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.
A team from the US Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley National
Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) has created a 2D laser just one molecule thick that promises to make significant
advances in ultra-compact photonic components for the likes of quantum
computers and the next generation of optoelectronic devices.
Since the beginning of the industrial age, mercury pollution has
increased steadily in our environment, particularly in rivers and
oceans. As a result, high-level predators in our waterways often contain
very high levels of mercury, and eating fish containing this neurotoxin
can lead to serious health issues. Now Australian scientists working at
Flinders University have discovered a simple and efficient way to remove
mercury from the environment by using a material made from recycled
waste citrus peel.
An asteroid designated 2015 TB145 will pass by the Earth at around 1.3 lunar distances (approximately 310,000 miles or about 499,000 km) on October 31 this year. Estimated to be anywhere between 280 to 620 m (918 to 2,034 ft) in diameter and traveling in excess of 126,000 km/h (78,293 mph), the asteroid was discovered less than two weeks ago using the Pan-STARRS array in Hawaii and is the largest object to so closely approach our planet in recent times.
The potential for replacing aging or damaged eye lenses with artificial lenses that do more than just restore eyesight has long been recognized. With everything from telescopic capabilities to those with built-in heads-up displays, electronically-enabled synthetic lenses promise to bring useful cybernetic enhancements to the human body. In pursuit of this goal, one researcher at the University of Leeds is developing a unique, auto-focusing liquid crystal lens that may help cure age-related long-sightedness.
Terms to describe the strange world of quantum physics have come to be quite common in our lexicon. Who, for instance, hasn't at least heard of a quark, or a gluon or even Schrodinger's cat? Now there's a new name to remember: "Glueball." A long sought-after exotic particle, and recently claimed to have been detected by researchers at TU Wien, the glueball's strangest characteristic is that it is composed entirely of gluons. In other words, it is a particle created from pure force.
The BMW 2 Series has been with us for a while now, proving to be a popular model in the BMW stable with its agile performance and responsive handling. With the usual sporty variants including a coupe and a convertible, the 2 Series has been a prime candidate for the M-treatment already applied to others in the BMW line-up. This has finally come to fruition with the launch of the all-new BMW M2 that, with a traditional rear-wheel drive layout, increased engine power, uprated handling capabilities, and improved aerodynamics, will sit neatly below the M3 as the new entry-level vehicle in BMW's M-division vehicle array.
An auction of scientific, technological, and musical instruments, soon to be held at 1onhams Auction House in the UK, will headline with a 1941 M4 Enigma machine used by the German military during World War II to send encrypted messages. Unlike the 3-rotor machines whose cipher codes were famously broken by those working at Britain’s Bletchley Park during the war, the 4-rotor model heading to auction is among the rarest of the rare, and is sure to command a high price. Besides cipher machines, however, the sale also offers a range of unusual and sought after examples of scientific instruments and musical automata that should also attract a great deal of interest. We take a look at a few prime examples.
A PSA Peugeot Citroën driverless vehicle has journeyed 580 km (360 miles)
on the motorway from Paris to Bordeaux entirely in autonomous mode. Automatically
maintaining its speed to the road conditions and traffic, as well as
independently changing lanes to pass slower traffic, the Peugeot Citroën
completed the journey without incident and demonstrated the increasing
viability of driverless motor vehicles.
think of robots, we all too often anthropomorphize them by giving them eyes in
their heads, fingers on their hands, and toes on their feet. But just because
this is the way humans evolved doesn’t make it ideal. Robots with eyes where
they need them most, for example, could be much more efficient than just having
them restricted to one place. In this vein, researchers at Carnegie Mellon University
(CMU) recently developed a tri-fingered robotic hand with numerous inbuilt optical detectors to act as adjunct sensors. At the same time, they also fashioned
a new type of stretchable optical sensor to accompany such devices.
Rectifying antennas – "rectennas" – are used as parasitic power capture devices that absorb radio frequency (RF) energy
and convert it into usable electrical power. Constructing such devices to absorb and rectify at optical wavelengths has proved impractical in the past, but the advent of carbon nanotubes and advances in microscopic manufacturing technology have allowed engineers at the
Georgia Institute of Technology to create rectennas that capture
and convert light to direct electrical current. The researchers believe that their
creation may eventually help double the efficiency of solar energy harvesting.