An air purifier is an increasingly common consumer appliance that has potentially huge benefits for our health. Air purifiers remove the dust, allergens, and other particles from the air in a small room to make it more comfortable, especially for those of us with breathing problems like asthma. Here’s some of the biggest technological advancements in this new appliance field:
1. Airocide Uses NASA Tech To Purify Your Home
Most air purifiers work by pulling air through a dense HEPA filter, typically made of fiberglass, which catches larger particles. But not this one. Airocide is a filterless air purifier that looks like some kind of weird empty metal rectangle, based on technology that was originally developed by NASA.
Here’s the simplified version: if you’re going to get to Mars, your crew is going to have to have some kind of self-replenishing food source for the long journey, because we currently don’t have the technology to resupply them. The solution here is pretty obvious, even if it sounds like something out of science fiction: gardens in space. Plants are a good source of food that don’t take up too much room and produce the ingredients needed to make more plants for the future. But there’s a problem: plants produce a gas called ethylene, which dissipates into the atmosphere on Earth but which can cause problems in a sealed spaceship. And ethylene passes right through HEPA filters.
To solve this problem, NASA created air purification technology that replaces traditional filters with a densely packed series of glass tubes that oxidize even the smallest of particles on contact.
2.Molekule Doesn’t Just Trap Particles, It Destroys Them
Molekule has quite the reputation – this little startup that could was named one of TIME Magazine’s top 25 inventions of 2017 and has raised almost $15 million in investor funding. As mentioned above, most air purifiers catch harmful particles in a filter which has to be replaced every 6 months or so. But Molekule actually breaks down particles and destroys them – and it does so at a scale that catches particles 1000 times smaller than what a traditional HEPA filter can handle.
Here’s how it works, in brief: the filter is coated in nanoparticles that work on the principle of photo electrochemical oxidation, or PECO. These nanoparticles bind with airborne chemicals, bacteria, mold, viruses, and allergens, and the reaction with light breaks up these molecules and prevents them from growing back. There’s a more technical explanation – complete with a few independent studies – shown here. Molekule claims this technology outperforms Airocide by orders of magnitude, but we haven’t tested any of these, so you might take that with a grain of salt.
Also, as TIME notes, this advanced air filtration technology currently costs $800. Hopefully someone will be able to replicate this incredible achievement at a more consumer-friendly price in the future.
3. Wynd Cleans The Air Around You No Matter Where You Are
Wynd is the product of a Silicon Valley startup, an air purifier that can be clipped onto your clothing to provide a “personal bubble” of clean air as you walk around your home or even in the outdoors. It also lets you track the cleanliness of your air as well as other stats on your phone, jumping on the trend of wearable health devices like FitBit. Reviews suggest it currently has a short range that makes it impractical in a lot of situations, but the idea of a portable personal bubble of clean air may become sadly necessary if we continue the march of man-made climate change.
When we think of drones, we often think of the type of unmanned aerial vehicle used in combat and all the dangerous implications thereof. But – like any technology – there’s so much more to UAVs than their military applications. Hobbyists fly drones for fun and to learn the principles of photography. Professional filmmakers use drones in films like Captain America: Civil War and Jurassic World. And, of course, drones have many practical applications in scientific research.
Intro to Drones And Types Of Drones
“Drone” is simply a shorthand term for any kind of aerial vehicle that doesn’t have an onboard pilot. Most consumer drones are also quadcopters, which simply means that they have four propellers – two that spin clockwise and two that spin counterclockwise – to keep them steady in the air.
Drones are often used for aerial photography, which has many practical applications in different scientific fields. Archaeologists use photography to scan for future dig sites, geologists can use them to investigate the soil and make 3D maps of locations filmed from the air, and many different disciplines can benefit from the use of bird’s eye photography and videography to safely observe their target of study.
Most drones are controlled with radio transmitters, but some can be controlled with a mobile phone or tablet. Researchers will usually be interested in FPV drones, which can transmit live First Person Video directly to a mobile device for observational purposes. Some drones have built-in cameras, others have mounts for GoPros or other action cameras (the former is usually better for photography purposes but the latter is usually cheaper.) Drones can be found for anywhere from under $100 to over $1000 and can be fitted with sensors as we’ll discuss in the next section.
Drone Use In Scientific Research
Some uses of drones are obvious: they can monitor research sites remotely or keep an eye on potential disaster sites. They can measure crop heights and gather remote imagery for environmental observations. And because drones with cameras are becoming more and more affordable, they’re a great way to capture video footage or photos of your observations or experiments.
However, many researchers are finding even more creative uses for drones. With a little modification they can retrieve data from sensors to monitor elemental features like the quality of water or the composition of soil. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln are working on a way to use the electricity that powers drones like a portable wireless charger, ideal for bringing power to traditionally hard-to-reach locations. Actually, it turns out drones are really good for observing locations that are difficult to traverse – a professor at Lamont used a drone to observe lava flow in Iceland, which would obviously be incredibly dangerous for any vehicle with a human pilot.
Drones are changing the world as we know it. They’ve made aerial photography more accessible than ever before and opened up new methods of observation that were previously impossible. There’s no reason for UAVs to be associated only with the military – drones can also be symbols of technological advancement, scientific progress, and the betterment of mankind.
