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Here’s an Idea: How ‘Simple’ Sponges Are Solving Complex Problems

Here's an idea
After a disaster like the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf coast, what if a giant sponge could clean up the area and the wildlife around it?
What if a bunch of tiny sponges could quickly save gunshot victims?
In this episode of Tech Briefs’ podcast series, Here’s an Idea™, we look at how researchers are doing just that, and expanding the sponge concept to entire cities. You can listen to the episode below, and subscribe here.
Episode highlights include:
  • John Steinbaugh, a former Special Operations medic who served over 20 years in the Army, talks about creating XSTAT, a device that injects rapidly-expanding sponges into an injury like a gunshot wound to stop bleeding almost instantly.
  • Researcher Ed Barry of Argonne National Laboratory shares his team’s process of chemically engineering a sponge that can grab oil molecules from water after an oil spill. The “Oleo” material can be wrung out and used again and again.
  • Michael Berkowitz, President of 100 Resilient Cities, a non-profit dedicated to strengthening cities around the world, discusses how some cities are absorbing a new concept — the Sponge City — to prepare for flooding.
Access the full-length interviews below.

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