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An Ultrasonic Clothes Dryer Vibrates Clothes Dry

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iStock

Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee are trying to revolutionize the way Americans dry their clothes. They’re working on an ultrasonic dryer that vibrates moisture out, instead of evaporating it with heat, making the dryer more efficient and safer to operate. 

Working with GE, they're developing a prototype that swaps heat for ultrasound vibrations, using five to 10 times less energy than traditional dryers. See it in action in the video below. The vibrating dryer turns the moisture in wet clothes into a cold mist, and eliminates the danger of your clothes shrinking in a hot dryer. 

The first electric dryer was released in 1938 and became a popular fixture in American households after World War II. Now, some 85 percent of U.S. households have dryers and spend $9 billion a year to operate them [PDF], according to the Natural Resources Defense Council. By heating clothes in a rotating barrel, tumble dryers are exceedingly inefficient, using two to four times more energy than a new washer (and twice as much as European-style heat-pump dryers), and account for almost 6 percent of residential energy consumption [PDF]. These numbers are especially bleak considering there's a completely free, energy-efficient way to dry clothes: on a clothesline. 

For now, the ultrasonic dryer prototype is small and can only dry scraps of fabric, but the researchers estimate that a full-sized dryer could reduce drying times for a load by 15 to 20 minutes. Because of the lack of heat, the dryer also produces less lint, which can be a fire hazard when the lint trap isn't properly cleaned. 

The researchers expect to have a full working prototype by summer 2016. 

[h/t: USA Today]

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Dan Bell
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Design
A Cartographer Is Mapping All of the UK’s National Parks, J.R.R. Tolkien-Style
Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park
Dan Bell

Cartographer Dan Bell makes national parks into fantasy lands. Bell, who lives near Lake District National Park in England, is currently on a mission to draw every national park in the UK in the style of the maps in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, Kottke.org reports.

The project began in September 2017, when Bell posted his own hand-drawn version of a Middle Earth map online. He received such a positive response that he decided to apply the fantasy style to real world locations. He has completed 11 out of the UK’s 15 parks so far. Once he finishes, he hopes to tackle the U.S. National Park system, too. (He already has Yellowstone National Park down.)

Bell has done various other maps in the same style, including ones for London and Game of Thrones’s Westeros, and he commissions, in case you have your own special locale that could use the Tolkien treatment. Check out a few of his park maps below.

A close-up of a map for Peak District National Park
Peak District National Park in central England
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Cairngorms National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Cairngorms National Park in Scotland
Dan Bell

A black-and-white illustration of Lake District National Park in the style of a 'Lord of the Rings' map.
Lake District National Park in England
Dan Bell

You can buy prints of the maps here.

[h/t Kottke.org]

All images by Dan Bell

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The North Face
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Design
The North Face's New Geodesic Dome Tent Will Protect You in 60 mph Wind
The North Face
The North Face

You can find camping tents designed for easy set-up, large crowds, and sustainability, but when it comes to strength, there’s only so much abuse a foldable structure can take. Now, The North Face is pushing the limits of tent durability with a reimagined design. According to inhabitat, the Geodome 4 relies on its distinctive geodesic shape to survive wind gusts approaching hurricane strength.

Instead of the classic arching tent structure, the Geodome balloons outward like a globe. It owes its unique design to the five main poles and one equator pole that hold it in place. Packed up, the gear weighs just over 24 pounds, making it a practical option for car campers and four-season adventurers. When it’s erected, campers have floor space measuring roughly 7 feet by 7.5 feet, enough to sleep four people, and 6 feet and 9 inches of space from ground to ceiling if they want to stand. Hooks attached to the top create a system for gear storage.

While it works in mild conditions, the tent should really appeal to campers who like to trek through harsher weather. Geodesic domes are formed from interlocking triangles. A triangle’s fixed angles make it one of the strongest shapes in engineering, and when used in domes, triangles lend this strength to the overall structure. In the case of the tent, this means that the dome will maintain its form in winds reaching speeds of 60 mph. Meanwhile, the double-layered, water-resistant exterior keeps campers dry as they wait out the storm.

The Geodome 4 is set to sell for $1635 when it goes on sale in Japan this March. In the meantime, outdoorsy types in the U.S. will just have to wait until the innovative product expands to international markets.

[h/t inhabitat]

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