Impact Lab


Subscribe Now to Our Free Email Newsletter
March 31st, 2020 at 11:18 am

The coronavirus is showing us how clean the air can be if electric cars were the norm

EF7A8DBE-FDDF-4EB1-979B-2D4F719B9977

With all the loss of lives and financial destruction that the coronavirus has brought us, it’s hard to look at silver linings from this crisis, but there’s one that’s becoming obvious: cleaner air.

It might not last for long, but it’s giving us a glimpse at what we could experience if the world was to rapidly transition to electric transportation.

With shelter-in-place and stay-at-home orders all over the world, passenger car traffic has been way down and people have been burning way less petrol.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 31st, 2020 at 11:13 am

Coronavirus: Robots use light beams to zap hospital viruses

145AB2EC-F1AA-4CC6-88A4-6A7DA0245E2E

The UVD robot takes about 20 minutes to treat a room

“Please leave the room, close the door and start a disinfection,” says a voice from the robot.

“It says it in Chinese as well now,” Simon Ellison, vice president of UVD Robots, tells me as he demonstrates the machine.

Through a glass window we watch as the self-driving machine navigates a mock-hospital room, where it kills microbes with a zap of ultraviolet light.

“We had been growing the business at quite a high pace – but the coronavirus has kind of rocketed the demand,” says chief executive, Per Juul Nielsen.

He says “truckloads” of robots have been shipped to China, in particular Wuhan. Sales elsewhere in Asia, and Europe are also up.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 31st, 2020 at 11:09 am

Researchers create stretchable super capacitors for our next wearables

33AE2B7D-16BE-4D4B-990F-D92D350CBB76

Carbon nanotube forests improve the stretchable supercapacitor’s performanceDuke University

The supercapacitors still functioned well when stretched to eight times their original size.

Imagine a new type of supercapacitor that can be repeatedly stretched to eight times its original size, yet still retaining its full functionality. Only after 10,000 cycles of charging and recharging does it start to lose a little percentage of its energy performance.

Researchers from Duke University and Michigan State University (MSU) have done just that. The team sees their novel supercapacitor as part of a power-independent, stretchable, flexible electronic system that could be used in wearable electronics or biomedical devices.

Continue Reading »

IL-Header-Communicating-with-the-Future

comments Comments Off
March 30th, 2020 at 11:51 am

Americans on the move to escape the coronavirus

CBD58CDD-5179-47FA-A4C0-B9B2EC3C48A4

Lisa Pezzino brushes her teeth at her retreat in Big Sur, Calif., 140 miles from her city home in Oakland.

The mass migration looks urgent and temporary but might contain the seeds of a wholesale shift in where and how Americans live.

This story and all coronavirus stories are free to the public. Please support us as we do our part to keep the community safe and informed.

Back home in Oakland, California, Lisa Pezzino and Kit Center built a life that revolved around music and the people who make it – the musicians who recorded on Pezzino’s small label and performed in places where Center rigged the lights and sound equipment.

Where they are now, deep in the redwood forest near Big Sur, 140 miles south along the California coast, there is mostly the towering silence of isolation. A tiny cabin, an outdoor kitchen, just one neighbor. This is life in the flight from the virus.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 30th, 2020 at 11:44 am

Japanese spacecraft fired cannonball into asteroid

CBE7D742-A040-4B50-9CD0-45CD4D85752A

The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Hayabusa2 spacecraft fired a copper cannonball into Ryugu, an 850 meter-wide near-Earth asteroid. The 2 kilogram “Small Carry-on Impactor,” a bit larger than a tennis ball, hit the asteroid at approximately 7,200 kilometers/hour and blew out a 14.5 meter wide crater with a depth of .6 meters. After a year of analysis, scientists have reported their analysis of the plume created by the impact and properties of the crater. From Space.com:

The number and size of craters that pockmark asteroids such as Ryugu can help scientists estimate the age and properties of asteroid surfaces. These analyses are based on models of how such craters form, and data from artificial impacts like that on Ryugu can help test those models…

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 30th, 2020 at 11:41 am

Helicopter drone is made to drop bombs on forest fires

3B6A39D8-E331-47C3-BCD2-099B9B80E5B8

The QilingUAV JC260, loaded up and ready to go

 One of the good things about drones is the fact that they can safely be flown in conditions that would prove hazardous for crewed aircraft. That’s where the JC260 unmanned helicopter comes in, as it’s designed to fight forest fires.

Created by Chinese manufacturer QilingUAV, the JC260 can be equipped with two of the company’s retardant-filled “fire extinguishing bombs.” Dropped separately or in unison, each of the bombs can reportedly cover a flaming forest area of 50 cubic meters (1,766 cu ft).

Lift is provided by two sets of counter-rotating rotor blades, measuring 3.6 m (11.8 ft) in diameter. These are powered by two 34-hp water-cooled gasoline engines, taking the aircraft to a claimed cruising speed of 100 km/h (62 mph). One tank of gas should be good for a flight time of three to four hours.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 29th, 2020 at 10:52 am

A new FDA-authorized COVID-19 test doesn’t need a lab and can produce results in just 5 minutes

6D49BC37-255C-4613-8C35-BB6AE7CD4FA4

There’s a new COVID-19 test from healthcare technology maker Abbott that looks to be the fastest yet in terms of producing results, and that can do so on the spot right at point-of-care, without requiring a round trip to a lab. This test for the novel coronavirus causing the current global pandemic has received emergency clearance for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and will begin production next week, with output of 50,000 per day possible starting next week.

