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MIT Develops Fast Charging Liquid Flow Batteries 135

An anonymous reader sends this from the MIT News office: "A radically new approach to the design of batteries, developed by researchers at MIT, could provide a lightweight and inexpensive alternative to existing batteries for electric vehicles and the power grid. The technology could even make 'refueling' such batteries as quick and easy as pumping gas into a conventional car (abstract). The new battery relies on an innovative architecture called a semi-solid flow cell, in which solid particles are suspended in a carrier liquid and pumped through the system. In this design, the battery’s active components — the positive and negative electrodes, or cathodes and anodes — are composed of particles suspended in a liquid electrolyte. These two different suspensions are pumped through systems separated by a filter, such as a thin porous membrane."
Data Storage

GE Developing 1TB Hologram Disc Readable By a Modified Blu-ray Drive 238

Globally Mobile writes "The Register has this article concerning GE's announcement that it has been developing a 1 terabyte DVD-size disk that can be read by a modified Blu-ray player. Peter Lorraine, GE's lab manager, talking at an Emerging Tech conference last week, said that license announcements could be expected soon. He also mentioned the notion of disks having the capacity of 100 Blu-ray disks, implying a 2.5TB or even 5TB capacity, gained by increasing the number of layers used for recording. The discs will be used for high-end commercial niches initially and then migrate to consumer markets in 2012-2015. Also here is a video of the technology explained. Wish we could see this sooner! Reminds me of the technology that Bowie's character came up with in The Man Who Fell to Earth."
Data Storage

Inventor of GMR Bids To Shake Up Storage, Again 220

Nrbelex writes "Stuart S. P. Parkin, an I.B.M. research fellow largely unknown outside a small fraternity of physicists, thinks he is poised to bring about a breakthrough that could increase the amount of data stored on a chip or a hard drive by a factor of a hundred. This is the man who pioneered exploiting the giant magnetoresistance effect in the 90s, causing disk storage to jump ahead of the Moore's Law curve. If he proves successful in developing 'racetrack memory,' he will create a universal computer memory, one that can potentially replace DRAM and flash memory chips, and make a 'disk drive on a chip' possible. It could begin to replace flash memory in three to five years, scientists say."

Microholography Could Lead to 500 GB Discs 158

angrykeyboarder writes "Scientists have discovered a way to fit 500 GB of data onto DVD-sized discs. These discs would be created with a process called 'microholography, which combines multilayer storage of data with holographic imagery. From the article: 'Microholography allows data to be stored in three dimensions. The technology works by replacing the two-dimensional pit-land structures currently found on CDs and DVDs with microgratings, which are holographically induced using two laser beams. In other words, instead of recording to a series of bumps and pits like standard CDs, the new technology creates three-dimensional holographic grids that can be used for reading and writing data throughout the physical structure of the disc.'"
Data Storage

Holographic Storage Slated to Hit Market This Fall 201

prostoalex writes "The Guardian takes a look at the current developments in the world of holographic storage. Despite being available in research for over 40 years, the technology is getting commercialized only now, with InPhase Technologies launching its 600 GB write-once disk and a drive this fall. What avout the price? "The first holographic products are certainly not mass-market — a 600GB disc will cost around $180 (£90), and the drive costs about $18,000. Potential users include banks, libraries, government agencies and corporations.""

Surgical Microbot Developed 102

An anonymous reader writes to mention a Wired article about the first surgical nanobot developed for practical use. No wider that two human hairs, the machine is intended to swim through arteries and the digestive tract, and can perform surgical procedures in spaces no bigger than 250 microns. The article also addresses safety concerns; the bot will swim upstream from blood flow, so if something goes wrong it can be retrieved on its way back. Likewise, for the most delicate procedures it can be fitted with a tether, to ensure it doesn't get lost. From the article: "The tiny robot, small enough to pass through the heart and other organs, will be inserted using a syringe. Guided by remote control, it will swim to a site within the body to perform a series of tasks, then return to the point of entry where it can be extracted, again by syringe. For example, the microrobot might deliver a payload of expandable glue to the site of a damaged cranial artery -- a procedure typically fraught with risk because posterior human brain arteries lay behind a complicated set of bends at the base of the skull beyond the reach of all but the most flexible catheters."

Engine On a Chip May Beat the Battery 321

Krishna Dagli writes, "MIT researchers are putting a tiny gas-turbine engine inside a silicon chip about the size of a quarter. The resulting device could run 10 times longer than a battery of the same weight, powering laptops, cell phones, radios, and other electronic devices." From the article: "All the parts work. We're now trying to get them all to work on the same day on the same lab bench." The goal is to do that by the end of the year.

Bacterial DVD Holds 50TB 268

CAMags writes to tell us that a Harvard Professor is claiming to have developed a new variant of a protein called bacteriorhodopsin (bR) that, when layered on a DVD, can store up to 50TB of data. From the article: "The light-activated protein is found in the membrane of a salt marsh microbe Halobacterium salinarum and is also known as bacteriorhodopsin (bR). It captures and stores sunlight to convert it to chemical energy. When light shines on bR, it is converted to a series of intermediate molecules each with a unique shape and color before returning to its 'ground state.'"

Star Trek's Synthehol Now Possible? 509

[TheBORG] writes "Professor David Nutt, a psychopharmacologist at the University of Bristol in the UK, believes that there is no scientific reason why 'synthehol' (a science-fictional substitute for alcohol that appears in Star Trek:The Next Generation television series) cannot be created now. It will allow drinkers to experience all of the enjoyable, intoxicating effects of alcohol without unpleasant side-effects like hangovers." Of course, there's still the real deal, Romulan Ale, for when you want a splitting headache in the morning.

The shortest distance between two points is under construction. -- Noelie Alito