Hybrid AirshipsHybrid Air Vehicles Limited and Northrop Grumman Corporation (NYSE:NOC) announce the successful completion of the first flight of the U.S. Army's Long Endurance Multi-Intelligence Vehicle (LEMV). They have designed a 400ft (122m) long "lighter-than-air" hybrid vehicle for the US Army, in a contract worth half a billion pounds. The LEMV, a first-of-its-kind airship, took to the sky on the 7th August 2012 at 6:49 p.m. Eastern Time and flew for more than 90 minutes over Lakehurst Naval Air Station.Hybrid Air Vehicles Limited website is hereThe vehicle is capable of:* Operating at 20,000 feet (6,096 meters) above sea level* With a 21-day on-station availability* a 2,000 mile radius of action and is* Runway independentThese hybrid airships have up to* 40% Aerodynamic Lift * 25% Vectored Thrust Lift * 60% Buoyant Lift Provides zero energy lift for long-endurance flighthttp://www.hybridairvehicles.com/pdfs/PR_LEMV_First_Flight_Hybrid_Air_Vehicles.pdf
In a recently published Forrester ForecastView report titled “Forrester Research World Online Population Forecast, 2012 To 2017 (Global),” Forrester found that 2.4 billion people across the world use the Internet on a regular basis — i.e., at least once a month — from home, school, work, or any other location via a PC or a non-PC (mobile) Internet access device. This is expected to grow to 3.5 billion by 2017, representing nearly half of the 2017 overall world population of 7.4 billion.As we move toward 2017, most of the laggard countries will move up the curve as Net access becomes more pervasive. The speed at which a particular country moves up the curve will depend on a number of factors, such as:* The affordability of Internet services or Internet access devices.* The education/skills of the users.* The interest/motivation of the users.* Internet connectivity (i.e., fixed broadband and mobile).* The country’s infrastructure (i.e., telephone lines and international bandwidth).* The government’s vision of the country’s digital future and related policies.
Phys Org - Northwestern University scientists have developed a thermoelectric material that is the best in the world at converting waste heat to electricity. This is very good news once you realize nearly two-thirds of energy input is lost as waste heat. This is a very environmentally stable material that is expected to convert 15 to 20 percent of waste heat to useful electricity, thermoelectrics could see more widespread adoption by industryPossible areas of application include the automobile industry (much of gasoline's potential energy goes out a vehicle's tailpipe), heavy manufacturing industries (such as glass and brick making, refineries, coal- and gas-fired power plants) and places were large combustion engines operate continuously (such as in large ships and tankers).Even before the Northwestern record-setting material, thermoelectric materials were starting to get better and being tested in more applications. The Mars rover Curiosity is powered by lead telluride thermoelectrics (although it's system has a ZT of only 1, making it half as efficient as Northwestern's system), and BMW is testing thermoelectrics in its cars by harvesting heat from the exhaust system. "Now, having a material with a ZT greater than two, we are allowed to really think big, to think outside the box," Dravid said. "This is an intellectual breakthrough." "Improving the ZT never stops—the higher the ZT, the better," Kanatzidis said. "We would like to design even better materials and reach 2.5 or 3. We continue to have new ideas and are working to better understand the material we have."The researchers improved the long-wavelength scattering of phonons by controlling and tailoring the mesoscale architecture of the nanostructured thermoelectric materials. This resulted in the world record of a ZT of 2.2..ZT of 2.2 means it is very good for working with 30-40% efficient car engines as a hybrid to make them more efficientZT 3.0 means that the material can replace some engines entirely in cars and replace cooling devices in refrigerators.Technology Review indicates that the new material could make thermoelectric power practical.Typical conversion systems become less efficient as they are scaled down to smaller sizes. This means there is a crossover point: below some power level thermoelectric technology will tend to be more efficient. Increasing ZT will move the crossover point to higher power levels, increasing the range of applications where thermoelectrics compete. Thus the ZT of 3 to compete with current best car size and refridgerator mechanical systems.Heat engines typically operate at 30-40 percent efficiency, such that ~ 15 TW of heat is lost to the environment. To be competitive compared to current engines and refrigerators (efficiency 30-40 percent of Carnot limit), one must develop materials with ZT > 3. For the last 50 years, the ZT of materials has increased only marginally, from about 0.6 to 1, resulting in performance less than 10 percent of Carnot limit. There is no fundamental upper limit to ZT.
Magnification of the water treated graphite grainsSuperconductor up to 230 degrees C http://www.nature.com/news/tantalizing-hints-of-room-temperature-superconductivity-1.11443Nature - Researchers in Germany have claimed a breakthrough: a material that can act as a superconductor — transmit electricity with zero resistance — at room temperature and above.Pablo Esquinazi and his colleagues at the University of Leipzig report that flakes of humble graphite soaked in water seem to continue superconducting at temperatures of greater than 100 °C. Even Esquinazi admits that the claim “sounds like science fiction”, but the work has been published in the peer-reviewed journal Advanced Materials, and other physicists contacted by Nature say that the results, although tentative, merit further scrutiny.
