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Darren Quick

Space

Converting human waste into rocket fuel

Flushing the human waste produced on space missions out an airlock isn't an option for astronauts. Currently its stored in containers before being loaded into cargo vehicles that burn up as they pass through Earth's atmosphere, but researchers at the University of Florida (UF) have found a better use for the material, by developing a process to turn it into rocket fuel.Read More

Good Thinking

Fugu Luggage expands travel options

Many travelers will have faced the problem of the carry-on luggage that was big enough when embarking on a trip, but fell well short on carrying capacity for the return journey thanks to the addition of souvenirs, bargains and gifts for loved ones. Fugu Luggage avoids the need to shell out for an extra suitcase to fit all that extra gear by expanding from a maximum carry-on size to check-in size suitcase in under a minute.Read More

Robotics

Researchers turn to cats to help soften robot landings

The animal kingdom is fertile ground for roboticists looking to improve on their designs, with everything from insects, fish, seahorses, jellyfish, caterpillars, snakes and birds providing inspiration. Now researchers at Georgia Tech are turning to cats to help soften robot landings. Rather than strapping some felines to a robot's underside, the team is studying the way cats twist in the air when falling to let future robots land safely from a jump or fall.Read More

Boeing readies for first-ever conjoined satellite launch

Boeing has successfully joined two its 702SP satellites in a stacked configuration in preparation for a launch scheduled for early 2015. Aside from being the first involving conjoined satellites, the launch will also put the first satellites to enter service boasting an all-electric propulsion system into orbit.Read More

Electronics

Coating makes swallowing batteries safer for curious kids

It can be a herculean task to get kids to eat their vegetables, but they'll happily chow down on things they aren't supposed to. If one of those things is a button battery, serious injuries can result in the form of burns to the esophagus or tears in the digestive tract. Researchers may not have found a way to stop kids swallowing button batteries, but they have found a way to make such culinary no-nos safer.Read More

Environment

Nanoparticle-based material turns up the heat on concentrated solar power

The key factor when it comes to solar power plant efficiency – be they of the photovoltaic or concentrated solar power variety – is the amount of light that can be captured by the light-absorbing material and converted into electricity or heat. Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have developed a new nanoparticle-based material that promises to improve the efficiency of CSP plants with its ability to absorb and convert over 90 percent of the sunlight it captures into heat. Read More

Aircraft

ScanEagle 2 UAV prepares for takeoff

Since its first flight in June 2002 and introduction to the US Navy in 2005, the ScanEagle UAV developed by Boeing subsidiary Insitu has received a steady stream of improvements, including a short-wave infrared (SWIR) camera and Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR), and clocked up over 800,000 combat flight hours over land and sea. Now Insitu has announced the next generation of the platform in the form of the ScanEagle 2.Read More

Around The Home

Haier and Energous team up to turn household appliances into wireless chargers

When you think of wireless chargers for mobile devices, you probably think of inductive charging pads like the Powermat and Wildcharge. But Haier and Energous are thinking bigger – much bigger. The two companies are joining forces to turn household appliances, such as fridges and washing machines, into chargers for mobile devices. Not only that, they will be using the WattUp technology developed by Energous that allows devices to be charged at a distance.Read More

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