You've probably noticed that solar panels sitting on people's roofs appear to be broken up into grids. These grid lines are actually metal contacts and, although they're necessary for conducting the electrical current generated by the underlying semiconductor, they reduce the amount of sunlight reaching the semiconductor layer. Now researchers at Stanford University have developed a way to make these reflective metal contacts almost invisible to incoming light, thereby increasing solar panel efficiency.
Committing US$1 billion over the next five years, Toyota Motor Corporation has announced the establishment of the Toyota Research Institute (TRI), a research and development center initially focusing on artificial intelligence (AI) and robotics. The company is tasked with developing technologies to increase driving safety and improve mobility and quality of life, particularly for the elderly..
Using a type of magnetic insulator material that normally doesn’t conduct
electricity, scientists working at Stanford University and the Department of
Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory have shown that electric currents
can still be made to flow along the borders of the grains within the material. This latest research
not only validates a long-held belief that magnetic insulators could be used to
conduct electricity, but offers a more tantalizing possibility of creating
highly-efficient magnetic memory devices.
Our sense of touch is made possible thanks to thousands of "mechanoreceptors," which are distributed throughout our skin. The more pressure that's applied to one of these sensors, the more electrical pulses it sends to the brain, thus increasing the tactile sensation that we experience. Led by Prof. Zhenan Bao, scientists at Stanford University have now created synthetic skin that contains electronic mechanoreceptors, which could give prosthetic limbs or robots a sense of touch.
It doesn't have a flux capacitor and may not be able to travel through time like its inspiration in the 1985 feature Back to the Future, but Stanford University's converted DeLorean Multiple Actuator Research Test bed for Yaw (MARTY) can cut some wicked donuts without the aid of a driver. The creation of professor of mechanical engineering Chris Gerdes and his students, the autonomous, electric, drifting automotive research vehicle is part of a student-driven research project into the physical limits of autonomous driving that aims to improve the safe operation of self-driving cars under all conditions.
Stanford engineers have developed a transparent silicon overlay that can increase the efficiency of solar cells by keeping them cool. The cover collects and then radiates heat directly into space, without interfering with incoming photons. If mass-produced, the development could be used to cool down any device in the open air – for instance, to complement air conditioning in cars.
Though sufferers of heart attacks may survive the initial event, they cause permanent damage to the organ in the form of scar tissue, which affects its ability to pump blood. Scientists around the world are working on this problem, with hydrogels, human stem cells and even bioengineered tissue that sticks together like Velcro all offering possible solutions. But the latest promising advance comes from a team of researchers that has developed a simple protein patch that restores animal hearts almost to normal function.
While there is still much conjecture about the causes of some mass extinctions, it is generally believed that they can occur when a biosphere under long-term stress is subjected to a short-term shock. In 1982, Jack Sepkoski and David M. Raup published a paper identifying five mass extinction events throughout Earth's history. Now a team of researchers claims that we are entering a sixth mass extinction event, which threatens our very existence.
An inverse design algorithm developed by Stanford engineers enables the design of silicon interconnects capable of transmitting data between computer chips via light. The new process replaces the wire circuitry used to relay information electronically, which could lead to the development of highly efficient, light-based computers.
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.