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(Via MAKANI POWER)   Remember flying a kite as a child? At times, it could almost pull you over. Corwin Hardham, CEO of MAKANI POWER, wants to harness that power for an alternative wind turbine. Hardham's team at MAKANI POWER created the Makani Airborne Wind Turbine, an energy absorbing kite.   The Makani Airborne Wind Turbine would hold the same purpose of a traditional tower turbine, energy generation. The kite is designed to withstand the force of the wind, and follow the same ar ...
  The default image of a robot is metal members attached to motors using nuts and bolts.  A team from Harvard University, lead by George Whitesides, have created a robot contrary to the status-quo thought, a soft robot. Their creation has no stiff internal or external skeleton. Instead, it is made out of soft elastomeric polymers that, more or less, give it the physical characteristics of a worm.     Whitesides admits the design was inspired by squids, starfish and worms, w ...
Humans being at two places at the same time may soon be analogous to humans flying. Dzmitry Tsetserukou and a team from Toyohashi University of Technology in Japan are working on making telepresence a possibility.     The system they are working on, NAVIgoid, will be unlike any joystick, mouse and keyboard controlled robot you have ever seen. The team has designed a belt with a four flex sensors and a 3-axis accelerometer that detects movements and allows the user to control NAVIgoid ...
  Capacitive touch screen devices are already being used by doctors in a medical setting. (see the recent webOS MRI scanner app.)  Just when you thought your Droid or iPhone could do no more, scientists from the Korean Advanced Institute of Science and Technology say they are working on technology that would give your touch screen phone the capability of diagnosing illnesses.     This technology would stem from the existing mechanism used to detect a conductive touch. Resea ...
(Via Harvard) A Quantum Dot (QD) is a semiconductor where excitons (bound stat of an electron and hole) are confined in all directions. Quantum Dots are already being used in communications and solar panels, to name a few. Even though QDs have outstanding optical properties, high extinction co-efficient, efficiency is not their strong suit.     Since the dots are nano-sized individual semiconductor elements, it is difficult to direct the electrical flow within them. Electrons have ...
Google Chairman Eric Schmidt has confirmed that the technology giant will release a flagship Android tablet in the next six months in its quest to challenge Apple's iPad. The move mirrors Google's smartphone strategy, whereby its Nexus range of handsets leads the Android battle against Apple's iPhone.                                 Confirmin ...
"Great Dome," the Barker Engineering Library on the MIT campus (via MIT)   For 10 years, MIT has shared lectures and course materials online of over 2,000 classes free of charge. Using MIT’s OpenCourseWare, over 100 million people have experienced MIT classes through their computer. Now MIT is planning to launch a new site in January 2012 that will be geared towards further computerization of classes. The new system is designed to research and adapt to improved methods of online learn ...
Highlighted/cooled thermal camera (via FLIR Systems) From matches to mosquito repellant, the U.S. Army has for a long time dictated engineers to improve and innovate in the name of their soldiers and their country. Now, DARPA is calling on engineers again to radically redesign the thermal vision camera in order to fit inside portable devices.     DARPA has stated clear specifications for what they have in mind for a Low Cost Thermal Imager Manufacturing (LCTI-M) program. Wafer scal ...
(Left) Ken Mankoff withy a Kinect, Ubuntu laptop imagine the Rieperbreen Glacier in Norway. (Right) resulting images. (via Jason Gulley and Ken Mankoff)   Videogame hardware has infiltrated scientific applications many times. For example, Microsoft’s  XBox Kinect 3D camera has been seen in robotics many times. Now, the Kinect 3D camera has been "hacked" by PhD student Ken Mankoff, from the University of California at Santa Cruz, to make 3D topographical maps   Last summer, ...
Gartner, the internationally-renowned research firm, has delivered an upbeat forecast for chip sales next year. For 2011, Gartner said that the semiconductor industry will have generated a little over $302 billion in chips during the year, representing a year-on-year rise of 0.9 percent. In light of the worldwide economic downturn through the late 2000s, this represents a successful recovery. Earlier this year, Gartner projected that worldwide semiconductor revenues would climb by 5.1 percent ...