Rethink robotics Baxter Manufacturing RobotThe $22,000 robot that Rethink will begin selling in October is the clearest evidence yet that robotics is more than a laboratory curiosity or a tool only for large companies with vast amounts of capital. The company is betting it can broaden the market for robots by selling an inexpensive machine that can collaborate with human workers, the way the computer industry took off in the 1980s when the prices of PCs fell sharply and people without programming experience could start using them right out of the box.“It feels like a true Macintosh moment for the robot world,” said Tony Fadell, the former Apple executive who oversaw the development of the iPod and the iPhone.Baxter will come equipped with a library of simple tasks, or behaviors — for example, a “common sense” capability to recognize it must have an object in its hand before it can move and release it. Baxter, is six feet tall, 300 pounds, and a robot. For a hulking machine, Baxter is remarkably expressive. A pair of eyes on the screen that serves as a face stare down as the robot picks up plastic components, look concerned when it makes a mistake, and direct its glance at its next task when one is finished. It's cute. But the real point of these expressions is that they let workers nearby know instantly if Baxter is performing appropriately, and they provide clues to what it is about to do next. Even more amazing, when Baxter is done with one task, a fellow worker can simply show the robot how to start another. "Almost anyone, literally, can in very short order be shown how to program it," says Chris Budnick, president of Vanguard Plastics. "It's a matter of a couple of minutes."Baxter is the first of a new generation of smarter, more adaptive industrial robots. Conventional industrial robots are expensive to program, incapable of handling even small deviations in their environment, and so dangerous that they have to be physically separated from human workers by cages. So even as robotics have become commonplace in the automotive and pharmaceutical industries, they remain impractical in many other types of manufacturing. Baxter, however, can be programmed more easily than a Tivo and can deftly respond to a toppled-over part or shifted table. And it is so safe that Baxter's developer, Rethink Robotics, which loaned Baxter to Vanguard Plastics, believes it can work seamlessly alongside its human coworkers.http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=rjPFqkFyrOYThe Baxter robot will cost $22,000. This is more than the rumored $5000 cost for low cost robot arm, but Baxter has two arms and it is smart enough and safe enough to eliminate many of the hidden costs of setting up a safe environment for industrial robots.
SAN FRANCISCO – Intel Corp. has found a way to create a 10-nm process technology using immersion lithography. In addition, the processor giant is on track to start making chips in a 14-nm process technology before the end of next year, an Intel fellow said in a talk here.The 10-nm process would debut in 2015 or later. It would require quadruple patterning for some mask layers but “it’s still economical,” said Mark Bohr, director of Intel’s technology and manufacturing group, speaking to EE Times after a talk at the Intel Developer Forum here.
Low energy and highly efficient onchip photonic communications is a key technology to enable zettaflop supercomputersPaul Scherrer Institute (PSI) researchers have investigated how they could make the semiconductor Germanium emit laser light. As a laser material, Germanium together with Silicon could form the basis for innovative computer chips in which information would be transferred partially in the form of light. This technology would revolutionise data streaming within chips and give a boost to the performance of electronics. The researchers have demonstrated that Germanium must be put under strain by an external force in order to turn it into a laser material. http://prl.aps.org/abstract/PRL/v109/i5/e057402
ymeta wants to be able install broadband satellite antennas onto planes, ships and trains in 24 hours. This will give mobile broadband to passengers (who are willing to pay for the privilege.).Surface Antenna Technology (MSA-T) was invented by Intellectual Ventures, where a dedicated team of engineers performed significant research and development to de-risk the technology.and this has been spunoff into Kymeta Corporation.They want to use satellites to create Internet hotspots. The first application will be for airlines sometime in 2015. Kymeta would then develop products for trains and ships. They also want to create a small, backpack-sized satellite hot spot that could be used by the average consumer.A competitor to Kymeta is Viasat. ViaSat put a satellite into orbit that can support up to 140 Gbps of capacity throughout its North American footprint. ViaSat and its partner Dish Network can offer 12 Mbps downlink and 3 Mbps uplink speeds for little more than the cost of a cable or DSL connection. ViaSat is has faster service but the Kymeta device is more mobile.
