Scientists have developed artificial muscles that are 100 x stronger than human muscles using fishing line. Via Discover Magazine.
Scientists at the University of Texas at Dallas have designed super strong artificial muscles by simply twisting and coiling ordinary fishing line. The coiled muscles can lift more than 100 times the weight of a human muscle of the same size, and generate as much mechanical power per kilogram as a jet engine — perhaps offering an inexpensive new material to move prosthetics and robotic exoskeletons.
Creating the muscles is simple: Researchers use a tool similar to a hand drill to twist different sizes of fishing line to the point of coiling. The twist allows the thread to function like torsional muscle that can lift heavy loads. Depending on the direction of the coil, the artificial muscles will expand and contract with temperature changes, which can be produced by electricity, water, light or chemical reactions of fuels.
For example, a homochiral muscle will contract when heated and expand when cooled. Coiled in the opposite direction, a heterochiral muscle will expand when heated and contract when cooled. The coiled muscles can spin a heavy rotor more than 10,000 revolutions per minute when uncoiling. Researchers tested various widths of polymer coils using several techniques to activate expansion and contraction of the coils. They report these findings in Science.
“The work capacity of these muscles is remarkable,” Baughman said. “The power generation capability can be about five times that of a combustion engine in your car.”
In the quest for artificial muscles Baughman has worked with many materials, including carbon nanotube yarns, but he says high-strength polymers are promising for their strength, affordability and availability.
In a rather unsettling sounding experiment, scientists have managed to create a brain implant which allows one monkey to control the body of another monkey using thought alone. Working under the study author Ziv Williams, a neuroscientist and neurosurgeon at Massachusetts General Hospital of Harvard Medical School in Boston, the researchers developed a brain to spinal cord prosthesis that connected the two monkeys in an “Avatar” inspired setup. From LiveScience:
The monkey that served as the master had electrodes wired into his brain, while the monkey that served as the avatar had electrodes wired into his spine. The avatar’s hand was placed onto a joystick that controlled a cursor displayed on the master’s screen.
The avatar monkey was sedated so that he had no control over his own body. Computers decoded the brain activity of the master monkey and relayed those signals to the spinal cord and muscles of the avatar monkey. This allowed the master to control the cursor by moving the hand of the avatar. The master received a reward of juice if he successfully moved the cursor onto a target.
While this may sound chilling, the scientists have emphasized that their goals are to help develop treatment for patients with spinal cord injuries and paralysis. Currently, brain to machine interfaces exist that have allowed patients to control computer screens or mechanical limbs, but the hope is that patients will one day be able to regain control of their own limbs.
“the hope is to create a functional bypass for the damaged spinal cord or brainstem so that patients can control their own bodies,” Williams told Live Science.
“We envision putting a microchip into the brain to record the activity behind the intent for movement and putting another microchip in the spinal cord below the site of injury to stimulate limb movements, and then connecting the microchips,” Williams said.
New Android App, Power Sleep utilizes a user’s phone’s down time to solve difficult protein sequences from the Similarity Matrix of Proteins (SIMAP) database to contribute to scientific research aimed at furthering medical advancements in areas like genetics, biochemistry, and cancer research.
Power Sleep — which was backed by Samsung, and made by its former in-house marketing agency Cheil — doubles as an alarm clock designed to replace whatever alarm people were using before. Once set, the app begins grabbing packets of data to crunch, which are about 1MB in size, then sending them back when the process is complete.
We came up with the project »Tiskaj zeleno« – »Print green« which unites art, technology and nature. The base of the project is a CNC machine designed to print a mixture of soil, water and seeds. The results of the project are printed pictures that turn green over time.
The Circular Economy 100 Annual Summit took place on 19th June 2013, bringing together leading thought leaders, academics, companies and practitioners to provide a global wrap-up of the most up-to-date thinking on key circular economy topics.
Janine Benyus, Founder of the Biomimicry Institute, shares insights from nature in her presentation on the Biomimicry design philosophy.
Thanks for the feedback, I tried to fit a lot in but I know I missed a bit
My final project I made for my video productions class “Cutaway Productions” (Search them for their channel) at my high school. I don’t own the rights to the song or the pictures and I am not trying to claim them, I just did this video for fun and i spent many a hour on it.
While some are exploring the use of solar energy with clothing, Kolon Sport is exploring wind energy, according to Design Week. Its Life Tech jacket has a tri-layered system for water and wind protection, and also features a first aid and survival kit. But the real interest lies in its power generation capability.
It also features a wind-turbine mounted on the jacket sleeve, which can be angled to generate power throughout the day when the wearer is on the move. It can be used to power devices such as GPS and smartphones, as well as the jacket’s built-in Heatex system, which provides up to seven hours of heat up to a temperature of 40-50ºC.
The wind turbine can also be attached to the side of a tent at night for continued energy harvesting.