The ongoing patent war between a number of the world's biggest smartphone manufacturers has taken another twist, with a US judge ruling that a set of important features commonly found in the devices are protected by an Apple patent. The landmark ruling, delivered by the United States International Trade Commission, could have enormous implications for Goggle's Android-operated handsets. It is, in fact, regarded as one of the most critical rulings delivered in the patent debate, as a number of ...
Front and rear of the E-One (via EOS)   The application of robots is only limited by imagination. Incorporating them into our daily lives is an ever increasing process. E-One is a robot designed by EOS Innovation, is good example of how a robots could be designed to be part of our home lives. E-One is developed for the purpose of monitoring our surroundings and alerting us if anything is out of the ordinary.   EOS Founder David Lemaitre gave his thoughts on a robotic future; "In my op ...
(via Catalytic Clothing)   In humanity’s quest for sustainability and ecological preservation, people of all industries are trying to make their products environmentally friendly. At Catalytic Clothing, they do not only want to conserve the current environment but they also want to improve the condition of the air and change today's “throw-away” culture.   It all started when one of two sisters, Kate Storey, found a flyer of a trust initiative intended to bring scien ...
  There are many companies trying to bring robotics into the mainstream by making them cheap, providing expansive open source, easy-to-learn software and illustrating their immense range of capabilities. German company, TinkerForge, truly stands out in this sector bringing a high degree of adaptable and diverse hardware is.   In the past year, TinkerForge has released a new way of making their robotics hardware easy to upgrade, modify and learn about. Bricks and Bricklets are what the ...
Electrons (blue) with their axis of spin (arrows.) A laser (white) removing electrons from the stream, leaving a net flow going in the opposite direction. (via MIT & Gedik Group)   Material science opens the doors to previously unforeseen possibilities. They set the stage for new scientific breakthroughs in studying a material’s fundamental building blocks.  For example, a groundbreaking material comes from MIT, dubbed topological insulators. This new material, discovered in ...
People trying out the Ekso (right) (via kesslerfoundation.org)   As magnificent as the human body is, it has many delicate structures that are vital for a regular life; one of these is the spinal cord. Until now, people who suffer spinal cord injuries must face the rest of their lives dependent on a wheelchair for mobility. Engineers at the Ekso Bionics are developing an exoskeleton machine they hope will allow paraplegic or quadriplegic patients the chance to stand upright and walk again. ...
NREL facility (Via NREL)   Slowly, but surely, leaps and developments are being made that are making renewable energies competitive with fossil fuels. On December 16, 2011 an article was published in Science magazine by researchers at the National Renewable Energy Lab (NREL) that describes a new application of quantum mechanics in a solar cell, which improves the external quantum-mechanical  efficiency of the solar cell to 114%.   The NREL solar cell takes advantage of a quantum ...
The  development and commercialization of more cost/effective photovoltaic cells has moved a significant step closer.  That's because Imec, Polyera and Solvay, an international chemical group, have announced that they have achieved a new world-record efficiency of 8.3 percent for polymer-based single junction organic solar cells in an inverted device stack. Gradually, solar energy is becoming cost-competitive with traditional mainstream energy sources, including coal and oil. Cost-co ...
Charles Gervasi

Winter Solstice

Posted by Charles Gervasi Dec 21, 2011
The winter solstice marks the return of light.  The days will grow longer for the next six months.  This is the basis for the winter holiday season and the beginning of a new year. So much of our modern world is designed to be nearly disposable.  Modern manufacturing allows machines to do the assembly work.  There is little value in most consumer products.  For example, my mp3 player, which has enormous processing power and memory compared to my first computer, is w ...
Depictions of the glass and how they can be stacked (via Cornell University white paper)     Interferometry is a technique where electromagnetic waves are superimposed to extract data from the wave itself. Using an interferometer is a device that does the job, refracting and reflecting photons, for example, to analyze the wave. The issue is that these apparatuses are delicate to say the least. Constant recalibration is needed. Interferometers are often used as a way to carry out quantu ...
(Via PhoneGap)   Have idea for a simple phone app? Why not release it for the 4 big mobile operating systems at the same time: Windows Phone, Android, iOS, Blackberry, symbian, bada, and webOS.   PhoneGap 1.3 was recently released bringing along with it the most useful cross platform development environment to date. The new update mostly is to give Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) full support of the features. The backbone of PhoneGap is based on web development standards, which innately bri ...
