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Top Inventions of 2008

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New inventions of 2008 include: smog-earing cement, high altitude flying windmills, bionic contacts, pig-urine plastic.

TX Active: Smog-Eating Cement

Tx Active Cement
Courtesy of Italcementi Group
TX Active is a self-cleaning and pollution-mitigating cement developed by the Italian company, Italcementi that can reduce pollution (nitric oxides) by up to 60%. TX Active contains a titanium dioxide based photocatalyzer. Through photocatalysis, the product reduces the maintenance requirements for concrete by destoying most pollutants that causes discoloration. Also, the cement effectively destroys airborne pollutants, which are responsible for pollution. The product can be used for roads, pavements, parking lots, buildings, and anyplace regular cement is being used. This one gets my vote for invention of the year. If we are going to pave paradise, let us at least give paradise a fighting chance to recover.

Bionic Lens - New Active Contact Lens

A researcher holds one of the completed lenses.
University of Washington
Inventor, Babak Parviz has invented a contact lens embeded with solar-powered leds and a radio-frequency receiver. Intially, Babak Parviz developed the contact lens to wirelessly communicate medical information about the health of the eye and wearer. However, other applications were soon realized. According to Parviz, "There are many possible uses for virtual displays. Drivers or pilots could see a vehicle's speed projected onto the windshield. Video-game companies could use the contact lenses to completely immerse players in a virtual world without restricting their range of motion. And for communications, people on the go could surf the Internet on a midair virtual display screen that only they would be able to see."

Flying Windmills - Wind Turbines That Harvest the Jet Stream

Wind Turbines That Harvest the Jet Stream
Sky Windpower
A San Diego company, Sky Windpower has invented flying wind turbines to be used in high-altitudes. The company estimates that just 1% of the energy from the jet stream could satisfy the energy demands of the entire planet. Sky Windpower's Bryan Roberts has long been convinced that high altitude wind energy can be captured. He has demonstrated that Flying Electric Generator(FEG) technology is practical and should work at high altitudes - this is the "Flying Windmills" technology.

Agroplast - Plastic Made from Pig Urine

The Danish company Agroplast has invented a way to transform pig urine into a common plastic precursor. The pig urea would replace urea derived from fossil fuels, reduce the waste from pig farming, and reduce the cost of plastic by up to 66%. According to Agroplast, traditionally, bioplastics made of vegetable matter have cost more than fossil fuel plastics. A cheap and available bioplastic could have an profound impact on our enviroment.

Sony's Sugar Battery

4 prototype bio battery units (left) connected to Walkman for playback
Sony
The new bio battery will generate electricity from a sugar solution and will be used to run the 2008 Sony Walkman. The bio battery incorporates an anode consisting of sugar-digesting enzymes and mediator, and a cathode comprising oxygen-reducing enzymes and mediator, either side of a cellophane separator. Through a process of electrochemical reaction, electricity will be generated.

Camera Pill

Camera Pill
Courtesy of Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
In collaboration with engineers from Given Imaging, the Israelite Hospital in Hamburg and the Royal Imperial College in London, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering have developed the first-ever control system for the camera pill. The camera pill can be swallowed by a patient. A doctor can move the camera pill by a magnetic remote control. The steerable camera pill consists of a camera, a transmitter that sends the images to the receiver, a battery and several cold-light diodes which briefly flare up like a flashlight every time a picture is taken.

Lab-on-a-Chip

McDevitt Research Laboratory, experts in tiny sensors and methodologies, have gone one step smaller and invented the nano-biochip.
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