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+ - High-Performance Supercapacitors from Niobium Nanowire Yarns for Wearables.

rtoz writes: Wearable electronic devices for health and fitness monitoring are a rapidly growing area of consumer electronics; one of their biggest limitations is the capacity of their tiny batteries to deliver enough power to transmit data. Now, researchers at MIT have found a promising new approach to delivering the short but intense bursts of power needed by such small devices.

The key is a new approach to making supercapacitors — devices that can store and release electrical power in such bursts, which are needed for brief transmissions of data from wearable devices such as heart-rate monitors, computers, or smartphones. They may also be useful for other applications where high power is needed in small volumes, such as autonomous microrobots.

The new approach uses yarns, made from nanowires of the element niobium, as the electrodes in tiny supercapacitors

Nanotechnology researchers have been working to increase the performance of supercapacitors for the past decade. Among nanomaterials, carbon-based nanoparticles — such as carbon nanotubes and graphene — have shown promising results, but they suffer from relatively low electrical conductivity

In this new work, the researchers have shown that desirable characteristics for such devices, such as high power density, are not unique to carbon-based nanoparticles, and that niobium nanowire yarn is a promising alternative.

The new nanowire-based supercapacitor exceeds the performance of existing batteries, while occupying a very small volume.

The innovation is especially significant for small devices, as this technology can deliver big bursts of power from a very small device.

Niobium is a fairly abundant and widely used material. so the whole system should be inexpensive and easy to produce

The niobium-based supercapacitors can store up to five times as much power in a given volume as carbon nanotube versions.

Niobium also has a very high melting point — nearly 2,500 degrees Celsius — so devices made from these nanowires could potentially be suitable for use in high-temperature applications.

In addition, the material is highly flexible, so this innovation is very significant in the development of smart fabrics and future wearable technologies

+ - MX3D to 3D print a steel bridge on-site in Amsterdam using Robots.

rtoz writes: The 3D printing R&D company MX3D is planning to print a bridge across a canal in Amsterdam, Netherlands. It is hoped that the robots used will print their own supports and gradually move across the water, creating the bridge as they go. MX3D teams up with AutoDesk and few other companies to do this amazing work.

MX3D says the project is made feasible by its robotic 3D printing technology that effectively makes it possible to draw in mid-air. The multi-axis industrial robots to be used can print metals, plastics and combinations of materials.

For the bridge project, the robots will be printing in steel. They will use specially-designed arms that heat up the metal to 1,500 C before welding the structure. This approach means structures can be created that are strong, durable and complex. It will be as strong and as any other bridge. People will be able to walk back and forth over it for decades.

It is hoped that the entire process will take place on-site. And, it will be built over the course of two months in fall of 2017.

+ - Now we can stop and store light traveling in an Optical Fiber

rtoz writes: Researchers at the Kastler Brossel Laboratory in Paris have managed to store light that propagates in an optical fiber and to release it later on demand. By causing interaction between the traveling light and a few thousand atoms in the vicinity, they demonstrated an all-fibered memory.

The researchers report that they have devised optical memory integrated into an optical fiber. The team created a way to stop and store the light that usually propagates in a fiber at a speed as fast as 200,000 km/sec. This capability represents an important advance in optical communications, as fibers are at the heart of our worldwide telecommunication system, but also for a future quantum Internet, in which quantum information can be transported and synchronized between interconnected nodes.

This work provides a demonstration of an all-fibered memory for light. The researchers have been able to store the light and release it later into the fiber

At the core of the device is a commercial fiber with a short section elongated to 400 nm in diameter where the light can efficiently interact with a cloud of laser-cooled atoms. Using the so-called electromagnetically induced transparency technique, which is well-known in free space but combined here for the first time with a fiber, the researchers slowed down the light pulse by 3,000-fold and then halted it completely.The information conveyed by the laser light is transferred to the atoms in the form of a collective excitation, a large quantum superposition. Around 2,000 cesium atoms very close to the fiber were involved in the process. Later, after a programmable period, the light was released into the fiber, reconstituting the initial encoded information that can once again travel. Storage times of up to 5 micro seconds were demonstrated, corresponding to a traveling distance of 1 km if the light had not been halted.

The experiment by the Paris team also showed that even light pulses containing only one photon can be stored, with a very large signal-to-noise ratio. This feature will enable the use of this device as a quantum memory, an essential ingredient for the creation of future quantum networks.

+ - A Wind Turbine without Blades

rtoz writes: Vortex Bladeless is a Spanish tech start-up. It wants to completely change the way we get energy from the wind. Think wind stick instead of a massive tower with blades that capture blowing winds.

The Vortex is a new kind of Wind Turbine being developed without any blades.
The conical shape harnesses the oscillating motion caused by the wind and converts that to kinetic energy.

When wind hits a structure and flows over its surfaces the flow changes and generates a cyclical pattern of vortices at the tail end of the flow. This is known as the vortex shedding effect which creates something known as vorticity and that is what Vortex Bladeless uses to generate energy.

