EXPLORING NEW SCIENCE INNOVATIONS
New science innovations are a testament to human ingenuity. I’m a science fiction fan, but when future science concepts and ideas become the latest innovations to help our environment and ourselves, that is too good not to share!
This post is a celebration of human ingenuity. Armed with chocolate for me and salmon jerky for Louie, we looked at plethora of new technology and innovations in science. I could have chosen 100.
For now, Louie and I narrowed it down to a few science innovations with the potential to help the environment, mankind, and transform the future!
Let’s start with two innovations of science technology that convert the sweat on our skin into energy!
ENERGY CONVERSION TECHNOLOGY
Energy-autonomy! Imagine not needing to wait around to charge your earbuds!
Current wearable electronics like my ear pods have limited power density. Yes, I like that they’re rechargeable.
I don’t know about you but I forget to check mine regularly and end up frustrated when I’m ready to go but they aren’t.
How about breezing past potentially leaky, explosive, toxic, chemically polluting batteries in the store aisle! Fewer batteries in landfills sounds great to me.
We need to recycle batteries–no one wants lead, mercury, cadmium, manganese, lithium, zinc, nickel in our waters–but you get my point.
Two types of tech are racing to find a viable solution to this issue. (Technically, the researchers are working hard, not the tech!)
The first one uses passive fingertip sweat. Fingertip sweating sounds pretty random. How can that even be a new science innovation, you ask? I asked the same question…
PASSIVE PERSPIRATION BIOFUEL CELL
The device is a thin, flexible strip. A padding of carbon foam electrodes absorbs sweat and converts it into electrical energy. The electrodes are equipped with enzymes that trigger chemical reactions between the lactate and oxygen molecules in sweat to generate electricity.
As the wearer sweats or presses on the strip, the electrical energy gets stored in a small capacitor. You can use it as a mini battery and discharge the energy to small electronics as needed.
WEARABLE THERMOELECTRIC GENERATORS
Thermoelectric generators are small, wearable devices that directly convert low-grade heat to electricity.
Unlike the storage biofuel cell above that collects energy to use later as a charger, a thermoelectric generator powers your small electronics while you’re wearing it.
Okay, this is a narrow distinction. You are technically wearing the biofuel cell but it doesn’t charge a device while you wear it. It’s sucking your sweat for later.
RADIOISOTOPE THERMOELECTRIC GENERATORS (RTG)
I am presenting thermoelectric generators as future tech but technically, the tech is not new. (Tech three times in the same sentence. How annoying is that?)
This innovative technology is new as a wearable thermoelectric generator, but spacecraft are already wearing them!
On the right is a radioisotope thermoelectric generator courtesy NASA. (who else!)
Voyager I below from–you guessed it–NASA.
Let’s come back to Earth but stick with the 3D angle. We’ll do that by making sense of an innovative technology with mind-blowing applications.
3D printing is cool, but how about 3D printing living tissue!
3D BIOPRINTING (PRINTING LIVING TISSUE)
When I started my research with one of our kid’s school logins, my initial search found 30,684 articles about 3D printing.
WHAT? Not ‘what, you’re hacking school websites?'( I have permission…) ‘What,’ as in 3D printing is innovative technology extraordinaire.
3D printers now make shoes, furniture, tools, and toys. Clearly, I needed to narrow my search to new science innovations in 3D printing.
FIRST, WHAT IS 3D PRINTING?
BACK TO BIOPRINTING
Recent advances in the fields of engineering, biomaterials science, stem cell biology, physics, and medicine have combined their brilliant efforts to advance 3D bioprinting of living tissues!
The process usually starts with a 3D structure called a scaffold. The scaffold supports cells as they grow and develop.
Skin, blood vessels, bladders, trachea, esophagus, muscle and other types of tissue have been successfully engineered!
Solid organs — such as the liver, kidney, heart and pancreas — are especially challenging and are considered the “Holy Grail” of tissue engineering. I believe that future science such as 3D organ generation is within our grasp, thanks to science research.
Let’s switch gears (pun intended) and investigate another science innovation in physics!
SONIC FIRE EXTINGUISHER
That video below of flambeing scallops is making me hungry, but hopefully that chef has a fire extinguisher nearby.
If they do, have they checked it lately? Fire extinguishers are full of corrosive chemicals, have a discharge time of only 8-20 seconds, and make a huge mess.
Fire, its impact and relationship to mankind goes back to prehistory. There are many books and articles dedicated to this topic.
Fire is our best friend but also our worst enemy. (Take a look at the root cause of forest fires here)
So how could sound possibly put out a fire? It has to do with what sound is.
WHAT IS SOUND?
FIGHTING FIRES WITH SOUND
The acoustic extinguisher works by using sound waves!
Remember that sound is a vibration pushing against our eardrum. (also good to remember when your kid is deciding on the middle school instrument)
This new science innovation pushes oxygen away from the source of a flame and spread it over a larger surface area.
Time to shrink it down. This emerging science innovation (don’t do a find for how many times I used the word ‘innovative) is microscopic, but geared globally.
You’re asking, why does this sound in any way interesting? Concrete is boring.
The cause of this horrific 2021 disaster is unclear to date, but I think you’d agree that the photo implies concrete failure.
So what are scientists developing to heal the cracks?
They are using bacteria! Yes, the bricks are green, too! (see slides below)
Think of that? Living inside something alive!
Speaking of mashups like bacteria and concrete, how about brain cells and computer chips?
Designing artificial neurons that respond to electrical signals from the nervous system like real neurons has been a major goal in medicine for decades.
SILICON CHIP PLUS NEURONS
New science innovations are a testament to human ingenuity. From generating electricity from our sweat to saving lives with sound to helping those with chronic illness have a better quality of life, the future is now, thanks to science!