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Future technology: 22 ideas about to change our world

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Energy storing bricks

Scientists have found a way to store energy in the red bricks that are used to build houses.

Researchers led by Washington University in St Louis, in Missouri, US, have developed a method that can turn the cheap and widely available building material into “smart bricks” that can store energy like a battery.

Although the research is still in the proof-of-concept stage, the scientists claim that walls made of these bricks “could store a substantial amount of energy” and can “be

recharged hundreds of thousands of times within an hour”.

The researchers developed a method to convert red bricks into a type of energy storage device called a supercapacitor.

This involved putting a conducting coating, known as Pedot, onto brick samples, which then seeped through the fired bricks’ porous structure, converting them into “energy storing electrodes”.

Iron oxide, which is the red pigment in the bricks, helped with the process, the researchers said.

2.Robotic guide dogs

A student at Loughborough University has designed a “robotic guide dog” that will help support visually impaired people who are unable to house a real animal.

The product, designed by Anthony Camu, replicates the functions of a guide dog as well as programming quick and safe routes to destinations using real-time data.

Theia, named after the titan goddess of sight, is a portable and concealable handheld device that guides users through outdoor environments and large indoor spaces with very little input.

Using a special control moment gyroscope (CMG), Theia moves users’ hands and physically “leads” them – much like holding the brace of a guide dog.

The device is designed to process real-time online data, such as traffic density (pedestrians and cars) and weather, to guide users accurately and safely to their destinations.

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