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Tasty Tech Eye Candy Of The Week (Oct 4)
By Tracy Staedter,
Discovery News, 4 October 2015.

Water, water everywhere. This week we have a Mars habitat made of ice, a floating yacht city, and a countertop dishwasher that saves on H2O.

1. Self-Propelled Floating Island


Where else but at the Monaco Yacht Show would you see plans for the world's first self-propelled floating island? The Kokomo Ailand, designed by Migaloo, comes with a penthouse, jungle deck, spa, gym, swimming pool, waterfall and even a shark-feeding station.

2. Reusable Rocket


Private spaceflight company United Launch Alliance has come up with a creative method for recovering and reusing rocket boosters. First, a cone-shaped Hypersonic Inflatable Aerodynamic Decelerator would deploy and slow down the booster's fall to Earth. A chute would then open to slow the booster even more and then a helicopter would pluck the parafoil from the air and lower it safely to the ground.

3. Optical Chip


This computer chip turns light directly into an electrical current. Tiny carbon nanotube antennas capture light and move it through miniature components called rectifiers that switch on and off at superfast speeds, creating a direct current. The chip could lead to solar cells that are twice as efficient and ten times cheaper than those available today.

4. Waterless Dishwasher


As the world gets more crowded and natural resources such as water become more strained, apartment dwellers will surely be on the lookout for little appliances like this waterless dishwasher from Circo. A hand crank provides power for jets of water, while a sodium acetate tablet heats the water without electricity. In a couple of minutes, dirty dishes are clean.

5. Electric Bus


Start-up company Proterra, launched by former Tesla employee, Ryan Popple, has an electric bus that recently proved it could drive 258 miles on a single charge. Foothill Transit in Southern California will be first company to buy buses from Proterra and by the time the vehicles' batteries need to be replaced, the new one will have advanced in efficiency to provide an additional 100 miles of range.

6. Rainbow Eclipse Lamp


As lamps go, they more or less function the way they did hundreds of years ago. But this new Eclipse of Rainbow lamp provides light on another spectrum. It has seven LED bulbs that are shaded by a black steel hood, forcing the light to shine down. The light from each bulb passes through an opaque plastic disc, casting colour onto the floor that overlaps in circles.

7. Drone Port


In large parts of Africa, roads are impassable or non-existent. That makes it challenging to deliver life-saving medical supplies to the people who need them. A collaboration between Afrotech, EPFL, the Norman Foster Foundation, and Foster + Partners will result in a droneport in Rwanda, where drones will arrive and depart, carrying emergency supplies, spare parts, electronics, and other items as part of an e-commerce network. Initially, drones with a 3-meter wingspan and capable of carrying a payload of 10 kg will fly routes across the country. By 2025, the port will accommodate drones with a 6-meter wingspan that are capable of carrying payloads of 100 kg.

8. Mars Igloo


Good thing they found water on Mars. Because this week, NASA awarded the first place prize in its 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Contest to the Mars Ice House, which is designed to harness the Red Planet’s liquid water and use it to 3D-print a layered shell of ice.

9. Tesla's Model X SUV


This week, Tesla unveiled its new Model X SUV. It seats seven and has 250 miles of range on one charge. Plus, wing doors!

10. 3-D Mini Brain


Scientists from Brown University have developed a way to grow tiny balls of living neurons that form networks and are electrically active, just like a brain. The three-dimensional mini-brain could be used instead of lab rats to test drugs, neural tissue transplants and other experiments on the brain.

[Source: Discovery News. Edited. Top image and links added.]