Researchers Create Unsinkable Metal

Researchers at the University of Rochester have designed a new type of metal that they call unsinkable. The material is etched using lasers at the micro- and nano-scale level with patterns that allow air bubbles to become trapped. This could theoretically lead to a truly unsinkable ship or a perfect life preserver.

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New Printer Creates Realistic 3-D Holograms

Researchers have developed a new printer that produces digital 3-D holograms with an unprecedented level of detail and realistic color. The printer can create holograms from 3-D computer-generated models or from scans acquired with a dedicated scanner created by the researchers. The CHIMERA printer uses red, green and blue low-power commercially available continuous-wave lasers with shutters that adjust the exposure for each laser in a matter of milliseconds.

Holograms are created by recording small holographic elements known as hogels, one after another using three spatial light modulators and a custom-designed full-color optical printing head that enables the 120-degree parallax. After printing, the holograms are developed in chemical baths and sealed for protection.

This new printer produces such perfect prints that it can be used to make high-resolution color recreations of objects or scenes for museum displays, architectural models, and fine art. The researchers are also looking at expanding its capabilities for medical or other advanced applications.

Fully Autonomous RacerAI Drone Versus Human Pilots

In the never-ending battle of human vs. machine comes the next battle, drone piloting. On Tuesday, October 9, 2019, human pilots of the Drone Racing League will get a new challenger: the fully autonomous RacerAI, a drone programmed to fly itself.

The RacerAI software which took months to code was designed by nine teams from around the world. When it comes to the physical, the RacerAI looks like a bird or prey with propellers on the front, left, and right that point downward, while the rear propeller points upward. On the technical side, the drone requires a lot of power, 40 watts. That is about 20 times what your cellphones use, because of this the battery life is about 3 minutes which is enough to complete a course.

On the left and right side are a pair of fisheye cameras about 8 inches (20cm) apart. Each camera pair can be used to see in 3D stereoscopically, like human eyes. With two pairs, the drone gets that 3D vision ability for the entire 180-degree view. To handle the processing, the RacerAI uses Nvidia’s Xavier processor which is designed for autonomous vehicles.

With the RacerAI being fully autonomous, this race will be a very interesting one to watch to see if the software can keep up with speeds and course corrections needed.

Biodegradable Plastic Based On Spider Silk

Scientists from Aalto University and the VTT Technical Research Center of Finland have developed a biodegradable replacement for plastic. The material described as “very firm and resilient” is made from combining wood cellulose fibers and a silk protein found within a spider’s web.

This new plastic has potential in medical applications, surgical fibers, textile industry and packaging. The teams next step are to make new composite materials as implants and create impact-resistant objects.

 

Engineers Create Nanoscale Incandescent Light Source

Gururaj Naik of Rice’s Brown School of Engineering and graduate student Chloe Doiron have developed the smallest incandescent lightbulb using a collection of near-nanoscale materials that absorb heat and emit light.

The system relies on non-Hermitian physics, a quantum mechanical way to describe “open” systems that dissipate energy—in this case, heat—rather than retain it. This new strategy uses many elements whose interaction can be tuned. One element may give brightness; the next element could be used to provide wavelength (light color) specificity.

Thermal light emitters may play an important part in next-level computing. It is well known that semiconductor technology is reaching saturation and we will need a replacement for silicon transistors. The International Roadmap for Semiconductor Technology (ITRS) believes optical switches will be that replacement, as the switch has to be unidirectional. It has to send light in the direction we want, and none comes back, like a diode for light instead of electricity.


Chemical Reaction Powered Glider

Scientists at Imperial College London and the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology have created a glider that uses a chemical reaction to propel itself out of the water. Water is pumped into a master chamber and then siphoned into another smaller chamber containing calcium carbide powder. When the water mixes with the powder it creates acetylene gas which is then ignited. The force of this ignition sends the vehicle into the air.

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The current design carries enough calcium carbide for more than 20 jumps and can glide for almost 26 meters. The next step for the team is to scale up the vehicle in both size and distribution.


 

The Gravity Jet Suit

If you ever wanted to fly like a superhero it’s now possible but at a price. Gravity Industries have developed, the Gravity Jet Suit. The suit is made from 3D printed black aluminun and feels like a bulky backpack. The suit holds 5 gallons of jet fuel, which gives the suit a top speed of 30 MPH. For control the wearer has two thrusters in each hand and allows the person to manipulate their speed, amplitude, and direction.

Now the bad news the price, a custom suit will cost you $440,000! With that kind of price this suit is pretty much out of reach for most people. The Gravity Jet Suit shows the progress in jet pack innovation, the packs are getting smaller and if the price can be reduced to the price of a car we just might have a new era of personal transportation.


Bacteria Transforms Greenhouse Gases Into Usable Chemical Compounds

Researchers at the University of South Florida have discovered a way to use bacteria to transform greenhouse gases into usable chemical compounds. The team took a modified human enzyme 2-hydroxyacyl-coenzyme A lyase (in humans this enzyme degrades branched-chain fatty acids) and inserted it into E. coli microorganisms. When the microorganisms are introduced to greenhouse gases such as formaldehyde, carbon dioxide, and methane, a metabolic bioconversion process takes place, transforming the molecules into more complex compounds.

This new method is enticing for oil manufacturers as it allows them to better manage their impact on the environment and produce valuable chemical compounds like ethylene glycol and glycolic acid – molecules that are used in the production of plastics, cosmetics, cleaning solutions and much more.

British Airways Plans To Turn Trash Into Jet Fuel

British Airways may soon be powering its planes from jet fuel made from trash. The plan is to take common household waste, like coffee cups and turn it into aviation fuel. The company in an announcement on Tuesday said their plant would take in more than 500,000 tons of non-recyclable household waste annually and cut greenhouse gas emissions by 70% for every ton of sustainable jet fuel produced.

If everything goes to plan, construction of the plant will begin in 2021 and will be based in northeast Lincolnshire.


Clothing Protects You From Rain, Stains, And Allows You To Control Electronics

Researchers from Purdue University have developed innovative new clothing that allows the wearer to control electronic devices. It also keeps you fresh, dry, fashionable, clean and safe from the latest virus that’s going around. For the first time, a technique has been created that can transform any existing cloth item or textile into a self-powered e-textile containing sensors, music players or simple illumination displays using simple embroidery.

This clothing is based on omniphobic triboelectric nanogeneragtors which use simple embroidery and fluorinated molecules to embed small electronic components into clothing. This new e-textile can harvest the energy of the user to power textile-based electronics and the interface makes it possible to seamlessly communicate with machines and the Internet of Things.

Aside from protecting you from rain, stains, and bacteria, the e-textile can be washed many times in a conventional washing machine without any apparent degradation. This is an important advancement of wearable machine-human interfaces.