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Mar 5, 2019

Fire Light Speed Power Electric Railgun

Posted by in category: energy

Testing a rail gun in the middle of a field has never been so fun! This rail gun includes 9-volt batteries as a portable source of power to charge the capacitors. The capacitors provide instantaneous amperage to the rail gun. When triggered, the rail gun fires an aluminum projectile.

And, it’s a success! The first test, run at 350 volts, successfully fires the projectile. The team will have to make some modifications for the next phase. Any suggestions for making the capacitors or the cables more stable?

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Mar 5, 2019

Plastic pollution is causing reproductive problems for ocean wildlife

Posted by in category: health

Learn about a study that has found that organisms that ingest plastics are subject to hormone disruption and reproduction issues that affect overall health.

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Mar 5, 2019

Scientists use machine learning to identify high-performing solar materials

Posted by in categories: engineering, robotics/AI, solar power, supercomputing, sustainability

Finding the best light-harvesting chemicals for use in solar cells can feel like searching for a needle in a haystack. Over the years, researchers have developed and tested thousands of different dyes and pigments to see how they absorb sunlight and convert it to electricity. Sorting through all of them requires an innovative approach.

Now, thanks to a study that combines the power of supercomputing with and experimental methods, researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE) Argonne National Laboratory and the University of Cambridge in England have developed a novel “design to device” approach to identify promising materials for dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs). DSSCs can be manufactured with low-cost, scalable techniques, allowing them to reach competitive performance-to-price ratios.

The team, led by Argonne materials scientist Jacqueline Cole, who is also head of the Molecular Engineering group at the University of Cambridge’s Cavendish Laboratory, used the Theta supercomputer at the Argonne Leadership Computing Facility (ALCF) to pinpoint five high-performing, low-cost dye materials from a pool of nearly 10,000 candidates for fabrication and device testing. The ALCF is a DOE Office of Science User Facility.

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Mar 5, 2019

Researchers harness mysterious Casimir force for tiny devices

Posted by in categories: computing, quantum physics

Circa 2017


Getting something from nothing sounds like a good deal, so for years scientists have been trying to exploit the tiny amount of energy that arises when objects are brought very close together. It’s a source of energy so obscure it was once derided as a fanciful source of “perpetual motion.” Now, a research team including Princeton scientists has found a way to harness a mysterious force of repulsion, which is one aspect of that force.

This energy, predicted seven decades ago by the Dutch scientist Hendrik Casimir, arises from quantum effects and can be seen experimentally by placing two opposing plates very close to each other in a vacuum. At close range, the plates repel each other, which could be useful to certain technologies. Until recently, however, harnessing this “Casimir force” to do anything useful seemed impossible.

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Mar 5, 2019

Researchers Are Training AI to Survive In This MMO

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

In OpenAI’s ‘Neural MMO,’ artificially intelligent agents compete to survive, and learn new skills along the way.

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Mar 5, 2019

Spiders go ballooning on electric fields

Posted by in category: futurism

Circa 2018


Scientists have attributed the flying behaviour of these wingless arthropods to ‘ballooning’, where spiders can be carried thousands of miles by releasing trails of silk that propel them up and out on the wind.

However, the fact that ballooning has been observed when there is no wind to speak of, when skies are overcast and even in rainy conditions, raises the question: how do spiders take off with low levels of aerodynamic drag?

Biologists from the University of Bristol believe they have found the answer.

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Mar 5, 2019

The people in Russia buying ‘immortality’

Posted by in categories: life extension, neuroscience

After Anton Zeldin’s wife was involved in a fatal car accident, he chose to have her brain frozen with the hope that she can one day be brought back to life. Video Journalist: Irina Sedunova.

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Mar 5, 2019

China announces the mass production of solid-state batteries

Posted by in category: futurism

Although there are still hurdles for the production of the successor to the lithium-ion batteries according to experts, a Chinese start-up has allegedly succeeded in producing solid-state batteries.

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Mar 5, 2019

Generating cross-modal sensory data for robotic visual-tactile perception

Posted by in category: robotics/AI

Perceiving an object only visually (e.g. on a screen) or only by touching it, can sometimes limit what we are able to infer about it. Human beings, however, have the innate ability to integrate visual and tactile stimuli, leveraging whatever sensory data is available to complete their daily tasks.

Researchers at the University of Liverpool have recently proposed a new framework to generate cross-modal , which could help to replicate both visual and in situations in which one of the two is not directly accessible. Their framework could, for instance, allow people to perceive objects on a screen (e.g. clothing items on e-commerce sites) both visually and tactually.

“In our daily experience, we can cognitively create a visualization of an object based on a tactile response, or a tactile response from viewing a surface’s texture,” Dr. Shan Luo, one of the researchers who carried out the study, told TechXplore. “This perceptual phenomenon, called synesthesia, in which the stimulation of one sense causes an involuntary reaction in one or more of the other senses, can be employed to make up an inaccessible sense. For instance, when one grasps an object, our vision will be obstructed by the hand, but a touch response will be generated to ‘see’ the corresponding features.”

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Mar 5, 2019

First scalable graphene yarns for wearable textiles produced

Posted by in categories: particle physics, wearables

A team of researchers led by Dr. Nazmul Karim and Prof Sir Kostya Novoselov at The University of Manchester have developed a method to produce scalable graphene-based yarn.

Multi-functional wearable e-textiles have been a focus of much attention due to their great potential for healthcare, sportswear, fitness and aerospace applications.

Graphene has been considered a potentially good material for these types of applications due to its high conductivity, and flexibility. Every atom in is exposed to its environment allowing it to sense changes in its surroundings, making it an ideal material for sensors.

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