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Jul 8, 2019

Climate Facts: Bridge to Nowhere

Posted by in category: climatology

Report that natural gas is just as bad as coal due to rampant methane leaks which cause global heating.

Jul 8, 2019

Researchers discover semiconducting nanotubes that form spontaneously

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, nanotechnology, quantum physics

If scientists could find a way to control the process for making semiconductor components on a nanometric scale, they could give those components unique electronic and optical properties—opening the door to a host of useful applications.

Researchers at the Laboratory of Microsystems, in EPFL’s School of Engineering, have taken an important step towards that goal with their discovery of semiconducting nanotubes that assemble automatically in solutions of metallic nanocrystals and certain ligands. The tubes have between three and six walls that are perfectly uniform and just a few atoms thick—making them the first such nanostructures of their kind.

What’s more, the nanotubes possess photoluminescent properties: they can absorb light of a specific wavelength and then send out intense light waves of a different color, much like and quantum wells. That means they can be used as in , for example, or as catalysts in photoreduction reactions, as evidenced by the removal of the colors of some organic dyes, based on the results of initial experiments. The researchers’ findings have made the cover of ACS Central Science.

Jul 8, 2019

The Junk Food Effect

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, food

An apple a day won’t keep the doctor away for much longer. CO2 pollution is sucking the nutrients out of our healthiest foods. #YEARSproject

Jul 8, 2019

How algae could help solve some of the world’s biggest problems

Posted by in category: food

Here’s a billion-dollar question. How do we transform our systems of food production and distribution, so that we can produce food much closer to where it’s consumed and therefore reduce food miles, food waste and our impact on the environment?

Jul 8, 2019

Honeywell Trapped Ion Quantum Computer

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Honeywell Quantum Solutions has demonstrated record-breaking high fidelity quantum operations on their trapped-ion qubits. It is a major step towards producing the world’s most powerful quantum computer. Honeywell targets an operational trapped ion quantum computer by the end of 2019.

Currently the leading trapped ion quantum computer is by the startup IonQ. There are commercial quantum annealing systems from D-Wave Systems with 2000 qubits. There are superconducting quantum computers with 16–72 qubits from Google, IBM, Intel and Rigetti Systems.

Jul 8, 2019

Team programs a humanoid robot to communicate in sign language

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI

For a robot to be able to “learn” sign language, it is necessary to combine different areas of engineering such as artificial intelligence, neural networks and artificial vision, as well as underactuated robotic hands. “One of the main new developments of this research is that we united two major areas of Robotics: complex systems (such as robotic hands) and social interaction and communication,” explains Juan Víctores, one of the researchers from the Robotics Lab in the Department of Systems Engineering and Automation of the UC3M.

The first thing the scientists did as part of their research was to indicate, through a simulation, the specific position of each phalanx in order to depict particular signs from Spanish Sign Language. They then attempted to reproduce this position with the robotic hand, trying to make the movements similar to those a human hand could make. “The objective is for them to be similar and, above all, natural. Various types of were tested to model this adaptation, and this allowed us to choose the one that could perform the gestures in a way that is comprehensible to people who communicate with sign language,” the researchers explain.

Finally, the scientists verified that the system worked by interacting with potential end-users. “The who have been in contact with the robot have reported 80 percent satisfaction, so the response has been very positive,” says another of the researchers from the Robotics Lab, Jennifer J. Gago. The experiments were carried out with TEO (Task Environment Operator), a for home use developed in the Robotics Lab of the UC3M.

Jul 8, 2019

Five Couples Agree to CRISPR Their Babies to Avoid Deafness

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, genetics

They think gene-editing is a risk worth taking — if it means their babies will be able to hear.

Jul 8, 2019

Robot uses machine learning to harvest lettuce

Posted by in categories: food, robotics/AI

A vegetable-picking robot that uses machine learning to identify and harvest a commonplace, but challenging, agricultural crop has been developed by engineers.

The ‘Vegebot’, developed by a team at the University of Cambridge, was initially trained to recognise and harvest iceberg lettuce in a lab setting. It has now been successfully tested in a variety of field conditions in cooperation with G’s Growers, a local fruit and vegetable co-operative.

Continue reading “Robot uses machine learning to harvest lettuce” »

Jul 8, 2019

Antigravity water transport system inspired by trees

Posted by in categories: engineering, solar power, sustainability, transportation

Efficiently moving water upward against gravity is a major feat of human engineering, yet one that trees have mastered for hundreds of millions of years. In a new study, researchers have designed a tree-inspired water transport system that uses capillary forces to drive dirty water upward through a hierarchically structured aerogel, where it can then be converted into steam by solar energy to produce fresh, clean water.

The researchers, led by Aiping Liu at Zhejiang Sci-Tech University and Hao Bai at Zhejiang University, have published a paper on the new transport and solar steam generation method in a recent issue of ACS Nano. In the future, efficient water transport methods have in and desalination.

“Our preparation method is universal and can be industrialized,” Liu told Phys.org. “Our materials have excellent properties and good stability, and can be reused many times. This provides the possibility for large-scale desalination and in the future.”

Jul 8, 2019

Tiny granules can help bring clean and abundant fusion power to Earth

Posted by in categories: computing, physics, space travel

Beryllium, a hard, silvery metal long used in X-ray machines and spacecraft, is finding a new role in the quest to bring the power that drives the sun and stars to Earth. Beryllium is one of the two main materials used for the wall in ITER, a multinational fusion facility under construction in France to demonstrate the practicality of fusion power. Now, physicists from the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory (PPPL) and General Atomics have concluded that injecting tiny beryllium pellets into ITER could help stabilize the plasma that fuels fusion reactions.

Experiments and computer simulations found that the injected granules help create conditions in the that could trigger small eruptions called edge-localized modes (ELMs). If triggered frequently enough, the tiny ELMs prevent giant eruptions that could halt fusion reactions and damage the ITER facility.

Scientists around the world are seeking to replicate fusion on Earth for a virtually inexhaustible supply of power to generate electricity. The process involves plasma, a very hot soup of free-floating electrons and , or ions. The merging of the nuclei releases a tremendous amount of energy.