Vorticity has long been considered the enemy of architects and engineers, who actively try to design their way around these whirlpools of wind.

Where designers see danger, Vortex Bladeless’s founders sees opportunity. The team started Vortex Bladeless in 2010 as a way to turn this vibrating energy into something productive.

This is not your usual wind turbine. It consists of a fixed mast, a power generator that has no moving parts which come into contact with each other and a semi-rigid fiberglass cylinder. The power generator is a system of magnetic coupling devices which means there are no gears needing lubrication and an overall system needing less maintenance.

The Vortex team says there are some clear advantages to their model It’s less expensive to manufacture, totally silent, and safer for birds since there are no blades to fly into.

According to conservative estimates: Vortex saves 53% in manufacturing costs and 51% in operating costs compared to conventional wind turbines.

Vortex is much smaller than traditional wind turbines, allowing you to use your space more efficiently.

Initially, the co-founders were looking at large generating devices. That remains a longer-term goal but a much shorter range goal is a device of 4kW Vortex that would be about 13 meters tall. The company sees this generator being used in conjunction with solar generation for homes that are either off the grid or want to be off the grid.

This spanish company has already raised $1 million from private capital and government funding in Spain.

In February of this year, Vortex Bladeless relocated to Boston. There it is working with Harvard University, SunEdison, and is working with venture capitalists for its next round of Series A funding. Due to public interest in investing in the company, they will launch a crowdfunding campaign on June 1.

+ - MIT algorithm removes reflections from Photos taken through Windows ->

rtoz writes: It’s hard to take a photo through a window without picking up reflections of the objects behind you. To solve that problem, professional photographers sometimes wrap their camera lenses in dark cloths affixed to windows by tape or suction cups. But that’s not a terribly attractive option for a traveler using a point-and-shoot camera to capture the view from a hotel room or a seat in a train.

To solve this problem, Now MIT researchers have developed a new algorithm.
This new image processing algorithm can automatically remove reflections from digital photos. The algorithm exploits the fact that photos taken through windows often feature two nearly identical reflections, slightly offset from each other.

i-e this algorithm will work only with the window producing double reflection. Normally the double-paned windows and very thick windows produce double reflection.

With double-paned windows, there’s one reflection coming from the inner pane and another reflection from the outer pane.
Thick windows also usually produce a double reflection, one reflection from the inner side and the other reflection from outer side.

This new image processing software can be used to allow digital cameras to automatically eliminate a reflection from a photo taken through a window as it’s being snapped, or to give image-processing apps like Photoshop another powerful tool for improving shots.
Apart from that, it may help robot vision in the presence of confusing glass reflection.

Link to Original Source

+ - Authenticating user by their ear using touchscreen of phone

rtoz writes: A team of researchers from Yahoo Labs have created a new technology called ‘Bodyprint’ that turns your smartphone’s touchscreen display into a biometric scanner.

Recent mobile phones integrate fingerprint scanners to authenticate users biometrically and replace passwords, making authentication more convenient for users. However, due to their cost, capacitive fingerprint scanners have been limited to top-of-the-line phones, a result of the required resolution and quality of the sensor.

This new biometric authentication system "Bodyprint" detects users' biometric features using the same type of capacitive sensing, but uses the touchscreen as the image sensor instead. While the input resolution of a touchscreen is ~6 dpi, the surface area is larger, allowing the touch sensor to scan users’ body parts, such as ears, fingers, fists, and palms by pressing them against the display.

+ - "Acoustruments" could add physical controls to Smartphones just by using plastic->

rtoz writes: Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) and Disney Research have invented a unique type of accessory called “Acoustruments” for smartphones and other gadgets. They’ve come up with a way of utilizing ultrasonic waves to make smartphones even smarter.

The researchers got the inspiration for their invention from the wind instruments

The idea is to use pluggable plastic tubes and other structures to connect the smartphone’s speaker with its microphone. The device can then be controlled by acoustically altering sounds as they pass through this system. i-e they can control phones with sounds from their own speakers

Using smartphones as computers to control toys, appliances and robots is already a growing trend. Acoustruments can make the interactivity of these new ‘pluggable’ applications even richer

The researchers have used Acoustruments to build an interactive doll, which responds when its tummy is poked; a smartphone case that can sense when it has been placed on a table or is being hand carried; and an alarm clock that provides physical on/off and snooze buttons.

Acoustruments can be made with 3-D printers, with injection molds, or even by hand in some cases

The plastic tubing is designed to limit external noise interference, and the emitted ultrasonic frequencies are inaudible to the human ear. Experiments carried out by the researchers showed the control method to be impressively precise – achieving an accuracy of 99 percent when controlling a smartphone.

And, the researchers highlight smartphone-powered virtual reality headsets as a product category that could benefit from this technology, where users are physically unable to interact with a touchscreen interface.

