This lightweight, soda can-sized air purifier destroys mold, VOCs and odors

May 30, 2018 by  
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Did you know that indoor air pollution can be as bad as or worse than outdoor air pollution? From off-gassing chemicals in paints to mold and dust, the contaminated air inside our homes and offices negatively impacts our health and can lead to fatigue and dizziness, or even respiratory diseases in the long-term. Fortunately, air purification technology has improved in recent years to offer easy and affordable ways to combat indoor air pollutants. Read on to see our review of one such product, the Luft Qi , an on-the-go and filter-free air purifier billed as the smallest of its kind in the world. About Luft Qi Developed by Taiwanese company Titus & Wayne, the Luft Qi air purifier is described as the “first compact air purifier using nanotechnology.” The air purifier uses a method called photocatalytic oxidation (PCO), a technology originally invented by NASA to prevent food spoilage — for instance, by removing bacteria in meat or pesticides from fruits and vegetables — and has since been applied to air purification. Here’s how it works: broad-spectrum ultraviolet light — Luft Qi uses UV-A LEDs  — is combined with a tungsten oxide modified titanium oxide (TiO2) filter to create highly reactive oxidizers that break down harmful molecular-sized and microbial pollutants. Luft Qi isn’t the first to use PCO technology for air purification; followers of Ellen DeGeneres might remember her shout-out to the Airocide PCO air purifiers on her show in 2013. Advantages of Luft Qi Unlike Airocide, however, Luft Qi is much smaller and more compact. Made of aluminum , the soda can-shaped device only weighs 160 grams and its modern design, available in six different colors, means it probably won’t clash with your existing setup. Moreover, since Luft Qi only uses PCO, the device is conveniently filter-free, meaning that you’ll never need to buy or replace the filter. When plugged in, Luft Qi will gently draw air in through its perforated base, where pollutants are then broken down through photocatalytic oxidation. The purified air is then pushed through the top, with carbon dioxide and water molecules as byproducts. PCO technology has also proven effective at removing ultra fine particulates, airborne mold spores and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as formaldehyde and exhaust fumes. Luft Qi is designed for on-the-go convenience and comes with a standard 3.3-foot-long USB-C to USB-A cable that can plug into a laptop or any USB port adapter outlet. The startup says that the device can be safely used 24 hours a day and attribute its minimal electricity demands of 2.5W to an energy-efficient design. The air purifier uses a hidden brushless fan — the same as those used for computer servers — with a measurable noise level of around 25 decibels, which isn’t very quiet, but isn’t loud enough to be distracting either; it is quieter than most air purifiers. Luft Qi is estimated to last at least 4.5 years without replacement. Disadvantages of Luft Qi Despite Luft Qi’s many benefits, there are several downsides to the product. Firstly, since Luft Qi only uses PCO technology instead of filters, the device cannot remove larger particulates like traditional devices with HEPA filters can. This means Luft Qi will not eliminate pollen, dust, dust mites or pet dander, which are among the major contributors to poor indoor air quality and allergies. Due to its small size, Luft Qi also requires a long time to achieve desirable results and is best used in contained rooms such as bedrooms or car interiors. And while Luft Qi does eliminate odors, it also does so at a fairly slow rate; carbon filters are a better choice for odor removal. Moreover, PCO technology produces carbon dioxide as a byproduct. While the amount produced is likely small, those who want to keep Luft Qi turned on 24 hours a day will need to introduce adequate ventilation. Speaking of constant use, Luft Qi’s PCO technology also has its drawbacks for those hoping to sleep with it plugged in at night. While the constant fan noise can be dismissed as white noise, the device’s bright blue light can be distracting in an otherwise dark room. Putting Luft Qi on the ground isn’t a good option either; the air purifier should be elevated above the floor since it relies on the surrounding environment’s air circulation to work optimally. Should You Buy Luft Qi? Overall, Luft Qi isn’t the best air purifier given its small size and the limitations of PCO technology. If you really want to get rid of indoor air pollution, it’s best to use PCO technology in conjunction with air purifiers with filters. Luft Qi’s relatively steep price may also put buyers off. However, if you’re mainly interested in removing VOCs, microbial pollutants, odors and mold spores in small, contained environments, Luft Qi is a good choice. This particularly holds true in small offices or rooms in tropical and humid environments where mold is an ever-present concern, like Taiwan, where the Luft Qi startup is based. Furthermore, the product is nicely designed, well-constructed and doesn’t become hot to the touch. Titus & Wayne launched Luft Qi on Indiegogo in a successful crowdfunding campaign that’s since raised more than $215,000. From now until mid-June, Luft Qi is available for $99 , not including shipping, in an early-bird special with an estimated delivery in July 2018. The product’s regular retail price is $169. + Luft Qi Images via Luft Qi

