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Tropical Rainforests

This month on Newsdesk: glasses that scan plants, using the power of ocean waves, and the world’s largest offshore wind farm.

Tropical rainforests are some of the world's most diverse environments. Young trees and shrubs growing on forest floors are known as an “understory.” Healthy forest understories provide food and shelter to a wide variety of animals.

Now, a young scientist, Daniel Gorczynski, has come up with a new way to study the health of understory plants: by using mixed-reality glasses!

The high-tech glasses scan the outlines of different plants. This helps the wearer to view different layers of plant life. Scientists can use the information recorded by the glasses to measure the size and health of different plants.

Following successful tests, the glasses could soon be used to monitor the health of plants and forests around the world!

Using the Power of Ocean Waves

Finding renewable energy sources is a big part of tackling climate change. Ocean waves are a renewable energy source that don’t produce carbon emissions.

Now, engineers from Cyprus have designed and built a device that can convert the energy from these waves into electricity. The wave energy generator is designed to float on the ocean’s surface. As waves pass the device, it moves up and down. This makes lever arms move, which power up generators that produce electricity.

The more waves there are, the more electricity is generated.

Engineers have built prototypes of the wave energy generator—and successfully tested them. The next step is to scale up their design so it can help to power the world.

The World’s Largest Offshore Wind Farm

Off the coast of the United Kingdom, scientists and engineers have built the largest offshore wind farm in the world. Named Hornsea 2, it stretches over 460 square kilometers, that’s the size of 64,000 soccer fields. And it has over 160 wind turbines, which turn energy from the wind into power for people to use at home. Helicopters and ships were used to transport the huge parts of the turbines, and put everything together at sea, including the 81-meter-long turbine blades! Now that everything is up and running, these massive turbines are generating a lot of electricity. Together they create enough power for over 1.4 million homes!

Learn more about rainforests by watching Tropical Rainforests.

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