See Invisible With Water

Lenses which focus as a real eye is a photographers’ dream. And how about simple lenses on which any image is projected – even a favourite TV show? And military dreams are augmented reality lenses and “invisibility ray”. It turns out that prototypes of all these devices already exist.

Kamera-stanet-glazom1Camera will become an eye. Yet human eye is considered to be an ideal lense. It can focus on different objects, no matter how far they are. Until recent time contemporary photographic and video equipment was far from it. Scientists from Ohio State University invented a water filled lense which can rapidly change focus by changing its form. Device works similarly as an insects’s eye. The entire lense is composed of a great number of tiny domed niches, connected by channels, so the liquid can flow from one dome to another. Lense developers believe that this will be a breakthrough in digital cameras capabilities and they will become more safe, because they will require less object-glasses. Read more

10 Shocking Facts about the World’s Water

water1. 3.4 million people—mainly children— die as a result of preventable water-related diseases every year.

2. 1.2 billion people—nearly 20 percent of the world’s population—live in areas of physical water scarcity. What does that mean? Water withdrawals for agriculture, industry, and domestic purposes exceed 75 percent of river flows.

3. In developing countries, an estimated 90 percent of sewage and 70 percent of industrial waste is discharged into waterways without any treatment at all. Read more

Minimizing water use, maintaining productivity

As the climate warms up, more and more farmers in Switzerland need to irrigate their crops. This is problematic because many rivers carry less water. If the increase in water use is limited, agricultural production will not be significantly lowered. This conclusion was reached on the basis of models created in a project of the National Research Programme “Sustainable Water Management” (NRP 61).

gardenClimate change will lead to regional water shortages. If the use of river water is not regulated, both water quality and biodiversity could be negatively affected. Overuse can be avoided by redirecting water from larger bodies of water via pipes and distribution networks. This comes at a considerable price and has an impact on the environment. Read more

Autonomous Airboats Monitor Hippo Dung in Kenya’s Mara River Basin

Small, autonomous airboats, disguised to look like crocodiles, helped scientists measure water quality this spring in Kenya’s Mara River. An estimated 4,000 hippos use the river as a toilet with potentially deadly effects for fish living downriver.

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Autonomous airboats, disguised to look like crocodiles skimmed the surface of hippopotamus pools in Kenya’s Mara River where they scanned the river bottom for deposits of hippo dung and made various water quality measurements.

The airboats, developed at Carnegie Mellon University’s Robotics Institute and operated by a CMU spinoff, Platypus LLC, skimmed over the surface of several hippopotamus pools in the river, where they scanned the river bottom for deposits of hippo dung and made various measurements of water quality.

No human would dare venture onto this brown water in which so many hippos slosh around. But the animals, considered among the most dangerous in Africa, generally tolerated the two-foot-long boats much as they do the river’s crocodiles. Read more

See-Through Fish

The photographs feature fish that have been specially treated to make the stained skeletal tissues visible through the skin and flesh.

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A tube snout (Aulorhynchus flavidus). (Photo by Adam Summers)

The technique, developed by Dr. Adam Summers, uses dyes, hydrogen peroxide, a digestive enzyme and glycerin to make the flesh seem to disappear. Adam Summers has given us a new perspective on the internal structures of the aquatic animals, thanks to his series of artistic photographs currently on exhibit at the Seattle Aquarium. Read more