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This lightweight, soda can-sized air purifier destroys mold, VOCs and odors

Redesigned Flow Hive 2 snags whopping $13.6 million on Indiegogo

March 6, 2018 by  
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Record-smashing crowdfunding project Flow Hive offered honey on tap: a beehive that makes it easier for beekeepers to harvest honey. Over 50,000 Flow Hives have gone out to 130 countries around the world, and now the Australian father-son team behind the design are back. The pair redesigned their groundbreaking hive, drawing on customer feedback and adding brand new features, and took to Indiegogo again with the Flow Hive 2 for a campaign that was just 18,983 percent funded. Flow Hive 2’s design is simple: inside a body comprised of laser-cut sustainable Western red cedar rest Flow Frames, which Stuart Anderson and Cedar Anderson, father and son, describe as “the most revolutionary beekeeping invention since the Langstroth hive was designed in 1852.” The frames are partially built honeycomb: add bees to do their thing — covering the honeycomb in wax, completing the cells, filling them with honey, and capping with wax — and then, when it’s time to harvest the honey, beekeepers insert and turn a handle to allow channels to form inside. The honey flows down into a waiting jar with minimal disturbance to the bees, who “are left to be, still standing on their wax capping.” A few hours later the bees realize the honeycomb is empty and they get right back to work, busy as bees. Related: How a simple honey harvester demonstrates the sweet success of viral crowdfunding campaign The Flow Hive 2 features an adjustable hive stand making it easier to set up on uneven ground. A multi-functional tray helps beekeepers trap pests. Deeper handles, a ventilation control system, a harvesting shelf, and observation windows on both sides are among the other upgrades to the hive. Beekeepers can obtain around five-and-a-half to six-and-a-half-pounds of honey per frame. The Flow Hive 2 costs $932; earlybird backers snagged it for $699. The Indiegogo campaign is over, raising an incredible $13,662,173. But it seems Flow Hive’s journey is really just beginning. You can find out more on the campaign page or their website . + Flow Hive + Flow Hive 2 Indiegogo Image via Flow Hive

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Redesigned Flow Hive 2 snags whopping $13.6 million on Indiegogo

26,000 tons of radioactive waste sits at the bottom of Lake Powell

March 6, 2018 by  
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Located on the Arizona – Utah border, Lake Powell serves the drinking water needs of 40 million people in the Southwest while welcoming over 3 million recreational visitors every year. However, what lies beneath may give pause to those who depend on the lake. OZY reports that silt on the lake bed covers 26,000 tons of radioactive waste. A remnant from the mid-century uranium boom in the American West, the radioactive stockpile is not thought to be particularly dangerous. Still, even trace amounts can increase the risk of anemia, fractured teeth, cataracts and cancer, dangers which become potentially more active if Lake Powell suffers an extended drought. At the moment, Lake Powell seems safe. “The uranium mill tailings produce a sandy waste that contains heavy metals and radium, which is radioactive , but these tailings have been down there since around the 1950s, with several feet of sediment placed over top of them and the water used as a moderator, or a shield,” Phil Goble, uranium mill and radioactive materials section manager for the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, told OZY . However, the radioactive waste is not entirely benign, particularly if conditions change. “The tailings could potentially become a problem if Lake Powell gets to a very, very low water level or if the lake is drained, and the tailings are exposed,” Goble said. “In this case, if someone were to dig down and expose those tailings, or the wind blows them, or people use the spot for recreational use of off-road vehicles, then there could be a health hazard.” Related: Scientists puzzle over mysterious disappearance of mercury from Utah’s Great Salt Lake Lake Powell is a manmade lake carved from the surrounding red rock canyon and has not been completely full since the late 1990s. In the early years of the 2000s, it suffered a serious drought in which water levels dropped nearly 100 feet, or one-fifth of the lake’s full depth. Given the increased threat of climate change-related drought, it is not so difficult to imagine a situation in which Lake Powell’s water level drops enough to expose the radioactive waste to the surface environment. In the meantime, scientists are monitoring the lake while locals are encouraged to keep drinking from and playing in the beautiful body of water . Via OZY Images via Deposit Photos and Deposit Photos

