Topic: ideas

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Hydrophytes, 4D-printed aquatic ‘plants’ for the future

Tentacles wiggle. Filaments expand. Tails spiral. Looking like coral polyps, sea pens, crustaceans, and other colorful aquatic lifeforms, these multi-material 3D printed 'plants' come alive. Triggered by air that's pu...

The Ocean Cleanup technology and challenges explained

The Great Pacific garbage patch in the northern Pacific ocean holds an estimated 1.8 trillion hard-to-see pieces of plastic that float around on or just below the water's surface. They're kept swirling in an area that...

Izzy Wheels: Sisters create an artist-designed wheelchair wheel cover business

When Izzy Keane was a little girl in Ireland, she would decorate the wheels of her wheelchair for special occasions. When her sister Ailbhe (pronounced Alva) Keane was in her final year at the National College of Art ...

The Shoe-Tying Robot

What might five mechanical engineering students create with two motors, Arduino, and a $600 budget? How about a shoe tying machine? Winning an annual design competition with Japan's Meijo University, University of...

A pinned insect manipulator (IMp), the Natural History Museum’s LEGO invention

When you're an entomologist who's trying to help digitize insect specimens—studying them, comparing their details with other insects, and capturing multiple images of them from all angles—it can be a challenge to use ...

A tumbling, glowing, furry puppet creature by Barnaby Dixon

With spiky fur on its back and a long, expressive nose on its little face, this aardvark-like creature is a charming addition to Barnaby Dixon's collection of characters. A puppet designer and puppeteer, Dixon slips a...

A lemon-powered supercar and making the world’s largest lemon battery

Can you power an electric supercar with lemon-power? It depends on the lemon-power. In the video above, science YouTuber and former NASA JPL engineer Mark Rober attempts to fill a 48-kilowatt-hour battery with electri...

Liquid Printed Pneumatics: 3D printing stretchy silicone structures

Imagine 3D printing a balloon of sorts, a stretchy material that can expand or contract with the air that's pumped into it. MIT’s Self-Assembly Laboratory, in collaboration with BMW, has developed a new way to print s...

What Can You Actually Do About Climate Change?

The average carbon footprint of a person in the US is 16.5 tons –TONS. So, what can you actually do decrease this number and make a meaningful difference? Miriam Nielsen itemizes how our individual choices can hav...

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...

Building a prosthetic arm with parts from a LEGO Technic Air Race Jet

David Aguilar has built with LEGO since he was a kid. At nine years old, he built a prosthetic LEGO arm to augment his underdeveloped right arm, but the LEGO pieces weren't strong enough to meet the needs of his desig...

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...

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...

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...

Automata artist Matt Smith and his Curious Contraptions

Born in 1965, Matt Smith spent about six weeks at the Falmouth School of Art before deciding he would rather spend his time "making silly things." He began making automata in 1980 and, in 1986, formed the Fourteen Bal...

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...

How a kingfisher, an owl, & a penguin helped redesign Japan’s Shinkansen

How is Japan’s Shinkansen, a long-nosed bullet train that travels up to 240–320 km/h (150–200 mph), like a kingfisher? Or an owl? Or an Adélie penguin? In this video from Vox and 99% Invisible, we see how these three ...

How a failed invention lead to a potentially life-saving new idea

Inventor Hahna Alexander spent years developing an idea that people said they really liked: Shoes that generate power as you walk, making it possible to charge a battery with them. But after starting a company and tes...

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