MM: Gathering Uranium From Seawater; Japanese Doggy Drone

In this episode of Manufacturing Minute, pulling uranium out of seawater and an adorable dog-drone is this Japanese town’s mascot.

Pulling Uranium Out Of Seawater

Nuclear power could be a viable source of energy as the push to transition away from fossil fuels continues to grow.

Australia, Canada and Kazakhstan produce about 70 percent of the world’s uranium. For those countries that don’t haverich uranium mines, harvesting the metal from seawater could be an alternative since the ocean holds tons of the mineral. That is, if a practical way of extracting it can be found.

And that’s just what researchers at Stanford have done. It has been demonstrated in the past that plastic fibers coated in amidoxime could pull uranium – in the form of uranyl ions – from the water like a sponge. Once saturated, the uranyl is released by chemically treating the plastic.

Building off of that, Stanford researchers made a fiber of carbon and amidoxime which allowed them to send electricity through the material, attracting more uranyl to each strand. This change allowed the fibers to soak up three times as much uranyl then previous fibers. The new fibers were also three time as reusable.

Although the process is a long way from being practical on a commercial scale, researchers say this discovery is a big step in transitioning away from fossil fuels.

SO, WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Could harvesting uranium from the ocean be the future of nuclear energy? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

Japanese Doggy Drone

In past Manufacturing Minute episodes, we’ve covered a variety of drones manufactured for a wide variety of purposes. Drones that deliver pizza or 7-Eleven Slurpees to your doorstep, military drones designed for unmanned combat missions and even drones that improve industrial maintenance for plant operations.

Well unlike the aforementioned, this next drone is noteworthy simply because it happens to exist at all.

The Yukimaru quadcopter drone allegedly resides in the small Japanese town of Oji and was designed to look just like a small white dog.

In fact, the only thing actually cuter than this doggy drone is why it exists. According to the commercial Oji recently released featuring the puppy bot, the Yukimaru quadcopter is meant to lure visitors to the small town.

And, if you watch the town’s commercial in its entirety, the appeal becomes fairly obvious, especially as you see the smiling town mascot fly from one local attraction to another, enchanting and surprising residents of all ages.

So, if you’re in the market for a new vacation spot or just want to watch this adorable doggy drone mascot in action, check out Oji.

So, What Do You Think?

What do you think about using drones as tourist attractions or even mascots? Should UAV technology be reserved for more obviously useful purposes?

Comment in the section below or tweet me your thoughts @MnetNews.

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