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February 27, 2017

Dousing Flames with Low-Frequency Sound Waves

A new type of extinguisher that uses sound waves to put out fires has been built by two engineering students in the US. Both chemical- and water-free, the invention offers a relatively non-destructive method of fire control, which could find applications in fighting small fires in the home, and the researchers now hold a preliminary patent application for their device.

While the concept of using sound waves to extinguish flames is not new, previous attempts to realize the principle – including efforts by teams at West Georgia University and the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) – had not been successful.

Undeterred by this, as well as initial [...]

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January 5, 2015

Humble Spud Poised to Launch a World Food Revolution

In a small army field-hut Dr Arjen de Vos shows off his irrigation machine with pride. Pipes lead out to several acres of muddy field, where only a few stragglers from the autumn harvest of potatoes, salads, carrots and onions are left. The tubes are lined with copper to stop corrosion because – in a move that defies everything we think we know about farming – de Vos is watering his plants with diluted sea water.

Last week the project beat 560 competitors from 90 countries to win the prestigious USAid grand challenge award for its salt-tolerant potato. “It’s a game changer,” said de Vos. “We don’t see salination as a problem, we see it as an opportunity.”

Here, on one [...]

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