Painting by hedgehogs (Day 258)

HedgehogFor timid slow moving animals, hedgehogs and their relations are found all over Asia, Africa and Europe.

A few years ago they were the subject of a chemically-engineered joke when ‘Hedgehog Flavoured Crisps’ (potato chips) were sold in the UK.

Thankfully, no hedgehogs were hurt in their manufacture, but their taste (whatever that was) was mimicked using pork fat.

Now the hedgehog name has been used in the context of a new environmentally-friendly paint, and other applications.

University of Michigan researchers have developed a process that can sprout microscopic spikes on nearly any type of particle. They are called “hedgehog particles” due to their bushy appearance under the microscope.

Continue reading Painting by hedgehogs (Day 258)

Using pedal power to charge phones (Day 256)

Charging batteriesNot being able to recharge your cell phone, and other small electronic devices, due to lack of access to power is a common problem the world over.

Part of a solution is being addressed by developing the next generation of ultra-fast charging batteries.

But what if you don’t have round the clock access to electricity or power such as those living in rural areas who experience long hours of power cuts every day?

As part of a project called “Engineering for the World’s Poorest” at Case Western Reserve University, US, chemical engineer professor Daniel Lacks and two of his students have developed a solution to this problem – a foot-powered cell phone charger.

Continue reading Using pedal power to charge phones (Day 256)