If you want the results, you still have to do the work
By Pierce HooverPosted 07.27.2011 at 10:57 am 2 Comments
There’s no denying that our unique vehicle draws a lot of attention. Drivers frequently slow as they pass to gawk or snap a photo; a stop inevitably draws onlookers with questions, comments and suggestions. One of the most common questions involves the drive system.
Anyone who has ever tried to record that first feature-length album in his or her dad’s garage knows that reflecting, suppressing, and otherwise manipulating sound isn’t as simple as it might seems. We’ve got that egg-carton foam that offers some soundproofing, but beyond such muting materials we have few mature technologies that let us control the way sound travels. But Caltech researchers are working to change that via the first tunable, acoustic diode that can be used to let sound flow in one direction only.
Stanford researcher Yi Cui looked across the field of transparent electronics and saw that all was not equal. While all other major electronics components--things like transistors, displays, and other circuitry--have been made transparent, no one had taken the time and effort to create a transparent power source. And you can’t have a fully transparent device without a transparent battery. So Cui made one.
Did you feel that? Gravity just got a little weaker. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has just posted the latest internationally recommended adjustments to the values for the fundamental constants of nature. The results: Gravity is a bit weaker, the electromagnetic force a smidgeon stronger, and the whole of physics a little less uncertain.
Of all the things in the physical world we think we know a lot about, water is definitely among them. Nonetheless, by precisely shaking a shallow container of water, researchers have now observed two new types of waves that have never been observed before in water--and one that has never been observed in any other media either.
Scientists measuring the subatomic particles flowing from Earth’s interior have taken the most precise measurement ever gathered of the home planet’s radioactivity. It turns out nearly half of the Earth’s total heat output comes form decaying radioactive elements like thorium and uranium in the Earth’s crust. But that’s an answer that begets more questions.
Is this the beginning of the quantum Internet? UK researchers have shown that quantum and classical data streams can be interwoven within traditional fiber optics networks, enabling the distribution of quantum information to the home on existing cable. That means quantum key distribution (QKD) can work alongside traditional, classical data channels, a development that essentially lays the groundwork for a quantum Internet that exists alongside the classical one we have now.
By Pierce HooverPosted 07.19.2011 at 11:53 am 0 Comments
There are two challenges that pure electric vehicles will have to overcome before there's any chance of them gaining acceptance among the general driving public. One is range, and the other is recharge time. Each new generation of battery technology ups the power-to-weight ratio, giving mid-priced vehicles such as the Nissan Leaf a range of 70 to 80 miles, while cutting-edge products such as the Tesla Roadster are getter better than 200 miles on a charge. That’s plenty of range for around-town driving and mid-range errands, but hardly sufficient for a cross-country road trip.
The future of wallpaper is: glowing? That’s Philips’ vision for the future it seems, as the company is teaming with Kvadrat Soft Cells to create a kind of luminous textile for the consumer market that will essentially embed adjustable LEDs in an acoustic panel that can be hung on the wall to provide ambient lighting like an active piece of artwork, or even be used as a wallpaper to bathe entire rooms in soft tones of the user’s choosing.
Taking cues from DNA research, photosynthesis, and nanotechnologies, a team at the University of Toronto has engineered a new kind of “artificial molecule” that can be assembled into wholly new classes of nanomaterials, including one that can direct and control energy absorbed from light. They’ve basically built a self-assembling antenna for light out of quantum dots that could lead to wholly new ways of manipulating and harvesting light energy.