The internet is the very definition of a transformative technology. It’s exploded into a sprawling labyrinth of information, shopping and entertainment that alternately boosts or drains productivity. For every cat video someone shares on Facebook, there’s a TED Talk or a file transferred via the cloud.
Google wants to bring the internet to as many users as possible, so it has been investigating ways of providing access to people across the globe. Part of the challenge involved with that goal is providing access to users in places where terrain or circumstance have prevented a developed infrastructure. The potential solution Google has unveiled is called Project Loon, and uses balloons to form a network. Continue reading
Remote controlled all-terrain vehicles (ATV) are designed to traverse difficult landscapes, overcoming obstacles with oversized tires and rugged suspensions. All of that works spectacularly until the ATV encounters an obstacle too large to roll over or a crevice too wide to jump. A new remote controlled car-helicopter hybrid vehicle, dubbed simply the “B,” hopes to overcome such obstacles by taking to the air.
The secret to the B is in the tires. At 220 mm, the wheels are intended to offer the usual all-terrain capabilities of a remote ATV, giving the B enough traction to overcome obstacles. Simultaneously, the wheels are also large enough to fully encircle the 7 in. helicopter propellers contained within them, offering the props some protection from any bumps the ATV might take. Continue reading
Metallic glass (amorphous metal) is a sturdy material that is finding its way into a number of applications, including nanomolds, as a biomaterial for setting broken bones, and for use in cell phones and other devices. Sometimes, however, the material can crack or break. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University have been studying this phenomena using computer simulations to determine how much energy is required to crack the material, and how susceptible it is to breakage.
I’m starting to think graphene may very well be the greatest thing ever to emerge from a laboratory. The latest in a long line of advancements: researchers at Nanyang Technological University have developed a graphene image sensor that can detect broad spectrum light and allow cameras to take clear photos even in low light.
Using geothermal energy to create power and heat is nothing new, but some researchers working near the Newberry Volcano in Oregon are taking a slightly different approach to harnessing this naturally occurring energy source. They are pumping water (375 gallons a minute) 10,000 feet into the ground, and plan on using the superheated water to power turbines. Continue reading