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.
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.
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.