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A battery-free pacemaker powered by the beating heart itself

A battery-free pacemaker powered by the beating heart itself | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it

Although cardiac pacemakers have saved countless lives, they do have at least one shortcoming – like other electronic devices, their batteries wear out. When this happens, of course, surgery is required in order to replace the pacemaker. While some researchers are looking into ideas such as drawing power from blood sugar, Swiss scientists from the University of Bern have taken another approach. They’ve developed a wristwatch-inspired device that can power a pacemaker via the beating of the patient’s own heart.

 

Bern cardiologist Prof. Rolf Vogel first came up with the idea four years ago, and it has been in development ever since. The resulting prototype device wasn’t just inspired by an auto-winding wristwatch, but actually incorporates the mechanism of a commercially-available model. Such watches rely on the user’s arm movements to wind a mechanical spring. Once that spring is fully wound, it then unwinds to power a micro-generator inside the watch.

 

In the case of the Bern device, it’s sutured onto the heart’s myocardial muscle instead of being worn on the wrist, and its spring is wound by heart contractions instead of arm movements. When that spring unwinds, the resulting energy is buffered in a capacitor. That capacitor then powers a pacemaker, to which it is electrically wired.

 

According to the research team, the system has demonstrated a mean output power of 52 microwatts when implanted in a live 60-kg (132-lb) pig – that’s more than enough for most modern pacemakers, which consume about 10 microwatts.

 

They now hope to further miniaturize the technology, make it more sensitive to the motion of the heart, and build both its energy-harvesting and capacitor functions into a pacemaker. This all-in-one setup would do away with the need for electrical leads, which can fail in conventional pacemakers.

 

The research was presented this Sunday at the ESC (European Society of Cardiology) Congress, by PhD candidate and team member Adrian Zurbuchen. A similar device is being developed at the University of Michigan.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Meet Strati, the first 3D printed car in the world

Meet Strati, the first 3D printed car in the world | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it

While some people have successfully 3D printed buildings, others have taken the same approach to the car manufacturing business, as a company has just come out with a car called the Strati that’s the first 3D-printed car in the world. Scientific Americanreveals that it took Local Motors only 45 hours to build the Strati, a two-seater “neighborhood” electric car that has a range of up to 120 miles and a maximum speed of 40 mph.

 

Interestingly, the company plans to start selling Stratis for anywhere between $18,000 to $30,000 later this year, as it further refines its 3D-printing procedure.

 

“We expect in the next couple of months [printing a complete car] to be below 24 hours and then eventually get it below 10 hours, [down from 45 hours currently]” Local Motors CEO John Rogers said. “This is in a matter of months. Today, the best Detroit or Germany can do is 10 hours on a [production] line, after hundreds of years of progress.”

 

The car’s design was chosen from over 200 proposals submitted by Local Motors’ online community and Rogers says that the main advantage of 3D printed cars is that local communities may adopt such procedures to build cars best fitted to the resources available to them.

“In the future, you’ll still have … your Detroits that make one product the same over a million units,” the exec said. “And then I think you’ll have examples of microfactories that do things profitably at lower volumes—10,000 units, 15,000 units per year—and show the mass factories what they ought to build next.”

 

Local Motors chose an electric engine for the Strati because an electric powertrain was simpler to construct. Another advantage the Strati has is that it’s made from thermoplastic using a “Big Are Additive Manufacturing (BAAM) machine,” which is a fully recyclable material, meaning that it can be easily “chopped up and reprocessed back into another car.”

 

Even so, while using 3D printing technology to build a car might lead to less wasted material, a lot of energy might actually be required to print such vehicles.


Via Tiaan Jonker, MARTIN'S Gonçalo Wa kapinga, Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
matthias brendler's insight:

Perhaps editable wheel-base

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Gemma Shannon's curator insight, September 23, 2014 2:21 PM

What's next? 3D printed buildings?! Amazing to see how far this technology has come in such a short space of time.

Farid Mheir's curator insight, September 28, 2014 7:27 PM

This is much inline with my readings on the zero marginal cost society. Being able to print your own car may not be practical of cost effective today but once it is and car 3D models are available free or low charge on the web, where will the car industry go? I understand why Tesla is building huge battery manufacturing plant as they may have seen that providing key components may be the future of the car industry?

Alexandre Armougom's curator insight, September 29, 2014 9:16 AM

This is a good utility of 3D printer.

