Archive

Unique polymer soaks up CO2
Article

Hydrogen may hold promise as an alternative to fossil fuels, but there's still a huge petrol-producing infrastructure in place, and not many service stations offer hydrogen refills yet. That's why some scientists are exploring a bridging technology known as the integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) process, for converting fossil fuels into hydrogen. Along with hydrogen, though,...

The 1,000-robot swarm
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The first 1,000-robot flash mob has assembled at Harvard University. “Form a sea-star shape,” directs a computer scientist, sending the command to 1,024 little ’bots simultaneously via an infrared light. The robots begin to blink at one another, and then gradually arrange themselves into a five-pointed star. “Now form the letter K.” The “K” stands for...

Scientists develop pioneering new spray-on solar cells
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Experts from the University’s Department of Physics and Astronomy and Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering have previously used the spray-painting method to produce solar cells using organic semiconductors - but using perovskite is a major step forward. Efficient organometal halide perovskite based photovoltaics were first demonstrated in 2012. They are now a very promising new...

Stable lithium anode may triple battery efficiency
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Stanford University researchers claim to have created the first stable pure lithium anode in a working battery by using carbon nanospheres as a protective sheath to guard against degradation. As a result, the researchers predict that commercial developments may eventually result in anything up to a tripling of battery life in the not-too-distant future. At a basic level, a battery is composed of...

Stanford researchers develop self-cooling solar cells
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Scientists may have overcome one of the major hurdles in developing high-efficiency, long-lasting solar cells—keeping them cool, even in the blistering heat of the noonday Sun. By adding a specially patterned layer of silica glass to the surface of ordinary solar cells, a team of researchers led by Shanhui Fan, an electrical engineering professor at Stanford University in California has...

New device generates electricity from condensation
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Last year, MIT researchers discovered that when water droplets spontaneously jump away from superhydrophobic surfaces during condensation, they can gain electric charge in the process. Now, the same team has demonstrated that this process can generate small amounts of electricity that might be used to power electronic devices. The new findings, by postdoc Nenad Miljkovic, associate professor of...

More Than Glitter: How Gold Nanoparticles easily Penetrate Cells, Making them Useful for Delivering Drugs
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A new study from MIT materials scientists reveals that these nanoparticles enter cells by taking advantage of a route normally used in vesicle-vesicle fusion, a crucial process that allows signal transmission between neurons. In the July 21 issue of Nature Communications, the researchers describe in detail the mechanism by which these nanoparticles are able to fuse with a membrane. The findings...

Honda's latest ASIMO humanoid robot makes European debut
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The latest generation of Honda’s humanoid robot, ASIMO, has made its European debut in Brussels.  The all-new ASIMO, which Honda hopes in the future will be able to help people in need, incorporates several significant technological advancements over its predecessors. These include improved intelligence, enhanced hand dexterity (enabling it to open a bottle and pour a drink or express...

Cambridge team breaks superconductor world record
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A world record that has stood for more than a decade has been broken by a team led by University of Cambridge engineers, harnessing the equivalent of three tonnes of force inside a golf ball-sized sample of material that is normally as brittle as fine china. The Cambridge researchers managed to ‘trap’ a magnetic field with a strength of 17.6 Tesla - roughly 100 times stronger than...

Urban Skyfarm concept would provide inner city farming space
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Two problems caused by increasing overpopulation in cities are how to use space productively and how to feed everyone. A new concept design suggests a means of addressing both these issues. Aprilli Design Studio's Urban Skyfarm is a tree-like skyscraper that provides space for crop farming. Aprilli designed the Skyfarm with Seoul, South Korea, in mind, but it could be deployed in any major...