The new Abbott ID NOW COVID-19 test uses the Abbott ID NOW diagnostics platform, which is essentially a lab-in-a-box that is roughly the size of a small kitchen appliance. Its size and that it can produce either a positive result in just five minutes or a negative one in under 15 mean that it could be a very useful means to extend coronavirus testing beyond its current availability to more places including clinics and doctor’s offices, and cut down on wait times both in terms of getting tested and receiving a diagnosis.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 29th, 2020 at 10:49 am

Instacart is hiring 300,000 grocery shoppers

Instacart Shopping Service

The company will provide with paid sick leave in case they’re diagnosed with COVID-19.

Instacart plans to hire an additional 300,000 “full-service” contractors to help it deliver groceries to people during the coronavirus pandemic. With so many individuals and families stuck inside as a result of social distancing measures and shelter in place orders in states like California, Instacart says order volume has increased by 150 percent over the last few weeks, with people buying more per cart as well.

The company currently operates in about 5,500 cities across the United States and Canada. Instacart’s plan will see it hire broadly in states like California and New York. In the former, for instance, it plans to bring on approximately 54,000 new full-time shoppers. In other states like Texas and Florida, it will hire thousands of new contractors as well, and provide them with paid sick leave if they’re diagnosed with COVID-19 or need to self-isolate.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 29th, 2020 at 10:46 am

Total emissions from EVs undercut ICE cars in 95% of the world

DA4C9031-F2F2-4671-94E6-AA9CC45A89D6

A new study claims that EVs are better for the environment than gasoline-powered vehicles in 95 percent of the world

 Comparing the eco-credentials of electric cars and their gasoline-powered counterparts isn’t as simple as counting the carbon emissions coming (or not) from the tailpipe. New research is claiming to have settled the debate once and for all by taking all factors into account, including the production of, and electricity generation for, EVs and found that they are better for the climate in 95 percent of the world.

While there is no debate that EVs pollute less once they are actually on the road, some argue that the CO2 generated during the manufacturing of EVs and in the generation of the electricity to charge them actually outweighs that produced by cars with internal combustion engines (ICEs). The thinking is that while renewables can play a part of the energy mix, EV owners still need to rely heavily on coal- and gas-fired power plants to keep their cars charged and running.

The new research was carried out by scientists at the University of Exeter, University of Cambridge and University of Nijmegen in the Netherlands, and found that while there are exceptions, electric vehicles are generally better for the climate in the vast majority of places.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 28th, 2020 at 10:06 am

The coronavirus isn’t alive. That’s why it’s so hard to kill.

1878D4F6-54F6-4B76-B362-23A30E7AF7F3

This novel coronavirus is a sneaky variety similar to those that have been responsible for the most destructive outbreaks of the last 100 years.

Viruses have spent billions of years perfecting the art of surviving without living – a frighteningly effective strategy that makes them a potent threat in today’s world.

That’s especially true of the deadly new coronavirus that has brought global society to a screeching halt. It’s little more than a packet of genetic material surrounded by a spiky protein shell one-thousandth the width of an eyelash, and leads such a zombie-like existence, it’s barely considered a living organism.

But as soon as it gets into a human airway, the virus hijacks our cells to create millions more versions of itself.

There is a certain evil genius to how this coronavirus pathogen works: It finds easy purchase in humans without them knowing. Before its first host even develops symptoms, it is already spreading its replicas everywhere, moving onto its next victim. It is powerfully deadly in some, but mild enough in others to escape containment. And, for now, we have no way of stopping it.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 28th, 2020 at 10:00 am

What should the government spend to save a life?

US-HEALTH-VIRUS

Economists have a way of measuring the cost of protecting people from COVID-19.

Economists have done the math.

The staggering economic toll of the new coronavirus is becoming abundantly, unavoidably clear. On Thursday, a Department of Labor report showed that a record-shattering 3.3 million people applied for initial unemployment claims last week. And with entire industries shuttered for the foreseeable future, economic output will almost certainly shrink dramatically.

As economic forecasts grow darker, talk of tradeoffs is getting louder: Is protecting Americans from COVID-19 really worth all this disruption and economic pain?

On March 22, before President Trump floated the idea of reopening the economy by Easter, against the recommendations of his own public health experts, he tweeted, “WE CANNOT LET THE CURE BE WORSE THAN THE PROBLEM ITSELF.” Other politicians, meanwhile, rejected the idea that economic costs should be a factor at all. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo dismissed Trump’s push to get the economy moving again, saying, “No American is going to say, ‘accelerate the economy at the cost of human life.’ Because no American is going to say how much a life is worth.”

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
March 28th, 2020 at 9:55 am

Man “walks” dog with a drone while in quarantine

drone dog 4e6gj9

This is some next level problem solving

As preventative measures against COVID-19 are increasing around the world, more and more folks are staying inside. This is especially fantastic news for pets. They have no idea what’s going on, but suddenly their humans are home all the friggin’ time. Literally pet heaven.

However, stricter lockdown rules mean those pets are in danger of becoming just as bored and stir crazy as their owners. Just because pets can’t contract or infect humans with coronavirus, (the strains that affect humans and animals are completely different) pet owners are still under strict social distancing orders and cannot all congregate in the same place. So no more human-run dog daycares, no more pet playdates, no more busy park visits.

Continue Reading »

comments Comments Off
10 Unanswerable questions that neither science nor religion can answer