This is how fixing our devices could be much easier (and cheaper)

This Halloween, you You may have ghosts, zombies, or werewolves on your mind, but one real-life phenomenon is perhaps even scarier than these mythical creatures: a broken iPhone.

Such a tragedy can end with an expensive visit to the Genius Bar, where you are at the mercy of Apple technicians. Fortunately, a new bill could completely transform the way we repair smartphones, laptops, and other personal devices. The process could be much cheaper and easier for those of us who are not electronic repair experts.

Ch-ch-changes — Last June, the New York State Legislature passed the nation’s first right to remedy bill. Requires businesses that sell “digital electronics” in the state to make parts, tools, and instructions available to consumers and independent stores.

“For independent repairers, this is huge news: Independent repairers will finally be able to compete with manufacturers, resisting the repair market consolidation that manufacturers have created by restricting access to parts and tools,” the website wrote. iFixit repair resources in a blog post.

Consumers would also benefit by accessing parts and services more cheaply, and could even do the work themselves.

Other states have passed right to repair legislation, though not as comprehensive. For example, a 2020 Massachusetts law only applies to car data and a 2022 Colorado law covers wheelchair repairs.

A New York bill could change the way we deal with broken devices, empowering independent businesses and consumers.Juan Moyano/Moment/Getty Images

Honey, I reduced the bill — Previous drafts of the New York bill covered all kinds of technology, including game consoles, microwaves and lawn mowers, according to a recent report from The Albany Times Syndicate. But due to lobbying efforts by trade associations and companies, lawmakers came under pressure to cap the bill, excluding lawnmowers, microwaves and other appliances.

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Going forward, the bill still needs Gov. Kathy Hochul’s signature, and she could always say no. But if it passes, New York could set an example for the rest of the country and give America more of a voice when it comes to our oft-broken contraptions.

Read more about the bill here.

On the horizon…

Clear wood could find its way into your straws (and other everyday items) and be much more environmentally friendly than plastic.Dhar et al.

Plastic straws are often a soggy disappointment, but fans of frozen drinks needn’t worry. We may one day make them a wood-based plastic alternative that will hold its own against your beverage of choice.

This futuristic material is flexible, moldable and transparent, just like traditional petroleum plastics. But instead of being derived from fossil fuels that worsen climate change, it is made up mostly of trees.

A recent review published in Total Environmental Science suggests that transparent wood has great potential to reduce carbon emissions.

The researchers found that wood-based materials are up to 10 million times more sustainable compared to polyethylene, the most widely produced plastic in the world. They also evaluated five different transparent wood manufacturing techniques to determine which was the most environmentally friendly.

Of all the methods they evaluated, the scientists found that dissolving the lignin in an alkaline solution and replacing it with epoxy proved to be the most environmentally friendly from start to finish.

As more and more researchers delve into the potential of transparent wood, “it will only be a matter of time before we see real-life applications,” says Peter Olsén, an organic chemist at the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, Sweden, who was ‘t involved in the new study.

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Read the full story to learn more.

This is what we are reading…

  • Scientists say they can decode thoughts from brain scans. The scientist breaks it
  • Building more solar capacity in Europe would be 10 times cheaper than continuing to operate gas-fired power plants. The conflict between Russia and Ukraine has led to skyrocketing gas prices, but more investment in solar power could ease the transition, according to pv magazine.
  • A newly discovered compound could treat antibiotic-resistant MRSA bacteria. SciTechDaily has the details.
  • The new elastic battery packing prevents the ingress of moisture and gas. Scientists have long tried to develop flexible batteries to make portable devices more practical, according to a press release.
  • An Australian online age verification system for adult content could expose people’s highly sensitive data. The Guardian check out

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