Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Secret Recipe To Making Food Packaging You Can Eat

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/how-the-wikicell-edible-packaging-is-made-2012-8

WikiCell

If you look at the structure of an orange or a coconut, you generally have a skin that maintains moisture and an outer coat that protects that skin. In the case of a coconut, it's the shell; with an orange it's the peel.

Like the coconut or orange, the WikiCell, an edible form of packaging invented by Harvard professor David Edwards, provides a double layer of protection around the liquid, foam or solid it holds.    

See the WikiCells > 

You can think of the first layer, a soft skin, like a raisin skin. It's made of three main components: tiny natural food particles, like chocolate, fruit, nuts or seeds; a nutritive ion-like calcium; and a natural molecule like chitosan (which comes from the body) or alginate (which comes from algae).  

When you mix these three things together they form an electrostatic gel that keeps water inside the food or drink. 

The second layer, a protective shell around the skin, is like the egg-carton packaging. Depending on the kind of WikiCell and how it reaches the consumer, that shell may be completely edible (in which case you would wash it like an apple) or completely biodegradable (in which which case you can peel it off and throw it away). 

The edible shell would be made of isomalt (a kind of sweetener) and the biodegradable shell would be made of baggase (what remains when you remove sugar from sugar cane) or tapioca.  

WikiCells are edible containers of food or drink. A soft membrane holds the liquid, foam or solid inside! .



The WikiCell balls are placed in edible or non-edible, biodegrable shells, which replace the outer, cardboard packaging that most food products come in.



Liquid WikiCells are consumed in a variety of ways. One is that the liquid may be in a grape form so you just toss it in your mouth. You might have a larger "orange" form and use a straw. You might design the WikiCell in a sort of "pear" form, shown here, and then eat the tip of it and drink the inside.



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How A Scientist Tapped Into The Rise Of Cell Phones To Fight Malaria

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/scientist-explains-how-he-invented-a-10-microscope-that-saves-lives-2012-8

cell phone africa

Aydogan Ozcan, an electrical engineering professor at UCLA, invented the LUCAS microscope back in 2010. The tiny device attaches to a cell phone and can detect life-threatening diseases like malaria and tuberculosis in drinking water.

The device, which only costs $10 to manufacture, is revolutionary because it makes it possible to do complicated medical testing in developing countries. 

"Microscopes are bulky, difficult to carry around and expensive," Ozcan told us in an interview. "I wanted to help create a medical infrastructure that was feasible for the developing world." 

He gave a presentation to some colleagues about the need for his microscope and why it works so well. 

First, Ozcan explains the ubiquity of cell phones around the world, including in developing countries.

Source: Vimeo



He also shows this map of how common cell phones are in different parts of the world.

Source: Vimeo



Then, he explains how cell phones could be used as a practical plat! form for medical testing in developing countries.

Source: Vimeo



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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Spherical glass lens concentrates sunlight by up to 10,000 times, boosts solar cell efficiency

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/28/spherical-glass-lens-solar-energy-generator/

Spherical glass lens concentrates sunlight by up to 10,000 times, boosts solar cell efficiency

Eking out more power from solar cells is an ongoing challenge for scientists, and now architect André Broessel has developed a spherical glass energy generator that's said to improve efficiency by 35 percent. Acting as a lens, the rig's large water-filled orb concentrates diffused daylight or moonlight onto a solar cell with the help of optical tracking to harvest electricity. In certain configurations, the apparatus can be used for solar thermal energy generation and even water heating. In addition to the oversized globe, Broessel has cooked up a mobile version of the contraption for domestic use and an array of much smaller ball lenses with dual-axis tracking that offers 40 percent efficiency. These devices aren't the first venture into concentrated photovoltaics, but they are likely among the most visually impressive. If the Barcelona-based architect's vision of the future comes true, you'll be seeing these marbles incorporated into buildings and serving as standalone units. Hit the source links below for the picture spread of prototypes and renders.

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Spherical glass lens concentrates sunlight by up to 10,000 times, boosts solar cell efficiency originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 28 Aug 2012 09:22:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink Gizmodo  |  sourceDesignboom, Rawlemon  | Email this | Comments

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Saturday, August 25, 2012

Genetically Engineered Bacteria Will Someday Make Biofuel From Carbon Dioxide [Science]

Source: http://gizmodo.com/5937670/genetically+engineered-bacteria-will-someday-make-biofuel-from-carbon-dioxide

Genetically Engineered Bacteria Will Someday Make Biofuel From Carbon DioxideImagine a bacteria that could not only suck the excess CO2 out of the air, but turn that waste gas into a clean-burning biofuel for cars. If the current research on genetically-engineered bacteria goes to plan at MIT, these wonder creatures could help solve our energy and climate woes.