The jacket was developed by Semourpowell to address basic needs such as shelter, warmth and communication.
Ian Whatley, associate design director at SeymourPowell, says, ‘The concept was born from invaluable insights gathered by working with leading experts in extreme survival; so we’re absolutely confident that the design and features are based on solid foundations.
Although this garment is designed for survival, it may have a use in windy cities. Could a daily commute include wind power? Attaching a turbine at the elbow allows for hand movement and stride, but perhaps it could be done on the back of belts or on top of hats. Just a few weeks ago, wind turbines the size of rice were in the news, so perhaps wind energy in our threads will eventually be common.
If you are like most people, a white shirt doesn’t stay clean for long. Maybe you don’t relish the idea of smelling like bleach at the next party. Hello, nanotechnology! Check out this practical example as reported on CNet.
Silic is billed as “self-cleaning clothing with hydrophobic nanotechnology,” and it’s nearly tripled its funding goal on Kickstarter. Silic creator Aamir Patel, a San Francisco student who successfully funded shirts that can be written on with light, holds a can of NeverWet in the promo vid and says it contains a chemical known to cause cancer and birth defects, referring to California warnings on the label. (Rust-Oleum, maker of NeverWet, counters that the product is safe.)
Patel says the Silic shirt doesn’t pose such dangers, and resists everything from sodas to ketchup to soy sauce, and, of course, water and bacteria. This feature is said to last up to 80 wash cycles.
Check out the clean shirt dream yourself.
Nanotechnology is already being used to take ordinary cotton and give it color changing properties, making it useful for military, as well as fashion purposes. Now we just need Harry Potter’s Invisibility Cloak.
Since 1825 we have welcomed some of the world’s greatest scientific minds, including 50 Nobel Prize winners, to our lecture theatre to share their latest research with the public.
In 2014 we are pleased to celebrate the achievements of women in science today with our first ever all women line-up for a year of Friday Evening Discourses.
Over the course of the year, leading scientists from across the UK and the Republic of Ireland will give a Friday Evening Discourse – a traditional monthly lecture open to both Ri members and non-members – on cutting-edge science in areas as diverse as crystallography, molecular evolution, the neuroscience of memory, genetics and obesity, geometry and electrochemistry.
Our 2014 speakers include Lesley Yellowlees, the first woman president of the Royal Society of Chemistry; Pratibha Gai who was named the 2013 European Laureate in the 15th annual L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science Awards; and Sophie Scott, well-known neuroscientist, columnist and stand up comedian.
Gail Cardew, Director of Science and Education, said: “I am delighted that in 2014 we will showcase some of the world-class scientific research being carried out by women.
“My favourite aspect of the Discourses is that our members and the general public are able to hear from the scientists in person and learn about such a diverse range of intellectually fascinating areas of science in the intimate setting of our historic lecture theatre.
She added: “Our mission is to encourage everyone to think further about the wonders of science and so I am very pleased that a selection of these 2014 Discourses will be made available online on our video platform, the Ri Channel, so that anyone anywhere in the world will be able to benefit too.”
BBC News has the story about one of the biggest physics experiments ever built.
Scientists at Fermilab, just outside Chicago, want to fire a beam of particles called neutrinos through 1,300km (800 miles) of rock some 30km below the surface.
The experiment’s aim is to learn more about how the Universe was created.
BBC News has learned that the UK has now agreed to be part of the $1.5bn (£1bn) project.
Those involved describe it as the most important experiment since the search for the Higgs boson.
“It is the next big thing in particle physics,” said Prof Stefan Soldner-Rembold of the University of Manchester, who is working at Fermilab.
“It is as big as the search for the Higgs and will revolutionise our understanding of physics.”
Neutrinos are ghostly particles that permeate the Universe. They hardly interact with our world, tending to pass right through the Earth.
But 16 years ago, Japanese researchers discovered that these ephemeral flecks did indeed have mass, and not only that – they changed from one form, or flavour, to another as they travelled.
This solved a puzzling observation made by US researchers in a South Dakota mine decades earlier. They found that they were not detecting as many neutrinos coming from the Sun as they were expecting.
The Japanese result suggested that some of them had changed into another type of neutrino on their way to Earth.
This discovery cannot be explained by the current theory of sub-atomic physics. So some physicists believe that by finding out how these neutrinos change flavour and determining their exact mass will give a deeper understanding of how the Universe works and specifically how it came into being.
The future of science may only need to look at nature, as Harvard engineers develop small robots that mimic termites. The project was unveiled at the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The robots were 8 inches long and performed simple construction duties like putting down a brick, turning around or climbing. The robots were able to access their tasks, by working together and seeing what else needs to be done, like the insects.
But why would these mini robots act like termites?
Termites as insects are extremely intelligent; they take cues from one another, work as a team, and can build complicated mounds of soil, complete with tunnels and chambers. Some scientists even believe that termites have been able to create their own air conditioning in these formations that are more complicated than we think.
