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Articles on Innovation and Invention

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Government policies sparked rapid growth and technology innovation in solar energy, wind energy and battery markets. Michael Hall/Getty Images

Technology innovation gives government leverage to drive down emissions fast – here’s how

Technology innovation is one of the Biden administration’s most powerful tools for accelerating progress on climate change. Recent successes in renewable energy and batteries show how this can work.
Maker spaces give engineers and designers the tools to build low-cost medical equipment using locally available materials. Brandon Martin, Rice University

‘Frugal design’ brings medical innovations to communities that lack resources during the pandemic

Engineering students in Malawi and Tanzania have used the materials and tools available to them to build ventilators, personal protective equipment and UV disinfection systems.
Sewage samples mixed with magnetic beads and loaded onto the liquid-handling robot for viral concentration. C. H. Sheikhzadeh @ HOMA Photographic Art

Sewage-testing robots process wastewater faster to predict COVID-19 outbreaks sooner

A community’s wastewater can predict coronavirus cases that haven’t yet been diagnosed. The quicker that information is known, the better.
Gene-based vaccines had never been approved for humans before the coronavirus pandemic. Juan Gaertner/Science Photo Library via Getty Images

3 medical innovations fueled by COVID-19 that will outlast the pandemic

The coronavirus pandemic has driven a lot of scientific progress in the past year. But just as some of the social changes are likely here to stay, so are some medical innovations.
Bendable concrete created at the University of Michigan allows for thinner structures with less need for steel reinforcement. Joseph Xu/University of Michigan College of Engineering

Bendable concrete and other CO2-infused cement mixes could dramatically cut global emissions

Researchers are developing ways to lock captured CO2 into cement. It could help rebuild America’s crumbling infrastructure and deal with climate change at the same time.
Understanding how artificial intelligence algorithms solve problems like the Rubik’s Cube makes AI more useful. Roland Frisch via Wikimedia Commons

How explainable artificial intelligence can help humans innovate

AI algorithms can solve hard problems and learn incredible tasks, but they can’t explain how they do these things. If researchers can build explainable AI, it could lead to a flood of new knowledge.
Saved from the trash heap and ready for transformation. Nathan Shaiyen/Michigan Tech

How to turn plastic waste in your recycle bin into profit

Consumers can turn plastic waste into valuable products at minimal cost using the open source technologies associated with DRAM – distributed recycling and additive manufacturing.

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