Robot-Engineered Skateboard Is Bulletproof

The recent rise of robots has been quick and inevitable. While I don’t mean this in an “I, Robot” sense, machines have been working alongside us to improve our daily lives. Some are combatting cyberbullying while others are performing surgery. Now, they’re helping to manufacture a bulletproof skateboard.

[Jelly] sells a line of clear, polycarbonate boards capable of stopping a bullet — a unique idea that has helped company president Sven Alwerud carve out a special niche in the skateboard industry.

Luckily for Alwerud, his dad — a famous robotics engineer — offered to help the upstart company.

Alwerud Sr. put together a robot to assemble the boards–and quickly. (I wonder how much of a hit he must’ve been at elementary school career days?)

“He designed the robot in two days and with his years of automation experience, he was able to use the simplest designs and techniques which helped reduce the chance of error and downtime.”

Jelly hopes to purchase a new robot in the near future in order to produce more of his in-demand skateboards. If you’re not a great rider, at least you’ve got protection!

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The Newest Member Of Sesame Street Is Afghan

In a day and age of hate culture, the entertainment industry is doing all it can to promote mutual respect. Sesame Street has had a long-running history of introducing a diverse cast of characters, encouraging kindness among children. Most recently, the show debuted Zeerak, who is an Afghan Muppet.

Zeerak is described as an “adorable orange Muppet” who wears glasses and regional Afghan clothing. His name means “smart” and “talented” in both of Afghanistan’s official languages, Pashto and Dari.

Both he and [sister] Zari… are intended to show young people in Afghanistan, where women’s rights have deteriorated under the Taliban, that girls can be as heroic as boys.

Zeerak preaches respect, tolerance, and gender equality.

[Zeerak] looks up to his educated big sister as a role model. She assures him that he will soon have the opportunity to attend school and “that working hard in school will help him achieve his dreams,”

As literacy rates in Afghanistan are low, Zeerak is vital in promoting education.

Over the past year, Sesame Street has also launched an LGBT campaign and introduced Julia, an autistic Muppet, to the family. I can’t say I’m not all for it!

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Biomass Stove Bringing Cleaner Air To India

In the age of our crumbling planet, we are doing everything we can to maintain good environmental etiquette. We are turning trash into product packaging, saving reefs with oyster shells, and planting trees at the speed of light. Now, entrepreneur Ankit Mathur has created a stove that is much less harmful to the environment.

The aluminum and steel contraption uses much less wood than a traditional mud stove, and produces far less harmful smoke in the process.

“We designed a cook stove that cuts down fuel consumption to a third of what a mud stove uses and reduces emissions to one quarter of what they are,”

Despite its obvious benefits, Mathur admitted to having trouble selling his product. People simply wanted to stay traditional. But after proving to potential customers that they’d spend less time collecting wood, the Greenway stove finally saw some sales.

Around 550,000 people have now bought a stove, bringing the firm $9 million in sales.

“It sounds like a lot, but if you look at the Indian numbers there are more than 100 million households we can reach out to,”

Mathur’s company is also selling solar-powered lamps. While most of us may not be innovators ourselves, it should be in our best intentions to support those who are.

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Egg Urn New Eco-Friendly Burial Option

When we die, we become part of the Earth. This, of course, is mostly a metaphor. However, the Capsula Mundi pod makes this concept possible by turning your loved one’s ashes into a tree. In essence, it’s a sustainable egg urn!

The… Urn, which is designed to accept the cremation ashes from the deceased, and to then be buried next to an existing tree, or in a hole over which a tree will be planted.

Sounds simple enough. The urn’s biodegradable materials even help the tree’s growth.

The Urn is made from a biodegradable polymer (bioplastic) that will essentially be turned into soil and nutrients for the tree in “a few months to few years” depending on the local soil and climate conditions.

If you are picky about appearances, you may have to be patient. At present, the urn only comes in two differently styles–sandy beige and satin white. But they don’t come cheap at prices ranging €380 – €420.

The Capsula Mundi pod is not only a more aesthetic option for memorial services, it’s a thoughtful one. With a rise in green burials, perhaps you’d even prefer a spot next to Fido.

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Beekeeping Is Going High Tech

If there is one animal we don’t give enough credit to, it’s the humble bee. It is a little-known fact that bees are vital to the food industry. Not only do they produce honey, they are also responsible for pollinating our fruits and vegetables. While there are ways we can contribute to the save-the-bees campaign, we rely mostly on beekeepers. To make their jobs easier, Open Source Beehives has come out with the BuzzBox, helping beekeepers to better manage their bees.

The BuzzBox is a solar-powered plug-in beehive sensor that enables users to monitor the activities in their colonies by listening to and analyzing the sounds in the hives. Along with tracking the internal and external temperatures of the hives, and the humidity and barometric pressure, a microphone monitors a hive’s sounds and passes those “honeybee audio signals” on to a real-time audio analysis system that delivers “hive health updates” to the user’s smartphone via an app.

To analyze beehive behaviors, Open Source Beehives compiled hours of beehive audio. With this new technology, BuzzBox can identify regular and irregular noises. Now that’s high tech.

“The goal is two-fold. By identifying when colonies reach a state of near-collapse, we can correlate their signals with hypothesized causes, such as pesticide exposure and parasite infestation. And we can warn beekeepers of imminent danger so they can intervene and attempt to save their hives.”

That’s quite the buzz for today.