This technology could be used to build and re-build constructions in dangerous areas. These robots could be sent to earthquake prone regions, to build homes, and repair damage. Humans may no longer need to risk their lives building in dangerous situations.
Moss FM is the world’s first totally plant powered radio. Developed by Swiss engineer Fabienne Felder in collaboration with Cambridge University scientists Dr. Paolo Bombelli and Ross Dennis, Moss FM works using an aesthetically pleasing lineup of moss plants as a “Photo Microbial Fuel Cell.” The fuel cell acts as a sort of biological solar panel and harvests electrons produced from the photosynthesis of the moss and converts them into electricity, even when no light is available.
In order to grow, plants photosynthesise – they use solar energy to convert water and carbon dioxide into sugars. The photosynthetic process, in simple terms, consists of two stages. In the first, light-dependent stage, plants split water – oxygen is released and electrons and protons are produced. In the second, light-independent stage, plants then ingest carbon dioxide to convert those electrons and protons into sugars.
Now, here’s why mosses operate as potentially better photo-active components in Photo-MFCs than other plants: Mosses are as efficient in the first stage of photosynthesis as other plants. But they grow slowly, which means they are less efficient at converting the produced electrons and protons into sugars in the second stage – leaving us with bigger potential to collect and transform electrons into electrical current.
The researchers acknowledge that this type of technology is still in its infancy and the total amount of harvested energy is limited, but hope to develop it further to increase its efficiency for larger scale use. As Felder notes, the impact of this sustainable energy source has some significant potential.
If 25% of Londoners (ca. 2.7 million people) charged their mobile phone on average for 2 hours every other day with moss, we would save enough electricity to power a small town: 42.5 million kWh, amounting to a saving of £6.81 Million and 39632 Tons of CO2* a year. These are interesting values, given the huge amounts of electricity that are wasted during generation and transmission, for example. And even more interesting, if we consider that at the moment we capture only about 0.1% of the electrons the mosses potentially produce.
Japanese physicists have built a microscope that proves that entangled photons can make more precise measurements than independent ones. Via MIT Technology Review.
One of the exciting possibilities of quantum mechanics is the ability to measure the world far more precisely than with classical tools. Today, Takafumi Ono and pals at Hokkaido University in Japan say they’ve exploited this to create the world’s first entanglement-enhanced microscope. Their new toy produces images with entangled photons that are significantly sharper than those possible with ordinary light alone.
Entanglement is the strange quantum property in which two particles share the same existence, even though they may be far apart. Ono and co say this is particularly useful for a type of imaging known as differential interference contrast microscopy.
This works by focusing two beams of photons into spots next to each other on a flat sample and measuring the interference pattern they create after they have been reflected. When both spots hit a flat part of the sample, they travel the same path length and create a corresponding interference pattern. But when the spots hit areas of different heights, the interference pattern changes.
It is then possible to work out the shape of the surface by analysing the change in the interference pattern as the spots move across it.
Not sure how appetizing this is but it’s an idea! Via The Verge.
Military researchers believe they’re close to reaching one of the most sought-after rations ever: a pizza that can be left out for years without spoiling. The AP reports that food scientists at the US Army Natick Soldier Research, Development and Engineering Center in Massachusetts are testing a prototype pizza to include in military meals ready to eat, or MREs. Pizza is frequently requested by soldiers, but the combination of sauce, cheese, and dough quickly becomes a breeding ground for bacteria as moisture from other ingredients turns the crust soggy. The solution was twofold: keep the water in place, and make the whole pie hostile to bacteria.
To stop the dough from going soft, scientists used a type of preservative known as humectants, which include various kinds of gels and sugars (honey is sometimes used as one.) Humectants keep food moist by binding to water; in this case, they lock it into the rest of the ingredients. The pizza’s acidity is also adjusted to make it less hospitable to bacteria, and iron filings in the package help absorb any air that gets into the packet. The result? “You can basically take the pizza, leave it on the counter, packaged, for three years and it’d still be edible.”
Edible and palatable, however, are two different things. Lab director Jill Bates and spokesperson David Accetta both say they’ve tried it and liked it, comparing it to a ready-made pizza that just happens to last at 80 degrees Fahrenheit for years. “It pretty much tastes just like a typical pan pizza that you would make at home and take out of the oven or the toaster oven,” says Bates. It’s not clear when exactly soldiers will see the new rations, but the AP reports that they’re “closing in” after almost two years of research.
This Valentine’s Day, do more than just give some chocolates to your loved one- impress them with your knowledge of all things chocolate! From SciShow.
While you unwrap that luscious truffle, let Hank explain the science of chocolate — where it comes from, what its active ingredient is, and how it works. Also learn the difference between chocolate, cocoa, cacao and coca, so you really know what you’re talking about the next time you pas the candy disk.