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26,000 tons of radioactive waste sits at the bottom of Lake Powell

Propella’s lightweight electric bike rides like a regular bike

April 6, 2017 by  
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Electric bicycles just keep getting sleeker and slimmer. Propella has just come out with a second generation e-bike that could almost be mistaken for a regular bike. They say their Propella 2.0 rides like a traditional road bike, has a 15 percent smaller battery than its competitor, and it’s said to be eight percent lighter. With a goal to bridge the divide between electric bikes and ordinary bikes, Propella’s 2.0 e-bike features minimalist design that keeps it nice and light. It weighs 34.5 pounds, and according to the company is “classified as the lightest electric vehicle in its class.” Its top speed is 20 miles per hour. Related: Turn any bike into an e-bike with UrbanX’s drop-in wheel You’d be forgiven for mistaking the bike’s battery for a water bottle – it fits snugly against the down tube but boasts Panasonic’s lithium ion technology. The 36 volt battery can be charged in two and a half hours, and offers a range of up to 40 miles. There’s an anti-theft lock on the battery, which can be removed and charged via a standard wall outlet. The bike’s 250 watt geared hub motor fits into the rear wheel, and Propella describes the motor as both quiet and maintenance-free. A LED display on one of the bike’s handles allows riders to choose their pedal assist level. On the company’s Indiegogo campaign page they say concept electric vehicles inspired them to design their bike “so that Propella riders can be guaranteed to own the most beautiful electric bike in the world.” With a month left on their Indiegogo campaign, Propella has reached almost $50,000 of a $60,000 goal. Their super early backer prices are already sold out; now cycling fans can grab a single speed for $999 or a seven-speed for $1,149; both are 33 percent off retail price. The company says their single speed is still “quite capable of climbing most hills.” You can check out the campaign here . + Propella + Propella on Indiegogo Images via Propella

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Propella’s lightweight electric bike rides like a regular bike

Air Shepherd drones hunt poachers using cyanide to poison Zimbabwe wildlife

October 27, 2016 by  
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An elephant is slaughtered every 14 minutes in Africa , according to a group called Air Shepherd that is utilizing drones to fight this horrifying trend. Their drones can obtain information at night when it’s hard for rangers to work, and monitor large swaths of land to search for animal poachers poisoning watering holes with cyanide. Not content to rest on their laurels, however, Air Shepherd is currently raising funds through their Indiegogo campaign to boost the volume of their drone flights. Air Shepherd, which is sponsored by the Lindbergh Foundation , harnesses technology to protect elephants and rhinos that are being poached with unprecedented regularity. Collaborating with the World Wildlife Fund , Air Shepherd flies drones in Zimbabwe ‘s Hwange National Park, covering more ground than rangers can on foot. If they see suspicious activities, they report it to rangers who can then go in on the ground and stop would-be poachers. The drones can fly at night, when poachers sneak in to poison watering holes, but when it’s difficult for rangers to operate effectively. Related: Could printing synthetic GMO rhino horns help save real rhinos from extinction? Air Shepherd’s head of drone operations Otto Werdmuller Von Elgg said in a statement, “Historically, there has been little ability for anti-poaching operations to work at night. You can’t see tracks, it’s difficult to see people, and it’s dangerous because the anti-poaching teams can walk onto elephants, rhinos, or buffaloes. Our night-time operations change the game in favor of the elephants and in the case of Zimbabwe we are in a unique position to help monitor the park during the day to spot poachers who are using cyanide.” Death by cyanide is agonizing for elephants, and often poachers come in to hack off their tusks before they are dead. But it’s easy for poachers to obtain cyanide, which enables them to kill a large quantity of animals in silence. Air Shepherd’s drones work to end the slaughter, and they’re hoping to send out even more teams to accelerate their work. Through money raised in the Indiegogo campaign, Air Shepherd hopes to outfit two new drone teams. Their initial goal was to raise $50,000, and they’ve already raised over $60,000. Their new goal is $200,000; you can back the campaign here . + Air Shepherd + Lindbergh Foundation Images via Air Shepherd Facebook

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Air Shepherd drones hunt poachers using cyanide to poison Zimbabwe wildlife

