rtoz writes: Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have engineered a potentially game-changing solar cell that cheaply and efficiently converts atmospheric carbon dioxide directly into usable hydrocarbon fuel, using only sunlight for energy. Unlike conventional solar cells, which convert sunlight into electricity that must be stored in heavy batteries, the new device essentially does the work of plants, converting atmospheric carbon dioxide into fuel, solving two crucial problems at once. A solar farm of such "artificial leaves" could remove significant amounts of carbon from the atmosphere and produce energy-dense fuel efficiently. The technology should be adaptable not only to large-scale use, like solar farms, but also to small-scale applications. In the future, it may prove useful on Mars, whose atmosphere is mostly carbon dioxide, if the planet is also found to have water. Link to Original Source
rtoz writes: Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg posted a photo to his personal Facebook, to celebrate Instagram’s growth to 500 million monthly users. Many people in Social Media noticed his laptop on the desk. They observed that his computer’s webcam and microphone jack are covered by putting a Tape over them. Some people questioned about how can we decide that this is his desk? But the question was answered by referring a video released by Marzk Zuckerberg few months back. In that video he was showing this desk and his books on that desk.
Desk in this new photo is matching with that one. So, obviously it should be Mark zuckerberg's laptop.
rtoz writes: Microsoft has announced that it is acquiring the professionals social network LinkedIn for $196 per share in an all-cash transaction valued at $26.2 billion
LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand, culture and independence. Jeff Weiner will remain CEO of LinkedIn, reporting to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, The transaction is expected to close this calendar year. The transaction has already been approved by both boards, but it must still get regulatory and other approvals.
rtoz writes: Researchers at MIT and Oxford University have shown that the location stamps on just a handful of Twitter posts — as few as eight over the course of a single day — can be enough to disclose the addresses of the poster’s home and workplace to a relatively low-tech snooper. The tweets themselves might be otherwise safe— for example, links to funny videos, or comments on the news. The location information comes from geographic coordinates automatically associated with the tweets. Twitter’s location-reporting service is off by default, but many Twitter users choose to activate it. This research is to help raise awareness about just how much privacy people may be giving up when they use social media.
rtoz writes: MIT Scientists have developed a new material that can temporarily protect and tighten skin, and smooth wrinkles. With further development, it could also be used to deliver drugs to help treat skin conditions such as eczema and other types of dermatitis. The material, a silicone-based polymer that could be applied on the skin as a thin, imperceptible coating, mimics the mechanical and elastic properties of healthy, youthful skin. In tests with human subjects, the researchers found that the material was able to reshape “eye bags” under the lower eyelids and also enhance skin hydration. This type of “second skin” could also be adapted to provide long-lasting ultraviolet protection.
rtoz writes: Smartwatches such as Apple Watch and Android watches are becoming popular now. But they have one major drawback. i-e They provide very little space for navigation. It is bit difficult to navigate through apps on a relatively tiny screen, i-e around 2 inch screen. And, it is not feasible to increase the screen size as it will make the smartwatches terribly unfashionable.
A team at the Future Interfaces Group, a research lab within Carnegie Mellon University has found a novel solution to this problem, by making the skin on your arm and hand act like a touchscreen for your smartwatch. Their device named as "SkinTrack" can handle app navigation, selection, scrolling, and confirmation.
SkinTrack enables continuous touch tracking on the skin. It consists of a ring, which emits a continuous high frequency AC signal, and a sensing wristband with multiple electrodes. SkinTrack measures phase differences to compute a 2D finger touch coordinate. It even works when the skin is covered with clothing. This approach is compact, non-invasive, low-cost and low-powered. The researchers envision the technology being integrated into future smartwatches, supporting rich touch interactions beyond the confines of the small touchscreen. And, you’re no longer just limited to the touchscreen of your watch to control apps. SkinTrack allows you to drag apps off the watch and on to your arm.
rtoz writes: In recent years, many people are using contact lenses for correcting vision problems, and some people are using it for changing the appearances of their eyes, i-e changing the color of their eyes. Now Sony has published a patent for a new kind of Smart Contact Lens that can record and play Videos by blinking the eyes. This smart Contact Lens is having built-in memory apart from having built-in camera. And this smart contact Lens is provided with a piezoelectric sensor that can detect whether the eyelid is closed or not. The Video capturing and storage is controlled by blinking the eyes.
rtoz writes: HP unveiled its premium Chromebook laptop named "HP Chromebook 13" HP Chromebook 13 is designed with Google, and powered by the 6th generation Intel Core M processor.
It’s the first Chromebook to use the sixth generation Intel Core M, which is designed for thin, ultra-mobile devices. The processor is smaller, which means it requires less power and thus generates less heat, negating the need for a noisy fan.
rtoz writes: Apple was ordered by a federal judge in California to provide assistance to the FBI to search a locked iPhone 5c that was used by Syed Rizwan Farook, one of the terrorists involved in an attack in San Bernardino, California, on Dec. 2.
F.B.I. experts say that because of the phone’s security features, they risk losing the data permanently after 10 failed attempts to enter the password.
The Justice Department had secured a search warrant for the phone.
But prosecutors said they saw little choice but to seek the additional order compelling Apple’s assistance.