Have you ever written a blog post about your field? Tweeted a link to a new scientific publication? Joined a forum discussion about the latest research?
As it turns out, your likelihood of answering “yes” to one or more of these questions is no better than a coin flip. Fifity-two percent of respondents to a 2014 Nature News survey reported never having engaged in an online discussion about research. The recent Pew Research Center’s survey of AAAS members backs up this statistic. Only 47% of their respondents reported using social media to discuss or follow science, and only 24% said they blog about science and research. And it’s not just me saying that outreach is a public good. Eighty-seven percent of the Pew survey’s respondents agreed that scientists should “take [an] active role in public policy debates about science & technology.”
This is a sad state of affairs. For one, in an era in which a growing number of people get their information about scientific advances online, scientists cannot afford to remain unengaged. Areas of science as diverse as embryonic stem cell research and vaccinations have triggered bitter societal debates. Active participation in public outreach by the scientists conducting this research is crucial to defending its value.
The fact of the matter is that science today has reached a point in time where it can have as far outreach as it wanted it to be, but it needs to start engaging with the audience in an up-to-date manner. The scientific community does not like to shove things down the throat of the people, but due to this reason, there are many misconceptions about many scientific discoveries that could easily be debunked if scientists found a more interactive way to talk to the audience. Online outreach is the best tool that the scientific community has with which it will battle ignorance, and the truth is it should start using it as soon as possible because we are at the point of no return in many scientific areas.
Many people want to become scientists when they are kids. But once they grow up they learn that science is not how they imagined it and many people shift their dreams into becoming something else. The fact of the matter is science seems as an industry that has its own section in everything but is never talked about in the public. Scientists in the past have always considered their research sacred and their findings have been kept as secrets for many years, but in the day and age we live in today science has to start sharing its findings with the world, and it has to start doing it in a way that the world will understand it in.
The first question to such an issue is will there be an audience to listen if the scientific community decided to share all their research?
Well of course there would be! Even though the scientific community is more of a niche group that does not spread its group religiously, it still is present in all parts of life. Every industry is connected with the scientific community that performs research and experiments for that said industry so an audience is not hard to gather. However, the scientific community should start a broader campaign to increase the awareness of the whole world when it comes to scientific findings.
Why is increasing awareness important in the scientific world?
The simple answer is because we have not advanced as a civilization to where we are now with ignorance. The long answer is because the world tends to forget how science has helped us and after some time starts considering everything normal or a part of life as they know it, instead of recognizing that science is the one thing they should be thankful for. Raising awareness is important for several reasons but the most important reason should be because in today’s world it can easily be done!
In the past increasing awareness was also important but it was hard to generate the needed outreach with certain projects. Today in the social media age everyone has a voice that can be shared and it’s more important than ever not to let the voice of the scientific community be drowned by the rest.
Why can communication with the crowd be hard for scientists?
It’s not a secret that the language scientists speak is not the language a layman speaks. For this reason, many scientists give up on conveying their research to the masses as the communication between the scientist and the layman can be very hard. Scientists must invest in the way they communicate and share their findings if they ever want for their research to be widely accepted. The big divide between the scientists and what the normal person knows and understands has to be overcome with better communication for the good of the future of everyone.
You can find an example of a great success in developing an online audience at Youtube : SciShow:
Crowdfunding is a new terminology that has started to find its a way to the mainstream only in recent years. There are many industries where crowdfunding has opened up new posibilities. For instance the new inventions crowdfunding or crowdfunding sites for charities and non-profits, they all have some way of transforming the need to make a change from your home into direct action. This is especially a good thing in today’s day and age as there is a big divide within the world in people that love science and the people that ignore science due to their beliefs. Here are some of the reasons why the crowdfunding platform is important to the scientific community:
It helps researchers launch projects
There are always new ideas when it comes to the scientific comunity. Sadly not all of them get to see the light of day due to increasing financial needs of the projects. When a project begins it’s easy to be enthusiastic about it, however during the first few months if there are not enough finances the projects will die down. Crowdfunding helps not only maintain certain projects afloat but also helps them get their feet off the ground. Without crowdfunding and private funding, many projects from which we benefit today would not have been completed or even started.
Crowdfunding helps generate outreach
There are many people in the world that would love to be a part of some research project, if for nothing else than to know the result of the specific experiment or the given research. To get those people involved there has to be some way to connect the researchers with them, and crowdfunding is one of those methods that is perfect for the job. So, before crowdfunding can even get the project up from the ground it can spread the word and get people interested. Once the outreach has been generated there is no way of telling how many people would get involved and how big the help could be from the crowd. This little innovation in the scientific community has helped many projects achieve new heights and many of them have been finished in record time.
It helps with the emotional tool
Starting a project is always fun, however, it can also be exhausting especially if things don’t make progress. Science is something that is in its own section when it comes to progress. It cant be rushed, nor can there be a set time when something will be done. It’s not like creating something and then selling it, it takes time and the emotional tool that can happen during this long research times is something that the crowdfunding platforms can help the scientific community with. To lessen the effect of these long research projects the fund that can be gathered from the crowd can ease the scientist’s worry.