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Polyethylene is the most widely used polymer in the world, most commonly used for packaging and plastic shopping bags. And like most polymers it is a very good insulators for both heat and electricity. But now an MIT team has developed a new process that causes the polymer to remain an electrical insulator but conduct heat very efficiently in just one direction, unlike metals, which conduct equally well in all directions. This may make the new material especially useful for applications where it is important to draw heat away from an object, such as a computer processor chip. Read More
Researchers at IBM have made important progress toward creating silicon circuits that communicate using pulses of light rather than electrical signals. This is thanks to a device called nanophotonic avalanche photodetector (NAP), which, as detailed on the journal Nature, is the fastest of its kind and is a major step toward achieving energy-efficient computing that will have significant implications for the future of electronics. Read More
What really annoys me about doing the laundry is having to sort through all the colors and fabrics. Especially when - despite my care - I accidentally include something red with all my whites and I’m left with oodles of pink sports socks and tees! A clever design concept from Yali Dai could solve all my laundering problems. The Individual Washer is an upright washing machine that can sort and wash all your clothes together – regardless of color, material or washing temperature requirements. Hooray, that means no more extra sorting, no more color bleeding and no excess water usage! Read More
Sony’s motion controller for the PS3 first unveiled at E3 in 2009 now has a final design along with an official name. At the Game Developer Conference (GDC) 2010 the company officially announced the PlayStation Move motion controller touting its precision and calling it the “next generation of motion gaming”. The controller works in conjunction with the PlayStation Eye camera that tracks the controller’s glowing “light sphere” in three dimensions and that is the key to the Move’s accuracy. Read More
Selling watches is no doubt getting harder these days as their primary function, keeping track of time, is duplicated by another technological item that is becoming ubiquitous – the mobile telephone. In recent times we've seen watches given a point-of-difference by including artifacts from the Titanic and the Moon, and the Louis Moinet Jurassic Tourbillon will feature at Basel in Switzerland this month. The Jurassic Tourbillon's dial contains fragments of authentic fossilized dinosaur bones around 130 million years ago. Read More
Just what, you may ask, is a gribble? It’s a tiny marine isopod, and it eats wood. For centuries, they destroyed wooden ships. Today, they continue to munch away on docks and piers. Unlike creatures such as termites, however, gribbles have no helpful microbes in their digestive system to help them digest wood - they themselves possess the enzymes necessary for converting it to sugar. British researchers are now suggesting that what works for the gribbles could also work for converting wood waste and straw into liquid biofuels. Read More
Rather than tempt users with a raft of fancy (but infrequently used) features, the "Zero Crash" N4200 Network Attached Storage (NAS) unit from Thecus concentrates on providing peace of mind. Offering what's dubbed as a "6D" approach to storage stability, the unit benefits from running a second version of the operating software as a precaution against primary failure and a backup power supply. Read More
Seashells have done an exemplary job of protecting their inhabitants for around a hundred million years, so perhaps it isn’t surprising that scientists and chemists have now replicated their unique structure in a manmade material. Taking inspiration from shells, researchers from the University of Manchester and the University of Leeds have successfully reinforced calcium carbonate, or chalk, with polystyrene particles such as those used in disposable drinking cups. Their achievement could lead to stronger building and bone replacement materials, or other practical applications. Read More
When you first see the Lace-amatic shoelace-tying device you could be forgiven for wondering who would need, use or even want this product – after all, isn’t that why we have Velcro shoes? But for people who struggle with dexterity, flexibility or strength or for those who just want to get their shoes on and off quickly, the Lace-amatic makes a lot of sense. It allows you to tighten and loosen tied shoelaces and lets you get knotted shoes on and off in an instant…it’s simple, ergonomically sound and could make a job that many people find difficult, just that little bit easier. Read More
If you were wondering why Acer has been relatively quiet of late, the answer probably lies in the number of new products the company chose to unveil at this year's CeBIT show in Germany recently. Almost hidden amongst the raft of new desktops and notebooks was a monitor that has its own media player and WiFi capabilities, a powerful gaming machine and a pocket-sized projector. Read More
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