A giant floating barrier might be the answer to cleaner oceans

With 7.4 billion people on the planet, it’s no surprise that we generate quite a bit of trash. A lot of it, in fact. And sadly, much of our waste ends up in the waters of the world, presenting a huge problem for marine life, and cyclically, us as well. A nonprofit in the Netherlands may have a solution for cleaning the ocean. The Ocean Cleanup Foundation has unveiled a huge, 328 foot-long floating barrier that will collect the miscellaneous pieces of plastic bottles, bags, fishing nets, and other trash that floats about the seas. And ideally, the barrier would replace the boats that are currently tasked with the mission of hunting for ocean waste.

Testing for a prototype of the device has already begun, with the Foundation sending a 100-meter-long (328 feet) version of the barrier to the North Sea. Over the course of the next year, researchers will test the effectiveness of the boom, including how it withstands ocean currents, waves, and the elements, and ensure that it doesn’t disrupt marine life. As for the cleaning process itself, the barrier comes with a two-meter deep screen that creates a sort of curtain, collecting trash as water passes through it. Should the results prove satisfactory, the next step would be to send the full version to the waters between Hawaii and the west coast of the United States. This barrier would stretch an impressive 100 kilometers (62 miles), and cut the amount of trash in the area by half.

“This is a big step toward cleaner oceans,” said Allard van Hoeken, chief operating officer of The Ocean Cleanup. “We’ve done years of computer modeling and successful simulations, and now we’re ready to test our technology in real ocean conditions.”

Not everyone is convinced that the boom will work. Speaking of the curtain, Jeffrey Drazen of the University of Hawaii at Mnoa noted, “It’s two meters deep, so a lot of organisms can swim under it, but you’re basically creating a gigantic floating object that still has the potential to attract and affect the distribution of top predators and other animals.” He continued, “It’s great that folks are trying to come up with mechanisms of trying to clean up the ocean,” but that’s only part of the solution. “We need substantial efforts to curtail the production and use of plastics,” he added. “That has to be part of the conversation.”

Home Theater

This company wants to ‘holoport’ celebrities as HumaGrams

ARHT media has developed HumaGrams, interactive celebrity holograms designed for commercial use, but destined for your living room.
Health & Fitness

Hey parents, need your kids to go to sleep? Try reading them this story

New bestselling book “The Rabbit Who Wants to Fall Asleep” depends upon "specific language pattern based on psychological techniques that will help your child to relax and fall asleep."
Music

This crazy subwoofer backpack hopes to let you bring the boom anywhere

Bass on the go is going up a notch. New York City-based start-up bassAware has launched a crowdfunding campaign for Drop, its new wearable audio backpack designed to provide bass only the wearer can hear.
Cars

How Mercedes borrowed Hollywood CGI for its futuristic Project Dash

Mercedes-Benz’s Concept IAA wowed the 2015 Frankfurt Motor Show with its shape-shifting exterior, but the car is just as stunning inside. The vehicle equips a next-generation user interface bolstered by 3D modeling technology from The…
Smart Home

Calculus and music are integral to this $17-million home

Mathematician James Stewart loved calculus and music and incorporated both into his home. It's now on sale for $17 million; it has a concert room seating 150 people that was used to hold benefit shows.
Emerging Tech

Awesome tech you can’t buy yet: Leaf-blower hoverboards, PhoneSoap, robot arms

Check out our roundup of the coolest crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the Web this week. You can't buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Cars

Elon Musk swears he likes Apple, announces new Autopilot update for Tesla

The Tesla and SpaceX boss takes to Twitter to clarify his opinion on Apple and to tell drivers they can expect their new Autopilot software update to begin rolling out on Thursday.
Mobile

Stories you missed: Netflix price hike, water on Pluto, Lyft hacks Uber

It can be challenging to keep track of everything that happens in the tech world. That's why we have compiled a list of the top 10 tech stories from this week — just for you. From Netflix upping its subscription price to an attempted hack…
Smart Home

Apartmenception! This white blob is actually an apartment within an apartment

It looks a little like the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man didn't stay puffed, but this odd structure is actually a sort of man cave inside a converted warehouse its owners now call home.
Emerging Tech

Makerarm is a digital fabrication system that lets virtually anyone make virtually anything

Makerarm is a digital fabrication system raising money on Kickstarter to become an all-in-one robotic creativity assistant. It's a 3D printer, ink printer, laser etcher, designer, cake decorator, and so much more.
Mobile

Acer gives us another look at the Windows 10 Jade Primo, a phone that thinks its a pocket PC

Acer's Jade Primo smartphone runs Windows 10, and is sold as a complete package that makes the best use of the Windows Continuum feature, coming with a dock, keyboard and mouse for desktop computing on the go. Here's everything you need to…
Emerging Tech

U.K. cops dealing with sharp rise in drone-related incidents

As the FAA continues to look at how best to deal with the growing number of drones taking to the skies, cops in the U.K. say they've seen a sharp rise in reports relating to misuse of the popular flying machines.
Emerging Tech

5-Hour Energy creator to distribute 10,000 stationary bikes to power homes in India

An energy drink entrepreneur is putting his billions to good use by distributing stationery bikes that use turbine generators to create electricity.
Web

Careful with that boarding pass, it contains a lot of personal information

As per a new blog post authored by Brian Krebs of Krebs on Security, the barcodes on your boarding passes contain a wealth of information, and more alarmingly still, clues as to your current and future travel plans and habits.