The bicycle wheel that “purifies” the air while it is in motion

by Alessio Iannicelli15 October 2020 in EnvironmentLifePrototypes 

Kristin Tapping – a student of industrial design at London South Bank University – has created a bicycle wheel with a filter to purify the air.

Is there a more ecological vehicle than a bicycle? Yes, a bicycle that “purifies” the air! It sounds absurd but it’s all true. Kristin Tapping – an industrial design student at London South Bank University – has created a bicycle wheel with a filter inside to purify the air. The project is called Rolloe and won the prestigious “Design Innovation in Plastics 2020” award. The idea behind it is simple but at the same time (potentially) ingenious. The wheel measures 600x600x60 mm and weighs just over a kilo. Inside, there is a filtering system consisting of three sponges. The first retains large particles, the second blocks pollen and dust while the third (with active carbon) traps gas molecules. In this way, the filter also removes volatile organic compounds. The filters can be dismantled, washed and reused. Kristin recommends replacing them once a week or after 250 kilometres.

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The bicycle wheel that purifies the air

When the bike is in motion, air enters the wheel through a circular opening, passes through the filter and comes out purified. To facilitate the passage of air, there are also aerodynamic external fins. Kristin Tapping had the idea for Rolloe as she cycled through the streets of London. “I could see and smell the pollution from the tyres and exhaust pipes. I thought: why not use the movement of the vehicles to filter the air?”. The name Rolloe stands for Roll Off Emissions because it could have a strong environmental impact. According to a study conducted by the Design Innovation in Plastics 2020 commission, if 10% of London’s bicycles were equipped with this special wheel, about 266,865 m³ of air could be filtered every day. This value could double if bicycles were also equipped with Rolloe for the rear wheel.

A flying suit to save mountaineers in difficulty

 by Alessio Iannicelli02 October 2020 in Prototypes

Gravity Industries has developed a flying suit that can reach an altitude of 3600 meters and reach 51 km/h: it will be used in Great Britain for mountain rescue.

A new superhero watches over the safety of mountaineers. At least in Great Britain. Gravity Industries – a British company specializing in the design and construction of flying suits – has developed a device designed specifically for mountain rescue. It is a flying suit that will add “superpowers” to the rescuers who have to intervene in case of emergency in the British mountains. Once worn, the suit allows you to hover vertically from the ground and fly with extreme speed and agility. Thanks to five turbines capable of developing 1000 bhp of power, the device can reach a speed of 51 kilometers per hour and an altitude of 3600 meters. These features make the suit particularly suitable for rescue and rescue missions at high altitude, drastically reducing the response time to requests for help. A simulation has shown that a paramedic can reach a person in difficulty in 90 seconds: on foot, on the other hand, it would have taken as long as 25 minutes. A difference of almost 24 minutes that, in an emergency, could make the difference between life and death.

A flying suit to save mountaineers in difficulty

At the moment, the flying suit is being field tested. The power and safety, design and weight will be improved in the coming months based on the feedback provided by the rescuers and mountaineers who will use it in this first testing phase. According to the developers, the wearable flight device would not require a particular patent to be used. It only takes a few minutes with an instructor to understand how it works and be able to fly safely. Or, at least, so says the inventor Richard Browning. At the end of the test phase, the flying suit will be made available to British Mountain Rescue and will be used for rescue missions requiring maximum speed.

High-temperature resistant cellulose bioplastic

by Mario Vincenzo La Rocca22 October 2020 in ChemistryNews

The new bioplastic resists high temperatures better than its rivals. Credits: JAIST

The new material, developed in collaboration between two Japanese universities, is totally biological and has the highest resistance to very high temperatures among bioplastics

The world’s industry is moving more and more towards an ecological philosophy. The goal, also set by international agreements, is to reduce the use of fossil fuels to zero by 2050 in favor of renewable and ecological sources. A large percentage of this directly concerns the production of plastics, whose basic components are derived from oil refining products. Several bioplastics are already used but have defects between physical and chemical properties. One of these is the poor resistance to caolre and flame. This greatly limits their possible use on a large scale and their diffusion.

A Japanese research team, which includes researchers from the University of Tokyo and the Japan Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, presented a very interesting bioplastic. the bhe study was published in the journal Advanced Sustainable SystemBioplastic is produced from a cellulose-based biomass, the same widely used to obtain paper and cardboard. The main components are cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin, three natural polymers that represent 90% of the material from which wood is made.

