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Stories About Technology

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Microsoft, GE Among Big Brands Backing New White House ‘Smart Cities’ Initiative
Microsoft, GE Among Big Brands Backing New White House ‘Smart Cities’ Initiative

CLEANTECH - Microsoft, GE and Bank of America are among the ten companies supporting a White House challenge to U.S. cities to become smarter by accelerating deployment of innovative technologies that tackle energy, water, waste and air challenges.Organized by the nonprofit, Envision America, the new effort will invite leaders from 10 winning communities to participate in a workshop in January in Charlotte, NC, where they will work with leading experts from industry and academia to diagnose needs, workshop solutions and develop new smart initiatives for their community.

27 African Startups Prove Worthy Grassroots Solutions for Sustainable Development
27 African Startups Prove Worthy Grassroots Solutions for Sustainable Development

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - 27 African social and environmental startups were recognized with awards last week at the 2015 SEED Africa Symposium. The recipients’ business models benefit local communities and help meet sustainable development challenges. Two of the awards were specifically designated for women-led ventures that focus on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Trending: Uber, Airbnb Optimizing User Experience Through Smart Partnerships
Trending: Uber, Airbnb Optimizing User Experience Through Smart Partnerships

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Not a day goes by that we don’t hear some mention of “the sharing economy” these days, partly because of continued smart moves from the companies creating and riding the wave.First, on-demand ride service Uber recently announced a partnership with hotel chain Hilton Worldwide to help “make travel seamless” through new app features.

More Than Words: The Book Producing Clean Drinking Water One Page at a Time
More Than Words: The Book Producing Clean Drinking Water One Page at a Time

CLEANTECH - The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that the total number of people without access to clean drinking water now stands at 663 million; each year, more than 840,000 globally die from water-related diseases. A key challenge in developing effective water filter technologies has been making them cheap and portable for distribution to those who need them.

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SAP Repeats Free Online Course on Sustainability and Business Innovation
SAP Repeats Free Online Course on Sustainability and Business Innovation

PRESS RELEASE - SAP SE today announced that due to high demand it will repeat its 2014 course “Sustainability and Business Innovation” through the open SAP platform. The course will be held September 9 through October 29. Last year, over 13,000 attendees from 45 countries took part in the free online course.

5 User Experience Principles to Help Communicate Complex Ideas
5 User Experience Principles to Help Communicate Complex Ideas

MARKETING AND COMMS - With User Experience (UX), the primary objective is to remove barriers between the user and the outcome we want to create. We start by putting ourselves in the shoes of users and trying as best we can to get inside their heads so that we can approach the experience from their perspective. What kind of experience would they naturally gravitate toward? What might baffle them? What could thrill them? All of this becomes especially important when clients are trying to communicate something particularly detailed, nuanced or complex. In our experience, having a handful of solid principles to guide you can be particularly helpful.

Tesla Smashes Consumer Reports Rating System, Branches Into Sharing Economy
Tesla Smashes Consumer Reports Rating System, Branches Into Sharing Economy

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Tesla Motors is charging forward with a new partnership with home-sharing startup Airbnb and a record-breaking variant of its Model S, the P85D.The Tesla Model S P85D smashed the Consumer Reports’ rating system, setting a new benchmark for a perfect overall score.At the Consumer Reports test track in East Haddam, Connecticut, the car initially earned a raw 103-point score in the 100-point-based rating system. Consumer Reports made changes to its scoring methodology to account for the car’s exceptionally strong performance, and awarded the Tesla Model S P85D a final score of 100 points.

SimaPro Share & Collect Software Facilitates Fast, Fact-Based Sustainability Decisions
SimaPro Share & Collect Software Facilitates Fast, Fact-Based Sustainability Decisions

NEW METRICS - Today, PRé Sustainability, a sustainability software and consultancy firm with 25 years’ experience as leading voice in life cycle management, life cycle assessment and sustainability metrics development, launches SimaPro Share & Collect, a web-based platform developed to facilitate fact-based sustainable decision-making in an efficient, time-saving manner.

Trending: 'Freaky Friday' Technologies Grow Metal, Create Batteries from Trees
Trending: 'Freaky Friday' Technologies Grow Metal, Create Batteries from Trees

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - We know from the emerging discipline of biomimicry that natural systems can stimulate sustainable designs for human use. Two recent innovations use trees for inspiration and materials in unconventional products that may revolutionize very different industries: large-scale metal production, and battery technology to suit cars and wearable devices.

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Texas Teen Develops $20 Water Purifier to Fight E-Waste Pollution
Texas Teen Develops $20 Water Purifier to Fight E-Waste Pollution

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - Eighteen-year-old Perry Alagappan of Texas has created a renewable heavy metal filter capable of removing 99 percent of heavy metals from water that passes through it, The Guardian reports.This could be particularly useful in countries such as China and India, where recycling factories are recovering e-waste exported from around the world, but discharging heavy metals and chemicals into local water supplies in the process.

Trending: New Use for Coffee Grounds, 'Uber for Trash' Among Latest Innovations in Waste Reduction
Trending: New Use for Coffee Grounds, 'Uber for Trash' Among Latest Innovations in Waste Reduction

WASTE NOT - You might already be using them in your garden or they might be fueling your commute — but now you can use them in your 3D printer: Coffee grounds seem to be wasted less and less by the day, thanks to waste-to-energy and upcycling efforts across the globe.

