Because most recycling centers don’t accept dark-colored plastics, more than four billion kilograms of car bumpers, cell phones and other materials clog U.S. landfills each year. Black plastic could easily be recycled. The problem: the polymers used in different plastics are incompatible, and melting them together yields an unusable glop. But the conventional plastic-identification method of analyzing reflected laser light doesn’t work well with black plastic, which chars under the bright beam.
SpectraCode of West Lafayette, IN, may have solved the problem. The key is a laser beam that hops around. The beam can be bright enough to produce an identifying signal rapidly; by dancing from point to point roughly every tenth of a second, it never dwells on one spot long enough to burn it. SpectraCode CEO Edward Grant expects the probe to be used in commercial products by early 2002.
The hype around DeepMind’s new AI model misses what’s actually cool about it
Some worry that the chatter about these tools is doing the whole field a disservice.
These materials were meant to revolutionize the solar industry. Why hasn’t it happened?
Perovskites are promising, but real-world conditions have held them back.
Why China is still obsessed with disinfecting everything
Most public health bodies dealing with covid have long since moved on from the idea of surface transmission. China’s didn’t—and that helps it control the narrative about the disease’s origins and danger.
A quick guide to the most important AI law you’ve never heard of
The European Union is planning new legislation aimed at curbing the worst harms associated with artificial intelligence.
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