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Man Uses Game Boy To Photograph Jupiter

People never fail to impress me. I’ve seen million-dollar equipment built in the safety of one’s own home. Astronomy student Alex Pietrow is no exception. Using a Game Boy and antique telescope, Pietrow was able to photograph Jupiter, and clearly!

Pietrow used a Gosky Universal Cell Phone Adapter to attach the Game Boy Camera to the 6-inch’ Fraunhofer telescope in the Old Observatory of Leiden.

Pietrow set the sight of his late 90s Game Boy Camera a bit further… all the way to Jupiter. Surprisingly, the Game Boy Camera, which can capture black and white images at a 128×112 resolution… was able to capture not only Jupiter but also its four Galilean moons.

Way to put professional astronomers in their place! But the fun doesn’t stop there. Pietrow plans to use his invention to photograph Saturn as well.

If you’re interested in trying your hand at shooting celestial objects with your trusty Game Boy… you’re going to be in for a lot of work. Not only do you need a Game Boy and its Camera peripheral, but also a few devices meant to hack the Game Boy as well as either an installation of Windows XP on a computer with parallel port or some fiddling with drivers on Windows 7.

While I may not be smart enough to come up with anything like this, I do know that Pietrow is going places. He may even put billion-dollar telescope industries out of business!

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Man-Powered Elevator Helps You Exercise

Don’t deny it–you’ve waited in line for an elevator to avoid taking the stairs. Whether it’s a single flight or three, most of us are just too lazy to walk. If only we could install elevators in our homes. With Vycle, masterminded by student Elena Larriba, you totally can! But the catch is, you have to cycle your way up.

Vycle is a patent pending system that allows people to cycle up in an effortless and enjoyable way. The system is balanced with counterweights leaving the user body as the only weight to overcome. Using a gearing system similar to how bikes works the user can decide how much effort they want to put to ascend or descent.

Of course, Vycle won’t cover more than a handful of stories, but it’s a great way to get somewhere and keep in shape.

Vycle is a system powered by continuous cyclical movement. Its benefits are twofold: firstly, it will give stakeholders a more efficient and sustainable option to ascend, and secondly variable energy selection will be able to cater to people of varied ages and abilities, whilst creating a personalised experience.

Sure, it may require some effort, but at least you’re getting the exercise you probably desperately need. So, when can I install one of these?

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Famous Brand Is Turning Trash Into Packaging

After a long day at work, I could always use a good bath bomb. LUSH is not only a cult favorite, but a leader in eco-conscious branding. Famous for its organic materials and edible (you heard that right!) packing peanuts, how much more sustainable can LUSH get? A lot more, apparently. In its latest stint, LUSH is now transforming plastic waste into packaging.

The company just partnered with Ocean Legacy Foundation to collect 27 tons of plastic from the ocean… That plastic waste is being converted by Urban Resource Group into plastic pellets. Those plastic pellets are then combined [with] other post-consumer waste to become the 100 percent recycled bottles and black pots that become home to your favorite products.

LUSH is notable for its love for the sea, donating proceeds from its shark fin-shaped soap to ocean conservation.

According to the brand, more than eight million tons of plastic are dumped in the ocean every year, five trillion individual pieces of plastic are estimated to be floating in our ocean, and more than a million seabirds and over 100,000 marine mammals die every year from plastic.

Alongside LUSH, the fashion industry is also putting trash to good use. Looks like some other brands have a lot of stepping up to do!

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Dog Rescued After 3 Years In Drain

Every now and then, I catch features of impossible rescues on Animal Planet. I’ve witnessed kittens trapped in pipes, and birds caught in fishing nets. But for mixed-breed dog Alexandra, who was stuck in a drain, rescuing had to wait–for nearly 3 years.

A girl named Lena called [a] shelter and practically implored them to rescue a dog that had fallen down an uncovered drain, into a complex central heating system. Lena and other kindhearted people had been throwing the dog food, but, so far, they had been unable to rescue it.

Lena… told volunteers at the dog shelter that over the last three years, she had contacted the Ministry for Emergency Situations, various activists and even professional dog handlers, but no one expressed a desire to help.

Only recently did a shelter in Nikopol answer Lena’s pleas to rescue the stray. To be honest, it was about time. Elena, a volunteer at the shelter, expressed her disdain for the lack of effort to rescue Alexandra.

“For nearly a week, the dog, which we named Alexandra… has been living at our shelter,” Elena says. “Obviously, she is still terrified… She needs to get used to the sounds and smells around her, to people and other dogs.”

Throughout history, we have seen dogs become heroes. Perhaps it’s our turn to be theirs.

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Pixel Artist Makes Masterpieces Out Of Anything

They say the best artists can create using the most unusual mediums. I’ve seen portraits crafted with thumbtacks, and landscapes painted with coffee. But Filipino “pixel art wizard” Kel Cruz takes it a step further with some unexpected materials.

Cruz, who works as a male nurse, used to create pixelated art the old fashioned way, with a ballpoint pen. Since then, he has used lipstick, colored tape, rubber stamps, beer and even woven pieces of paper to create some truly awe-inspiring masterpieces.

Cruz’s most controversial medium so far has been his own blood, which he used to create a portrait of… Harley Quinn.

I’ve got to hand it to this guy because I can barely sit to get my blood drawn. Then again, he is a nurse. Cruz can produce a 4-by-5 foot piece in just 2 or 3 days.

Cruz’s fascinating pixelated portraits have won the artist a legion of fans on online social networks like Facebook and Instagram, and have even attracted the attention of television stations in the Philippines.

With that kind of skill, an exhibit wouldn’t be too unlikely!

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