From 2012, all Intel Windows-based PCs will feature USB 3.0 as standard. The news comes after it was confirmed that the 'Ivy Bridge' 7 Series Chipset and other Intel chipsets have achieved USB 3.0 certification. Otherwise known as SuperSpeed USB, USB 3.0 allows for data transfer that is ten times faster than that offered by USB 2.0, as well as improved power efficiency. This is, therefore, seen to be a significant landmark for the PC industry, making data transfer easier for PC users. Until ...
Sony booth operator demonstrates the bio battery (via Sony)   "This is the same mechanism with which termites eat wood to get energy." - Sony public relations manager Chisato Kitsukawa.   Like a school science project, Sony invited children to take scraps of paper and throw it into a cup of water+enzymes to power an electric fan at an environmental fair in Tokyo.   This "bio-battery" concept works like a fuel cell. The paper (cardboard) is broken down into releasing the cellulos ...
The photonics chip experimental rig (left) Artistic concept of the circuit (right) (via University of Bristol)   "Spooky action at a distance," - Einstein on the quantum entanglement of two particles   The University of Bristol has created a 70 mm x 3mm silica chip that is able to perform quantum experiments, while later it can be reprogrammed for other tasks. The Photonics chip contains has eight electrodes that can manipulate "entangled states" of two photon pairs. In the waveguide ...
I still remember the first kit I ever built: an RC10B2 sport R/C car from Team Associated.  When working on it, I immediately understood why people don't like kits.  It took two weeks of working every day after school, and the frustration when I didn't understand a step or I broke a piece drove me crazy.  I couldn't help but wonder, “Why did I spend 10 months' of my savings on this?”  But then it worked!  And the time invested began paying dividends that very ...
Paul Allen, the Co-Founder of Microsoft, has suggested that he is willing to plough as much as $200 million or more of his wealth into building the world's largest airplane: a mobile platform for launching satellites at low cost. Mr Allen feels that if the plans come to fruition, the space industry would be transformed forever. The concept was conceived by Burt Rutan, a respected aerospace designer, who is intent on combining parts removed from old Boeing 747 jets and a powerful rocket. Dubb ...
The energy cycle (via Vattenfall)   In a time when the European Union is in financial turmoil, German, French and Swedish companies are showing that there is the undeniable potential of renewable energies. Creating a small “ecosystem” of energies, each supporting or complementing the other is a clear example of what scientists and engineers are capable of when given the right resources and are not doubted by investors or restricted by money.   While there are many ways of ...
  Remember having to learn esoteric ways to graph functions on a TI-89 in school? I always wanted a simpler interface and way to compare graphs. How about using Google for plotting functions?   It is a new feature of the Google search. Just type in the function you want to see, for example, "sin(x-1)," and the solution pops up before "enter" is even pressed. Moving the mouse cursor along the graph will move a dot along the function yielding coordinates.    More than one fu ...
A baseball covered in the DOE Berkely stretchable thin film transistor array material (via DOE Berkely)   Many researchers are part of a race to creating stretchable/bendable electronics. Seamlessly integrated wearable electronics is now an inevitability. The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) is no slouch in this area either with their latest development, large-area  carbon-nanotube thin film transistor networks.   The material was developed at the Lawrence Berkely National Laborat ...
The March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami has been a tragedy. In an attempt to provide as much help to the scientific community through image capture, Google has before and after street views of the disaster struck area. See more at the "Build the Memory" page.   Static image above, click google map links below: View Larger Map Bigger view of the street view   However we were affected, it is humbling to travel the streets of the area. Take a moment to walk through.   Also se ...
How FLEx film works (via FLEx)   Chicago based company FLEx brings front illumination to dark screens via a thin film. E-readers, rather e-ink displays, is in their crosshairs for wide adoption. They saw a need and filled it.   Similar to edge lighting seen on most illuminated displays, however their system requires fewer LEDs that any competing tech (40% less by FLEx's estimation). The power demand then scales accordingly. The key to the FLEx tech is the light scattering film. The fi ...
