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Thermoelectric generator converts light and heat to electrical current

November 13, 2012

SWNT–CuS

University of Texas at Arlington associate physics professor Wei Chen has helped create a hybrid nanomaterial that can be used to convert light and thermal energy into electrical current, surpassing earlier methods that used either light or thermal energy, but not both.

The team synthesized a combination of copper sulfide nanoparticles and single-walled carbon nanotubes to build a prototype thermoelectric generator that they hope can… read more

Thermometer Created for Nanotubes

March 2, 2009

Researchers have developed a way to accurately measure how heat flows within carbon nanotubes, and the results show that nanotube heating is more complicated than previously thought–a fact that could be crucial in enabling engineers to build carbon-nanotube electronics.

These bots were made for walking: cells power biological machines

November 19, 2012

Fabricating bio-bots (credit: Vincent Chan et al./Scientific Reports)

They’re soft, biocompatible, about 7 millimeters long — and, incredibly, able to walk by themselves. Miniature “bio-bots” developed at the University of Illinois are making tracks in synthetic biology.

Designing non-electronic biological machines has been a riddle that scientists at the interface of biology and engineering have struggled to solve. The walking bio-bots demonstrate the Illinois team’s ability to forward-engineer functional machines using only hydrogel,… read more

These robots install solar panels

Reducing labor costs could help make solar power more affordable
July 25, 2012

br.robots.installing.solarx616

Companies such as PV Kraftwerker and Gehrlicher in Germany are developing mobile robots that can automatically install ground-mounted solar panels day and night, in all sorts of weather, Technology Review reports.

The main idea is to save money on labor, which accounts for a growing fraction of the cost of solar power as panels get cheaper.

According to PV Kraftwerker, a construction… read more

They make mistakes ? they’re only inhuman

June 21, 2004

The Stepford Wives and I, Robot films are cautionary tales of the perils of allowing humans to be stripped of their humanity, which happens when you replace emotional people with thinking but unfeeling machines.

They Tried to Outsmart Wall Street

March 10, 2009

Quants occupy a revealing niche in modern capitalism. They make a lot of money but not as much as the traders who tease them and treat them like geeks. Until recently they rarely made partner at places like Goldman Sachs.

In some quarters they get blamed for the current breakdown — “All I can say is, beware of geeks bearing formulas,” Warren Buffett said on “The Charlie Rose Show”… read more

They Weren’t Meant to Be Games

September 4, 2002

Video games have rocketed past movies in mass appeal, driven by powerful technologies that have transformed games into fully interactive worlds.

A high-quality video game now can surpass traditional action movies in terms of realism, usability, return visits, interactivity and subtlety, thanks to sophisticated computer graphics, improved sound effects, and use of artificial intelligence for character portrayal and movement.

They’re Robots? Those Beasts!

September 20, 2004

Lobsters, snakes, cockroaches, fish and other animals are inspiring the designers of biomimetic robots.

Designs based on animal motion could allow robots to move in environments currently inaccessible to today’s generation of wheeled or tank-treaded robots.

They’ve Seen the Future and Intend to Live It

July 16, 2002

The April

Thiel Fellowship applications open until December 31

Program awards $100,000 grants to innovative, driven young people with creative ideas who want to make a difference for the world
December 27, 2012

thiel_fellowship

Applications for the Thiel Foundation’s 20 Under 20 fellowship program for 2013 are due by 11:59 P.M. (UTC–12) on December 31, 2012.

Thiel Fellowships consist of separate grants of $100,000 to 20 people under 20 years old, so that they can leave the classroom and pursue innovation. In addition to the financial support, Thiel Fellows are mentored by hundreds of highly accomplished entrepreneurs, scientists, investors, thinkers, and innovators of the Thiel Network.… read more

Thiel tells Schmidt: ‘Google is out of ideas’

July 18, 2012

Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and investor Peter Thiel took aim at each other in a recent debate, CNET reports.

Schmidt said technology and access to information has increased productivity and quality of life worldwide. Thiel thanked Schmidt for “doing a fantastic job” as “minister of propaganda” for Google. The tech sector has made remarkable strides in the areas of computers and software, he said, but has seen a “catastrophic” failure in other… read more

Thin Carbon Is In: Graphene Steals Nanotubes’ Allure

April 10, 2007

The latest craze in materials science is graphene, a one-atom-thick sheet of carbon that looks like molecular chicken wire and is the thinnest of all possible materials in the universe.

Graphene can be made from graphite flakes using ordinary Skotch tape. Physicists have made transistors out of graphene and used it to explore odd quantum phenomena at room temperatures.

Thin Displays as Wristbands

October 15, 2010

Flexible OLED display (Universal Display)

The U.S. military has been funding development of flexible OLEDs with long enough lifetimes and consistent quality, with the aim of providing soldiers with rugged, thin communications devices that can display maps and video without adding too much weight to their load.

The U.S. Army is testing a prototype “watch” that’s lightweight and thin and has a full-color display. This display is built on flexible materials encased in a… read more

Thin films of silicon nanoparticles roll into flexible nanotubes

June 15, 2005

By depositing nanoparticles onto a charged surface, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have crafted nanotubes from silicon that are flexible and nearly as soft as rubber.

“Resembling miniature scrolls, the nanotubes could prove useful as catalysts, guided laser cavities and nanorobots,” said Sahraoui Chaieb, a professor of mechanical and industrial engineering at Illinois.

To create their flexible nanotubes, Chaieb and his colleagues – physics professor… read more

Thin films: ready for their close-up?

July 31, 2008

New thin-film solar cells may enable solar-cell technology to maintain its 50% annual growth during the past five years.

Candidate materials to replace today’s amorphous silicon include cadmium telluride, CIGS (copper indium gallium diselenide), and dyes painted onto the surface of nanometer-size particles of titanium dioxide.

In sunny climates, the technology is expected to lead to “grid parity” — electricity generated by photovoltaics as cheaply as it is… read more

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