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Novel device can capture drinking water from air

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Scientists have developed a simple device that can capture water from thin air, and release it when warmed by sunlight. The advance could provide a secure new source of drinking water in remote arid regions, researchers said.

Globally, Earth’s air contains almost 13 trillion tonnes of water, a vast renewable reservoir of clean drinking water.

Trials of many materials and devices developed to tap this water source have shown each to be either too inefficient, expensive or complex for practical use.

 

The prototype device, developed by researchers at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) in Saudi Arabia, makes use of a cheap, stable, nontoxic salt, calcium chloride.

The salt has high affinity for water and will absorb so much vapour from the surrounding air that eventually a pool of liquid forms, said Renyuan Li, a PhD student at KAUST.

“The deliquescent salt can dissolve itself by absorbing moisture from air,” he said.

Calcium chloride has great water-harvesting potential, but the fact it turns from a solid to a salty liquid after absorbing water has been a major hurdle for its use as a water capture device, said Li.

To overcome the problem, the researchers incorporated the salt into a hydrogel which can hold a large volume of water while remaining a solid.

They also added a small amount of carbon nanotubes, 0.42 per cent by weight, to ensure the captured water vapour could be released.

Carbon nanotubes very efficiently absorb sunlight and convert the captured energy into heat.

The team incorporated 35 grammes of this material into a simple prototype device. Left outside overnight, it captured 37 grammes of water on a night when the relative humidity was around 60 per cent.

The following day, after 2.5 hours of natural sunlight irradiation, most of the water was released and collected inside the device.

“The hydrogel’s most notable aspects are its high performance and low cost,” said Li.

If the prototype were scaled up to produce 3 litres of water per day — the minimum water requirement for an adult — the material cost of the adsorbent hydrogel would be as low as half a cent per day.

The next step will be to fine-tune the absorbent hydrogel so that it releases harvested water continuously rather than in batches, Wang said.


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Bose Frames AR Audio Sunglasses Launched in India, Priced at Rs. 21,900

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Over a year after originally showcasing its audio AR sunglasses, Bose is bringing them to the Indian market. The company on Thursday announced that the sunglasses, which are simply known as Bose Frames, will go on sale beginning next week in the country alongside Bose Frames Lens Collection. The Bose Frames combine three functionalities into one device – premium sunglasses, wireless headphones, and audio AR features. The Bose Frames are the company’s first product to be based on the company’s AR platform.

The Bose Frames carry a price tag of Rs. 21,900 and will be offered in two universal styles – the larger Alto and the smaller Rondo. The Bose Frames Lens Collection of non-polarised and polarised lenses will retail at Rs. 1,990 and Rs. 2,990, respectively. The sales open June 20 via select resellers and Bose stores in the country.

The Bose Frames are essentially a pair of sunglasses that pack a tiny Bose audio system in the temples. This audio system effectively turns them into a wireless pair of headphones. The Bose Frames also include a microphone and multi-function button on the right temple for power and pairing, Siri and Google Assistant, calls and commands, or to pause and skip songs.

 

“With a proprietary open-ear design, they [Bose Frames] take micro-acoustics, voice control, and personal audio to an entirely new level, so users can stream music and information, take and make calls, and access virtual assistants from — while keeping playlists, entertainment, and conversations private,” Bose said in a statement.

Like many wearable devices, the Bose Frames act as a companion device to your smartphone and need the same for processing the information and connecting to the Web.

As we mentioned earlier, the Bose Frames will be released in two designs – Alto and Rondo. Alto is square and angled, whereas Rondo is round and smaller. Both can block up to 99 percent of UVA/UVB rays and weigh just 45 grams. The lenses can be easily popped out and replaced.

Apart from the audio capabilities, the Frames are also compatible with Bose’s AR platform. The Bose Frames don’t include any visual AR capabilities, but they can provide audio AR input to enhance your experience.

“[Bose Frames] knows where you are and what you’re facing using a 9-axis head motion sensor and the GPS from your iOS or Android device — and automatically adds a layer of audio through Bose AR apps, connecting that place and time to endless possibilities for travel, learning, entertainment, gaming, and more,” Bose explained.

Bose AR apps can be downloaded using Bose Connect app and are only available for iOS right now. Android apps are being developed, according to the company’s website.

The company claims that onboard battery can last up to 3.5 hours for playback and up to 12 hours on standby. It can be fully recharged in less than two hours.

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Novel device can quickly detect strokes

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Scientists have developed a device that can monitor blood flow and help quickly diagnose and treat strokes.

A stroke, one of the leading causes of death worldwide, occurs due to poor blood flow to the brain — a condition known as cerebral ischemia.

Its diagnosis must be done within the first few hours for treatment to be effective, researchers said.

 

The hybrid device, developed by researchers at the China Academy of Engineering Physics and Army Medical University in China, relies on a combination of to light measuring techniques which could diagnose cerebral ischemia non-invasively and faster than the techniques used currently.

“We can measure blood volume, blood oxygenation and blood flow using suitable near-infrared techniques,” said Liguo Zhu, from China Academy of Engineering Physics.

Zhu said that “near-infrared light penetrates one to three centimetres and allows researchers to probe under the skin.”

The working of the instrument relies on the combination of the near-infrared diffuse optical spectroscopy, which analyses the light scattered from the tissues to calculate the amount of oxygen and blood within an area, and the diffuse correlation spectroscopy, which analyses fluctuation in the tissue-scattered lights to measure blood flow.

“Both techniques share the same detectors, which decreases the number of detectors compared to other instruments,” said Zhu.

“The team’s device can record a comprehensive profile of a body part’s hemodynamics, or blood circulation. Devices should measure as many ‘hemodynamic parameters’ as necessary to obtain an accurate diagnosis, as ‘the hemodynamics of stroke is complex’,” said Hua Feng, from Army Medical University.

Another advantage of the device is that it is cheap and compact, which would make more accessible to the people, and hence, help treatment, diagnosis and chances of stroke, researchers said.

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Parineeti ‘still learning’ to play badminton

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Actress Parineeti Chopra has not started shooting for ‘Saina’ yet and says she is still learning how to play badminton.

Parineeti on Thursday said that the shooting for the biopic will commence in October.

“Hi everyone, we have not started the shoot of ‘Saina’ yet. I am still learning how to play Badminton! We will start in October once I get better at it! Four months to go,” she tweeted.

 

Parineeti had replaced actress Shraddha Kapoor in the Saina Nehwal biopic, which is being directed by Amole Gupte.

She will next be seen in ‘Jabariya Jodi’ along with actor Sidharth Malhotra. The film is scheduled for release on August 2. Directed by Prashant Singh, ‘Jabariya Jodi’ is based on ‘Pakadwa Vivah’ (forced marriage), which was once rampant in Bihar.

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