A social supermarket for those at risk of food poverty

Social supermarkets have emerged in Britain in the past five years as a response to food poverty and food waste. These non-charitable initiatives sell food “surplus” to people on low incomes at heavily discounted prices, and provide social support. Most social supermarkets can be found in the 10-20 per cent of most deprived neighbourhoods. They primarily stock food surplus, as well as some non-food goods. These are products originally intended for sale in the mainstream market which have become unsaleable. Food isn’t given away for free or handed out, as in food banks. Instead it’s offered in a retail-like environment at heavily discounted prices – access is generally on a controlled basis to “members”, selected by using certain socioeconomic or geographic criteria, to target those who are at risk of food poverty. https://theconversation.com/how-social-supermarkets-are-filling-a-gap-in-austerity-britain-99705

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Hospitals are using VR to alleviate pain during treatments

Hospitals are finding that the ability to distract patients with fully immersive, fun and relaxing sensory environments with virtual reality can have a significant impact on the anxiety and pain that they experience during minor procedures, dressing changes and other medical treatments. https://med.stanford.edu/news/all-news/2017/09/virtual-reality-alleviates-pain-anxiety-for-pediatric-patients.html

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Reduce waste by recovering value

The Renewal Workshop is an innovative startup that can make clothes and textiles as good as new by repairing them and cleaning them in liquified carbon dioxide. Clothes can be recycled and sheets can get a new home in say, an Airbnb. The Renewal Workshop partners with brands and retailers to renew returned clothes and sheets so they can be resold through online stores. www.renewalworkshop.com

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Next generation AI

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In May this year. Google revealed its AutoML project; artificial intelligence (AI) designed to help them create other AIs. Recently Google announced that AutoML has beaten the human AI engineers at their own game by building machine-learning software that’s more efficient and powerful than the best human-designed systems. http://www.sciencealert.com/google-s-machine-learning-software-has-learned-to-replicate-itself?

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A 3rd thumb to extend your abilities

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The Third Thumb is a 3D printed device that wraps around your hand and attaches to a wristband, providing an actual third thumb on the opposite side of your hand from your natural thumb. Its movement is controlled by your feet. Two pressure sensors are placed into your shoes and connected to the thumb through a Bluetooth connection. With an extra thumb, you can extend your musical instrument-playing abilities, more easily grasp objects, or just improve your dexterity overall. https://3dprint.com/180162/third-thumb-project-3d-printing/

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Green roofs for city streets

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Green roofs are a green infrastructure (GI) option that can be applied to virtually any rooftop given weight load capacity. The benefits of green roofs extend far beyond their obvious aesthetic appeal. They can capture 70 per cent of rainfall over a given time, relieving underground stormwater systems and releasing the rain water back into the atmosphere. http://www.inkl.com/newsletters/morning-edition/news/how-green-roofs-can-help-cities-sponge-away-excess-stormwater?

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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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A vaccine for diabetes

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A vaccine for type 1 diabetes developed by Finnish researchers will be tested on human subjects in late 2018. The scientists first found that the prototype works effectively and safely on mice, and now say that the vaccine could be in mainstream use within eight years if the coming rounds of tests prove successful. http://www.snopes.com/diabetes-vaccine-2/

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Light from a plastic bottle

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Liter of Light, a project of the Philippines-based nonprofit MyShelter Foundation, provides light to poor households around the world with limited or no access to electricity ― by collecting plastic bottles, filling them with water and bleach, and sticking them into roofs. The bleach-filled bottles then refract the light from outdoors into the house, lighting up much like a lightbulb. To make the bottles work at night a small LED lightbulb is slipped into the bottle, which in turn is hooked up to a mini-solar panel. http://www.huffingtonpost.com.au/entry/plastic-bottles-electricity_us_596e64f4e4b0000eb1968bb5

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