Competition-winning design could deliver affordable water to areas that need it
From Fast Company:
A new device that sits inside a shipping container can use clean energy to almost instantly bring clean drinking water anywhere — the rooftop of an apartment building in Nairobi, a disaster zone after a hurricane in Manila, a rural village in Zimbabwe — by pulling water from the air.
The design, from the Skysource/Skywater Alliance, just won $1.5 million in the Water Abundance XPrize. The competition, which launched in 2016, asked designers to build a device that could extract at least 2,000 liters of water a day from the atmosphere (enough for the daily needs of around 100 people), use clean energy and cost no more than 2¢ a liter.
The new system, called WEDEW (“wood-to-energy deployed water”) was created by combining two existing systems. One is a device called Skywater, a large box that mimics the way clouds are formed. It takes in warm air, which hits cold air and forms droplets of condensation that can be used as pure drinking water. The water is stored in a tank inside the shipping container, which can then be connected to a bottle refill station or a tap.
Poison gas-detecting watch could save workers’ lives
From Popular Mechanics:
If you work in the oil or gas industry, and you wear a hard hat for even part of the day, you’ve probably heard of H2S. Hydrogen sulfide is a colorless, flammable and overall dangerous gas produced at petroleum refineries, tanneries, natural gas plants and waste treatment facilities.
The first indication of the gas is usually a smell, similar to rotten eggs. Even in low concentrations, it will irritate the eyes and throat, or cause a headache and balance problems. Higher concentrations in areas without ventilation can knock someone unconscious. Over 1,000 parts per million, inhalation is fatal. At sites known to produce H2S, employees usually wear plastic boxes on their vest to detect the gas. But between 2001 and 2010, exposure was still responsible for 60 worker deaths.
Now, Swiss watch company North Eagles has set that same basic sensor inside an otherwise normal-looking timepiece. If the watch detects a certain concentration of H2S, above the traces you’d find in most environments, it vibrates, blinks and sounds a 96db alarm. If it’s linked to the worker’s phone, the alert gets filed with geolocation information, so the company can log the specific location and concentration of H2S and a response team can find the wearer.
AI takes a crack at designing perfume scents
The creation of a perfume is often treated as a bespoke art. Professional scent masters — often referred to as “noses” — spend decades learning the craft, apprenticing under masters. Giant cosmetic companies write huge checks to storied fragrance agencies, which will employ meticulous perfume chemists. A common theme here is that the skill of developing a fragrance is extremely valuable — and extremely human.
Now IBM is attempting to turn the traditional model on its head by harnessing the power of artificial intelligence to develop scents. Symrise, a major global fragrance company based in Germany with clients including Estée Lauder, Avon, Coty and Donna Karan, recently tapped the tech giant to study how machine learning can be applied in the world of fragrance.
IBM developed an algorithm that studies existing fragrance formulas and then compares the ingredients to other data sets, like geography and customer age. This algorithm, which was created in IBM’s Thomas J. Watson Research Center and which the company has named Philyra, can now develop new perfumes that will target very specific market segments.
See more IT & Tech innovation stories and let us know the interesting technology stories you come across.