WWF predicts wild animal populations will plummet 67 percent by 2020

October 27, 2016 by  
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Two-thirds of wild animals around the world could be gone in less than five years , according to a new report compiled by researchers from the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London. The latest edition of Living Planet Index (LPI), released this week, warns that loss of habitat due to environmental destruction, global warming, hunting, and pollution will result in a sixth mass extinction. Using 1970 animal population data as a baseline, scientists have measured the state of biological diversity and now warn that the world will have lost 67 percent of its animals by 2020 if major conservation efforts are not implemented immediately. The LPI report measures the condition of the world’s biodiversity by evaluating population trends of animals that live on both land and in the sea. The new report recognizes that dangers to animals worldwide are not new. In fact, researchers point to a 58-percent overall drop in global populations of mammals, birds, reptiles, and fish between 1970 and 2012. That translates to an approximate 2-percent loss of species each year. Environmental destruction has continued, both directly at the hands of humans in the form of hunting and deforestation, as well as secondary effects such as rising global temperatures, making the threat even more severe. Related: Vanishing land snail signals the 6th mass extinction is well underway The LPI warns that we are approaching a crucial threshold and, without major conservation efforts, the worldwide decline in animal populations will reach 67 percent by 2020. “We are no longer a small world on a big planet. We are now a big world on a small planet, where we have reached a saturation point,” said Prof Johan Rockström, executive director of the Stockholm Resilience Centre, in a foreword for the report. Of all animals on earth, those dwelling in rivers and lakes have been impacted most severely by human activity. Animal populations in freshwater wetlands are down by 81 percent from 1970 figures, which the LPI report says is attributed to excessive water extraction, pollution, and dams. Global warming, which forces animals to adjust their habits, lifestyles, and even territories, amplifies the negative effects of human action and accelerates the loss of life. Via The Guardian Images via Wikipedia ( 1 , 2 , 3 )

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WWF predicts wild animal populations will plummet 67 percent by 2020

Scientists say Great Barrier Reef coral death has reached devastating heights

October 27, 2016 by  
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Data from a period of widespread coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef is trickling in and it does not look good. Researchers are finding that the formerly pristine northern section of the reef has been hit especially hard , with up to 80 percent of corals killed as a result of warming waters or subsequent predators and disease. A recent report from researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook Universit y in Queensland shows the most up to date state of the damage. Scientists have taken several surveys since March, when the area was inundated with unseasonably warm waters – each painting a bleaker picture than the last. Estimates in May suggested at least 50 percent of the northern reef had died, a statistic that was bumped up to 80 percent with these recent findings. “The mortality is devastating really,” senior research fellow Andrew Hoey told The Washington Post . “It’s a lot higher than we had hoped.” Related: No, the Great Barrier Reef isn’t dead – but it is damaged If there is any silver lining to this report, it is that the central and southern areas of the reef were not hit as badly as the north. To put things into perspective, a total 22 percent of corals have died cross the entire reef, according to the The Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority . Where the damage is most severe, researchers note the influx of climate change-induced warm waters resulted in the first wave of coral die-off. Invasion of predatory snails and disease have since swept in to kill much of the surviving corals. This particular bleaching event is said to be even worse than those of 1998 and 2002 – though more data needs to be gathered. Hoey says it could take one or two decades for the reef to recover from such devastation, assuming another mass bleaching event does not strike again in that time. With climate change doing anything but slowing down, those chances might be slim. Via  The Washington Post Images via  Wikimedia , Pixabay

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Scientists say Great Barrier Reef coral death has reached devastating heights

Crazy SkunkLock makes would-be bike thieves vomit

October 24, 2016 by  
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If you are sick and tired of having your bicycle stolen stolen, then we have just the thing for you. After he and several of his friends lost their bikes to sneaky thieves, inventor Daniel Idzkowski came up with the most bizarre solution. SkunkLock prevents bike theft by releasing a chemical deterrent released when a would-be thief tries to cut through the lock , and it’s noxious enough, nobody would want to stick around. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ba1OLoPIBfY Made with hardened medium-carbon steel , the black and white U-Lock contains a hidden pressurized deterrent that the company says actually induces vomiting in most cases. These noxious chemicals are so strong they “elicit an instinctive response to run away immediately,” according to the company’s Indiegogo page. They say it’s possible a bike might smell if the chemicals are released, but not likely, although they include disinfection instructions with their locks. Related: Engineering Students Create the World’s First Unstealable Bike What chemicals do they use? SkunkLock doesn’t quite disclose that information, saying they prefer to keep their formula a secret so thieves can’t figure out a way around it. They do say on their Indiegogo page that capsaicin compounds may be present in the lock, but that SkunkLock isn’t “strictly a pepper spray product.” While some bike owners may be deterred by the idea of noxious chemicals, SkunkLock assures people their bike lock is safe and legal. The company purposely skewed away from electronic and smart locks, saying electronics can fail or be dismantled. Instead their lock fights back, as per the company slogan. Once the chemicals are released, the company says the structural integrity should still be there but the lock won’t deter against thieves in the unique skunk-like fashion any more. There’s no expiration date on the bike lock, but the company plans to keep improving the technology and hopes SkunkLock owners will buy updated versions in the future. SkunkLock is currently crowdfunding on Indiegogo . A limited number of people can snag a SkunkLock for $99; from there the price goes up to $109 and then to $119. You can check out the campaign here . + SkunkLock + SkunkLock Indiegogo Campaign Images via SkunkLock Facebook and SkunkLock

