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.
A team of researchers led by Stanford University's professor Mark Z. Jacobson has produced an ambitious roadmap for converting the energy infrastructure of the US to run entirely on renewable energy in just 35 years. The study focuses on the wide-scale implementation of existing technologies such as wind, solar and geothermal solutions, claiming that the transition is both economically and technically possible within the given timeframe.
Machine vision and robotic precision have combined in a new way to further fruit fly research. Scientists at Stanford's Bio-X program have developed a robot that can catch and sort the tiny creatures much faster than a human can, though to the flies themselves it must seem like an alien abduction.
Wood pulp-derived nanocellulose is turning out to be pretty useful
stuff. Previously, we'd heard how it could be used in things like high-strength lightweight composites, oil-absorbing sponges and biodegradable computer chips.
Now, researchers from Sweden and the US have used the material to build
soft-bodied batteries that are more shock- and stress-resistant than
their traditional hard counterparts.