In this week's wrap, a few weeks ago, we had a generator running on urine, now a UK waste works factory has created a robot that runs on human waste. Also, a Japanese company has designed magnetic levitation trains, expected to operate at speeds of more than 500km per hour. Get the details on these stories and more below.
The Saltford sewage treatment works, near Bristol, England, has developed a robot that transforms human waste into usable energy. Called the EcoBot III, the robot is powered by energy processed by its microbial fuel cells, which turn waste into energy. This technology could mean that a robot is capable of refuelling itself autonomously by picking up waste material from the environment. The idea behind the project is to develop energy-efficient and eco-friendly robots that are self-sustaining.
Retina implant turns text to Braille
Researchers have developed a way to allow traditional text to be viewed as Braille letters with a retina implant. Although retina implants are already being used to restore partial vision to patients, these patients often still have difficulty reading text. Using this technology, patients won't be able to feel the letters but will see visual representations of the letters in Braille, which might be easier for patients to read and understand than traditional text. The technology is designed for viewing things like street signs rather than newspapers or books.
Cadbury invents chocolate that doesn't melt
This one is for the chocolate lovers - Cadbury has invented chocolate that can withstand temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius for three hours before melting. The idea came about at the research and development plant in Bourneville, near Birmingham, and the two chocolate engineers responsible for it have put forward their method of making "heat-tolerant chocolate" in an 8 000-word patent application. The unmeltable chocolate will only be available in countries that are hot enough.
Japan unveils super-fast floating trains
Central Japan Railway has designed high-speed, magnetic levitation trains, expected to operate at speeds of more than 500km per hour. The Series L0 maglev trains are scheduled to go into use in 2027 and link Shinagawa Station, in central Tokyo, with Nagoya. At present, this journey takes 90 minutes, but the new technology will cut the trip to 40 minutes.
'Milking' the latest Internet craze
First there was "planking", then "owling", and now the latest Internet fad is "milking". The dairy-themed gag involves spilling the entire contents of a milk jug over one's head in a public place and taking photographic evidence. The original "milkman", Tom Morris, 22, of Newcastle, recalled standing around the kitchen with friends thinking about what people would find funny and admits that the idea was born out of sheer boredom.
Bluetooth stickers help find lost belongings
Those who are prone to losing their possessions can now just slap a StickNFind sticker on anything (or anyone) and then use the accompanying app to figure out where the item is. The StickNFind app has a radar-like finding feature. The app can be set to send users an alert when an item comes into range or to warn them when an item goes out of range. The small, lightweight stickers are equipped with Bluetooth low-energy technology.