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Four Incredible Innovations in the Past One Year

  1. Lamps Powered by Plants:
    Approximately 42% of rural areas in the Peruvian jungle suffer from a lack of electricity, according to Peru’s latest National Household Survey conducted by the National Institute of Statistics and Information. This problem brought about a solution by the Universidad de Ingeniería y Tecnología (UTEC), through a team of researchers – made up of teachers and eight students. They developed a Plant lamp, an innovative alternative renewable energy generating system.During photosynthesis, the plant’s waste decomposes in the soil, producing electrons during oxidation. The UTEC team captures these electrons by using electrodes in the soil and storing them in batteries. The Plant lamp is capable of supplying two hours of light per day through a low energy consumption, high illumination LED lamp.

    This new initiative combines creativity, research, innovation and development with a close look at the geographical setting and the environment. Most importantly, this means hope for a better quality of life for many communities in Africa who can replicate this invention.  They will have access to renewable energy to provide light to their homes for use by the children during their study hours or during work hours to produce and sell their products and with this, contribute to the self-sustainability around the world.

  2. A Revolutionary Material that Could Absorb Large Oil Spills
    Scientists at Deakin University in Australia, alongside researchers at Drexel University in Philadelphia and Missouri University, built up a device similar to a “nanosheet” that can clean up oil slicks like a sponge.
    Each nanosheet is comprised of drops that are several nanometers (one-billionth of a meter) thick with little gaps, which can develop to the measure of 5.5 tennis courts. One of the scientists confirmed that the nanosheets give the surface range to retain oils and natural solvents up to 33 times its own particular weight.
  3. The Personal Pollution Detector
    In order to avoid potentially harmful pollutants and allergens, it helps to know about the air you’re breathing. This is where the TZOA comes in.
    The stationary device, developed by electrician Kevin R. Hart, uses sensors to evaluate the atmosphere in any given area. The device works by measuring factors like temperature, particulate matter (dust, pollen, mold, car exhaust) and UV exposure and uploads the data received into the cloud, so that institutions like Johns Hopkins can conduct air-­quality research.The company plans to launch wearable versions that offer a similar service, allowing consumers to chart specific walking routes, driving routes and generally avoid possibly polluted areas.
  4. The Prosthetic Hand that Can Generate a Sense of Touch
    Most prosthetics can’t allow their wearers to regain their senses of touch, but DARPA’s latest version of its prosthetic hand uses neuro-technology to do just that.
    DARPA, the military R&D division that is better known for war robots, has connected a prosthetic hand directly to the brain of a 28 year old man who has been paralyzed for over ten years. Not only can he now control the hand with his mind, but he can feel the things he touches. He became the first person to be able to “feel” physical sensations through a prosthetic hand, according to DARPA.According to Previous research into providing feeling in prosthetics has wired the limbs directly to the remaining nerves and let them carry the signals back to the brain. DARPA’s version bypasses this and goes straight to the source.
    Thought-controlled prosthetics can take their signals from sensors placed on the skin of the residual limb, but in this case, DARPA’s Revolutionizing Prosthetics team, led by program manager Justin Sanchez, wired electrodes directly into the sensory cortex of the 28-year-old volunteer. The sensory cortex is the part of the brain that processes feelings like touch.

Photo Credit: UTEC

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