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Jan 12, 2016

Scientists develop a lithium-ion battery that shuts down at high temperatures to avoid explosions

Posted by in categories: particle physics, transportation

The primary reason hoverboards have become public enemy #1 in recent times is due to their unfortunate tendency to catch fire and explode due to their lithium-ion batteries overheating.

But a new lithium-ion battery developed by scientists in the US could put an end to such dramas. Researchers at Stanford University have made the world’s first lithium-ion battery that shuts off before it overheats, then restarts immediately when its temperature has cooled.

Conventional lithium-ion batteries comprise a pair of electrodes and a liquid or gel electrolyte that carries charged particles between them. However, if the battery’s temperature reaches around 150 degrees Celsius (300 degrees Fahrenheit) as a result of a defect or overcharging, the electrolyte can catch fire and trigger an explosion, as we’ve seen in many sad cases.

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Jan 12, 2016

Marc Andreessen: ‘In 20 years, every physical item will have a chip implanted in it’

Posted by in categories: computing, internet

Star venture capitalist Andreessen’s new $25m bet heralds the dawn of Internet.
of Things 2.0

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Jan 12, 2016

Elon Musk: It’s an ‘open secret’ that Apple is building an electric car

Posted by in categories: Elon Musk, sustainability, transportation

During an interview with BBC, Tesla CEO Elon Musk says it’s “obvious” and an “open secret” that Apple is building its own electric car.

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Jan 12, 2016

More Than Just Editing: CRISPR Could Control Your Genes Too

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

CRISPR, CRISPR, CRISPR. We’ve all heard about it’s gene editing capability, but it has potential to do so much more — controlling genes and offering a precise delivery system.

More than an editing platform

The CRISPR-Cas9 system does a wonderful job, partly because it targets genes so specifically. It’s not the only system that does this, but it’s the cheapest and easiest to create so far. For those with imagination however, this targeting quality means it could do so much more than simply snip away at sequences. Targeting promoter sequences, delivering a payload to a specific region of DNA…the platform has enormous potential.

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Jan 12, 2016

Medgadget @ CES 2016: Profusa Unveils Long-Term Implanatable Biosensor

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, electronics, health, materials, mobile phones

ProfusaLast week at CES, South San Francisco based Profusa showed off an upcoming injectable sensor that can be used to continuously monitor oxygen levels in tissue. Measuring only five millimeters long and a tiny 250 microns in diameter, the biosensor can be injected into tissue with just a hypodermic needle. It consists of a soft hydrogel scaffold that allows it to be biologically compatible with the surrounding tissue without any foreign body response. The sensor also contains a special chemical marker that changes fluorescence depending on the amount of oxygen that reacts with it. An optical reader placed on the skin measures the fluorescence and relays the data to a smartphone. The biosensor can last as long as two years (at which point the chemical marker begins to lose its potency), and because it contains no electronics and is completely biocompatible there’s no need to remove it.

On stage at the CES Digital Health Summit, Profusa CEO Dr. Ben Hwang gave a live demonstration of how the sensor works in action. As two of his colleagues with the sensors implanted and using a blood pressure cuffs performed stretches to simulate changes in blood flow, a graph displayed the live view of the changing tissue oxygen levels at the site of the sensors.

Continue reading “Medgadget @ CES 2016: Profusa Unveils Long-Term Implanatable Biosensor” »

Jan 12, 2016

Ballantine designs ‘space glass’ for drinking whiskey in microgravity

Posted by in categories: 3D printing, biotech/medical, space travel

Anyone offended by the prospect of drinking fine whiskey inside sealed space packs with straws after Suntory sent its finest variety to the ISS for testing? Don’t worry: Ballantine’s got your back. The liquor company has commissioned Open Space Agency’s James Parr — who also created a Lumia-powered 3D-printed telescope in the past — to design a high-tech whiskey glass especially for zero-G environments. He tested a number of designs before settling on a rounded glass with a spiral convex stainless steel base plated in rose gold that can create the surface tension necessary to hold the liquor down. The liquid then passes through channels on the sides of the glass all the way up to the golden mouthpiece.

