Inventions
Thursday, September 23, 2021

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When Google started designing the world's first fully self-driving vehicle, their goal was a vehicle that could shoulder the entire burden of driving. Vehicles that can take anyone from A to B at the push of a button could transform mobility for millions of people, whether by reducing the 94 percent of accidents caused by human error, reclaiming the billions of hours wasted in traffic, or bringing everyday destinations and new opportunities within reach of those who might otherwise be excluded by their inability to drive a car. 

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Now they are announcing the next step for our project: this summer, a few of the prototype vehicles we've created will leave the test track and hit the familiar roads of Mountain View, Calif., with our safety drivers aboard.

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In the sleek warehouse of Tesla's Design Studio in Howthorne, California CEO and co-founder Elon Musk announced the company's latest products—a line of stationary batteries for households and utilities meant to store energy so that it can be used when energy is scarce and/or expensive.

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The home stationary battery will be called the Powerwall, and it will cost $3,500 for a 10kWh unit. That unit is optimized to deal with serving a house if the traditional power grid goes down. A cheaper, $3,000 version will have a 7kWh capacity, and it will be able to help a house with solar panels deal with the daily fluctuations in energy supply.

 

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A thumping bass may do more than light up a party—it could flat out extinguish it, thanks to a new sound-blasting fire extinguisher by George Mason University undergrads.  The fire extinguisher uses low-frequency sound waves to douse a blaze. Engineering seniors Viet Tran and Seth Robertson now hold a preliminary patent application for their potentially revolutionizing device.

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Sound-blasting fire extinguisher prototypes have been developed by George Mason University Electrical and Computer Engineering students Viet Tran and Seth Robertson in Seattle, Washington. 

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Turn up the music, dim the lights, bump up the thermostat and scare off intruders — and do it all from a single easy-to-use interface. Do it from halfway across the country if you need to. Smart homes have turned that fantasy into a reality, and the wireless revolution has made installation affordable for many homeowners.

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Smart-home components communicate with a central interface, whether it's a smartphone, a dedicated controller or a computer screen. They allow you to automate home functions and control them remotely. Many, such as smart thermostats, learn about your preferences from repeated use and adjust without your having to formally program them. Most systems are modular, meaning you can add functions down the road after you install the central brain.

 

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Toilets in the developing world are most commonly located over pits. Septic trucks are hired to pump out the sewage and carry it away. Too often, the dumping site for the sewage is a river, stream, bay, ocean, etc., with no further treatment whatsoever. This creates a huge problem. The sewage contaminates the drinking water, causing people to get sick. When pit latrines fill up, people have no choice but to defecate in the open. This ends up running into open drinking water.

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The Janicki Bioenergy Omni Processor - Model S100 started as a proof-of-concept project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013. It was originally designed to take in sewer sludge and primarily output electrical power. During the development, it became clear that making clean drinking water made the processor more economically viable, and a water treatment system was added.