In March, Engineering on the Edge covered Lockheed Martin’s investment into the D-Wave quantum computer. At the time, although Lockheed Martin seemed impressed with the system, the verdict was still out on how much faster (if at all) D-Wave’s machine was compared to conventional computers.
Since then, an independent study has confirmed that the quantum computer is as fast, or faster, than other computers. Google and NASA were intrigued enough by the results to partner in order to start an artificial intelligence (AI) lab at NASA’s Advanced Supercomputing Facility at the Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley. Continue reading
Solar power is one of the most abundant forms of alternative energy to be found on the planet. With a very few exceptions, it doesn’t matter where you live, the sun still shines often enough to provide energy. The catch is finding ways to capture that energy.
The Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC) has used a new printer to crank out large, flexible solar panels. The organic photovoltaic panels are about the size of a standard piece of paper and are created by printing semi-conducting inks onto thin sheets of plastic or steel. Continue reading
The idea of a magical item that bestows invisibility on the user is older than characters famous for using such cool toys, such as Harry Potter or Bilbo Baggins. The notion of invisibility still captures the imagination, though, to be honest, I suspect invisibility would be put to less than benevolent uses by most people.
While the object in question is neither a cloak, nor does it provide actual invisibility, researchers at Duke University’s Pratt School of Engineering still refer to their creation by the pop culture reference. The object in question is actually a circle with holes of seemingly random shapes and sizes punched in it, surrounding a larger circular hole in the center. Continue reading
Printed electronics have the potential to make a significant impact on manufacturing by offering companies an inexpensive and relatively simple method of building electronic functionality into a number of different products. With some additional development, printed electronics could be used to produce cheap solar panels, interactive clothing and a number of other useful items.
Currently, most printed electronics require laboratory conditions and can only be printed at temperatures starting at 750°F (400°C). Researchers at the Chinese Academy of Sciences may have boosted the appeal of printed electronics by discovering a method to print on ordinary paper at lower temperatures. Continue reading
Alien presented a future in which the exploration of space was handed over to commercial, rather than governmental, oversight. Nothing good comes of this for the crew of the Nostromo, but hopefully this isn’t another case of science fiction prophesizing for future science fact.
The U.S. has already turned over a fair amount of the responsibility for space exploration to commercial enterprises, such as SpaceX, and Virgin Galactic has entered the race with the successful launch of its test ship, the Spaceship Two (SS2). Continue reading