The “glass” part itself is actually 3D-printed medical-grade PLA plastic, the same kind used for heart valves. Since everything tends to float in microgravity, the base hides a 22-pound magnet that can be used to stick the glass on magnetic surfaces. Plus, it has a one way valve where a customized whiskey bottle nozzle can be inserted to pour out a shot. Parr and Ballantine published more details about the design process on Medium, if you’d like to read more about how the “space glass” was created. Sure, it could be nothing but a marketing stunt, but it’s amazing how much thought went into designing a whiskey glass. It’s unfortunate that most of us might never get to use it in its intended environment; good thing the final product at least looks fancy enough to display.

Continue reading “Ballantine designs ‘space glass’ for drinking whiskey in microgravity” »

Jan 12, 2016

Ford Starts Autonomous Vehicle Testing In The Snow

Posted by in categories: robotics/AI, transportation

Anyone paying attention to all of the news about autonomous vehicles from Google and other companies may have noticed a common thread in the stories, photos and videos. The roads are always dry and the sun is shining. That’s because many of the sensors used to let a car manage its own trajectory don’t work well unless they can see the road and other surroundings clearly. Ford is now claiming to be the first automaker to test its prototype autonomous vehicles in winter weather conditions.

After becoming the first automaker to use the Mcity test facility in Ann Arbor, Mich. for autonomous vehicle tests last fall, the Dearborn automaker continued its development work into December when the snow started to fly.

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Jan 11, 2016

DARPA Advance Breaks New Ground for Operating In Congested Electromagnetic Spectrum

Posted by in categories: computing, military

Competition for scarce electromagnetic (EM) spectrum is increasing, driven by a growing military and civilian demand for connected devices. As the spectrum becomes more congested, the Department of Defense (DoD) will need better tools for managing the EM environment and for avoiding interference from competing signals. One recent DARPA-funded advance, an exceptionally high-speed analog-to-digital converter (ADC), represents a major step forward. The ADC could help ensure the uninterrupted operation of spectrum-dependent military capabilities, including communications and radar, in contested EM environments. The advance was enabled by 32 nm silicon-on-insulator (SOI) semiconductor technologies available through DARPA’s ongoing partnership with GlobalFoundries, a manufacturer of highly-advanced semiconductor chips.

The EM spectrum, whose component energy waves include trillionth-of-a-meter-wavelength gamma rays to multi-kilometer-wavelength radio waves, is an inherently physical phenomenon. ADCs convert physical data—that is, analog data—on the spectrum into numbers that a digital computer can analyze and manipulate, an important capability for understanding and adapting to dynamic EM environments.

Today’s ADCs, however, only process data within a limited portion of the spectrum at a given time. As a result, they can temporarily overlook critical information about radar, jamming, communications, and other potentially problematic EM signals. DARPA’s Arrays at Commercial Timescales (ACT) program addressed this challenge by supporting the development of an ADC with a processing speed nearly ten times that of commercially available, state-of-the-art alternatives. By leveraging this increased speed, the resulting ADC can analyze data from across a much wider spectrum range, allowing DoD systems to better operate in congested spectrum bands and to more rapidly react to spectrum-based threats.

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Jan 11, 2016

Illumina Launches GRAIL, Focused on Blood-Based Cancer Screening

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

Early detection by Grail (leveraging illumina’s gene sequencing technology) looks promising. This truly will be beneficial for early detection. And, I will be very interested in seeing how it benefits those who are genetically pre-disposed to cancer related gene mutations especially around Esaphogus, Glioblastoma, and Pancreatic cancers since these are often hard to detect in their earliest stages.

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Jan 11, 2016

Watch ISS Commander Chris Hadfield Cover David Bowie’s ‘Space Oddity’… In Space

Posted by in category: space

A seriously beautiful video marks the end of a seriously entertaining ISS expedition.

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