The Judge ordered Apple to provide “reasonable technical assistance” to the F.B.I. in unlocking the phone. That assistance should allow investigators to “bypass or erase the auto-erase function” on the phone, among other steps
In a statement, Apple’s CEO Tim Cook, said the company would oppose the order and resist efforts to provide a “back door” to the iPhone.
rtoz writes: University of Utah engineers have discovered a new kind of 2D semiconducting material for electronics that opens the door for much speedier computers and smartphones that also consume a lot less power.
Transistors made with this new semiconducting material could lead to computers and smartphones that are more than 100 times faster than regular devices. And because the electrons move through one layer instead of bouncing around in a 3D material, there will be less friction, meaning the processors will not get as hot as normal computer chips. They also will require much less power to run, a boon for mobile electronics that have to run on battery power. This could be especially important for medical devices such as electronic implants that will run longer on a single battery charge.
rtoz writes: U.S. vehicle safety regulators have said the artificial intelligence system piloting a self-driving Google car could be considered the driver under federal law. It is a major step toward ultimately winning approval for autonomous vehicles on the roads. In a significant precedent for Google and other companies developing autonomous car technology, the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) has ruled that the software behind some automated cars should be considered the driver.
The decision was contained in a letter that was sent from the federal agency to Google.
rtoz writes: The Chinese smartphone company Huawei has unveiled their new quick charging lithium-ion batteries at the 56th Battery Symposium in Japan. Using next generation technology, these new batteries have achieved a charging speed 10 times faster than that of normal batteries, reaching about 50% capacity in mere minutes.
Huawei presented videos of the two types of quick charging lithium-ion batteries: one battery with a 600 mAh capacity that can be charged to 68% capacity in two minutes; and another with a 3000 mAh capacity which can be charged to 48% capacity in five minutes to allow ten hours of phone call on Huawei mobile phones.
According to Huawei, the company bonded heteroatoms to the molecule of graphite in anode, which could be a catalyst for the capture and transmission of lithium through carbon bonds. Huawei stated that the heteroatoms increase the charging speed of batteries without decreasing energy density or battery life.
Huawei is confident that this breakthrough in quick charging batteries will lead to a new revolution in electronic devices, especially with regard to mobile phones, electric vehicles, wearable devices, and mobile power supplies.
rtoz writes: To work with computational models is to work in a world of unknowns: Models that simulate complex physical processes — from Earth’s changing climate to the performance of hypersonic combustion engines — are complex, sometimes incorporating hundreds of parameters, each of which describes a piece of the larger process.
Parameters are often question marks within their models, their contributions to the whole largely unknown. To estimate the value of each unknown parameter requires plugging in hundreds of values, and running the model each time to narrow in on an accurate value. This computation can take days, and sometimes weeks.
Now MIT researchers have developed a new algorithm that vastly reduces the computation of virtually any computational model. The algorithm may be thought of as a shrinking bull’s-eye that, over several runs of a model, and in combination with some relevant data points, incrementally narrows in on its target: a probability distribution of values for each unknown parameter.
With this method, the researchers were able to arrive at the same answer as a classic computational approaches, but 200 times faster.
The researchers have applied the algorithm to a complex model for simulating movement of sea ice in Antarctica, involving 24 unknown parameters, and found that the algorithm is 60 times faster arriving at an estimate than current methods. They plan to test the algorithm next on models of combustion systems for supersonic jets.
rtoz writes: Lumen is a new kind of flashlight that doesn't require any battery. It doesn't need any external energy source except your warm touch. It works by our body heat.
Heat of your body will be converted to Light when touching the keychain-sized lumen.
Lumen has relatively simple work principle. It has TEG (Thermoelectric Generator) — a small ceramic bar that can produce electric current when we provide temperature difference between upper and lower parts of TEG.
As you understand, we can't power really high-output LED just with touching small TEG. However, when your body temperature is 98 F and air temperature is 82 F Lumen produce about 15 mA@3v. i-e a difference of around 16 degrees Fahrenheit is enough to generate the energy required to power a LED light. When the difference in temperature is larger, the excess power is stored in a capacitor for future use.
rtoz writes: A Canadian space company named "Thoth Technology" has been granted the United States patent for a space elevator. The freestanding space tower is pneumatically pressurized and actively-guided over its base. Reaching 20 km above the planet, it would stand more than 20 times the height of current tall structures and be used for wind-energy generation, communications and tourism. The technology offers an exciting new way to access space using completely reusable hardware and saving more than 30% of the fuel of a conventional rocket.
Astronauts would ascend to 20 km by electrical elevator. From the top of the tower, space planes will launch in a single stage to orbit, returning to the top of the tower for refueling and reflight.
Although ascending to an altitude significantly below 35,000 km will not place a payload in Earth orbit, a platform supported by the space elevator tower has significant advantages over a surface-based launch platform. While surface-based rockets must be designed to overcome atmospheric air resistance, launch from a high-altitude platform has no such requirement, and, consequently, existing space equipment such as an orbital transfer stage or conventional upper stage can be used to insert payloads directly into Earth orbit. Ideally, payloads should be raised to the highest feasible altitude before launching in order to maximize the energy advantages; however, the energy advantages for space flight are readily leveraged above 5 km. The space elevator tower has a segmented elevator core structure, each segment being formed of at least one pneumatically pressurized cell. The pressure cells may be filled with air or another gas
Elevator cars may ascend or descend on the outer surface of the elevator core structure or in a shaft on the interior of the elevator core structure. The space elevator tower is stabilized by gyroscopic and active control machinery. The space elevator tower maintains a desired pressure level through gas compressor machinery.