Archive for Science

BBC News – Researchers develop new system to ‘eliminate’ batteries

Posted in News with tags , , on February 11, 2012 by cykros

BBC News - Researchers develop new system to 'eliminate' batteries

Researchers at the University of Bedfordshire have developed a new technique for powering electronic devices.

The system, developed by Prof Ben Allen at the Centre for Wireless Research, uses radio waves as power.

Believed to be a world first, the team claims it could eventually eliminate the need for conventional batteries.

The university has now filed a patent application to secure exclusive rights to the technique.

‘Spare time’

Prof Allen and his team, including David Jazani and Tahima Ajmal, have created a system to use medium wave frequencies to replace batteries in small everyday gadgets like clocks or remote controls.

The new technique uses the “waste” energy of radio waves and has been developed as part of the university’s research into “power harvesting”.

Prof Allen said that as radio waves have energy – like light waves, sound waves or wind waves – then in theory these waves could be used to create power.

“The emerging area of power harvesting technology promises to reduce our reliance on conventional batteries,” he said.

Continue reading the main story

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The emerging area of power harvesting technology promises to reduce our reliance on conventional batteries”

Prof Ben Allen University of Bedfordshire

“It’s a really exciting way of taking power from other sources than what we would normally think of.”

via BBC News – Researchers develop new system to ‘eliminate’ batteries.

So, every now and again we see information about this kind of thing. I still can’t help getting excited about it, and hopefully this FINALLY will be something we’ll be seeing within a year or two. This would be fantastic (and not more than a little awesome for homeless people who have to constantly seek a place to plug their devices in to recharge (if it’s news to you that many homeless people have devices, you clearly don’t realize how cheap devices have gotten…my phone was $10, no contract), or somehow find a way to go buy batteries).

Battery Desalinates Seawater | Chemical & Engineering News

Posted in News with tags , , on February 11, 2012 by cykros

Battery Desalinates Seawater | Chemical & Engineering News

For the first time, researchers have designed an electrochemical cell that can desalinate seawater Nano Lett., DOI: 10.1021/nl203889e. They think that its cost and efficiency eventually could improve on standard techniques of purifying seawater.

Worldwide demand for freshwater is skyrocketing as the population increases. Many of today’s desalination plants use reverse osmosis or evaporation, both of which require enormous amounts of energy to supply heaters or high-pressure pumps. To find cheaper, room-temperature, energy-efficient solutions, many researchers are looking to nanomaterials and electrochemistry.

The new system uses both. It first draws ions from seawater into a pair of electrodes. As the researchers pass current through the electrodes, electrochemical reactions drive chloride ions into a silver electrode and sodium ions to an electrode made from manganese oxide nanorods. Next, the researchers remove the desalinated water and release the trapped ions into a separate stream of waste seawater by reversing the direction of the electrical current. Although the pilot experiments were not automated, the researchers say that a pump could automate the process.

via Battery Desalinates Seawater | Chemical & Engineering News.

This is pretty awesome. Throw one of these on every boat ever, and you suddenly get rid of the whole “water, water everywhere, and not a drop to drink” syndrome that has killed more than a few people over the years. And of course, being able to provide drinking water to less developed areas, or just areas with less potable fresh water, is also a major plus. THAT’s the power of German engineering.

Fracture Putty Can Heal a Broken Bone In Days – Slashdot

Posted in News with tags , , on February 7, 2012 by cykros

“If we break a bone it can take weeks or even month to heal depending on the type and severity of the break. In some extreme cases the complexity of the fracture can make it impossible to heal properly. Researchers at the University of Georgia Regenerative Bioscience Center have come up with a new solution for healing broken bones that cuts recovery time to days. It relies on the use of stem cells that contain a bone generating protein. These cells are injected in gel form directly into the area of the broken bone, where they quickly get to work forming new bone. The end result is very rapid recovery, possibly sidestepping the muscle atrophy that can come with long bone healing times. The gel has been proven to work on animals as big as a sheep and has funding from the DoD. Lets hope it is proven to work on humans in the coming years.”

via Fracture Putty Can Heal a Broken Bone In Days – Slashdot.

