What is The Solution to Smog? A Vacuum!

Smog. Seems like a pretty straightforward noun. But we live in an age of revolutions, of new technologies, of constant discoveries about ourselves and others, and of constant expansion. All of these wonderful things come with a heavy price-tag though. A steady increase in pollution, more specifically: an increase in smog buildup. As we build taller buildings, fly to higher heights, produce more goods to use, and drive oil driven cars, we inevitably produce more and more smog! Might it be due to our overpopulation as well? However! We may be heading towards a solution of sorts.

Related Article: Warning: Weather Hazards Ahead

Daan Roosegaarde, a Dutch artist and innovator, has created an “electronic vacuum cleaner” that cleans the air of smog by drawing smog particles down to electric copper coils that create an electrostatic field. The copper coils are implanted into the ground and the weak electrostatic field created by these electric coils is enough to clear the sky of smog and expose the shining sun. This animation represents the idea and the possibilities that this “electronic vacuum cleaner” will provide! In an interview with De Zeen Magazine, Roosegaarde says:

It’s a similar principle to if you have a statically charged balloon that attracts your hair, if you apply that to smog, to create fields of static electricity of ions, which literally attract or magnetize the smog so it drops down so you can clean it, like an electronic vacuum cleaner.

How cool is that?! Beijing thinks it’s very cool. In fact, so cool that the mayor of Beijing has signed on Roosegaarde to create a park to showcase the technology! Roosegaarde’s team will be actively refining the technology for the next 18 months, after which it will be put into play in a large scale park, finally ridding the air of smog in a public place in Beijing. This technology does have its limitations however. The area from which the smog will be cleared has to be surrounded by these coils, meaning there has to be a trench dug around all of Beijing in order for all the smog to be cleared away. Also, in the next 18 months, the artist and his team have to figure out how to make this technology work on a large scale.

Related Article: A Cheaper Alternative To Pollution

The technology was originally put into play in a 5 x 5 meter room where the smog was sucked down and then physically laid on the ground. The artist has great ambition with this project:

What I would like to do is capture all that smog and then compress it. So for example you could make a smog ring of all the smog in a cubic kilometer. It would show the reality and question why we accept it.

Roosegaarde also says the technology is completely safe and if one were to step over the coils nothing would happen. The coils give off such a low electric field that it is even “pacemaker safe”.

Related Article: Costly Climate Changes

This is indeed one way to clean up our act, but it may only be contained to public places as Daan Roosegaarde mentions. It is great to hear about new inventions that are countering our pollution and smog increase, but we always have to ask ourselves what else we can do to help! Ultimately, the artist plans to open our eyes! He wants people to realize how bad it is really getting with pollution, and that when he presents the compressed smog rings, other countries will spring into action and we will head towards cleaner and more sustainable lives!

Cheers to clean air!

 

Research:

Wikipedia: Daan Roosegaarde

Animation: Electronic Vacuum Cleaner

De Zeen Magazine Interview with Roosengaarde

 

Wondergressive: The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Wondergressive: A Cheaper Alternative to Pollution

Wondergressive: Costly Climate Changes

Wondergressive: Warning: Weather Hazards Ahead

Let’s Capture US an Asteroid!


What would interstellar warfare be without the original ideas that brought us there? Like, for instance, humans developing new space technologies and exploring space in the first place. Lucky for us, we have a great amount of our budget invested in NASA, a hefty proposed 17.7 billion dollars to be exact, which, surprisingly, is still 50 million less than in 2012. Looks like NASA’s planned mission to an asteroid was not just a pipe dream!

The most interesting part of the budget would be the proposed spending associated with NASA and asteroids. The description in the budget for NASA states that:

The Budget includes $78 million for NASA to develop needed technologies and study alternative approaches for a robotic mission to rendezvous with a small asteroid—one that would be harmless to Earth—and move it to a stable location outside the Moon’s orbit.

That is to say we will send men to space to commandeer an asteroid and bring it home! As if the asteroid had any say in the matter anyway, I foresee a cult uprising like no other before! That is all chump change compared to what NASA is really planning to do with this excavating of asteroids. Sometime in 2014, there is a planned launch of Orion, which will bring us one step closer to herding asteroids and ultimately reaching Mars in 2030!

Dan Dumbacher, deputy associate administrator for NASA’s Exploration Systems Development Division (what a title!) says:

It’s a key element of our overall plan to get humans beyond Earth’s orbit as quickly as we can

With that test flight accomplished, the scientists and engineers can analyze Orion’s design and maneuverability,  capability of Orion housing humans, and heat shields designed for Orion’s reentry, all of which will hopefully bring us all closer to sun bathing on our red brother’s atmosphere. That, or using it as a space station for our intergalactic space battles!

For a full low down on the President’s Budget for Fiscal Year 2014, visit that link and check out whether or not you agree with the budget and the changes it will bring. One definite that it prescribes is an eventual decline in our debt, but at what cost?

 

Further Reading:

Wondergressive – NASA’s Planned Mission to Asteroid

NASA’s Proposed Budget

President’s Budget for fiscal year 2014

NASA website

Wondergressive – Interstellar Warfare

Mars’ Atmosphere

 

3D? Lets go One More! 4D!

3D printing has of late become the hottest discussed news. With this new age printing method we can create guns, replicate handy tools, and even create stem cells to print organs. With 3D printing becoming more accessible and developed further, we of course now have to turn to the world of 4D, a world where things make themselves, without outside intervention!

The world of 4D printing is a world that is yet to be fully realized though research into it has already begun. Exciting new developments in this field will lead to more efficient explorations of the next frontier! Hints of a better lifestyle also  come promised as more is learned about this new self assembly system. This passive self assembly system could be the next step to developing AI and creating a new, always adapting system of thought.

Skylar Tibbits, from MIT’s Self-Assembly Lab says:

Imagine robotics-like behavior without the reliance on complex electro-mechanical devices!

Although it is still being developed, even in early stages, the potential for 4D “printing” is outstanding and very real. Shake a passive cube system and you get a desired structure! As Skylar mentions in the Ted talk:

Bridges, buildings, and structures can self assemble through previously programmed data.

A machine that creates itself based on data could be advantageous in war-like scenarios where a bridge for transports is needed. Set a self assembling robot to work if a base camp needs to be set up quickly while manpower is used more efficiently on scouting and gathering intelligence. It could even lead to the development of this guy…

He could be a bad-ass soldier and all, but why is this important to you and I? With all this advancement hopefully we will get to the point where our conveniences become that much greater with the use of these 4D inventions, that is, as long as our reliance on robotics doesn’t also increase exponentially in the process. As convenient as our lives can become through technology, I remain a firm believer and enthusiast of personal connections and interactions! Less is sometimes more… but until then…

The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us.

 

Sources for research:

Ted Talk by Skylar Tibbits

3D printing by Wondergressive

ABC 7: Guns and 3D Printing

CNET: Printing Organs

4D Printing

SJET: Self Assembly System

Wondergressive: The Singularity is Nigh Upon Us