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Nov 23, 2015

Underwater balloons could give us a new way of storing renewable energy

Posted by in category: sustainability

While solar or wind farms are now contributing more energy than ever to the world’s power supply, traditional energy sources are often required at peak times or to supplement renewable sources during dips in availability — at night, for example. So Canadian startup Hydrostor has invented a system of pressurised underwater balloons that can store renewable energy until it’s needed, which could reduce the need for diesel or gas as a back-up source of power.

The company says its solution can last twice as long as the best batteries we have today, and at a much lower cost. The first facility has been set up in Lake Ontario near Toronto, with a series of balloons set 55 metres under the surface of the water and connected to the power grid via a pipeline.

“Compressed air’s been around for 40 years,” Hydrostor CEO Curtis VanWalleghem told Canadian Manufacturing. “It’s finding places to store the air that’s been the problem [and] why it hasn’t been massively adopted. We open it up to thousands more sites because we use hydrostatic water pressure.”

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Nov 23, 2015

Diamond Nanothreads Could Support Space Elevator

Posted by in categories: materials, space

A string of benzene molecules that’s 20,000 times smaller than a strand of human hair is the strongest material ever made.

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Nov 23, 2015

Gyroscopic gas thrusters tested for future spacewalks on asteroids

Posted by in categories: futurism, space travel

Massachusetts-based space company Draper has trialled a gyroscopic jet-packthat could help give astronauts new freedom when working in orbit or exploring asteroids in the future.

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Nov 23, 2015

Why South Korea is the plastic surgery capital of the world

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

Seoul, South Korea, is the global plastic surgery capital.

The high-status neighborhood of Gangnam reportedly has 500 aesthetic centers alone.

Why the concentration? Because South Korea has the most plastic surgeries per capita on earth, with over 980,000 recorded operations in 2014. That’s 20 procedures per 1,000 people, putting it ahead of the US’s 13 procedures per 1,000. And Korea has had the most operations per capita since 2009.

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Nov 23, 2015

World’s first cyber-plants fuse electronics with roses

Posted by in categories: electronics, materials

For the first time, scientists have created analogue and digital electronic circuits inside living plants, using the vascular system of living roses to build – or rather ‘grow’ – the central components of electronic circuits.

Researchers at Linköping University in Sweden merged numerous electrical components inside the roses, including wires, digital logic, and even display-based elements, thanks to a special polymer that’s capable of acting like a wire while still transporting organic material such as water and nutrients through the rose’s stem.

By successfully incorporating electronics into the living systems of plants, it’s hoped we’ll be able to find out much more about the chemical processes and pathways that make them function – and we could even learn to control and manipulate them.

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Nov 23, 2015

Fastest robot to solve a Rubik’s Cube — Guinness World Records

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

The fastest time to solve a Rubik’s cube by a robot is 2.39 seconds, achieved by a robot built by Zackary Gromko (USA) at an event at Saint Stephens, Bradenton, Florida, USA, on 15 October 2015. Read the full story:

The robot utilises 6 arms (one for each face of the cube) connected to stepper motors to rotate the faces of the cube.

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Nov 23, 2015

Interesting Futurism Animation 5

Posted by in category: futurism

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Nov 23, 2015

Electric fields remove nanoparticles from blood with ease

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, engineering

Engineers at the University of California, San Diego developed a new technology that uses an oscillating electric field to easily and quickly isolate drug-delivery nanoparticles from blood. The technology could serve as a general tool to separate and recover nanoparticles from other complex fluids for medical, environmental, and industrial applications.

Nanoparticles, which are generally one thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair, are difficult to separate from plasma, the liquid component of blood, due to their small size and low density. Traditional methods to remove from typically involve diluting the plasma, adding a high concentration sugar solution to the plasma and spinning it in a centrifuge, or attaching a targeting agent to the surface of the nanoparticles. These methods either alter the normal behavior of the nanoparticles or cannot be applied to some of the most common nanoparticle types.

“This is the first example of isolating a wide range of nanoparticles out of plasma with a minimum amount of manipulation,” said Stuart Ibsen, a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of NanoEngineering at UC San Diego and first author of the study published October in the journal Small. “We’ve designed a very versatile technique that can be used to recover nanoparticles in a lot of different processes.”

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Nov 22, 2015

Will this European satellite confirm Einstein’s last unproven idea?

Posted by in category: physics

The Lisa Pathfinder will test equipment for an orbiting observatory that will peer into the universe’s darkest corners.

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Nov 22, 2015

Deus Ex: The Eyeborg Documentary

Posted by in categories: biotech/medical, cyborgs, education

Interesting look at the future of human augmentation.

To celebrate the launch of critically acclaimed video game DEUS EX: HUMAN REVOLUTION, Square Enix has commissioned filmmaker Rob Spence aka Eyeborg (a self proclaimed cyborg who lost an eye replaced it with a wireless video camera) to investigate prosthetics, cybernetics and human augmentation.

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