Researchers Create A “Smart Surface” That Boost Wifi Signal Strength And Data Rates

Do you experience poor signal strength or slow data transfers when using Wifi? Engineers at the University of California San Diego might just make all that a thing of the past, as they have developed a “smart surface”. In testing, the smart surface extended WiFi range from 98 feet to 147 feet, as well as, doubled its speed.

This surface is a 4″ x 12″ printed circuit board containing 48 small antennas. These antennas combine incoming WiFi signals from a router to create an entirely new path for signals to travel. This new path is just as strong as the original coming from the router. This technology also creates a second data stream that goes to your connected Wifi device. Not only do you get a connection in areas where you could not before, but you also get double the data rate where you already have connectivity.

This technology has a couple unique benefits, one is it’s extremely power efficient, it can last up to a year on a coin cell battery. Second is the technology can be mass-produced for $5 each.

In future studies, the researchers plan to combine multiple smart surfaces to see if they could possibly triple or even quadruple data rates and range.

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Fears Over Coronavirus Used In Router Malware Scam

The cybersecurity organization Bitdefender reported that phishing scams related to the coronavirus have been detected on Linksys and D-Link routers. Hackers taking advantage of weak passwords change the DNS IP addresses so that instead of going to a legitimate website, the user is redirected to a malicious one.

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Once the user goes to the malicious website, a pop-up window appears that says “to have the latest information and instructions about coronavirus (COVID-19).” The pop-up also claims that the information is provided by the World Health Organization. When the download button is clicked, a trojan is installed that steals sensitive information. Such as user keystrokes, passwords, emails, and financial documents.

To combat this threat, users are advised to turn off remote administration on their routers, update to strong passwords for their systems, and make sure anti-virus and anti-malware programs are up to date. Also double-check the spelling of email addresses and websites for variances from legitimate ones.

Breakthrough In Electronics Opens Up The Possibility For Zero Heat Devices And High Data Storage

Physicists from the University of Leeds have made a breakthrough, they have created a spin capacitor that can generate and hold the spin state of electrons for several hours. This is the first time this has ever been accomplished, previous attempts have only ever held the spin state for a fraction of a second.

In electronics, a capacitor stores an electric charge. A spin capacitor not only holds a charge but also stores the spin state of a group of electrons-which basically freezes the spin position of each of the electrons.

The ability of this new capacitor makes it possible to create highly efficient storage devices. So much so that a spin capacitor measuring just one square inch could store 100 Terabytes of data.

AI Creates Powerful New Antibiotic

MIT researchers using a machine-learning algorithm, have identified a powerful new antibiotic compound. In the lab test, this new compound was able to kill many of the worlds disease-causing bacteria including many drug-resistant strains.

The algorithm used can sort through more than 100 million chemical compounds in a matter of days and out of the results can pick out potential antibiotics.

The researcher’s future plans for there computer model is to train the model to add features that would make an antibiotic target a specific bacteria, preventing it from killing good bacteria such as those found in a person’s digestive tract.

Breakthrough In Solid State Batteries

Researchers from the Samsung Advanced Institute of Technology (SAIT) and the Samsung R&D Institute Japan (SRJ) have made a breakthrough in solid-state batteries. Solid-state batteries provide greater energy density up to 900Wh/L and utilize solid electrolytes. The problem with solid-state batterie has been the lithium metal anodes frequently used are prone to the growth of dendrites.  This reduces the battery’s life and safety.

To combat those effects the team, for the first time, used a silver-carbon (Ag-C) composite layer as the anode. By incorporating this Ag-C layer the researchers found that the prototype battery supported a larger capacity, a longer cycle life, and enhanced its overall safety.

This breakthrough opens up the possibility for long-range electric vehicles, off-grid electric systems for homes, and backup systems for various industries such as telecommunications.

Recharging Batteries Through Skin

A collaborative study between the groups of materials scientist Husam Alshareef at KAUST and medical imaging expert Abdulkader A. Alkenawi at King Saud bin Abdulaziz University for Health Sciences have come up with a way to charge a battery through a permanent implant by using sound waves. The team accomplished this by combining polyvinyl alcohol with nanosheets of MXene, a transition-metal carbide, to create a hydrogel that reacts to ultrasound waves.

The hydrogel generates a current when the pressure of the ultrasound waves forces the flow of electrical ions in the water, filling the hydrogel.

This technology has great future potential for implant devices such as pacemakers, patients won’t need invasive surgery to change batteries. They can simply recharge them wirelessly.

A Team Develops A One Million Mile Battery

A team in Penn State’s Battery and Energy Storage Technology (BEST) Center have developed a safe, high power lithium-ion battery capable of providing 1 million miles for electric vehicles. This is equivalent to over 4000 cycles or approximately 2x the cycle life of lithium iron phosphate batteries.

The team took a totally different approach to build this battery. They broke it down to two parts, the first was to build a battery with highly stable materials. The second step was to introduce heating into the battery. Chao-Yang Wang, professor of mechanical, chemical and materials science and engineering developed a self-heating battery to overcome performance problems in cold climates. The battery can heat up in seconds by using electric current. This heating also gives the battery an instant boost in reactivity because of the law of kinetics.

Together these two steps create a battery that is both highly safe and able to provide high power that an electric vehicle requires.

The next project for the team will be developing a solid-state battery.

A Stinky Fruit Transformed Into Energy Storage

Scientists at the University of Sydney’s School of Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering have figured out a way to turn fruit into energy storage. The durian fruit which primarily grows in Southeast Asian countries can have its biowaste transformed into supercapacitors. The process that the scientists have created not only creates value-added products but also reduces environmental pollution.  Read the full article here.

100 Gigabits Per Second Using Terahertz Quantum Cascade Lasers

Researchers from the University of Leeds and University of Nottingham have figured out a way to get a data transmission rate of a 100 gigabits per second by control of terahertz quantum cascade lasers. This breakthrough which is 1000 times faster than current fast ethernet operating at 100 megabits per second can be used in a variety of applications. These include large datasets transferred across hospitals, research facilities, or in satellite communications.  Read the full article for more information here.

Scientist Create A Device That Generates Electricity 24/7 From Water Vapor

Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have developed a device that creates electricity from the moisture in the air. Electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley’s device which they call “Air-gen” uses electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by the microbe Geobacter. When water vapor naturally present in the atmosphere comes in contact with these nanowires, current is generated.

This new technology is renewable, low-cost, and can  generate electricity 24/7. It’s even able to generate power in extremely low humidity areas such as the Sahara Desert.

According to the scientists, the current version of Air-gen devices can power small devices such as cellphones. The commercial version is coming soon.