British puzzle maker and collector Tony Fisher might have made the largest functional 3x3x3 Rubik's Cube in the world. It measures 1.56 meters (5.11 foot) on each side, weighs 100 kilos (220 lbs), and can be solved by...

Can you solve the temple riddle? – TED Ed

Your expedition finally stands at the heart of the ancient temple. But as you study the inscriptions in the darkness, two wisps of green smoke burst forth. The walls begin to shake. The giant sandglass begins flowing ...

Climate Change 101 with Bill Nye + solutions great and small

What is climate change, what causes it, and how do we mitigate its effects? Bill Nye summarizes Climate Change 101 in concert with National Geographic's Climate Change issue and COP21, the December 2015 Paris Climate ...

How Google[x]’s Project Loon Tests Its Giant Internet Balloons

What if massive pumpkin-shaped balloons could bring internet access to rural and remote locations around the planet? Google[x], which also developed Google Glass and Google's Driverless Car, has a team working on gian...

Debunking the “I will never need to use this…” myth

If you've ever heard the phrase, "I will never need to use this ever again," regarding a theorem of mathematics, or a scientific law, or a fact from the history of a far corner of the planet, consider this from astrop...

Can Namib Desert beetles help us solve our drought problems?

Can we pull enough water out of the air to sustain drought-stricken places around the planet? It might help to Think Like A Tree... or a Namib Desert Beetle called the Stenocara gracilipes, who harvests water from the...

Mimicking shark skin to combat superbugs – Think Like a Tree

In 2001, materials scientist Dr. Anthony Brennan observed that Galapagos Sharks are barnacle and algae-free due to the micro-topography of their skin. These diamond pattern nanoridges also make it difficult for bacter...

Think Like a Tree – Problem solving with nature’s best ideas

Biomimicry -- imitating nature's best ideas in our design of materials, structures, and systems -- can provide huge leaps in our understanding when it comes to solving challenges. Example: How do we keep our buildings...

Exploring Space with Shape-Shifting Robots

Can a "skwishy" baby toy help inform how next generation robots explore other worlds? Vytas SunSpiral's team at NASA Ames Research Center joined forces with Alice Agogino's Mechanical Engineering lab at UC Berkeley to...

Shade balls roll into the LA Reservoir to prevent water evaporation

How do you keep your recycled water from evaporating during a state-wide drought? Shade balls. On August 10, 2015, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti joined the LA Department of Water and Power to roll 20,000 black, 4-in...

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