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Nov 25, 2015

New technology makes metal wires on solar cells nearly invisible to light

Posted by in categories: solar power, sustainability

A solar cell is basically a semiconductor, which converts sunlight into electricity, sandwiched between metal contacts that carry the electrical current.

But this widely used design has a flaw: The shiny metal on top of the cell actually reflects sunlight away from the semiconductor where electricity is produced, reducing the cell’s efficiency.

Now, Stanford University scientists have discovered how to hide the reflective upper contact and funnel light directly to the semiconductor below. Their findings, published in the journal ACS Nano, could lead to a new paradigm in the design and fabrication of .

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Nov 25, 2015

Inkjet hologram printing now possible

Posted by in categories: chemistry, materials, security

Vivid holographic images and text can now be produced by means of an ordinary inkjet printer. This new method, developed by a team of scientists from ITMO University in Saint Petersburg, is expected to significantly reduce the cost and time needed to create the so-called rainbow holograms, commonly used for security purposes — to protect valuable items, such as credit cards and paper currency, from piracy and falsification. The results of the study were published 17 November in the scientific journal Advanced Functional Materials.

The team, led by Alexander Vinogradov, senior research associate at the International Laboratory of Solution Chemistry of Advanced Materials and Technologies (SCAMT) in ITMO University, developed colorless ink made of nanocrystalline titania, which can be loaded into an inkjet printer and then deposited on special microembossed paper, resulting in unique patterned images. The ink makes it possible to print custom holographic images on transparent film in a matter of minutes, instead of days as with the use of conventional methods.

Rainbow holograms are widely used to fight against the forgery of credit cards, money, documents and certain manufactured products that call for a high level of protection. Even though the technology of obtaining holographic images was already developed in the 1960s, there still exist numerous technical difficulties that impede its further spread and integration into polygraphic industry.

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Nov 25, 2015

‘Material universe’ yields surprising new particle

Posted by in categories: computing, materials, particle physics, quantum physics

An international team of researchers has predicted the existence of a new type of particle called the type-II Weyl fermion in metallic materials. When subjected to a magnetic field, the materials containing the particle act as insulators for current applied in some directions and as conductors for current applied in other directions. This behavior suggests a range of potential applications, from low-energy devices to efficient transistors.

The researchers theorize that the particle exists in a material known as tungsten ditelluride (WTe2), which the researchers liken to a “material universe” because it contains several , some of which exist under normal conditions in our universe and others that may exist only in these specialized types of crystals. The research appeared in the journal Nature this week.

The new particle is a cousin of the Weyl fermion, one of the particles in standard theory. However, the type-II particle exhibits very different responses to electromagnetic fields, being a near perfect conductor in some directions of the field and an insulator in others.

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Nov 25, 2015

Russia and Europe Want a Moon Colony—Why Is NASA So Focused on Mars?

Posted by in category: space travel

Only 12 people—all Americans—have put their boots on the Moon. Today, however, NASA has no plans to send humans back to our pockmarked satellite. Instead, its space pioneers will shoot straight to Mars (and wave to the Moon as they pass it by).

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Nov 25, 2015

Company Plans To Resurrect Humans With Artificial Intelligence By 2045

Posted by in categories: computing, nanotechnology, robotics/AI

A company has announced its intention to resurrect the dead by storing their memories and using artificial intelligence to return them to life. In the future, of course.

Yeaaaaaah. What?

The company is called Humai, and at the moment, it is pretty sparse on details – and we’re still not sure it’s not a marketing ploy or a hoax. At any rate, the company says they want to store the “conversational styles, behavioral patterns, thought processes and information about how your body functions from the inside-out” on a silicon chip using AI and nanotechnology, according to their website.

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Nov 25, 2015

Q&A With A Space Artist — By Sarah Keartes | Popular Science

Posted by in categories: media & arts, space

thats-a-job_space-artist
“Instead of buying photos of our solar system, artist Michael Benson decided to create his own—and to do it better. The longtime space aficionado learned to piece together mosaics by combining hundreds of NASA images into one planetary landscape. Spacecraft typically record in various color filters to see different elements of the same view. By overlaying them, Benson creates a detailed, true-color picture of the cosmos.”

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Nov 25, 2015

‘Go’ Is the Game Machines Can’t Beat. Google’s Artificial Intelligence Whiz Hints That His Will — By Mark Bergen | Re/code

Posted by in categories: business, computing, innovation, machine learning, neuroscience, robotics/AI

20151120-go-board-game-google-ai

“When the world’s smartest researchers train computers to become smarter, they like to use games. Go, the two-player board game born in China more than two millennia ago, remains the nut that machines still can’t crack.”

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Nov 25, 2015

Future Travel

Posted by in categories: futurism, transportation

Future of Transportation — Concept Vehicles.


Here’s how the next generation will travel — flying cars, hover rails, the hyperloop, and more…

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Nov 25, 2015

Veritasium Explores The Future of Energy — GE

Posted by in categories: energy, finance, habitats, health, transportation

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VVA34lM3-OY&feature=youtu.be

Derek Muller of ‘Veritasium’ explores the impact of the Northeast blackout of 2003 and the innovations in energy that are essential to keeping the lights on. For more on the future of energy, check out Breakthrough’s ‘Energy on the Edge’ episode on the National Geographic Channel airing Sunday 11/29 at 9/8c.

Check Out Veritasium’s ‘How Long Will You Live’: http://bit.ly/21fLyDN

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Nov 25, 2015

Ray Kurzweil — The Future of Medicine

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, chemistry, computing, health, life extension, nanotechnology, Ray Kurzweil, robotics/AI, singularity, transhumanism

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q9Ec7AvnufQ

Ray Kurzweil: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ray_Kurzweil#Health_and_aging

Raymond “Ray” Kurzweil is an American author, computer scientist, inventor and futurist. Aside from futurology, he is involved in fields such as optical character recognition (OCR), text-to-speech synthesis, speech recognition technology, and electronic keyboard instruments. He has written books on health, artificial intelligence (AI), transhumanism, the technological singularity, and futurism. Kurzweil is a public advocate for the futurist and transhumanist movements, and gives public talks to share his optimistic outlook on life extension technologies and the future of nanotechnology, robotics, and biotechnology.

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