In case you missed it (ICYMI), here are some of the stories that made headlines in the world of cleanrooms and nanotechnology in the past week:
A British university has developed a waterless toilet that does not require a sewage system or external power. Nanotechnology to treat human waste, produce clean water, and reduce smells. Waste goes into a holding chamber and then membranes take water out as vapor, which is then condensed and available for home use. The system has been developed as part of The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s “Reinvent the Toilet Challenge,” as people in underdeveloped countries can suffer from diseases such as cholera, typhoid, and dysentery if they do not have access to adequate sanitation. The toilet can be used by a household of 10 people, and will only cost 5 cents per day per user.
Researchers in Zurich have developed transparent electrodes for touchscreens (including smartphones, ATMs, and ticket machines), using a breakthrough nanoprinting process. These new electrodes are among the most transparent and conductive that have ever been developed. For the first time, researchers have used 3D print technology to manufacture a new type of transparent electrode, which forms a grid of gold or silver “nanowalls” on a glass surface. The thin walls walls can hardly be seen with the naked eye. The more transparent the electrodes, the better the screen quality, and the more precisely the screen will work.
Finally, there is hope for people who’ve lost their sense of taste, or who find it difficult to monitor what they eat. Researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University are working on an artificial taste-sensing system. A sodium-sensing system is worn inside the mouth, braced on an orthodontic retainer. The system will measure the concentration of sodium ions coming in through the mouth and transmits the data to a smartphone or other monitoring system. As soon as the day’s sodium threshold is reached, a user alert will be issued. “Think of it as a Fitbit for the mouth,” the university says.