According to Livescience, if these creatures can be scaled to industrial production levels, producing biofuels from a living organism would become 10 times more efficient.

Researchers swapped out the genes of the R. eutropha bacterium so that it can create isobutanol - an alcohol that can replace or blend with gasoline used by vehicles.
[...]
The natural bacteria usually stores carbon by creating carbon polymers similar to petroleum-based plastics. Brigham and his colleagues - Jingnan Lu, Claudia Gai and Anthony Sinskey - managed to remove several genes while adding another organism's gene so that the bacteria made isobutanol rather than the carbon polymer.

Because the bacteria uses carbon dioxide (along with hydrogen) to grow, researchers hope they'll be able to give it the ability directly convert the CO2 it absorbs, which would have huge, obvious environmental implications.

But before this bacteria changes the world, scientists must first get it out of the lab and into the real world. The question of whether or not they can scale the organism remains to be answered. Here's hoping it will happen. [MIT via Livescience]

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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Researchers create record-breaking solar cell, set bar marginally higher

Source: http://www.engadget.com/2012/08/05/record-breaking-cqd-solar-cell/

Researchers create record-breaking solar cell, set bar marginally higher

Solar cell development is typically a small numbers game, and a group of researchers at the University of Toronto have managed to eke out a few more percentage points in efficiency with a new record-breaking cell. Setting a high mark for this type of cell, the team's Colloidal Quantum Dot (CQD) film harvests both visible and non-visible light at seven percent efficiency, a 37 percent increase over the previous record. The breakthrough was achieved by leveraging organic and inorganic chemistry to make sure it had fewer nooks and crannies that don't absorb light. With the advantages of relatively speedy and cheap manufacturing, the technology could help lead the way for mass production of solar cells on flexible substrates. In the meantime, check out the source for the scientific lowdown.

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Researchers create record-breaking solar cell, set bar marginally higher originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 05 Aug 2012 03:23:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink IEEE Spectrum  |  sourceUniversity of Toronto  | Email this | Comments

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Sad Pictures Of Fish With Skin Cancer

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/wild-fish-found-with-skin-cancer-2012-8

It turns out humans aren't the only ones who have worry about sun spots. For the first time researchers have found skin cancer in wild fish, likely caused by harmful ultra-violet radiation. 

A joint study between Newcastle University and the Australian Institute of Medicine found evidence of melanoma in coral trout found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The form of cancer was nearly identical to the one found in humans.  

According to a press release from Newcastle University:

Of the 136 fish sampled, 20 (15%) showed dark lesions on the skin – the lesions covered as little as 5% of the skin ranging to full coverage and an almost entirely black appearance. [Lead author of the study] Dr Sweet said the numbers were significant.

Researchers think the dark patches of melanoma were likely caused by ultra-violet radiation after ruling out microbial pathogens and marine pollution.

The first two photos show the distinctive dark lesions. The last photo is a picture of healthy coral trout, which is normally bright orange. 

Coral trout skin cancer

coral trout

Coral trout skin cancer

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Sad Pictures Of Fish With Skin Cancer

Source: http://www.businessinsider.com/wild-fish-found-with-skin-cancer-2012-8

It turns out humans aren't the only ones who have worry about sun spots. For the first time researchers have found skin cancer in wild fish, likely caused by harmful ultra-violet radiation. 

A joint study between Newcastle University and the Australian Institute of Medicine found evidence of melanoma in coral trout found on Australia's Great Barrier Reef. The form of cancer was nearly identical to the one found in humans.  

According to a press release from Newcastle University:

Of the 136 fish sampled, 20 (15%) showed dark lesions on the skin – the lesions covered as little as 5% of the skin ranging to full coverage and an almost entirely black appearance. [Lead author of the study] Dr Sweet said the numbers were significant.

Researchers think the dark patches of melanoma were likely caused by ultra-violet radiation after ruling out microbial pathogens and marine pollution.

The first two photos show the distinctive dark lesions. The last photo is a picture of healthy coral trout, which is normally bright orange. 

Coral trout skin cancer

coral trout

Coral trout skin cancer

Please follow Science on Twitter and Facebook.

Join the conversation about this story »

Read More...