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									 Tomorrow                                in brief
                                                                                                                                  © PHOTODISC INC.
     Capturing Energy Under the Sea                                                        Liquid-Wood Toys
     Slow-moving ocean and river                  enhances the slow currents by            A bioplastic made of renewable
     currents may be a new source                 creating vortices, then captur-          “liquid wood” rather than petro-
     of reliable and affordable                   ing their power. The device              chemicals could be an ideal
     power. Most of the world’s wa-               works much like the way fish             component for toys. No matter
     ter currents move slowly (un-                use each other’s wake to pro-            how roughly a child treats the
     der three knots), but to capture             pel themselves through water.            toy, it releases no heavy met-
     energy efficiently, turbines and             Besides providing renewable              als or other ingredients that
     water mills require currents at              energy, the device would also            would cause harm. The mate-
     nearly twice that speed. A ma-               be less likely to harm marine            rial, known as Arboform, was
     chine called VIVACE (Vortex-                 life than dams and water tur-            developed at the Fraunhofer
     Induced Vibrations for Aquatic               bines, says Bernitsas.                   Institute for Chemical Technol-
     Clean Energy), developed by                                                           ogy ICT in Germany. Though              Traditional medicine or alternative? Patients
                                                  Source: University of Michigan,
     University of Michigan marine                News Service, Ann Arbor, Michigan        bioplastics using cellulose from        increasingly want the best of both.
     engineer Michael Bernitsas,                  48109. Web site        wood have been used in other
                                                                                           products, they have been un-           Hospitals and Patients
                                                                                           suitable for toys because of
                                                                OMAR JAMIL / COURTESY OF                                          Seek Alternatives
                                                                 UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN    additives such as sulfur. Arbo-
                                                                                           form’s sulfur content was re-          More than one-third of Ameri-
                                                                                           duced by 90%; the next chal-           can adults and 12% of children
                                                                                           lenge was to find suitable             use some form of complemen-
                                                                                           additives that keep the bioplas-       tary or alternative medicine,
                                                                                           tics from dissolving in water—a        such as herbal and dietary
                                                                                           big problem since children tend        supplements, according to a
                                                                                           to suck on their toys or leave         report from the National Insti-
                                                                                           them out in the rain.                  tutes of Health. Therapies
      VIV ACE system creates vortex in demonstration tank. The cylinders                                                          showing significant increases
                                                                                           Source: Fraunhofer Institute for
      along the ocean or river bottom would enhance slow vibrations by                     Chemical Technology, Joseph-von-       in popularity in the past five
      creating vortices, then capture the energy. Inset: Artist’s concept of               Fraunhofer-Strasse 7, 76327 Pfinz-     years are deep-breathing exer-
      VIV ACE converters along ocean floor.                                                tal, Berghausen, Germany. Web          cises, meditation, massage
                                                                                           site            therapy, and yoga. Hospitals
                                                                                                                 © TECNARO GmbH
                                                                                                                                  are responding to increased
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