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An all electric VW van

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Volkswagen has announced it will bring back the most iconic vehicle of the 1960s. The VW van will return sometime in the next two years, as the I.D. Buzz. But this time around, it’s not a four-cylinder, water-cooled gas burner. The new van will be an all-electric vehicle driven by batteries. VW says the new all-wheel-drive machine will be able to transport eight passengers and get up to 270 miles of all-battery range. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-vw-van-returns-20170819-story.html

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Get up close to a Sumatran tiger

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At the new Tiger Trek exhibit at Taronga Zoo in Sydney you won’t just stare at tigers through glass. You can climb into a Toyota LandCruiser and effectively enter their enclosure, protected only by a toughened windscreen and windows, like on a safari. The Sumatran tiger, which is a native to Indonesia, is a critically endangered animal with only up to 400 remaining in the wild. https://taronga.org.au/tigertrek

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A window that becomes a balcony

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Bloomframe is a new window that transforms into a balcony at the touch of a button. Designed by Amsterdam-based Hofman Dujardin Architects, the window system allows entire sections of an apartment’s wall to fold outwards to create a balcony extension. The first Bloomframe window was installed in the Amsterdam housing project in July this year. It’s planned for the new Broadway tower project in Brisbane. https://www.hofmandujardin.nl/bloomframe-window/

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Fix damaged organ tissue without surgery

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A team of engineers at the University of Toronto has created a way to fix damaged organ tissue without surgery. The method involves a needle and a patch the size of the postage stamp, which has shape-memory capabilities, meaning it will always return to its default state when introduced to the right temperature. Once inserted into the needle and injected into the body, the patch unfolds and expands before proceeding to repair and replace missing tissue. https://futurism.com/new-stamp-sized-tissue-patch-could-be-used-to-regenerate-damaged-organs/

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The intelligence revolution has started!

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The world in undergoing a new revolution and it’s impacting on virtually every aspect of our business and personal lives. We can call it the intelligence revolution because it’s based on AI (artificial intelligence). The industrial revolution enabled us to build powerful machines that could do things for us. The intelligence revolution is enabling us to create machines that are making decisions for us with AI- a whole new step forward in technology. Try this link to see how your job will be affected. http://mobile.abc.net.au/news/2017-08-08/could-a-robot-do-your-job-artificial-intelligence/8782174?pfmredir=sm

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Almonds for cardiovascular health

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Researchers at Pennsylvania State University recently confirmed the anti-cholesterol benefits of almonds. Regular intake of a handful of almonds increased levels of mature HDL or “good cholesterol” particles, which are associated with cardiovascular health, by 19%. http://www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/here-s-why-you-must-eat-almonds-daily-they-help-eliminate-bad-cholesterol?

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Clean while you pedal

Clean while you pedal

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A cashless debit card for disadvantaged communities

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The cashless debit card has been designed to help disadvantaged communities decrease the level of consumption of drugs, alcohol and gambling which impacts on the health and wellbeing of communities, families and children. It quarantines 80 per cent of welfare recipients’ payments for other living expenses. The Australian Government needs the Senate to support introducing the card to new locations when communities want it. https://www.dss.gov.au/families-and-children/programmes-services/welfare-conditionality/cashless-debit-card-overview

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A truck that can tip 3 ways

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Isuzu Australia has announced an innovative new addition to its Ready to Work range of trucks- the Tri-Tipper. The tipper body can tilt to the left side, right or rear hence offers more flexibility, meaning customers are less dependent on access. http://content.isuzu.com.au/news-media/tri-tipper-joins-isuzu-ready-to-work-range/?

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Cool pavements to reduce temperatures

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In Los Angeles, where summer temperatures regularly surpass 38 degrees Celsius, or 100 degrees Fahrenheit, workers are coating streets in special grey treatments in a bid to help reduce the heat. It’s the first major city to test the technology. Normal black asphalt absorbs 80 to 95 per cent of sunlight, while the gray “cool pavement” reflects it – reducing ground temperature and urban street heat. http://www.scmp.com/news/world/united-states-canada/article/2106692/los-angeles-coating-roads-reflective-paint-beat-heat?

