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25 Apr

In 2017, an inexpensive printer that could print Braille was introduced to the world, and a digital typeface that's intended for visually impaired people also hit the market. Soon, a tactile reading system will boot up a Kickstarter campaign.

But the biggest advance of all in this regard may be a universal typeface that mixes Braille with Japanese and English characters, thereby appealing to both visually impaired and sighted people at the same time. Called Braille Neue and designed by Kosuke Takahashi, the typeface could be a boon to signage makers, since their products would have to adjust only a bit in order to incorporate it.

That's especially helpful, since Braille isn't often used in public areas, likely since conventional wisdom dictates that the Braille characters would take up extra space.

Braille Neue features raised dots placed directly over the letterforms, not beside them; some spacing adjustments between letters is needed, but that's reportedly not such a big deal.

23 Apr

Waterfront property can be extremely expensive. The land itself sells for a premium. But a new eco-friendly solution can give homeowners a house without the land, resting atop the water. Known as the EcoFloLife WaterNest, the homes are approximately 328 square feet and made almost entirely from recyclable materials.

But eco-friendliness is only part of the WaterNest’s appeal. Since these homes rest atop water, they feature waterfront views and natural lighting, thanks to built-in skylights. Additionally, the homes utilize natural energy sources due to photovoltaic panels that are built into the roof of the building. The panels are able to provide as much as four kWp of electricity to the home.

21 Apr

Discarded plastic bottles are a serious risk to the environment, with the World Economic Forum reporting that by 2050, the Earth’s oceans will contain more plastic than fish. But a new invention from a product design student in Iceland offers an innovative solution. AriJónsson’s revolutionary water bottle actually decomposes once it’s been tossed in the trash.

While water is still inside, the bottle holds its shape. However, as soon as its contents are empty, the bottle begins to decompose. The technology works because the bottle is made from a mixture of algae and water, which relies heavily on water inside in order to retain its shape.

19 Apr

Cue up theme music from your favorite outer-space TV show.

The recent sightings took place about 40,000 feet over southern Arizona. Which isn't too terribly far from Roswell, New Mexico, site of other supposed UFO sightings stretching back decades. (Extraterrestrial visitors strangely have a thing for desert landscapes.)

According to released FAA recordings related to the incidents, a pilot flying a Learjet toward California said, "Was anybody above us that passed us like 30 seconds ago?"

In reply, an air traffic controller at the FAA's Albuquerque Air Traffic Center in New Mexico said, "Negative."

The pilot answered, "OK, something did."

17 Apr

While necessary to preserve food and beverages, refrigeration requires a steady stream of electricity to maintain a constant temperature. And that power supply, in turn, stresses the environment. It only makes sense, then, to seek out alternative forms of keeping edibles cool without hiking the temperature of the planet.

Here are a few, courtesy of New Atlas:

  • Look In Below: Before the advent of modern refrigeration, people stored food beneath the surface of the ground. Residents of Northern Canada, for instance, constructed storage areas beneath the permafrost. Some were the size of modest dwellings. Permafrost levels are going deeper into the ground, thanks to global warming. In turn, people have adapted the original model.

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