It may sound weird, but Lego is quietly trying to ditch plastics.

For the past 60 years, we’ve all been building spaceships and castles, experimenting with what head goes on what body, and arguing with our siblings about where the grey 2-by-5 brick went — thanks to Lego.

“The S.S. Awesome can’t have any holes in it, Amanda. I know you have that 1-by-8 somewhere.” Photo by Kent Gavin/Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images, circa 1962.

Though nearly indestructible, Legos aren’t eternal. The bricks your kids or grandkids play with probably won’t be the ones you remember.

Beyond grocery bags and Barbie dolls, Legos might be the most iconic plastic object ever, but making things out of plastic can be problematic.

It’s not just that plastic doesn’t break down, though that’s a major issue with some plastic products. It’s also about the carbon footprint to make them. To make a conventional plastic, you have to pump petroleum or natural gas out of the ground, refine it, and mold it. All of these steps take energy and can produce carbon dioxide.

For the last couple of years, Lego has been experimenting with making their iconic bricks from eco-friendly sources.

In 2015, Lego announced it would invest the equivalent of $155 million into finding a non-oil, smaller-footprint source for the various plastic they need to make all those tires, trees, and movie stars.

Fun fact: Lego’s apparently one of the world’s largest tire manufacturers. Photo from Lego Media Library.

Since then, they have been experimenting with different types of bio-plastics, which can be made from plants like corn or wheat and produce less emissions than conventional plastic.

The goal is to find alternatives for 20 types of plastic by the year 2030.

There are hurdles to making something as durable, flexible, and iconic as a Lego, and the company is still experimenting. Whatever they choose, it’ll need to snap together with existing Legos, last just as long, and preserve the aesthetic. Their latest experiment with wheat sugar, for example, failed because it couldn’t hold the right shine, as Quartz reported.

This change won’t eliminate the carbon cost of manufacturing, nor will it address other carbon costs like shipping, but little changes add up. After all, 19 billion new Lego pieces are produced each year. Furthermore, the Lego company has also been reducing its carbon footprint through other means as well, including investing in an offshore wind farm. In fact, it recently met a 100% renewable energy milestone.

I assume the real wind farm contains a bit more, you know, metal and concrete and stuff. Photo from Lego Media Library.

Playing with Legos has been a nearly universal part of childhood for almost 60 years. Our kids will likely continue to build castles and spaceships, but their future creations — and their building blocks — won’t be exactly the same as ours were. And that’s a wonderful, necessary step of progress.

Read more: https://www.upworthy.com/it-may-sound-weird-but-lego-is-quietly-trying-to-ditch-plastics

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A 13-year-old girl invented a bandage to help wounds heal faster

Anushka Naiknaware might just be 13 years of ages, however she simply developed a plaster that might assist patients with persistent injuries recover much faster.

The eighth-grader from Portland, Oregon, developed a plaster that senses moisture in an injury dressing. “A great deal of individuals do not instantly relate wetness to injuries,” she described, “however the reality is that wetness is among the crucial identifying consider how quickly a persistent injury heals.”

Why does wetness matter? Well, numerous open injuries have to be kept damp to promote recovery; however if an injury is too damp, that can be an indication of infection. Put simply: Keeping the injury in a healthy wetness variety assists it recover much faster.

Naiknaware’s plaster permits a physician to keep track of the status of the injury (without needing to unwrap the dressing) and address concerns appropriately. The plaster is planned to be utilized on clients with persistent injuries, which prevail in senior clients and folks with diabetes and typically take 3 months or longer to recover.

Ravleen Kaur from the Beaverton Valley Times reported that the plaster might even have ramifications for the military, “assisting hurt soldiers in an affordable and quick way.”

Naiknaware’s creation won the Lego Education Builder Award at the 2016 Google Science Fair.

That’s a prestigious prize to Win. It’s a reward that includes $15,000, a journey to Denmark, and a 1 year mentorship with Lego to assist get the job into production.

.When Naiknaware was 3 or 4 years old and her moms and dads would take her to a regional science museum, #ppppp> The job all began. She enjoyed all the exhibitions there (especially chemistry) and for many years her interest in science progressed.

” There’s a natural development from one field to another,” she stated. “After you discover mathematics and chemistry, you can do biology, physics, computer technology, anything. It simply keeps structure and theres no genuine end to it.”

Naiknaware’s love of the science museum sustained an interest in nano particles (which she started looking into in 4th grade). Ultimately, this research study ended up being the structure of her submission to the Google Science Fair.

” I in fact produced an ink from nano particles and filled that into a regular inkjet cartridge,” Naiknaware discussed. “This permitted me to print out a conductive circuit.” After hooking that circuit as much as a little battery and passing a current through it, she might determine the resistance and get a reading of the wetness material.

The success of Naiknaware’s development is substantial. Throughout her procedure, she was no complete stranger to failure.

She had specific trouble improving the ink circuit. “How lots of times did my ink stop working? 40 times? 50 times? Several.” She likewise pointed out a couple of jammed up printers in the garage.

On top of that, Naiknaware experienced her reasonable share of frustration from grownups. “When I began doing things with nano particles,” she remembered, “a great deal of individuals moms and dads, judges informed me, ‘What you’re doing is difficult. It’s not going to work.'”

But she understood that her theory dealt with paper. She believed in her own concept and a couple of motivating coaches on her side including her 6th grade science instructor, Ms. Svenson.

After her experience with the plaster, Naiknaware’s recommendations to other enthusiastic kids thinking about science is easy: “Just because people say your idea won’t work, doesn’t mean you can’t prove them wrong..”

Read more: https://www.upworthy.com/a-13-year-old-girl-invented-a-bandage-to-help-wounds-heal-faster

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