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Ultralight ‘supermaterial’ made using plastic bottle waste

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Scientists have developed a way to convert plastic bottle waste into flexible and durable aerogels that could be used for heat and sound insulation in buildings, oil spill cleaning, and as a lightweight lining for firefighter coats and masks.

Plastic waste is toxic and non-biodegradable. Such waste often ends up in oceans and landfills, affecting marine life and causing problems such as groundwater contamination and land scarcity.

Globally, the annual consumption of plastic bottles has been rising steadily, and it is expected to exceed half a trillion tons per year by 2021.

 

“Plastic bottle waste is one of the most common type of plastic waste and has detrimental effects on the environment,” said Hai Minh Duong, an associate professor at National University of Singapore (NUS).

Plastic bottles are commonly made from polyethylene terephthalate (PET), which is the most recycled plastic in the world.

“Our team has developed a simple, cost-effective and green method to convert plastic bottle waste into PET aerogels for many exciting uses,” said Duong.

” One plastic bottle can be recycled to produce an A4-sized PET aerogel sheet. The fabrication technology is also easily scalable for mass production. In this way, we can help cut down the harmful environmental damage caused by plastic waste,” he said.

The PET aerogels developed are soft, flexible, durable, extremely light and easy to handle. They also demonstrate superior thermal insulation and strong absorption capacity. These properties make them attractive for a wide range of applications, such as for heat and sound insulation in buildings, oil spill cleaning, and also as a lightweight lining for firefighter coats and carbon dioxide absorption masks that could be used during fire rescue operations and fire escape.

In their earlier work, the research team had successfully converted paper and fashion waste into cellulose and cotton aerogels respectively. The research team has filed a patent for its novel PET aerogel technology and will continue to enhance the performance of the PET aerogels and explore new applications. The NUS researchers are also keen to work with companies to bring the technology to market.


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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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