So, this is fucking AMAZING. Always nice to see medicine making legitimately visible progress. Now, if we could only stop bones from being breakable in the first place…

Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds | Science | The Guardian

Posted in News with tags , , , , , on February 7, 2012 by cykros

Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds | Science | The Guardian

Soldiers could have their minds plugged directly into weapons systems, undergo brain scans during recruitment and take courses of neural stimulation to boost their learning, if the armed forces embrace the latest developments in neuroscience to hone the performance of their troops.

These scenarios are described in a report into the military and law enforcement uses of neuroscience, published on Tuesday, which also highlights a raft of legal and ethical concerns that innovations in the field may bring.

The report by the Royal Society, the UK’s national academy of science, says that while the rapid advance of neuroscience is expected to benefit society and improve treatments for brain disease and mental illness, it also has substantial security applications that should be carefully analysed.

The report’s authors also anticipate new designer drugs that boost performance, make captives more talkative and make enemy troops fall asleep.

“Neuroscience will have more of an impact in the future,” said Rod Flower, chair of the report’s working group.

“People can see a lot of possibilities, but so far very few have made their way through to actual use.

“All leaps forward start out this way. You have a groundswell of ideas and suddenly you get a step change.”

via Neuroscience could mean soldiers controlling weapons with minds | Science | The Guardian.

Something about the potential for this technology following a horrible path kind of irks me, but then, considering that we’ve deployed killer drones across the planet, destroyed a nuclear power plant with a computer virus, and pump our poorest citizens full of drugs and then hand them automatic weapons (and then some…), hey, may as well get interested in the science itself. I really am quite curious though as to whether this kind of thing may be getting interfered with through, say, emotional instability, or mental problems, that may even go undetected, or arise through war experiences. I could see a gun being directly controlled by, say, a PTSD flashback as being a very dangerous tool.

Oh, and my bad for totally spacing on this blog lately…I’ve still been posting this kind of thing to Diaspora, but I really should keep myself in the habit of using this, as it’s a bit more capable of doing various things.

Cloaking magnetic fields: The first ‘antimagnet’ device developed

Posted in News with tags , , , on September 23, 2011 by cykros

 

 

Spanish researchers have designed what they believe to be a new type of magnetic cloak, which shields objects from external magnetic fields, while at the same time preventing any magnetic internal fields from leaking outside, making the cloak undetectable.

The development of such a device, described as an ‘antimagnet’, could offer many beneficial applications, such as protecting a ship’s hull from mines designed to detonate when a magnetic field is detected, or allowing patients with pacemakers or cochlear implants to use medical equipment.

In their study, published today, Friday 23 September, in the Institute of Physics and German Physical Society’s New Journal of Physics, researchers have proved that such a cloak could be built using practical and available materials and technologies, and used to develop an array of applications.

Take, for example, a patient with a pacemaker undergoing an MRI scan. If an MRI’s large magnetic field interacts with the pacemaker, it can cause serious damage to both the device and the patient. The metal in the pacemaker could also interact with and distort the MRI’s large magnetic field, affecting the machine’s detection capabilities.

The researchers, from Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, are aware that the technology could also be used by criminals to dodge security systems, for example in airports and shops, but they are confident that the new research could benefit society in a positive way, while the risks could be minimized by informing security officials about potential devices, enabling them to anticipate and neutralize problems.

via Cloaking magnetic fields: The first ‘antimagnet’ device developed.

So…does this mean we can have EMP resistant electronics now?

Marijuana blocks PTSD symptoms in rats: study – Yahoo! News

Posted in News with tags , , on September 22, 2011 by cykros

 

 

Marijuana administered in a timely fashion could block the development of post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms in rats, a new study conducted at Haifa University has found.