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Design of self-assembling protein nanomachines: A nanocage builds itself from engineered components

Design of self-assembling protein nanomachines: A nanocage builds itself from engineered components | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it
Biological systems produce an incredible array of self-assembling protein tools on a nanoscale, such as molecular motors, delivery capsules and injection devices. Inspired by sophisticated molecular machines naturally found in living things, scientists want to build their own with forms and functions customized to tackle modern day challenges. A new computational method, proven to accurately design protein nanomaterials that arrange themselves into a symmetrical, cage-like structure, may be an important step toward that goal.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Superelastic lithium-ion batteries can be woven into textiles for wearable devices

Superelastic lithium-ion batteries can be woven into textiles for wearable devices | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it

Huisheng Peng and colleagues at Fudan University made the superelastic batteries by winding two carbon nanotubes–lithium oxide composites yarns, which served as the positive and negative electrodes, onto an elastomer substrate and covering this with a layer of gel electrolyte. The batteries owe their stable electrochemical performance under stretching to the twisted structure of the fibre electrodes and the stretchability of the substrate and gel electrolyte, with the latter also acting as an anchor. When the batteries were stretched, the spring-like structure of the two electrodes was maintained.

 

Previous stretchable batteries have generally been produced in a planar format, which has been an obstacle for their development for small, lightweight, wearable electronics. ‘Our fibre-shaped batteries can easily be scaled-up to an appropriate length and woven into clothing that can adapt to the body’s movement,’ says Peng.

 

The battery recorded a specific capacity of 91.3mAh/g and this was maintained at over 88% after stretching by 600%.

 

Ray Baughman, an electrochemical device expert at the University of Texas at Dallas, US, says the superelasticity achieved for the operating battery is fascinating. ‘A future challenge will be to dramatically increase the volume fraction of energy-storing material in the total elastomeric structure and to the decrease overall diameter to those conventionally used for weaving, while still maintaining a useful degree of rubber-like elasticity.’

 

Reference: Y Zhang et al, J. Mater. Chem. A, 2014, DOI: 10.1039/c4ta01878h


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Economic and Consumer Insight and Commentary: Davos

Economic and Consumer Insight and Commentary: Davos | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it

As the global elite from political, business and academic arenas gathers for the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos the world faces many challenges in 2014 and beyond. The theme of this year’s meeting is “The Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business” in an effort to move away from the crisis management seen in the meetings of recent years.


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Transportation and Planning

"When you combine a street and a road, you get a STROAD, one of the most dangerous and unproductive human environments. To get more for our transportation dollar, America needs an active policy of converting STROADs to productive streets or high capacity roadways."


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, January 8, 2014 2:52 PM

In this video, a road provides high connectivity between places, and a street is a diverse platform of social interactions that create a place.  A 'stroad' can be likened unto a spork--it tries to do it everything but does nothing especially well.  While you may debate the principle being shown, this video (found on Atlantic Cities) is a good way to show the spatial thinking that city planners need to utilize to improve the urban environment. 


Tagstransportation, urban, planning.

Marcelle Searles's curator insight, January 25, 2014 5:03 AM

the danger of stroads

François Lanthier's curator insight, January 31, 2014 2:19 PM

The Stroad - an unfortunate phenomenon... NYC is taking action to minimize its' STROADS... more cities should do the same.

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We've all we need to make a sustainable world: here's how it can be achieved

We've all we need to make a sustainable world: here's how it can be achieved | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it
Jonathan Porritt: Just about everything we need to create a sustainable future is available – or on the drawing board. The only thing missing is the political will to get it financed and deployed

Via Organic Social Media
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Organic Social Media's curator insight, October 3, 2013 6:37 PM

The World We Made isn't just about technology; it's about political protest and the power of the internet to transform people's lives. It's about a new generation of inspired business leaders who seek to fill the void vacated by blind, bigoted politicians. It's about religious and faith leaders, waking up to the true meaning of what all their sacred texts tell us about stewardship, justice and personal responsibility.

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Archeologists find 'ancient computer' from 200 BC used to track cycles of the solar system

Archeologists find 'ancient computer' from 200 BC used to track cycles of the solar system | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it

Archaeologists set out Monday to use a revolutionary new deep sea diving suit to explore the ancient shipwreck where one of the most remarkable scientific objects of antiquity was found. The so-called Antikythera Mechanism, a 2nd-century BC device known as the world's oldest computer, was discovered by sponge divers in 1900 off a remote Greek island in the Aegean.


