France’s vertical lift bridge, Nicaraguans bridging the laptop divide, and a true heavy metal band
Chile, which has been called the Saudi Arabia of lithium, is the world’s leading producer of the lightest metal on the periodic table. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the Salar de Atacama salt flat contains 29 percent of the world’s reserve of the metal. Pictured are giant brine pools and processing areas at the Soquimich lithium mine there. Lithium’s value has exploded as its use in batteries that power electronics and now electric vehicles has caused demand to skyrocket.
Photo: Ivan Alvarado/Reuters
Japanese engineer Yasushi Matoba shows off the AquaTop Display, a projection system that uses water as a screen, at the Laval Virtual conference in Laval, France, in March. Matoba and his collaborators at the University of Electro-Communications, in Tokyo, have taken the term user interface to a whole new level with the system, which projects images on the surface of the water and detects inputs coming from the water’s surface as well as above and beneath it. By resting a hand on the surface of the water, a user can become one with onscreen objects.
Photo: Jean-Francois Monier/AFP/Getty Images
Renault’s concept electric car, the Twin’Z, is a collaboration between the French automaker and Ross Lovegrove, whose designs mimic natural forms. The vehicle’s interior has lines that suggest a tree’s growth rings, and its wheels are meant to look like branches. The rear-wheel-drive vehicle, powered by four lithium-ion battery packs, buzzes around for about 160 kilometers on a single charge.
Photo: Alessia Pierdomenico/Bloomberg via Getty Images
The Jacques Chaban-Delmas Bridge, which opened to traffic in March, is the largest vertical lift bridge in Europe. The 433-meter-long structure spans the Garonne River, which separates the Bacalan district in the west of Bordeaux from the Bastide district in the east. When large boats need to pass, the 118-meter-long central span can be raised as high as 53 meters above the water in 11 minutes. The two motors that lift the section don’t have to work too hard; counterweights in each of the four supporting pylons weigh 638 metric tons.
Photo: Mehdi Fedouach/AFP/Getty Images
Of the roughly 58 million children of primary school age in Latin America, 5 percent don’t attend school at all. But just as many are benefiting from the work of the One Laptop Per Child initiative. In March, Nicaragua’s Zamora Terán Foundation delivered 3000 of the organization’s XO laptops to students at 10 public schools in Ciudad Sandino, bringing the number of kids in the country with their own computers to 30 000. The foundation says it expects to deliver 10 000 more computers to area students by the end of the year.
Photo: Hector Retamal/AFP/Getty Images
What will the E! True Hollywood Story documentary about this band uncover? Fights over access to electrical outlets, perhaps? The automaton trio, which includes a guitarist, bassist, and a drummer (not shown), rocked out at a music fair in Frankfurt, Germany, in early April. The collective of mechanical musicians goes by the name Compressorhead.
Photo: Frank Rumpenhorst/AFP/Getty Images
At Canberra, Australia’s nine-day Enlighten Festival, which took place in early March, artists got an opportunity to use the city’s iconic works of architectural art—including the National Science and Technology Center, shown here—as canvases. But no buildings were harmed in the making of the installations. The artists teamed up with Electric Canvas, a company that specializes in large-scale light projections, to craft virtual drawings and beam them onto the structures’ walls.
Photo: Qian Jun/Xinhua/Landov
Books transported in shipping containers? Makes sense. But the designers of the Amin Library in Batu, Indonesia, thought the giant metal boxes would make a good structural element in the construction of a building meant to store books and host readers. The eight-room, three-level library and educational center, which offers views over the treetops and other local buildings, has over 6000 books in its collection.
Photo: Arief Priyono/Barcroft Media/Landov
A crew member aboard the Earth-orbiting International Space Station took this nighttime snapshot of New York City’s five boroughs in late March, using a digital camera equipped with a 400-millimeter lens. He captured this image of the city that never sleeps from the space station’s orbit 385 kilometers above Earth’s surface.