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A new planar sodium-nickel chloride battery could deliver 30 percent more power at lower t...

In the continuing search for ever more efficient and cheaper batteries, researchers at the Department of Energy’s (DoE) Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) have managed to increase the performance of sodium-nickel chloride batteries in an interesting way – flattening them. No, not running them down until they’re out of juice, but rather replacing their typical cylindrical shape with a flat disc design. The redesign allows the battery to deliver 30 percent more power at lower temperatures, making them a viable alternative to lithium-ion batteries.  Read More

The piezoelectric CNF-PZT Cantilever device

Piezoelectric generators that harness otherwise wasted energy from vibrations has been proposed for capturing energy in everything from shoes to roads. Now a new device made out of piezoelectric material by researchers at Louisiana Tech University could allow a wide range of electronic devices to harvest their own wasted operational energy, resulting in devices that are much more energy efficient. It even offers the potential to perpetually power micro and nano devices, such as biomedical devices or remotely located sensors and communication nodes.  Read More

The Gorillatorch Blade hangin' around

Joby’s Gorillatorch line has been removing the torches from DIYer’s mouths and underarms for a while now with its original 65-lumens Gorillatorch, which was joined earlier this year by the more powerful 100-lumens Gorillatorch Flare. For the latest addition to the line Joby has again upped the light intensity with the new Gorillatorch Blade. The Blade features the instantly recognizable flexible legs that are found on all Gorillapod tripods, along with a long-lasting CREE XLamp XP-C LED producing up to 130 lumens of light output, which can be adjusted from spot to flood.  Read More

A new class of liquid crystals has been developed at Vanderbilt University

After five years of effort, chemists at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University have developed a new class of liquid crystals with an electric dipole that’s over twice that of existing liquid crystals... that’s good, right? Yes, it is. An electric dipole consists of two equal yet opposing electrical charges (i.e: positive and negative) within a molecule, that are physically separated from one another. The greater the distance between them, the larger the dipole. In liquid crystals, larger dipoles result in the ability to switch between bright and dark states faster, and lower threshold voltages – this means it requires less voltage to get them moving.  Read More

Student Shu Yang with a zero-power display (left) and Assoc. Prof. Jason Heikenfeld with a...

According to University of Cincinnati electrical and computer engineer Jason Heikenfeld, there are two types of electronic devices: things such as e-readers, that require little power but have displays with limited performance, and devices such as smartphones and laptops, that display bright, full-color moving video, but that guzzle batteries. After seven years of development, however, Heikenfeld and collaborators from Gamma Dynamics are now presenting a new type of electronic display. They claim that their “zero-power” electrofluidic system combines the energy efficiency of the one type of device, with the high performance of the other.  Read More

TDK's transparent OLED display

TDK has been showing off its new OLED film at the CEATEC conference in Chiba, Japan. This flexible film surface can even show images while bending, giving it an immediate advantage over glass displays. TDK hopes to begin production of the film displays within one year, so it might not be such a long time before we see them popping up in our mobile devices.  Read More

Fujitsu's new supercomputer is nicknamed the 'K', a reference to the Japanese word 'Kei,' ...

It wasn't so long ago that we reported on the Roadrunner supercomputer breaking the petaflop barrier. But this week Fujitsu announced that it will begin shipping its next-generation supercomputer which has a lofty performance goal of 10 petaflops – that's ten thousand trillion operations per second! The computer is nicknamed the 'K', a reference to the Japanese word "Kei," or 10 to the 16th power. If the K could reach this goal, it would hold the first place title – at least for a while – on top of the top 500 supercomputers list.  Read More

A scanning electron microscope image and a rendering of Caltech's silicon nanomesh (Image:...

Researchers at two different institutions have recently announced the development of technologies for converting waste heat from electronics into something useful. At the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), they’ve created a silicon nanomesh film that could collect heat from electric appliances such as computers or refrigerators and convert it to electricity. Meanwhile, their colleagues at Ohio State University (OSU) have been working with a semiconducting material that has the capacity to turn waste heat from computers into additional processing power.  Read More

Researchers at Yale University are using laser light to cool molecules (Image: John Barry/...

In order for quantum computers to become a reality, it would be hugely helpful if scientists were able to supercool molecules. If a temperature of near absolute zero (-273C/-460F) could be achieved, then the oscillations associated with the molecules’ low energies could be used in the creation of quantum bits for use in quantum processors. Recently, researchers at Yale University got a step closer to that goal, by using laser light to cool molecules.  Read More

Geckos inspire electronics-printing technique

A team of engineers has formulated a new method of adhesion based on a natural phenomena found in geckos. Inspired by the gecko’s ability to stick to any kind of surface and easily un-stick itself, the engineers from Northwestern University and the University of Illinois have developed a new reversible adhesion stamp. The team created a square polymer stamp that can easily transport an array of electronic devices and print them onto a diverse range of complex surfaces including clothing, plastics and leather.  Read More

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