12 Exciting Innovations from 2012
2012 was a great year for innovators. From solar soccer to poop power, inventions, innovations, and ideas for changing the world sprouted like daisies. Here's a list of some green technology you might have missed:
1. Recharge from a Distance: Wireless power can be transmitted under roads to electric cars, and rechargeable batteries can get a boost from anywhere in the house.
2. Solar Soccer Ball: The Soccket is a soccer ball that can generate and store energy when it's kicked.
3. Manure into Gold: Manure from cows can be "digested" to make heat, electricity, animal bedding, and fertilizer.
4. Solar Incubator: In poor countries without access to the grid, solar-powered incubators can save infants' lives.
5. Mud-Powered Fuel Cell: Aquatic mud is full of microbes, and a new fuel cell can tap their metabolism for electricity. This could power swimming robots.
7. Ocean Energy: Energy can be produced using the difference between shallow warm and deep cold water. Also: Natural home cooling from the depths of the sea.
8. Sony's Bio Battery: Enzymes from the bacteria that live in termites can be put into batteries that run on shredded paper.
9. Robotic Sailboat: A feel of fuel-less, autonomous sailing robots can study our oceans, tracking temperature, pollutants, and more.
10. Train Power: Trains are using new technologies, like installing mini-wind turbines into the rail tunnels, to capture extra energy from fast-moving vehicles.
11. Guts to Glory: The bacteria that help pandas and elephants digest cellulose could also make cellulosic ethanol more efficient.
12. Fitness Fuel: Ecofit exercise machines can be hooked together to produce electricity, with a user-friendly interface.
-Rachael Monosson is an editorial intern for Sierra and a recent graduate of Stanford University, where she studied Earth Systems. She lives in San Mateo.
--Image by iStockphoto/AndreiRybachuk.