Future Tech: Plus…store summer heat for the cold winter & smartphone health warnings.
Roads built with this new material may never need repair
Most of us pay little attention to the concrete that surrounds us, unless it's falling apart.
And that happens often enough. That's because concrete is a brittle material — Canadians are familiar with bridges in Montreal deteriorating, or chunks of the Don Valley Expressway crumbling.
But a Canadian researcher is working on a type of concrete that can essentially 'heal' itself. Dr. Nemkumar Banthia uses tiny fibres to reinforce concrete and to prevent cracks from getting too big. Those fibres also have a hydrophilic nano-coating, which attracts moisture to help produce more silicate material which fills in any cracks that do occur.
Keep warm in winter with heat stored from summer
From Popular Mechanics:
Heating a house takes a lot of energy. Whether your heating system is electrically powered, or oil powered, or you're just throwing wood in the fireplace, heating your home in the winter is a hassle and a cost. But a new way to make use of naturally occurring heat might be on the horizon. Researchers at the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Testing and Research (EMPA) have developed a technology that allows heat to be stored almost indefinitely, so the summer heat could warm up your home in the winter.
The technology uses the chemical sodium hydroxide (NaOH), commonly known as lye, to store the heat. When dry sodium hydroxide is exposed to water, it undergoes a chemical reaction that releases a large amount of heat. In sunlight, that water evaporates, drying out the sodium hydroxide and resetting the reaction. The dry sodium hydroxide is very stable, which means it can be stored for months or even years as long as it isn't exposed to water.
Think you’re getting sick? Your smartwatch could warn you ahead of time
If you're still on the fence about just how useful a smartwatch can be, a group of researchers at Stanford University have some news for you. The scientists discovered that using algorithms to monitor a combination of vital signs gathered by the Basis B1 and Basis Peak can determine if you're about to catch a cold, days before you actually get sick. Using stats like heart rate and skin temperature, researchers say the smartwatches can indicate the first signs of an impending illness.
During the course of their research, the team at Stanford gathered details from 40 volunteers who wore the devices for two years. The information gathered shows that people exhibited an unusually elevated pulse and warmer than average skin temperatures (at times) before any physical signs of a cold or infection. The tech could tell up to three days in advance of symptoms starting to present themselves.
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