#BusinessCase: Ecolab, Trucost Expand Water Risk Monetizer to Include Revenue-at-Risk Assessment
#BusinessCase: Ecolab, Trucost Expand Water Risk Monetizer to Include Revenue-at-Risk Assessment

NEW METRICS - Just in time for World Water Week, the Water Risk Monetizer, industry’s first publicly available financial modeling tool that enables businesses to factor current and future water risks into decision making, now provides users with insights into how water scarcity impacts revenue. The tool’s new assessment helps water-dependent businesses better understand the full value of water to their operations and identify revenue at risk based on current and projected water scarcity.

Trending: Biobased Microbeads, Flexible Foams Could Offer Renewable Materials for Hundreds of Products
Trending: Biobased Microbeads, Flexible Foams Could Offer Renewable Materials for Hundreds of Products

CHEMISTRY, MATERIALS & PACKAGING - TerraVerdae BioWorks, an industrial biotechnology company developing advanced bioplastics and environmentally sustainable biomaterials, announced Monday that it has successfully achieved key milestones for the commercial production for its line of Polyhydroxyalkanoate (PHA)-based biomaterials. These include 10,000-liter production runs of its line of biodegradable, natural microspheres for use in personal care and cosmetic products.

Musk’s ‘Hyperloop’ on Track to Start Construction in 2016
Musk’s ‘Hyperloop’ on Track to Start Construction in 2016

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - Two years ago, billionaire CEO of Tesla Motors and SpaceX visionary Elon Musk made headlines when he released designs for the ‘Hyperloop’ Transport System, which would be capable of rapidly transporting people from Los Angeles to San Francisco via a tube in under 30 minutes.The proposed system would use pods about two meters, or around 6.6 feet, in diameter. Musk described the Hyperloop as a “cross between a Concorde and a railgun and an air hockey table," instilling images of people-packed pods being blasted pneumatically through vacuum tubes.

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NASA Says Closing the Loop on Poop May Be Key to Long-Term Space Travel
NASA Says Closing the Loop on Poop May Be Key to Long-Term Space Travel

WASTE NOT - The circular economy is launching into space. Researchers at Clemson University in South Carolina recently secured funding from NASA to create a closed-loop system on a spacecraft that could turn astronauts’ feces into food, fertilizer and other useful materials for long space flights. “Synthetic Biology for Recycling Human Waste into Food, Nutraceuticals, and Materials: Closing the Loop for Long-Term Space Travel” was awarded a $200,000 per year grant, for up to three years, to tackle the space agency’s challenge to feed humans cramped into a spacecraft for months at a time.

This Bio-Knit Shoe Will Be as Easy to Recycle as Plastic Bottles
This Bio-Knit Shoe Will Be as Easy to Recycle as Plastic Bottles

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - A new shoe based on textile biomimicry promises easy recycling and soft, robust textures with a single heat-treated material and 3D printers.Designer Amno Liao from the Royal College of Art in London has created the Bio-Knit shoe, which is knitted on a 3-D knitting machine and then treated to harden its various parts. Heat is used to change the stiffness of the threads, so a semi-rigid heel and sock-like textures are produced from the same material. Creating a shoe without composites, as most footwear contains, will dramatically reduce recycling costs.

New AT&T Program Aims to Help California Drought, Support The Nature Conservancy
New AT&T Program Aims to Help California Drought, Support The Nature Conservancy

WASTE NOT - AT&T announced a new program today that will help California customers minimize a major source of water waste: leaks.Customers that sign up for AT&T Digital Life and add a Water Detection Package will receive alerts on their mobile devices when a sensor detects the presence of water in a designated area in their home. In addition, the AT&T Digital Life Water Control service not only detects water leaks, but allows users to shut off the water source remotely from their mobile phone or tablet.

Domtar Leads Pulp and Paper Industry in Self-Generated Energy
Domtar Leads Pulp and Paper Industry in Self-Generated Energy

PRODUCT, SERVICE & DESIGN INNOVATION - This week, Domtar Corporation released its 2015 Sustainability Report, highlighting its environmental leadership in fiber-based product production and its support of sustainable harvesting.Among its most notable accomplishments, the company self-generated 74 percent of the electricity used in its pulp and paper mills through cogeneration technologies and hydropower, outpacing the US pulp and paper industry average of 59 percent. Nearly two-thirds of this self-generated energy came from renewable fuel derived from its pulping chemical recovery process and from wood residuals left over from log debarking.

Tech Giants, NGOs, Warren Buffett Campaigning to Wipe Out Wildlife Trafficking
Tech Giants, NGOs, Warren Buffett Campaigning to Wipe Out Wildlife Trafficking

COLLABORATION - The uproar over the recent poaching and killing of Zimbabwe’s beloved Cecil the Lion has thrust wildlife hunting and trafficking back into the international spotlight.On the heels of President Obama’s recent visit to Kenya, he announced on July 31 the formation of the United States Wildlife Trafficking Alliance - a voluntary coalition of non-profit organizations, companies, foundations and media interests that will be working closely with the U.S. government in a collaboration to reduce the purchase and sale of illegal wildlife and wildlife products.

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UK Trialing 'Electric Highways' That Will Wirelessly Charge EVs
UK Trialing 'Electric Highways' That Will Wirelessly Charge EVs

CLEANTECH - Highways England and Under Secretary of State for Transport Andrew Jones MP announced today that off-road (test track) trials of technology needed to power electric and hybrid vehicles on England’s major roads are due to take place later this year.The trials are the first of their kind and will test how the technology would work safely and effectively on the country’s motorways and major A roads, allowing drivers of ultra-low emission vehicles to travel long distances without needing to stop and charge the car’s battery.

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