Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Dario Borghino

Researchers have developed a high-performance electrode material for supercapacitors from ...

Using waste hemp fibers as the starting material, researchers at the University of Alberta in Canada have developed a high-performance electrode material for supercapacitors at one thousandth the cost of the more commonly used graphene. The advance could lead to supercapacitors that are both cheaper and able to operate under harsh environmental conditions.  Read More

With a recipe app and remote control option through Wi-fi, the Nomiku immersion circulator...

With the goal of making sous-vide cooking more user friendly, the team responsible for the Nomiku immersion circulator have added Wi-Fi to a new model that is smaller and more powerful. Thanks to a Wi-Fi connection, the device can now be controlled remotely and recipes can be browsed, shared and tested more easily using the accompanying smartphone app.  Read More

Adding certain salts to the anodes of lithium-based batteries has been found to increase t...

Salt has long been used to preserve meat, and now researchers at Cornell University have found that adding certain salts to the anodes of lithium-based batteries can also increase their useful life by a very large factor, solving long-standing problems associated with cell degradation. The advance can be adapted to other metal-based chemistries, including the lighter and more energy dense lithium-sulfur cells and, according to the researchers, might see commercial applications in as little as three years.  Read More

Combining the high efficiency and low cost of perovskite with the simplicity of spray-on c...

Researchers at the University of Sheffield in the UK have created a spray-on solar cell that uses perovskite as the light-absorbing layer. Although the cell's efficiency is only a modest 11 percent, it can be manufactured very cheaply, paving the way for significant reductions in the cost of large-scale solar panel production.  Read More

Scientists at PNNL have developed a new liquid alloy electrode that can improve the perfor...

A new battery electrode designed at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) combines liquid-state cesium and sodium to dramatically improve on the efficiency, safety and useful life of sodium-beta batteries (NBBs). If the technology is scaled up successfully, the advance could help build a smart electric grid that makes better use of renewables such as solar and wind.  Read More

According to a puzzling report, a new thruster design appears to be able to accelerate a c...

A NASA study has recently concluded that the "Cannae Drive," a disruptive new method of space propulsion, can produce small amounts of thrust without the use of propellant, in apparent discordance with Newton's third law. According to its inventor, the device can harness microwave radiation inside a resonator, turning electricity into a net thrust. If further verified and perfected, the advance could revolutionize the space industry, dramatically cutting costs for both missions in deep space and satellites in Earth orbit.  Read More

Scientists suggest looking for industrial pollution as a new way of searching for extrater...

According to researchers at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics (CfA), we might soon be able to detect hints of technologically advanced alien civilizations by measuring high levels of polluting gases in the atmospheres of distant exoplanets. The approach should become viable soon after the James Webb Space Telescope (JWST) is launched in late 2018.  Read More

Harvesting electricity from condensation could take renewable power to remote areas (Photo...

MIT researchers have found a way to generate small amounts of electricity from condensation, by having electrically-charged droplets jump between superhydrophobic (water-repelling) and hydrophilic (water-attracting) metal plates. The advance could be especially useful in remote areas or developing countries, not least because it produces clean water as a side product.  Read More

Scientists have established that ultrasound waves can spin a 200 nanometers wide rod up to...

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have discovered that a gold nanorod submerged in water and exposed to high-frequency ultrasound waves can spin at an incredible speed of 150,000 RPM, about ten times faster than the previous record. The advance could lead to powerful nanomotors with important applications in medicine, high-speed machining, and the mixing of materials.  Read More

Three free-flying, bowling ball-sized robots aboard the ISS will use a 3D map to provide s... Last week, Orbital Sciences' second commercial resupply mission delivered two Project Tango Google smartphones to the International Space Station. The sensor-filled phones will be used to create a detailed 3D map of the spacecraft, which will then help two soccer ball-sized, free-flying satellites autonomously navigate through some very tight spots.  Read More

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