The highly complex mechanism of up to 40 bronze cogs and gears was used by the ancient Greeks to track the cycles of the solar system. It took another 1,500 years for an astrological clock of similar sophistication to be made in Europe.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The LAPD Is Predicting Where Crime Will Occur Based On Computer Analysis

The LAPD Is Predicting Where Crime Will Occur Based On Computer Analysis | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it
This isn't Minority Report.
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Human urine can be a cheap, durable and effective alternative to platinum-carbon as a catalyst for fuel cells

Human urine can be a cheap, durable and effective alternative to platinum-carbon as a catalyst for fuel cells | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it
Human urine, otherwise potentially polluting waste, is an universal unused resource in organic form disposed by the human body. We present for the first time “proof of concept” of a convenient, perhaps economically beneficial, and innovative template-free route to synthesize highly porous carbon containing heteroatoms such as N, S, Si, and P from human urine waste as a single precursor for carbon and multiple heteroatoms. High porosity is created through removal of inherently-present salt particles in as-prepared “Urine Carbon” (URC), and multiple heteroatoms are naturally doped into the carbon, making it unnecessary to employ troublesome expensive pore-generating templates as well as extra costly heteroatom-containing organic precursors. Additionally, isolation of rock salts is an extra bonus of present work. The technique is simple, but successful, offering naturally doped conductive hierarchical porous URC, which leads to superior electrocatalytic ORR activity comparable to state of the art Pt/C catalyst along with much improved durability and methanol tolerance, demonstrating that the URC can be a promising alternative to costly Pt-based electrocatalyst for ORR. The ORR activity can be addressed in terms of heteroatom doping, surface properties and electrical conductivity of the carbon framework.

Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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Massive body of water discovered towards Earth's core - 3 times bigger than all oceans combined

Massive body of water discovered towards Earth's core - 3 times bigger than all oceans combined | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it

A huge expanse of water trapped in a layer of the Earth's mantle could help explain the origin of our oceans.

 

A reservoir of water three times the volume of all the oceans has been discovered deep beneath the Earth's surface. The water is hidden inside a blue rock called ringwoodite that lies 700 kilometres underground in the mantle, the layer of hot rock between Earth's surface and its core.

 

The huge size of the reservoir throws new light on the origin of Earth's water. Some geologists think water arrived in comets as they struck the planet, but the new discovery supports an alternative idea that the oceans gradually oozed out of the interior of the early Earth.

 

"It's good evidence the Earth's water came from within," says Steven Jacobsen of Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. The hidden water could also act as a buffer for the oceans on the surface, explaining why they have stayed the same size for millions of years.

 

Jacobsen's team used 2000 seismometers to study the seismic waves generated by more than 500 earthquakes. These waves move throughout Earth's interior, including the core, and can be detected at the surface. "They make the Earth ring like a bell for days afterwards," says Jacobsen.


Via Dr. Stefan Gruenwald
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The Future of Remote Sensing?

 

"We are pleased to introduce the world's first high-resolution HD video of Earth taken from a commercial remote sensing satellite.

This video showcases a selection of the first videos taken from SkySat-1, the first of our planned 24 satellite constellation. The video clips have not yet been calibrated or tuned. SkySat-1 captures up to 90-second video clips at 30 frames per second. The resolution is high enough to resolve objects that impact the global economy like shipping containers, while maintaining a level of clarity that does not determine human activity."


Via Seth Dixon
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mengotti severino's curator insight, January 2, 2014 9:50 AM

Osserva divertito i surfisti e immagina di essere tu, travolto dall'onda delle FATTURE TELECOM.  Salvati, passa a DIGITEL di Mengotti. 3291481498 .

Daniel Lindahl's curator insight, March 20, 2015 6:06 PM

This video, created in December of 2013, illustrates the first HD video recorded from a remote sensing satellite. A milestone such as this one opens tons of doors for future progress on remote sensing. 

Max Minard's curator insight, March 21, 2015 11:00 PM

Over the past years, remote sensing has established major innovations such as capturing the world's first high-resolution HD video of Earth taken from a satellite. Within the link, a video is shown to show the viewer the exact HD video taken and portrays detailed depictions of the world's surface along with labels pertaining to these specific locations. What this means for the future of remote sensing is that geographers can now access high resolution videos of any part of the world from remote sensing technologies located in space. These innovations show the bright future of geographical technologies and opens the door to many possibilities people can take to further improving remote sensing. 

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NUTRITION: UrbMat: Planting the Seeds of Change

NUTRITION: UrbMat: Planting the Seeds of Change | NATURES — Sustainable Economic + Environmental Ecology | Scoop.it

Social entrepreneur Phil Weiner is innovating home grown gardens by making home-based food production both easy and affordable. Weiner, 26, is the founder of UrbnEarth, a new brand focused on cultivating urban gardeners with the help of his company’s first product, the 6-square-foot UrbMat Garden System.


Via The Ashoka Community
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The Ashoka Community's curator insight, September 20, 2013 5:05 PM

"People have become disconnected from their soil. Many kids truly believe that tomatoes come from the grocery store. Growing food or flowers, in general, creates a sense of community and empowerment." -Phil Weiner