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May 20, 2022

Swiss scientists are making jet fuel from sunlight and air

Posted by in categories: energy, food

The fuel’s reliance on sunlight makes desert areas prime land for production sites, leaving valuable agricultural land available for food.

May 19, 2022

UbiQD’s Quantum Dot Tech Is an Electricity Free Lighting Option for Greenhouses

Posted by in categories: food, nanotechnology, particle physics, quantum physics

Circa 2020 Electricity free grow lights using quantum dot leds.


While costs are coming down for controlled environment agriculture, electricity remains one of the highest because it has to power the LEDs that provide the lighting formula for plant growth. But a materials science company called UbiQD wants to change that by replacing electricity with a more efficient means of lighting: quantum dots.

Quantum dots are semiconductor nanoparticles that can transport electrons. When exposed to UV lighting, these particles emit lights of various colors, and can be adjusted in size to emit a specific color. For example, larger particles emit redder wavelengths, while smaller ones shift to blue.

Continue reading “UbiQD’s Quantum Dot Tech Is an Electricity Free Lighting Option for Greenhouses” »

May 19, 2022

World-first quantum dot LED lights made from discarded rice husks

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, computing, food, nanotechnology, quantum physics, solar power

From TVs, to solar cells, to cutting-edge cancer treatments, quantum dots are beginning to exhibit their unique potential in many fields, but manufacturing them at scale would raise some issues concerning the environment. Scientists at Japan’s Hiroshima University have demonstrated a greener path forward in this area, by using discarded rice husks to produce the world’s first silicon quantum dot LED light.

“Since typical quantum dots often involve toxic material, such as cadmium, lead, or other heavy metals, environmental concerns have been frequently deliberated when using nanomaterials,” said Ken-ichi Saitow, lead study author and a professor of chemistry at Hiroshima University. “Our proposed process and fabrication method for quantum dots minimizes these concerns.”

The type of quantum dots pursued by Saitow and his team are silicon quantum dots, which eschew heavy metals and offer some other benefits, too. Their stability and higher operating temperatures makes them one of the leading candidates for use in quantum computing, while their non-toxic nature also makes them suitable for use in medical applications.

May 17, 2022

This self-driving tractor is a game changer for farming

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

May 17, 2022

This autonomous cargo bot is making food deliveries in Michigan

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

May 17, 2022

How Soul Machines is making new-gen avatars life-like

Posted by in categories: food, health, robotics/AI, sustainability, virtual reality

In the not-too-distant future, many of us may routinely use 3D headsets to interact in the metaverse with virtual iterations of companies, friends, and life-like company assistants. These may include Lily from AT&T, Flo from Progressive, Jake from State Farm, and the Swami from CarShield. We’ll also be interacting with new friends like Nestlé‘s Cookie Coach, Ruth, the World Health Organization’s Digital Health worker Florence, and many others.

Creating digital characters for virtual reality apps and in ecommerce is a fast-rising new segment of IT. San Francisco-based Soul Machines, a company that is rooted in both the animation and artificial intelligence (AI) sectors, is jumping at the opportunity to create animated digital avatars to bolster interactions in the metaverse. Customers are much more likely to buy something when a familiar face — digital or human — is involved.

Investors, understandably, are hot on the idea. This week, the 6-year-old company revealed an infusion of series B financing ($70 million) led by new investor SoftBank Vision Fund 2, bringing the company’s total funding to $135 million to date.

May 14, 2022

Scientists have figured out a way to farm metals from plants

Posted by in categories: food, sustainability

According to The Guardian, there’s a team of researchers in northern Greece who have spent the last few years experimenting with ways to harvest metal though agriculture:

In a remote, beautiful field, high in the Pindus mountains in Epirus, they are experimenting with a trio of shrubs known to scientists as “hyperaccumulators”: plants which have evolved the capacity to thrive in naturally metal-rich soils that are toxic to most other kinds of life. They do this by drawing the metal out of the ground and storing it in their leaves and stems, where it can be harvested like any other crop. As well as providing a source for rare metals – in this case nickel, although hyperaccumulators have been found for zinc, aluminium, cadmium and many other metals, including gold – these plants actively benefit the earth by remediating the soil, making it suitable for growing other crops, and by sequestering carbon in their roots. One day, they might supplant more destructive and polluting forms of mining.

Imagine, finding a way to pull minerals out of the Earth … without violent colonization and destructive mining practices. Maybe us lowly humans could learn a thing or two from the flowers!

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May 12, 2022

A first: Scientists grow plants in soil from the Moon

Posted by in categories: food, space

Scientists have grown plants in soil from the Moon, a first in human history and a milestone in lunar and space exploration.

In a new paper published in the journal Communications Biology, University of Florida researchers showed that plants can successfully sprout and grow in lunar . Their study also investigated how plants respond biologically to the Moon’s soil, also known as , which is radically different from soil found on Earth.

This work is a first step toward one day growing plants for food and oxygen on the Moon or during . More immediately, this research comes as the Artemis Program plans to return humans to the Moon.

May 10, 2022

‘Machine Scientists’ Distill the Laws of Physics From Raw Data

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food, genetics, information science, robotics/AI

The latest “machine scientist” algorithms can take in data on dark matter, dividing cells, turbulence, and other situations too complicated for humans to understand and provide an equation capturing the essence of what’s going on.


Despite rediscovering Kepler’s third law and other textbook classics, BACON remained something of a curiosity in an era of limited computing power. Researchers still had to analyze most data sets by hand, or eventually with Excel-like software that found the best fit for a simple data set when given a specific class of equation. The notion that an algorithm could find the correct model for describing any data set lay dormant until 2009, when Lipson and Michael Schmidt, roboticists then at Cornell University, developed an algorithm called Eureqa.

Their main goal had been to build a machine that could boil down expansive data sets with column after column of variables to an equation involving the few variables that actually matter. “The equation might end up having four variables, but you don’t know in advance which ones,” Lipson said. “You throw at it everything and the kitchen sink. Maybe the weather is important. Maybe the number of dentists per square mile is important.”

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May 7, 2022

Israeli start-up produces artificial vegetarian blood from micro-algae

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

Bill Rhoads


Yemoja researchers combined Porphyridium algae derivatives after developing a groundbreaking system for the biological culture of pure and standardized components from micro-algae intended for the food and cosmetics industries.

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