  MIT researchers used a streak camera system to construct the world's fastest slow motion camera at 1 trillion frames per second. With it, the team slowed a light pulse down enough to distinctly see its propagation through a medium, a plastic bottle in this case.    A streak camera takes the temporal profile of a light pulse into a spatial profile on a detector. In other words, it applies a time-varying deflection of the light across the internal detector. Hamamatsu Streak Came ...
Nokia is readying itself to make a concerted effort to crack the lucrative US smartphone market, as its first device powered by Microsoft's latest Windows software is almost ready to launch. Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, a person familiar with the launch confirmed that the new handset will debut this week. T-Mobile USA is set to announce that it will distribute the device, called the Lumia, at an event in New York. The Lumia 710 was launched in the European market in November, retaili ...
New data has confirmed that worldwide semiconductor revenue is forecast to reach $309 billion in 2012. This is a 2.2 per cent rise on 2011, research firm Gartner said. The outlook is, however, down from the firm's previous (third quarter) projection for 4.6 percent growth in 2012. Bryan Lewis, research vice-president at Gartner, predicted a continuation of the high degree of uncertainty impacting spending by both consumers and enterprises stemming from troubles in the Eurozone. Mr Lewis observ ...
Professor Arvind (right picture) Nirav Dave and Myron King, respectively (right picture) (via MIT)   In the early 1980s, MIT Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science Arvind (going by the single name) while faced with designing a new circuit thought, "Why can’t I write this description textually?’”   Elsewhere, two individuals, Phil Moorby and Prabhu Goel had a similar idea. In 1984 the duo released "Verilog," a a system that could be used to model ele ...
McLaren racing team (via McLaren)   We all know that money does not grow on trees, but the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes F1 team seems to suggest that money can at least offset their carbon footprint and save some trees.     In December 2010, the McLaren F1 team achieved the Carbon Trust Standard. Now, a year later, they have been certified as the first carbon neutral F1 racing team.  To do this, McLaren took steps to decreased CO2 emissions as well as to offset their remaining ...
Rectenna from Dengyo (via Dengyo)   A rectenna is a type of antenna that converts microwave energy into DC. Usually arranged in a "multi element phased array with a mesh pattern reflector element," a rectenna ends up being directional. RFID is a common use of rectenna tech. (Side note: a Schottky diode is placed across dipole antenna elements, rectifying the AC current induced by microwaves.)   Japanese company Nihon Dengyo Kosaku Co Ltd (Dengyo) has created a rectennas for the 2.4GHz ...
Prototype EXOdesk (via EXOPC)   EXOdesk is getting the "thumbs' up" for Windows 8 compatibility, which may put the use of the EXO UI on path to obsolescence. Baring internal competition for user input, the EXOdesk will come with access to the EXOstore at launch.   Applications for the EXOdesk are developed in HTML5, for those with the sudden interest to get onboard the EXO train. A lackluster set of planned apps was announced:   ‚óŹ  News reader, information and market watch ...
(via Stuart McMahon)   A shower of flaming material from a wind turbine in North Ayrshire, Scotland, have many residents worried about a potential repeat. This day saw extreme winds, clocked at 160-mph (260km/h) from a north Atlantic storm rolling through town.   Turbines have a shutdown procedure when winds exceed a certain speed. A technique called 'feathering' adjusts the blades pitch so they do not spin. See my post about "Wind Farms in cities" for what may happen when the braking ...
WebOS is now open-source, but is it useful?   Those who condemned the HP Touchpad for being made with too much plastic had no foresight. Researchers from Stanford University picked the Touchpad for that exact reason, to use in the strong magnetic fields produced by MRI machines.   Researcher Dr. Andrew B. Holbrook, along with Stanford 'Lucas Center' Professor Kim Pauly, took a Touchpad and stripped it of superfluous metal (Vibration motor, speakers, etc). Dr. Holbrook wrote WebOS app ...
Logo and HP Veer with WebOS 2+ (via HP)   After the cancellation of all HP WebOS hardware, the future of the operating system looked bleak. Every HP statement implied their endeavor with the innovative mobile operating system was over.   The HP Pixi, Pre, and Touchpad all lost their luster in the public eye.   HP's new CEO, Meg Whitman, had the future of WebOS to contemplate as the first main bullet point to her new career choice. The community waited on bated breath for mont ...
