Rooting around in the fascinating stuff at the bottom of a draw labelled 'Engineering - Junk Miscellaneous'. Delving amongst the delightful...

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Direct sunlight to hydrogen recipe is a lot like solar cells.

Apparently, tungsten diselenide can enable sunlight to split water into hydrogen and oxygen without the intervention of a photovoltaic cell and electrolysis.

And researchers at the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale De Lausanne have found a cheap way to integrate WSe2 into a solar cell that gives off hydrogen…

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Zolt: an ac-dc converter challenge

Zolt of San Jose has set itself a tough design challenge – squeezing a 70W three output mains power supply into a package 76mm long and 33mm in diameter weighing 85g. Input range is 110 to 240Vac.

And the size includes the three output sockets and the mains plug – admittedly a…

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Be amazed at the graphics possible with an 8bit micro

It is not often I get really excited about a product demonstration, but I was genuinely amazed at the fast-moving screen animation possible using an 8bit microcontroller and Glasgow-based FTDI’s novel graphics controller – called Eve.

So amazed was I, that I asked the guys to put together…

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At last, tumble dryer has a heat pump

I have never owned a tumble dryer because they are so rubbish for the environment.

And it has occurred to me that they would be less rubbish if they included some sort of heat-exchanger to both condense moisture from exhaust air and heat incoming air.

And lo, there was…

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Thanks to Neil and GPSvisualizer

I was struggling to turn a GPS plot into a .png file to form the basis of a map.

The purpose of the map is to show the positions of 150-odd safety signs around a running race I help organise.

And Neil replied to suggest I try GPSvisualizer.


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Begging for SketchUp Make 2014

Why does it have to be so complicated?

I am going to have a go at 3D printing something, but to my dismay am struggling to get a version of SketchUp Make for my PC.

The PC has Windows Vista, and the latest version of SketchUp Make from Trimble will…

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Graphene and diamonds shun friction

No friction, is the result of US research into diamonds and graphene

According to Argonne National Laboratory, diamond nanoparticles and small patches of graphene can be combined to produce superlubricity – where friction drops to near zero.

According to scientist Ali Erdemir, as graphene patches and diamond particles rub up against…

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Are electric pavements splendid?

Pavegen got a mention on the radio this morning.

The brainchild of Laurence Kemball-Cook, it is power-generating pavement.

He and his team have obviously put a lot of work into its development, and has brilliantly got prototype devices into some rather prestigous locations.

He remains tight-lipped about…

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Worth a look: LaserHacker

This guy is extraordinarily inventive and good at making things.

Construction is excellent and the electronics look that way too.

He uses 3D printing to make the frames of some particularly interesting motors – the one in the photo is electrostatic.

It took me a while to realise that commutation on…

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GE 3D prints jet engine

Using laser metal sintering, General Electric has made a working jet engine that ran at 33,000rpm.

Fabricated at its Aviation’s Additive Development Center outside Cincinnati, the firm use plans for a 30x20cm engine designed for model engineering as the basis for its jet.

“We wanted to see if…

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