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Crazy SkunkLock makes would-be bike thieves vomit

Iceland is drilling the "hottest hole on Earth" to harvest energy from magma

October 24, 2016 by  
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Geothermal energy plants use the Earth’s own heat as a power source – and now Iceland is taking the technology several steps further by harvesting energy from liquid magma . The nation is drilling deep into the planet to tap temperatures from 400 to 1000 degrees Celsius, which could produce ten times more electricity than typical geothermal sources. Iceland already avoids the use of fossil fuels, but that isn’t stopping their pursuit of innovation. The Iceland Deep Drilling Project (IDDP) is drilling 5 kilometers down into the Earth’s crust using its rig named “Thor.” The site is located on the Reykjanes peninsula near an extension of the Mid-Atlantic ridge, where heat oozes between Earth’s tectonic plates. Related: Iceland’s geothermal Blue Lagoon is expanding “People have drilled into hard rock at this depth, but never before into a fluid system like this,” Albert Albertsson, assistant director of an involved Icelandic geothermal-energy company, HS Orka , told to New Scientist . By reaching down into the depths of the heated seawater at this location, the researchers behind IDDP are hoping to find “supercritical steam,” which holds more heat energy than either liquid or gas. A potential 50 megawatts of energy could be generated from this steam, making a typical geothermal well’s 5 MW look measly. That means up to 50,000 homes could be powered by the super-hot hole. The worldwide implications are promising, as supercritical geothermal energy could be produced wherever young volcanoes are found. The IDDP’s current project was launched after the company accidentally hit magma back in 2009, yet shut down after corrosion issues. That well generated 30 MW, compared to the new well’s 50 MW. + Iceland Deep Drilling Project Via New Scientist Images via Iceland Deep Drilling Project , Pexels

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Iceland is drilling the "hottest hole on Earth" to harvest energy from magma

Smart Beeograph beehive aims to monitor global bees and fight colony collapse

July 29, 2016 by  
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A new IndieGoGo campaign is raising funds for Beeograph – a smart, sustainable beehive with built-in sensors that monitor interior conditions to further research on mass bee deaths around the globe. While many theories have been proposed about the cause of colony collapse disorder , this research will help scientists identify the true cause and scope of the problem. Incredibly, this is the first organized, global effort to monitor beehives in this way, despite international concern about the world’s falling bee populations. https://youtu.be/m-VNRdGgZ_4 The crowdfunding campaign allows ordinary people to sponsor a beehive , which will be tended by a professional beekeeper on the donor’s behalf. The device itself will monitor the light, humidity, temperature, and weight of the hive, as well as the sounds and motion of the bees. Each Beeograph hive will be placed in what the team describes as an “environmentally clean” location. Then, the collected data will be transmitted to the donor’s devices, so they can monitor the health and lifespan of their adopted bee family. Donors at larger tiers can even have a camera installed in their hive so they can check in on their bees at any time. Related: 44% of US honeybee colonies died off last year If you choose, you can have the organic honey harvested from your bees delivered directly to your door. (There’s also a vegan option available for those who want to sponsor a beehive but don’t want to take honey from the hive.) Through this project, researchers hope to give ordinary people the opportunity to participate in scientific research and be part of a worldwide sustainability movement. The hives themselves are made of natural and sustainably sourced materials – even the electronic components come directly from companies with certified fair working conditions . All of the data gathered through the project will be kept in a storage center partially powered by renewable energy. + Beeograph on IndieGoGo

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Smart Beeograph beehive aims to monitor global bees and fight colony collapse

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