The study, which was conducted by researchers at the university’s psychology department and published in the Neuropsychopharmacology journal, found that rats which were treated with marijuana within 24 hours of a traumatic experience, successfully avoided any symptoms of PTSD.

“There is a critical ‘window of time’ after trauma, during which synthetic marijuana can help prevent symptoms similar to PTSD in rats,” said Dr Irit Akirav who led the study.

In the first part of the experiment, rats were exposed to extreme stress, and were found to display symptoms resembling PTSD in humans.

They were then divided into four groups, with the first given no marijuana, the second given a marijuana injection two hours after being exposed, the third after 24 hours and the fourth after 48 hours.

The researchers examined the rats a week later and found that the group that had not received marijuana, as well as the one that received the injection after 48 hours, displayed PTSD symptoms and a high level of anxiety.

Although the rats in the other two groups also displayed high levels of anxiety, the PTSD symptoms had totally disappeared.

“This shows that the marijuana administered in the proper ‘window of time’ does not erase the experience, but can help prevent the development of PTSD symptoms in rats,” Akirav said.

“We also found that the effects of the cannabinoids were mediated by receptors in the amygdala area of the brain, known to be responsible for mediation of stress, fear and trauma,” she noted.

While a decisive parallel between emotional states in humans and animals cannot always be drawn, Akirav was confident psychiatrists will take her research forward to implement it on humans.

via Marijuana blocks PTSD symptoms in rats: study – Yahoo! News.

Support our Troops! Legalize Weed! Hmm, suddenly the same movement? We find ourselves living in strange days… At the very least, this indicates a major portion of the country that could benefit from medical marijuana, and in the meantime, turn it into a MAJOR industry, without even necessarily going out and giving everyone access to weed (if you’re of that authoritarian type). Either way, the science speaks for itself. Denying this stuff to people who have fought for our country, condemning them by the thousands to a lifetime of PTSD symptoms, while knowing that it can prevent such symptoms, is beyond abominable.

Physics rule broken? European scientists claim neutrinos measured traveling faster than light – The Washington Post

Posted in News with tags , on September 22, 2011 by cykros

A pillar of physics — that nothing can go faster than the speed of light — appears to be smashed by an oddball subatomic particle that has apparently made a giant end run around Albert Einstein’s theories.

Scientists at the world’s largest physics lab said Thursday they have clocked neutrinos traveling faster than light. That’s something that according to Einstein’s 1905 special theory of relativity — the famous E equals mc2 equation — just doesn’t happen.

“The feeling that most people have is this can’t be right, this can’t be real,” said James Gillies, a spokesman for the European Organization for Nuclear Research. The organization, known as CERN, hosted part of the experiment, which is unrelated to the massive $10 billion Large Hadron Collider also located at the site.

Gillies told The Associated Press that the readings have so astounded researchers that they are asking others to independently verify the measurements before claiming an actual discovery.

“They are inviting the broader physics community to look at what they’ve done and really scrutinize it in great detail, and ideally for someone elsewhere in the world to repeat the measurements,” he said Thursday.

Scientists at the competing Fermilab in Chicago have promised to start such work immediately.

“It’s a shock,” said Fermilab head theoretician Stephen Parke, who was not part of the research in Geneva. “It’s going to cause us problems, no doubt about that — if it’s true.”

The Chicago team had similar faster-than-light results in 2007, but those came with a giant margin of error that undercut its scientific significance.

Other outside scientists expressed skepticism at CERN’s claim that the neutrinos — one of the strangest well-known particles in physics — were observed smashing past the cosmic speed barrier of 186,282 miles per second (299,792 kilometers per second).

University of Maryland physics department chairman Drew Baden called it “a flying carpet,” something that was too fantastic to be believable.

via Physics rule broken? European scientists claim neutrinos measured traveling faster than light – The Washington Post.

Um… There goes physics?