Link to Original Source

+ - WikiLeaks lets you search Sony's hacked emails->

rtoz writes: When a group calling itself the Guardians of Peace hacked Sony Pictures in late 2014, thousands of private emails and information about top executives, actors and Hollywood hotshots hit the 'net. The messages revealed pay discrepancies between male and female stars, and contained copies of films that hadn't yet seen release. Some of these emails contained racist and derogatory comments from Sony Pictures staff, including co-chair Amy Pascal, who consequently left the company in February. Now, all of these emails are available in searchable form on WikiLeaks. Anyone interested in digging through Sony Pictures' email archives can now search by specific term, sender, recipient, attached filename or email ID.
Link to Original Source

+ - Mark Zuckerberg clarifies net neutrality of Internet.org in India->

rtoz writes: Recently there is a huge talk about net neutrality in India. Especially Net neutrality supporters were accusing Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg’s initiative Internet.org. So, 6 companies out of 38 were pulled out from the internet.org program.

Now Mark Zuckerberg has clarified about his Internet.org by posting a status message in his facebook account.

He says that he fully supports net neutrality and wants to keep the internet open. Net neutrality ensures network operators don’t discriminate by limiting access to services you want to use. It’s an essential part of the open internet, and they are fully committed to it.

And, he says, net neutrality is not in conflict with working to get more people connected. These two principles — universal connectivity and net neutrality — can and must coexist.

Link to Original Source

+ - Google Search to locate Android phone

rtoz writes: Just type the words 'find my phone' into any google search bar from your computer and in seconds Google will locate your android device on a map and give you the option to make it ring.

You have to log into your browser with the same Google account as your phone.
And, you’ll instantly get a map of your mobile phone's location, along with the option to ring it.

If you choose the ring option your mobile phone will start ringing immediately.

+ - World's First Robotic Kitchen unveiled. It can cook by mimicking Chef.

rtoz writes: The world’s first Automated Kitchen is unveiled at a Robotic showroom. This Robotic system features a dexterous robot integrated into a kitchen that cooks with the skill and flair of a master chef.

This Robotics system does not cook like a machine – but it captures human skills in motion, and recreates it for cooking the receipe.

The robot can learn anything, so it can interact with any type of hob, oven or dishwasher, once it has been taught how to do that.

A smartphone app is used to control the robot remotely. It is useful for telling it to start cooking a meal just before you leave the office.

+ - Carbon Nanotube for "unconventional" Computing

rtoz writes: Currently silicon-based transistor is the fundamental building block of electronic devices.
As we approach the miniaturization limits of conventional electronics, now researchers are exploring alternatives to silicon-based transistors.
Inspired by the way living organisms have evolved in nature to perform complex tasks with remarkable ease, a group of researchers is exploring similar "evolutionary" methods to create information processing devices.

In the Journal of Applied Physics, the group describes using single-walled carbon nanotube composites (SWCNTs) as a material in "unconventional" computing. By studying the mechanical and electrical properties of the materials, they discovered a correlation between carbon nanotube concentration/viscosity/conductivity and the computational capability of the composite.

Instead of creating circuits from arrays of discrete components like transistors, their work takes a random disordered material and then 'trains' the material to produce a desired output.

This emerging field of research is known as "evolution-in-materio". An interdisciplinary field blends together materials science, engineering and computer science. Although still in its early stages, the concept has already shown that by using an approach similar to natural evolution, materials can be trained to mimic electronic circuits — without needing to design the material structure in a specific way.

The material used by the researchers, is a mixture of carbon nanotubes and polymer, which creates a complex electrical structure.

When voltages are applied at points of the material, its electrical properties change. When the correct signals are applied to the material, it can be trained or 'evolved' to perform a useful function.

While the research group doesn't expect to see their method compete with high-speed silicon computers, it could turn out to be a complementary technology. With more research, it could lead to new techniques for making electronics devices.

+ - This bendable Aluminium battery can charge phone in one minute

rtoz writes: Scientists at Stanford University have invented the first high-performance aluminum battery that’s fast-charging, long-lasting and inexpensive. Researchers say the new technology may replace existing storage devices, such as alkaline batteries, which are bad for the environment, and lithium-ion batteries, which occasionally burst into flames. The new battery won’t catch fire, even if you drill through it.

Smartphone owners know that it can take hours to charge a lithium-ion battery. But the Stanford team reported “unprecedented charging times” of down to one minute with the aluminum prototype

+ - Eyedrops provide Night vision to see up to 50 meters in Darkness.

rtoz writes: A group of scientists in California have successfully created eye drops that temporarily enable night vision.

They use mixture of Insulin and a chemical known as "Ce6" (Chlorin e6) as eye drop for getting the night vision. It allows the user to view the objects clearly up to 50 meters in darkness.

This chemical "Ce6" is found in some deep-sea fish and is often used to treat cancer and night blindness.

The Ce6 solution will start work in as little as one hour after getting injected into eyes using micropippette. And the Night vision effect will be lasting for “many hours” afterwards, and the test subject's eyesight will become normal the next day.

The organisation "Science for the Masses" has released a paper that detailed the experiment in their website.

The computing field is always in need of new cliches. -- Alan Perlis

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