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.
From driving water wheels to turning turbines, water has been used as the prime mover of machinery and the powerhouse of industry for many centuries. In ancient times, the forces of flowing water were even harnessed to power the first rudimentary clocks. Now, engineers at Stanford University have created the world’s first water-operated computer. Using magnetized particles flowing through a micro-miniature network of channels, the machine runs like clockwork and is claimed to be capable of performing complex logical operations.
Murchison Widefield Array (MWA) radio telescope in the Western Australia
desert, a Sydney University student, Cleo Loi, has discovered enormous plasma pipes in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. Thought to be responsible
for possible radio interference with satellite navigation systems, the presence of these objects has been predicted for over 60 years, but never before seen. By imaginatively using the radio telescope to observe
in 3D, Loi was able to image large areas of the
sky using the fast photography capabilities of the MWA to produce a movie
that shows the motions of the plasma in real-time.
MIT researchers claim to have created a method to better observe fermions – the sub-atomic building blocks of matter – by constructing a microscope capable of viewing them in groups of a thousand at a time. A laser technique is used to herd the fermions into a viewing area and then freeze them in place so all of the captured particles can be imaged simultaneously.
Using visible light magnified through a compound series of lenses to image small objects, standard optical microscopes have been with us for many centuries. Whilst continually being improved, the result of these many advances of optics and image-capturing techniques means that many high-end optical microscopes have now reached the limit of magnification possible as they push the resolution properties of light itself. In an attempt to resolve this issue, scientists at the University of Buffalo (UB) have created a prototype visible light "hyperlens" that may help image objects once only clearly viewable through electron microscopes.
(EL) panels are found in many electronics applications, particularly
as backlighting for LCD displays, keypads, watches, and other areas
requiring uniform, low-power illumination. While relatively flexible,
when EL panels made from
plastic are bent too sharply, fractures and a severely diminished
output usually result. As a result,
EL panels have generally been restricted to flat or slightly curved
surfaces. However, researchers from Karlsruhe
Institute of Technology (KIT) and
Franz Binder GmbH & Co have now developed a new manufacturing process to print
EL panels directly onto the surface of almost any convex and concave shape. Even, apparently, onto spheres.
Magnets are at the heart of much of our technology, and their properties
are exploited in a myriad ways across a vast range of devices, from
simple relays to enormously complex particle accelerators. A new class
of magnets discovered by scientists at the University of
Maryland (UMD) and Temple University may lead to other types of magnets
that expand in different ways, with multiple, cellular magnetic fields,
and possibly give rise to a host of new devices. The team also believes
that these new magnets could replace expensive, rare-earth magnets with
ones made of abundant metal alloys.