US-based semiconductor firms face more than $7.5 billion in counterfeiting costs each year. Despite this, Brian Toohey, President of the Semiconductor Industry Association (SIA), insisted that the financial cost should not be the biggest concern. Testifying before a Senate committee, Mr. Toohey observed that counterfeit versions of semiconductors are well-known threats in the electronics supply chain, explaining that they put the health and safety of the military and civilians at risk. This, h ...
The Exmobaby pajama (left) Underlying tech cross-section (right) (Via Exmovere)   Receive mood updates from your baby via SMS? Pop up balloon alerting you to your baby's temperature on a PC? Get an email if your baby is moving?   All this is possible with the Exmobaby biosensor laden baby pajama, designed by Exmovere Holdings. A contactless electrocardiogram (ECG) monitors the heart rate. Skin temperature and moisture are also sensed. (Get a txt when it is time for a change?) The syst ...
Hedy Lamarr (via archive photography)   Major technology contributions and motion picture acting rarely go hand-in-hand in someone's career path, but screen actor Hedy Lamarr pulled it off and gave the world the earliest form of spread spectrum communication. In 1933, Lamarr married Fruedrich Mandl a Vienna-based arms manufacturer. Mandl kept her from pursuing much in life. The controlling nature of the marriage found her either locked up in castle Schwarzenau or at Mandl's side. He would ...
IBM and Micron Technology have confirmed that they are beginning to produce a new memory chip based on technology which could boost memory speeds 15-fold. It has been announced that the new technology will be used to make a Hybrid Memory Cube chip. The chip will be commercially manufactured by Micron, the largest manufacturer of memory chips in the US. IBM, meanwhile, has announced that it plans to manufacture and supply the "controller" silicon, which will ultimately be used in the memory an ...
While driving on a road trip with my wife I noticed that she has a slightly, shall we say “different” driving style than most people.  Sometimes it would be a general swerve that came from her lively discussion with a friend in the backseat.  And then other times it would be a minor deviation from the ideal road position followed by a sudden over-correction, similar to the response of an over-damped system.  It's not the worst driving habit a spouse could have, but it ...
ADAPT concept (via DARPA)   I bring word of a job opportunity for the hungry engineer, become a military app developer. DARPA is seeking to bring the energy and speed of cell-phone app developers to their Adaptable Sensor System (ADAPT) Program. The project is to stream data from UAVs and ground robots, and provide control, to a soldier carrying a tablet or phone. The goal is to avoid the current long development times for sensor applications, up to 10 years.   DARPA program manager M ...
Intel-Micron 20nm NAND memory at 128Gb (via Intel)   A joint Intel-Micron project brings 128Gb of data in a fingertip size package. The team is boasting the possibility of a Terabit through stacking 8 of these chips. Micron's development venture IM Flash Technologies (IMFT) brings the industry's first 20nm NAND memory fabrication using a planar cell structure. The technique brings unprecedented scaling due to the first use on Hi-K/metal gate stack on NAND memory. The tech is capable of 333 ...
Molybdenite transistor (left) Molybdenite IC with multiple transistors (right) (Via EPFL)     Will element14 have to change its name to element42+(2)16?   Researchers at École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) has shown that Molybdenite's (MoS2)  miniaturization electrical properties outstrip silicon and rivals graphene. The team stated that they are able to make a transistor that is only 3-atoms thick. Silicon at that scale has the tendency to dev ...
  I lost a bet. The wager was against anyone selling an Arduino device for any purpose besides one-of-a-kind projects or development.   Along came the "Triggertrap." An Arduino based universal camera trigger. The system has onboard contectivity for wired and wireless camera connections. There is a 2.5mm mini-jack for wired, IR for wireless. Onboard light and sound sensors can be used to trip the camera. (Snap a flash anywhere, and the camera will go off.) An auxiliary jack allows the ...
The ongoing battle for supremacy in the ultra-competitive internet browser race has taken another turn, with a new report confirming that Google's browser, Google Chrome, overtook Firefox for the first time on a monthly basis in November. The news was confirmed by StatCounter, the free website analytics company, which said that Chrome took 25.69 per cent of the worldwide market, up from 4.66 per cent in November 2009. Firefox, by contrast, accounted for 25.23 per cent of global market use. Des ...
