Photokina 2014 highlights

University of California

The UCR NOx-Out device replaces the muffler on an existing gas mower

Gas-powered lawnmowers are notorious polluters. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, running a new gas mower for one hour produces as much air pollution as would be generated by 11 typical automobiles being driven for the same amount of time. Switching to an electric or reel mower is certainly one option, but for those applications where it's gotta be gasoline, a team of engineering students from the University of California, Riverside are developing another: an attachment that they claim reduces noxious emissions by over 90 percent.  Read More

The new technology could allow lithium-ion batteries to charge 16 times faster than presen...

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a silicon anode that would allow us to charge lithium-ion batteries up to 16 times faster than is currently possible. The new design relies on a three-dimensional, cone-shaped cluster of carbon nanotubes that could also result in batteries that hold about 60 percent more charge while being 40 percent lighter.  Read More

From left, supercapacitor developers Mihrimah Ozkan, Cengiz Ozkan and Zachary Favors (Phot...

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed a new graphene-based supercapacitor that uses a nanoscale architecture to double its energy and power performance compared to commercially-available alternatives. This breakthrough is another important step toward making supercapacitors viable for use in fast-charging, high-performance electric cars and personal electronics.  Read More

Silicon polymer and battery used for the research

If you see a group of scientists playing with a blob of Silly Putty, they might not be goofing off, they may be working on a technological breakthrough. That turned out to be the case with researchers at the University of California, Riverside Bourns College of Engineering , who have developed a way to use an ingredient in Silly Putty to improve lithium-ion battery life between charges by three times the industry standard.  Read More

The polymer film changes in color from blue to red as pressure is applied

Whether you're manufacturing cars, phones, sports equipment or pretty much anything else, a key part of the design process involves measuring the amount of mechanical stress experienced by different parts of the product. Thanks to research being conducted at the University of California, Riverside, doing so may soon be much easier. Scientists there have created a film that changes color when subjected to pressure, making it easy to see where objects coated with the film may need reinforcement.  Read More

Jacob D Lanphere, a Ph.D. student at UC Riverside, holds a sample of graphene oxide

I've been waiting for some time now to write a headline along the lines of "scientists discover thing that graphene is not amazing at" ... and here it is. Everybody’s favorite nanomaterial may have a plethora of near-magical properties, but as it turns out, it could also be bad for the environment – and bad for you, too.  Read More

Honda estimates its smart home will generate a surplus of 2.6 MWh of electricity

With homes and light-vehicles accounting for roughly 44 percent of total greenhouse gases emitted in the US, neutralizing these emissions would certainly go a long way towards a clean energy future. What if these sources of pollution could not only be nullified, but play an active role in reducing our environmental footprint? Such is the thinking behind the Honda Smart Home US unveiled last week, which generates enough solar energy to power both car and home, with a little left over to feed back into the grid.  Read More

Which expression do you think shows real pain? (Photo: UC San Diego)

A computer-vision system able to detect false expressions of pain 30 percent more accurately than humans has been developed. Authors of the study, titled Automatic Decoding of Deceptive Pain Expressions, believe the technology has the potential for detecting other misleading behaviors and could be applied in areas including homeland security, recruitment, medicine and law.  Read More

Scientists have succeeded in converting plant waste to gasoline (Photo: Shutterstock)

By now, most people have at least a passing knowledge of biodiesel – it's diesel fuel made from plant or animal oils, as opposed to the more traditional and less eco-friendly petroleum. While it's a good choice for people with diesel-powered vehicles, those of us with gas-burning cars haven't been able to get in on the action ... although that may be about to change.  Read More

Astrophoto in redshifted Lyman-alpha light, possibly emitted by a cosmic filament of gas a...

That the Universe is largely composed of a cosmic web consisting of narrow filaments upon which galaxies and intergalactic gas and dust are concentrated has been known for more than a decade. While a great deal of evidence for this has accumulated, visual evidence has been difficult to find. Astronomers have now photographed what appears to be a segment of a cosmic filament stimulated into fluorescence by irradiation from a nearby quasar.  Read More

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