The researchers have exploited two particular aromatic molecules to bind together the different cellulose chains, ideally mimicking the vulcanization process of tire plastic. The result is a bioplastic that resists temperatures up to 740°C, a result never achieved before. The bioplastic has low density, comparable to those of Kevlar, Kapton and Zylon. The two properties make the new polymer suitable to replace many components used in complex weight-sensitive systems, such as motors for electrical machines. Bioplastics can also be used as heat-resistant insulation to create high-performance electrical devices. The discovery opens the door to a new scientific era for lightweight materials and a more sustainable society.

Tent-desk to “isolate yourself from noise” during smart working

by Alessio Iannicelli19 October 2020 in Eureka!InventionsLife

A Japanese company has designed a special desk-tent that allows you to isolate yourself from confusion and find the concentration you need during smart working 

Tent-desk to "isolate yourself from noise" during smart working

The Coronavirus emergency has changed the way we live and work. In the last six months, tens of thousands of workers around the world have experienced new ways of working telematically and remotely. Working from home certainly has advantages: it saves time, money and we don’t have to dress well to go to the office. But smart working also has its flaws, especially if you are forced to work in a house populated by noisy children, intrusive siblings or nosy parents. To help workers find the right concentration, a company in Japan has designed and put on sale a special “desk-tent” that guarantees privacy and total isolation. The structure is foldable and closable. It can be installed (in a few minutes) in the living room of the house and allows you to isolate yourself from the hustle and bustle of the home. In what way? Just watch the tutorial video made by manufacturer to understand how to find peace of mind.

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The smart working desk-tent

The tent is called 200-TENT001 and is presented as “an intimate and cosy space” designed especially for the smart working people. The base is circular and – once assembled – looks like a black fabric cubicle. Inside, there is enough space for a chair and a small desk where to place the PC. On the walls of the tent, there is a skylight and a small side window that allow natural light to enter. To work at night, you can hang a light bulb on a hook hanging from the ceiling. The Japanese designers have thought of everything and have provided pockets and compartments where to put water bottles or other small objects necessary to carry out their work. The sale price is 8000 Japanese yen, just over 70 euros.

Tent-desk to "isolate yourself from noise" during smart working

3D Printers: the ice cream that you can “print” from the PC

by Alessio Iannicelli 30 September 2020 in LifePatentsUncategorized

3d printers ice cream

A team of researchers has patented a special 3D printer that allows to print ice cream: it can produce one flavor at a time starting from 100% natural ingredients.

Technology enters the kitchen. For years now, engineers have worked alongside chefs to offer the general public tasty and technologically innovative dishes. A team of researchers from Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), for example, has developed an artificial steak with the same consistency as natural meat in the laboratory. The researchers recreated the muscle cell properties of beef and rabbit using an edible gelatine shelf. In Denmark, on the other hand, the founders of the start-up Legendary Vish thought of creating a vegan alternative to salmon using mushroom and pea proteins, starch and seaweed agar. The special feature of the project is that these “ingredients” are assembled using 3D Felix Printers and bioinks of vegetable origin. A similar project has been developed also in Italy. Selene Biffi, Paolo Aliverti and their research team have created a 3D printer able to “print” the ice cream. That’s right: 3D printed ice cream is a delicious Made in Italy reality.

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3D printers: the ice cream arrives and you “print” it

“I saw on the Net a video of MIT students – says Selene Biffi – who were working on one of the many solid food printers. My light bulb came on: will it be possible to think of one for liquid food?”. The answer is yes. Thanks to months and months of research and tests conducted in a laboratory in Lodi, Biffi and Aliverti were able to build the first 3D printer for ice cream. The operation (on paper) is very simple. The ice cream is obtained by inserting in the printer natural products such as milk and cream. The mixture is processed at different temperatures thanks to an extruder (also printed in 3D) and then deposited in a refrigerated container. This is where the real ice cream is made. The printer models three-dimensional objects that can be drawn with the most common CAD programs. Any shape can be created: from the classic ball to real sculptures. For the moment, the printer is only a prototype the size of a washing machine and capable of producing only one flavor at a time. However, its creators are very ambitious. “In my head – continues Biffi – I have the dream of creating a start-up that can provide for the B2B market such as ice cream parlours, pastry shops, catering and amusement parks. We really hope to find someone who understands the scope of the project and move on to the next step. We want to market it soon, improving the size of the printer and increasing the number of flavors”.