Indoor navigation technology is going to be a lot different from its outdoor counterpart. Outdoors, navigation relies, for the most part, on GPS, which can be accurate to within about five meters. Indoors, thanks to attenuation and scattering, GPS falls apart. So good luck getting a usable signal. And even outdoors, GPS is vertically challenged; it's about one-third as accurate in pinpointing your elevation as it is in telling where you are in the x and y dimensions. In other words, even if you do get a signal inside, it's unlikely that GPS will have any idea whether you’re trying to navigate the first, second, or third floor of your local shopping mall. Some approaches propose adding locator beams that use Bluetooth, WiMax, or other radio standards; approach one of these beams and your navigation system can update or correct its understanding of your location.Still, even with all those radio signals, knowing exactly outside which store a mobile phone user is standing in a crowded mall is tricky, so developers are starting to incorporate information from sensors within the phone, like pressure sensors that provide altitude, gyroscopes that determine if the user is turning and in which direction, and accelerometers that count steps.While this sounds like a lot of technology to throw at the indoor navigation problem, the good news is that most of today's smartphones already come fully loaded with much of the necessary hardware. The Samsung Galaxy S3, Vigna says, has all the aforementioned sensors, and most other phones are just missing the pressure sensors.
The Edison 2 won the 100 mpg Xprize with a 120 mpg run over 200 miles in 2010. It was a 750 pound car.A next generation Very Light Car is being developed. It is much more than just a pre-production version of the X Prize prototype. It is a completely new vehicle, using the same underlying architecture and with the same virtues of efficiency that won us the X Prize.In the EPA 5-cycle test our eVLC is rated at 245 MPGe. For comparison, the Nissan Leaf is rated at 99 MPGe. Using the X Prize metrics, which did not include air conditioning, cold weather and aggressive driving, the eVLC is rated at 350 MPGe, compared to 104 MPGe for our X Prize car. The eVLC requires very little energy, which means a small battery pack (10.5 kWh, compared with the Nissan Leaf’s 24 kWh) and a short recharging time. In fact, the eVLC can completely recharge in less than 7 hours from any ordinary 110V outlet, and has a 100+ mile range.
Sloppy warp fields should be much easier to engineer.http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/09/sloppy-warp-fields-should-be-much.html“The idea of a warp drive in higher dimensional space-time (manifold) will then be briefly considered by comparing the null-like geodesics of the Alcubierre metric to the Chung-Freese metric to illustrate the mathematical role of hyperspace coordinates. The net effect of using a warp drive “technology” coupled with conventional propulsion systems on an exploration mission will be discussed using the nomenclature of early mission planning. Finally, an overview of the warp field interferometer test bed being implemented in the Advanced Propulsion Physics Laboratory: Eagleworks at the Johnson Space Center will be detailed.”The advantage of allowing a thicker warp bubble wall is that the integration of the total energy density for the right-most field is orders of magnitude less that the left-most field. The drawback is that the volume of the flat space-time in the center of the bubble is reduced. Still, a minimal reduction in flat space-time volume appears to yield a drastic reduction in total energy requirement that would likely outweigh reduced real-estate. Sloppy warp fields would appear to be “easier” to engineer than precise warp fields. Some additional appealing characteristics of the metric is that the proper acceleration α is zero, meaning there is no acceleration felt in the flat space-time volume inside the warp bubble when the field is turned on, and the coordinate time t in the flat space-time volume is the same as proper time τ, meaning the clocks on board the spacecraft proper beat at the same rate as clocks on earth.
http://nextbigfuture.com/2012/09/broad-group-and-their-factory-mass.html#moreMass Produced Skyscrapers from Broad GroupBroad has built 16 structures in China, plus another in Cancun. They are fabricated in sections at two factories in Hunan, roughly an hour’s drive from Broad Town. From there the modules—complete with preinstalled ducts and plumbing for electricity, water, and other infrastructure—are shipped to the site and assembled like Legos. The company is in the process of franchising this technology to partners in India, Brazil, and Russia. What it’s selling is the world’s first standardized skyscraper, and with it, Zhang aims to turn Broad into the McDonald’s of the sustainable building industry.Safer and CheaperThe building process is also safer. Jiang tells me that during the construction of the first 20 Broad buildings, “not even one fingernail was hurt.” Elevator systems—the base, rails, and machine room—can be installed at the factory, eliminating the risk of a technician falling down a 30-story elevator shaft. And instead of shipping an elevator car to the site in pieces, Broad orders a finished car and drops it into the shaft by crane. In the future, elevator manufacturers are hoping to preinstall the doors, completely eliminating any chance that a worker might fall.While Jiang focuses on bringing Broad buildings to the world, her boss is fixated on the company’s most outlandish plan—the J220, a factory-built 220-floor behemoth that would just happen to be the tallest building in the world. It’s hard to say for sure that the 16-million-square-foot plan isn’t entirely a publicity stunt. But Zhang has hired some of the engineers who worked on the current height-record holder, Dubai’s BurjKhalifa, and Broad has created two large models of “Sky City” (as the J220 has been nicknamed).
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Devices and Gadgets
Osamu Tabata – DNA origami for assembling nanomachines