Polymer mat destroys water pollutants

June 1, 2018

It’s called bait, hook and destroy, a process that removes pollutants from water. While it sounds dramatic, the process is achieved using a polymer mat that can target harmful contaminants and fish them out. Developed by scientists at the Rice University-led Nanotechnology-Enabled Water Treatment (NEWT) Center, the mat employs titanium dioxide, a common material used …

Curtains for textural graphics

Brothers Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec are Paris-based designers known for a fresh, modern aesthetic that plays with silhouette and texture. They have always had an interest in embroidery due to its ability to enhance textiles, as well as its grounding in French cultural tradition. When Danish textile manufacturer Kvadrat tapped the team to create a …

Suited for speed

May 1, 2018

The only naturally refrigerated bobsled track in the world, the Olympia Bob Run St. Moritz-Celerina, is located in Switzerland’s Engadine Valley. Dating back to 1904, it is also the world’s oldest track, built for vacationing British guests. In March, the local Cristal Da Glatsch club held a bobsled race to support the track. Racers were …

A smarter jacket for first responders

Smart technology offers endless practical applications, but its potential for first responders has lifesaving possibilities. The technology company Nokia, working with South Korean apparel company Kolon and Czech Republic software developer GINA, has introduced a prototype jacket for police, firefighters and other emergency responders. Called the CHASE (connected health and safety equipment) LifeTech FR (first …

The future is… comfy

In the 1980s science fiction hit “Back to the Future,” Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox) travels through time wearing a pair of high-flying, self-lacing Nike Air Mags. In real life, Nike produced 89 pairs of the techno sneakers in 2016 to benefit the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research to the tune of $6.5 …

Insulating fabric, or polar bear pelt?

Polar bears have a thick pelt that keeps them warm in the arctic environment even when temperatures average -40°F during the winter months. Scientists at China’s Zhejiang University College of Chemical and Biological Engineering studied the microstructure and thermal insulation qualities of the polar bear’s coat and have developed a fiber that mimics it. The …

The cycles of time, sculpted in fiber

Madrid’s historic Plaza Mayor, a popular gathering place and tourist destination, celebrated its 400th anniversary in February 2018. In honor of the occasion, the city of Madrid, Spain, commissioned an original sculpture by American artist Janet Echelman. Known for colorful large-scale fiber sculptures, Echelman created an installation—1.78 Madrid—that explored the cycles of time. It was …

Patient-friendly hospital gowns

With advancements in modern medicine, the one thing that has remained the same for decades is the awkward, open-back hospital gown. The company Care+Wear, founded in 2014 to design fashionable and functional clothing and accessories for people undergoing medical treatment, decided it was time for a makeover. The team worked with students from Parsons School …

MIT develops new technique for ultrafine fibers

April 1, 2018

They may be ultrafine, but fibers produced using a new process developed by researchers at MIT are strong and tough enough for use in applications including protective armor and nanocomposites. The process, known as gel electrospinning, is a variation of the traditional method of gel spinning, but with electrical forces. It creates ultrafine polyethylene fibers …

Carbon fiber Humanity Star takes to the skies

Scientist and engineer Peter Beck is on a mission to make commercial space travel a reality. He founded Rocket Lab in 2006 to provide frequent launch opportunities to low earth orbit. Beck also wanted to create a way to connect people to the night sky, to bring people together. He hopes to demonstrate that we …