A New Lightbulb Powered by Bioluminescence, Satellites Helping with Water Management, New Carpet Generating Energy

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Biobulb
Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-Madison

  • A new lightbulb powered by bioluminescence: The phenomena of bioluminescence, which is essentially light emission by living organisms, has been increasingly studied not just by scientists but by industrial designers as well. A team of students from the University of Wisconsin-Madison has been working on an integration of bioluminescence into a common industrial object, and the result is a Biobulb. According to biochemistry major Michael Zaiken: “the Biobulb is essentially a closed ecosystem in a jar. It’ll contain several different species of microorganisms, where each organism plays a role in the recycling of vital nutrients that each of the other microbes need to survive.”
  • Satellites can help with water management: Twin satellites called Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE) currently provide invaluable assistance in managing natural resources on Earth. They have produced a unique map of the groundwater level changes on Earth over the past 11 years. This map and information is already helping to manage slim groundwater resources in California, in the Tigris-Euphrates Basin in the Middle East and many other critical locations around the world. This project is a great example of how remote satellites are reshaping our water world.
  • New carpet generating energy:  New carpet tiles by the British company Pavegen convert the kinetic energy of each footstep into about four watts of power and can also monitor people’s movement throughout a building. The tiles are manufactured from a slender sandwich of rubber made from recycled truck tires, which conceals an integrated pressure pad. As an example, 24 tiles recently installed in a school are expected to generate enough energy to power LED lighting in the corridor as well as a series of mobile phone chargers, producing about 100 watts at peak times.
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