With just 15 minutes of a barely perceptible electric current passed through the brain, scientists at the University of Oxford have succeeded in improving a person’s math abilities with an effect lasting as long as six months. Using a non-invasive method known as transcranial direct current stimulation (TDCS), the scientists passed a mild electric current through the skull into the brain’s parietal lobe, where numbers are processed.
We're already making great strides at pulling electricity from the motion of the air and from the photons that stream through it, but what about pulling electric charges right out of the air itself? Researchers have solved a mystery about how electricity forms in the atmosphere, and in doing so may have found a way to pull electricity right out of the air.
The bright green energy future that surely awaits us exists in concept, but as we all know there are key pieces of technology that we still haven't quite figured out, like higher-capacity battery tech or better biofuel processing methods. Similarly, one of the key technology gaps hampering the U.S. energy grid is a lack of understanding regarding superconductors -- materials that can carry electricity with no energy loss. Now, DOE scientists may have cracked a critical part of the superconductor mystery, opening the door to a grid that can carry electrical current over great distances without drastic energy loss.
When you think about it, it's ridiculous to spend the effort lugging around spare batteries, hand-cranked chargers, piezoelectric gadgets, and all the other half-baked solutions we depend on to resuscitate a dead phone. There's a potent supply of free power just waiting to be tapped, right above our heads. No, not the sun -- overhead power lines.
Technology has long been helping elderly people who fall and can't get up to call for help -- there are alarm bracelets, emergency-button necklaces and wireless motion sensors, for a start.
Now a UK energy firm is working on a system that can passively detect when something is wrong -- Grandma won't even have to push a button.
Bored guests at a certain Crowne Plaza hotel can now skip the pricey mini-bar and hop on an exercise bike, generate some electricity, and earn some meal vouchers. The hotel in Copenhagen started the free meal idea as a way to boost guests' fitness and shrink their carbon footprint, according to the BBC.
Viruses generally get a bad rap, but they can also be very helpful little machines. For instance, bacteriophages have been engineered to clear up infections that seemed otherwise untreatable, and genetic material from viruses has been used to ease biofuel production.
When Matthew Schiefer, a neural engineer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, first managed to stimulate the leg of an unconscious volunteer by wrapping an electrode around a nerve bundle, he knew he was on to something. Now, four years later, Schiefer has created a new kind of nerve-activating electrical interface that could allow people with paralyzed limbs to activate their legs with the push of a button.
Algae has been floated again and again as a possible means of biofuel production, usually through chemical processes that extract sugars or other organic compounds that can be processed into fuel. But what if we could simply steal electricity from algae, no processing or chemical wizardry necessary? We can, says a team of researchers who recently stole electrons directly from algae for the very first time
Nikola Tesla, pioneering inventor, died penniless and unrecognized. We have previously mentioned his hipster cred, but it has taken until 2010, almost 70 years after his death, for the man and his achievements to be apotheosized in the medium of Drunk History.