Colin discovered technology at an early age, pulling apart clocks, radios, and the family TV. Despite his father's remonstrations that he never put anything back together, Colin went on to become an electronics engineer. Later he decided to get a degree in anthropology, and used that to do all manner of interesting things masquerading as work. Even later he took up sculpting, moved to the coast, and never learned to surf.
As occurs all too often in scientific analysis, if you want to investigate more than one aspect of a sample, then you almost always need a different tool for each examination required. How convenient it would be if a substance could be both microscopically examined and chemically analyzed at the same time. In this vein, researchers from the Department of Energy’s (DOE's) Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) have created a hybrid optical microscope/mass spectrometry-based imaging system capable of observing and analyzing specimens simultaneously.
Researchers working at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab in Ontario have created a collaborating swarm of drones that act as 3D pixels (voxels) to create giant, flying interactive displays. The researchers claim that the "BitDrone" system provides users with the ability to investigate virtual information presented in 3D by directly manipulating these hovering voxels for use in the likes of 3D gaming, medical imaging, and molecular modelling.
Researchers from the University of Leeds and Sheffield University have
created a way to move data through magnetic nanowires by using surface
acoustic waves as the motivating force. Being developed for use in
so-called racetrack solid-state memory,
the researchers claim that using sound waves for data transfer should
markedly increase computer processing speeds while vastly reducing power
Using a handheld packing tape dispenser gun that has been modified to
fold, extrude, and cut tape into tubes, a team of researchers from the
Hasso-Plattner-Insitut (HPI) at the University of Potsdam has created a method
of transferring computer-generated wire-frames to the real world.
Dubbed the "Protopiper" by its creators, the device is not only capable
of producing full-size outline objects, it is also able to produce
hinges, bearings, and axles to give them opening doors, drawers, and
movement just like the real things.
As an atom-thick, two-dimensional material with high conductivity, graphene is set to enable a stream of new electronic devices, including particularly sensitive sensors for the detection of various gases, such as those produced by explosives. Now an international team of researchers led by Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) has created a graphene-boron amalgam that can detect particular gases down to mere parts per billion, and may eventually lead to detectors with such sensitivity that they could detect infinitesimally tiny amounts of gas in the order of parts per quadrillion.
Using a type of magnetic insulator material that normally doesn’t conduct
electricity, scientists working at Stanford University and the Department of
Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have shown that electric currents
can still be made to flow along the borders of the grains within the material. This latest research
not only validates a long-held belief that magnetic insulators could be used to
conduct electricity, but offers a more tantalizing possibility of creating
highly-efficient magnetic memory devices.
Researchers at the Technological Institute of the Lagoon (ITL), Mexico, have created a nanoparticle-rich, superconducting ink that they have used to coat pipes of solar water heaters to increase their efficiency by up to 70 percent. The new coating was recently proven on the solar heating of a Mexican city sports complex swimming pool, where 2 million cubic meters (70.6 million cubic feet) of water were heated from 26 °C to 37 °C (79 °F to 98°F).
Physicists working at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) have discovered a new phase of matter with a highly unusual arrangement of electrons that could see the creation of innovative electronic devices with novel functionalities never before considered. Not quantifiable as a conventional metal, an insulator, or a type of magnet, this previously unknown state may also help answer a range of fundamental questions in the field of "high-temperature" superconductivity.
In a large complex located at Greifswald in the north-east corner of Germany, sits a new and unusual nuclear fusion reactor awaiting a few final tests before being powered-up for the very first time. Dubbed the Wendelstein 7-x fusion stellarator, it has been more than 15 years in the making and is claimed to be so magnetically efficient that it will be able to continuously contain super-hot plasma in its enormous magnetic field for more than 30 minutes at a time. If successful, this new reactor may help realize the long-held goal of continuous operation essential for the success of nuclear fusion power generation.
Designers at French automotive manufacturer, Renault, have ceated a concept
car to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the death of France’s best-known 20th
century architect Le Corbusier, dubbed the Coupé Corbusier. With a long, high-level
hood, a low glasshouse cockpit, and dihedral doors hinged at the
rear, the Coupé Corbusier is a melange of geometric shapes and rounded angles that reflect the signature style of the great architect.