The Olympic Games is the biggest sporting event on the planet and in 2012, the world's best athletes will all descend on London for the third time. London will, in fact, become the only city in the world to have hosted the Games on three separate occasions, having previously done so in 1908 and 1948. This time, however, technology will play a much more  prominent role in delivering the action into the homes and onto the computer screens of billions of people around the globe. Recognisi ...
Samsung SUR40 with Surface 2.0/PixelSense (via Microsoft & Samsung)   Technological advancement is consistently giving ambitious engineers new career opportunities every day. Microsoft Surface 2.0 is the perfect example. Doing away with projectors and cameras, Surface 2.0 ushers in a novel touch interface. "PixelSense," that is sure to gain in popularity outside the table top.   PixelSense places an array of IR LEDs into the backlighting array used to detect what in immediately ov ...
Two years ago a CAD software producer ran an ad campaign with a provocative question: “With over 1 million people in the world able to do your job, what makes you so special?”  The campaign showed how their product could be part of the answer to that question.   The question is provocative because we are in the midst of a revolution in the world economy.   The revolution is similar in magnitude to the shift from hunting and gathering to agriculture or from agricu ...
mrklein

Ozone and Earthquakes?

Posted by mrklein Dec 4, 2011
The words "earthquake" and "ozone" are two terms you don't often find used in the same sentence.  Like "congress" and "effective", or "health food" and "delicious."  And yet, MSNBC recently published a news item whose title did just that: "Is ozone gas an earthquake precursor?" As it turns out, when rocks such as basalt and granite are crushed, they produce substantial quantities of O3 – ozone gas.  According to researchers at the University of Virginia, the amount of ozone ...
  Printed circuit on flexible Kapton (via UCLA)   The big brains at the California NanoSystems Institute (CNSI) started the "technology incubator" two years ago for  bringing new development at the University of Southern California (UCLA) to the commercial market. They are poised to release one that is sure to have a major influence on countless electrical engineers, a low-cost ink-jet carbon-nanotube based circuit printer.   The startup company Aneeve Nanotechnologies (AN) ...
Microsoft has reached an agreement which allows it to peruse the books of Yahoo! as it considers an investment in the search engine giant. This is according to a person briefed on the matter, who told Bloomberg that Yahoo!'s advisers asked that bids be submitted next week. Bidders, however, are likely to offer to buy only a minority stake in the firm, as they have not arranged financing for a full buyout. And Microsoft, the sources claimed, may help finance a bid rather than try to buy Yahoo o ...
>Click the image< >Click the image< The future of spy gear too soon include a plethora of bugs fitted with leading-edge technology, all thanks to the researchers at the University of Michigan. Cabe http://twitter.com/Cabe_e14   Other Engineering on Friday comics: The brain chip... Animals in testing ...
(via Sharp)   Sharp Corporation's 12.1-Megapixel CMOS camera brings 35mm film quality to the smallest package size yet. At 10mm square and 5.47mm tall, the RJ63TC100 is the thinnest camera module in the industry. In fact, the module is in "response to the demand for portable mobile devices with ever more slender designs."   Their "proprietary high-density packaging technology" is capable of 1080p HD capture. Internally, the module has an optical stabilizer that will tilt the lens to k ...
(via WSU)   A 3D printers can make the approximation of anything out of many materials. Why not make replacements for bones in the same way? Researchers at Washington State University (WSU) has shown it is possible. "If a doctor has a CT scan of a defect, we can convert it to a CAD file and make the scaffold according to the defect,” said co-author of the study, Professor Susmita Bose.   Using a ProMetal 3D printer, the team printed bone like material using a spray of plastic bi ...
By Lou Covey Editorial Director, New Tech Press   The growing relationship between Sharp and Apple that was revealed last week put to bed conjecture whether Apple's next leap might be into television.  It is.  And that leaves an open question:   Has Apple gone mad?   The profit margin on TV's is razor thin at best. In 2007 the average screen sold for $982; this year it's $545 and, in many cases, TVs are a loss leader for electronics retailers (you make money on the cable ...

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