The UN estimates that 4.3 billion people do not use the Internet, mostly because the cost is prohibitive or their area lacks the infrastructure. Outernet’s free broadcast could give many of those people a way to access useful online information relatively quickly, says Karim. The World Bank has agreed to help roll out Pillar devices in South Sudan as a way to distribute educational material to schools. Teachers and pupils will still need to have devices or printers to make use of that information, though.
The designs and software for Outernet’s Pillar devices are freely available so people or companies can make their own versions. They currently cost around $150 to make, but that should fall below $100 once they are being made in larger numbers, says Karim.
Outernet is also working on a portable solar-powered receiver called Lantern. It can be hooked up to a dish to pick up Outernet’s existing signal and also has a built-in antenna designed to pick up a different kind of satellite signal that Outernet aims to switch on this summer. The company has taken orders for more than 5,000 Lantern devices. It has a grant from the U.K. Space Agency to have three small satellites made dedicated to broadcasting the Lantern signal. The first satellites and portable Lantern receiver devices are expected to be ready late this year.
The Ellen MacArthur Foundation and Granta Design have launched new indicators which, for the first time, enable companies to assess how well a product or company performs in the context of a circular economy.
Purdue University researchers have developed a potential manufacturing method called “mechanically sintered gallium-indium nanoparticles” that can inkjet-print flexible, stretchable conductors onto anything — including elastic materials and fabrics — and can mass-produce electronic circuits made of liquid-metal alloys for “soft robots” and flexible electronics.
The method uses ultrasound to break up liquid metal into nanoparticles in ethanol solvent to make ink that is compatible with inkjet printing.
Elastic technologies could make possible a new class of pliable robots and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes.
“Liquid metal in its native form is not inkjet-able,” said Rebecca Kramer, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Purdue. “So what we do is create gallium-indium liquid metal nanoparticles that are small enough to pass through an inkjet nozzle.
“Sonicating [using ultrasound] liquid metal in a carrier solvent, such as ethanol, both creates the nanoparticles and disperses them in the solvent. Then we can print the ink onto any substrate. The ethanol evaporates away so we are just left with liquid metal nanoparticles on a surface.”
After printing, the nanoparticles must be rejoined by applying light pressure, which renders the material conductive. This step is necessary because the liquid-metal nanoparticles are initially coated with oxidized gallium, which acts as a skin that prevents electrical conductivity.
“But it’s a fragile skin, so when you apply pressure it breaks the skin and everything coalesces into one uniform film,” Kramer said. “We can do this either by stamping or by dragging something across the surface, such as the sharp edge of a silicon tip.”
On October 30, 2014, David Railsback (out of the Clifton Park, NY office) and I, Alison Schaffer (GS2013), hosted our very first Urban October Workshop in Syracuse as part of the SHELTER Program. We were joined by a special guest, fellow Global...
“ When I first started using the term “Combinatorial”, people thought I was making words up. Although I’d like to take credit for the word, I first came across it when reading The Second Machine Age,...”
Support is growing for a global standardized definition of the circular economy, as new research released today reveals many professionals working in this field remain confused by the messaging surrounding the concept.
Sie glauben daran, dass sie etwas bewirken können. Sie glauben daran, dass der Einzelne einen Unterschied machen kann und mehr als ein Drittel aller Deutschen glaubt, dass der Umweltschutz das wichtigste Problem unserer Zeit ist....
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