Spectrum: 3-D Modeling, Printing Help Buttercup the Duck

Plus, Coca-Cola is easier to come by in some parts of the world than clean drinking water, so a Dutch artist devised a distillation process to convert the soda into water using his creation, The Real Thing.

by / December 16, 2014
Buttercup the duck wears a 3-D-printed foot.

Walking Like a Duck

Fluffy duck Buttercup was born with a backward foot, which caused her pain and made it hard to move around like a normal bird. Physical therapy helped, but couldn’t fully turn her foot in the proper direction. Caretaker Mike Garey and veterinarian Dr. Shannon McGee teamed up with NovaCopy to make a prosthetic leg out of silicone for Buttercup using 3-D modeling and printing technology. Follow Buttercup’s progress at the Feathered Angels Waterfowl Sanctuary in Arlington, Tenn., on her Facebook page: Facebook.com/ButtercupTheDuck. Source: Inhabitat

Turning Coke into Water

Dutch artist Helmut Smits finds irony in the fact that Coca-Cola is easier to come by in some parts of the world than clean drinking water. Working with the University of Amsterdam’s Synthetic Organic Chemistry Group, Smits devised a distillation process to convert the ubiquitous red-bottled soda into water using his creation, The Real Thing. Soda is boiled in the device, creating water vapor, which is funneled into a glass and mixed with minerals to make it safe to drink. The Real Thing was displayed at the Sense Nonsense exhibition in Eindhoven, Netherlands, during Dutch Design Week.

Smits revealed that the prototype’s main purpose is to get people thinking. “I’m not planning on turning all the Coke in the world back into water; it’s more to let people think about how we humans create the world around us and ask questions.” Source: Dezeen

Nanoparticle Research Boosted by Accident

Google software engineer Tom Stanis’ February 2013 bicycle accident near Stanford University left him with a concussion, a neck brace and no recollection of the event. But it also resulted in an unrelated medical discovery that shifted the course of his career. A CT scan after the accident revealed spine fractures and a kidney mass that turned out to be cancer.

With the cancer removed, and an excellent prognosis, Stanis left his post on the Google Wallet mobile payment team to join Google X, the company’s clandestine research arm. Specifically, he’s now a part of a Life Sciences group developing nanoparticles to patrol the human body to detect evidence of diseases like cancer in their early, most-treatable stages. In fact, Stanis’ story was instrumental in securing funding for the endeavor.

“I feel like the work I do is leading to better solutions to these problems. I feel a direct personal connection to this,” he said. Source: Wall Street Journal

Tripping the Light, Fantastic!

Motorcyclists and subcompact-car drivers have likely sat alone at many red lights, wondering if sensors will ever detect their ride and turn the light green. Bicyclists’ plight is worse still, as sensors often can’t pick up bikes at all. That’s why cyclist Nat Collins designed the Veloloop, a bicycle attachment that uses battery power to trigger sensors. An LED on the device informs the user when it’s searching for, and locked on, the sensor. Beta testers report shaving minutes off their commutes. Source: CityLab

Noelle Knell Editor

Government Technology editor Noelle Knell has more than 15 years of writing and editing experience, covering public projects, transportation, business and technology. A California native, she has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history. She can be reached via email and on Twitter.