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An army of robots to sort parcels

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Chinese delivery firm Shentong is leading in automation. Orange robots at the company’s sorting stations are able to identify the destination of a package through a code-scan, virtually eliminating sorting mistakes. They can sort up to 200,000 packages a day, and are self-charging, meaning they are operational 24/7. Shentong estimates its robotic sorting system is saving around 70-percent of the costs of a human-based sorting line. http://m.huffingtonpost.ca/2017/04/18/shentong-express_n_16087678.html

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Overnight travel in a bus you can sleep on

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Cabin began making overnight trips between Los Angeles and San Francisco last month. The company’s emphasis on providing passengers with a good night’s sleep separates Cabin from other forms of transportation. Once on board you can relax on leather chairs in the bus lounge, retreat to your pod to rest or watch a movie. The buses depart around 11pm and arrive at their destination about 500 miles away the next day at 7am. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/innovations/wp/2017/08/10/can-a-better-nights-sleep-in-a-hipster-bus-replace-flying/?

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Clean water and power for remote communities

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For a few cents a day, people in remote communities can access clean water and clean power at a conveniently located box unit. Inside the box is a five-stage micro-filtration tank that takes in dirty water and makes it drinkable. Each box has solar panels sufficient to allow 300 families battery packs that hold enough power to run three LED lights for four hours and to charge two mobile phones. Grid Box plans to install units in 18 villages in Rwanda. https://www.fastcompany.com/40449777/this-simple-box-serves-up-running-water-and-clean-electricity-in-remote-locations?

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‘Bags for life’ to save waste

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Tesco is scrapping its 5p single use plastic carrier bags and replacing them with a new 10p Bag for Life made from 94pc recycled plastic. The announcement follows a successful 10-week trial in Aberdeen, Dundee and Norwich, where Tesco found that customers bought significantly fewer bags when only pricer bags were offered. Removing the 5p single-use carrier bags will “significantly reduce the number of bags sold and will therefore help reduce litter and bags sent to landfill,” Tesco said. The single-use carrier bags will cease to be offered in stores from August 28. Money from the new 10p bag, which will be replaced for free if damaged, will go towards funding community projects across Britain. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/business/2017/08/07/tesco-scraps-5p-shopping-bags-10p-bags-life/  

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Open banking to encourage FinTechs

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The Australian Government is conducting a review into open banking in Australia so that banks – especially the Big Four – open up their APIs and let FinTechs offer new financial products and services. In Europe, open banking has already been mandated by the European Commission. http://www.innovationaus.com/2017/08/ScoMo-to-pry-open-bank-data?

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Organ transplants from pigs

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A team of researchers from Harvard and eGenesis have genetically engineered pigs, removing viruses to make transplanting their organs into humans safer. This could be a game changing development for the future of organ transplants. https://futurism.com/gene-editing-breakthrough-could-let-us-to-transplant-pig-organs-into-humans/

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Saving sheep by milking spiders

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Gastrointestinal parasites cost the Australian sheep industry around $400 million each year with huge implications for animal welfare. The most common way of de-worming sheep is by “drenching” them but most worm populations are now showing resistance to the drugs which are used. This drug resistance is leading scientists working with the CSIRO to look for new treatments derived from the venom of spiders. https://blog.csiro.au/sheep-parasites-spider-venom/

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Single use plastic containers and cutlery to be phased out

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The Hobart City Council in Tasmania has agreed to draft legislation that would phase out single-use plastic containers and cutlery by 2020. Instead of using plastic containers for home delivery and takeout, restaurants in the city of 220,000 would have to use ones made from cardboard, cornstarch or bamboo that could be composted. The move follows Tasmania’s ban on thin plastic bags in 2013. (Thicker retail bags are still allowed.) https://mobile.nytimes.com/2017/08/09/world/australia/plastic-tasmania-hobart.html?

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A smart ring for phone calls

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Orii is a smart ring that gives you full control of your smartphone from your finger. The device blends Bluetooth with bone conduction technology to allow you to take phone calls and listen to messages by touching your ear with the finger wearing the ring. https://www.springwise.com/smart-ring-allows-users-hear-talk-finger/?

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