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Three Year EcoCar Competition Wrapping Up

For the past three years, students from all over the country have been competing to design the ultimate vehicle that balances performance, safety and consumer appeal with fuel efficiency and emissions-reduction.

The 16 university teams participating in EcoCar: The NeXt Challenge recently tested their cars in Ann Arbor, MI, as they geared up for the Competition Finals.

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Beams of Electricity to Extinguish Fires

It is common knowledge that electricity can cause fires, but can electricity help fight fires as well?

Harvard scientists have created a unique device that can shoot beams of electricity and instantly extinguish flames.

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Energy-Generating Waterfall Proposed for 2016 Olympics

Last year we reported on the sustainability efforts of the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, which made the games the greenest yet. Vancouver was outfitted with solar panels, green roofs, and mechanisms to collect and recycle rainwater. Award medals were made from re-purposed electronic waste.

Now, Rio de Janeiro is aiming to create the first games with a zero-carbon footprint when it hosts the Summer Olympics in 2016.

To help the city achieve this goal, Swiss-based RAFAA Architecture and Design has proposed a Solar City Tower, which features a visually stunning energy-generating waterfall.

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Replacing Internal Combustion Engines

While this spacey-looking disk will not allow your car to time-travel, it might replace its internal combustion engine

Here’s a new approach to decreasing the environmental impact of cars: a new auto motor could make them 20 percent lighter and reduce emissions by 90 percent.

Michigan researchers have built a prototype of a disk-shaped shock wave generator that could replace the current internal combustion engine in cars. The generator is about the size of a saucepan and does not need a transmission, cooling system, or emissions regulation fluid, which would reduce the weight of a vehicle by 1,000 pounds.

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Cynthia Breazeal Wants You to Make Friends with Robots

Ask anyone to name a famous robot, and it is likely they will mention characters like C-3PO, R2-D2, Wall-E, and Optimus Prime. What all of these friendly androids from film have in common is something that the majority of modern robots lack: the ability to converse with humans.

Cynthia Breazeal, an electrical and computer engineer, has dedicated her career to making robots more sociable. She is currently the director of the Personal Robots Group at the MIT Media Lab, where she researches and develops machines that can teach, learn, talk, and mimic human emotions.

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