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Colin Jeffrey

Drones

Nesting platform takes smart drone capabilities to new heights

The proliferation of drones for a multitude of tasks has led to improved autonomy, and reduced the level of human intervention. On the flip side, however, people are still needed to physically wrangle drones to a site whenever they are required, and much time and expense is spent deploying them. To help reduce this burden, the new Dronebox nesting platform has been created to provide 24/7 autonomous capabilities to drones. It provides an automated recharging and storage station that can be left on site so a dedicated Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) can be deployed on-call or routinely for many months at a time.Read More

Automotive

Riversimple launches Rasa, a hydrogen-powered city car for the masses

A new hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle prototype has been launched with a claimed fuel economy equivalent to 250 mpg (88.5 km/l). Dubbed "Rasa", the new car has a lightweight carbon-fiber monocoque shell, in-wheel electric motors, a bank of supercapacitors charged by braking-regeneration, and a host of other features that enable it to travel up to a claimed 300 miles (483 km) on just a 3.3 lb (1.5 kg) tank of hydrogen.Read More

Space

Unknown galaxies discovered lurking behind the Milky Way

In recent radio telescope studies, many hundreds of previously undiscovered galaxies have been found to exist in an area in which an enormous magnetic abnormality known as the "Great Attractor" is located. The new research may help shed light on why our galaxy, along with hundreds of thousands of others, is being inextricably pulled in that direction.Read More

Medical

Implantable device translates thought into action for people with spinal injuries

Researchers in Australia have built an implantable brain-machine interface (BMI) that may give people with spinal cord injuries the ability to walk again using the power of their own thoughts. Consisting of a stent-based electrode, known as a "stentrode", implanted within a blood vessel of a patient's brain, along with a power supply and transmitter inserted under the skin in front of the shoulder, the new system creates a minimally invasive BMI that is capable of translating thoughts into action.

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Energy

Carbon dioxide from the air converted into methanol

The danger posed by rising levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide has seen many schemes proposed to remove a proportion it from the air. Rather than simply capture this greenhouse gas and bury it in the ground, though, many experiments have managed to transform CO2 into useful things like carbon nanofibers or even fuels, such as diesel. Unfortunately, the over-arching problem with many of these conversions is the particularly high operating temperatures that require almost counterproductive amounts of energy to produce relatively low yields of fuel. Now researchers at the University of Southern California (USC) claim to have devised a way to take CO2 directly from the air and convert it into methanol using much lower temperatures and in a correspondingly simpler way.Read More

Electronics

World's smallest optical switch uses a single atom

The rapid and on-going development of micro-miniature optical electronic devices is helping to usher in a new era of photonic computers and light-based memories that promise super-fast processor speeds and ultra-secure communications. However, as these components are shrunk ever further, fundamental limits to their dimensions are dictated by the wavelength of light itself. Now researchers at ETH Zurich claim to have overcome this limitation by creating both the world's smallest optical switch using a single atom, and accompanying circuitry that appears to break the rules by being smaller than the wavelength of the light that passes through it.Read More

Physics

Macroscopic quantum entanglement achieved at room temperature

In quantum physics, the creation of a state of entanglement in particles any larger and more complex than photons usually requires temperatures close to absolute zero and the application of enormously powerful magnetic fields to achieve. Now scientists working at the University of Chicago and the Argonne National Laboratory claim to have created this entangled state at room temperature on a semiconductor chip, using atomic nuclei and the application of relatively small magnetic fields.

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Electronics

Rechargeable paper sheets could help rewrite the book on electricity storage

Using millions of tiny fibers of nanocellulose sheathed with a conductive polymer coating, scientists have created sheets of paper that can store significant amounts of electric charge. Dubbed "power paper," the material is able to be recharged many hundreds of time, and in mere seconds. It is also lightweight, requires no toxic chemicals or heavy metals to create, and may offer a renewable and prolific way to provide energy to all manner of devices.Read More

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