Greener power for off-grid sites

A Newcastle University led consortium is using plant oils to generate power, heating and cooling for off-grid buildings – homes, farms and businesses.

Combined heat and power units have been used by large businesses for many years, using internal combustion engines to provide electricity via a generator, and heat from…

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Four lasers conjure fibre optic out of thin air

Optical fibres made from thin air could transmit data to and from hard-to-reach places.

Regular optical fibres are made from two transparent materials that slow light down by different amounts. The difference in materials lets light reflect along the length of the cable without leaking out – perfect for…

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Google offers $1m power inverter challenge

Google, together with the IEEE, is offering $1m to the person or team who best shrinks the size of power inverters, in something called the ‘Little box challenge’.

“We’re looking for someone to build a kW-scale inverter with a power density greater than 50W/inch3,” said the firm…

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Nottingham Trent University picks Plessey for smart textiles

Nottingham Trent University is to integrate Plessey sensing technology into car seats to detect sleepy drivers.

Plessey has previously demonstrated electrocardiogram (ECG) measurements using its EPIC electrostatic sensing chip, and this work is being extended by the University’s Advanced Textile Research Group.
“Plessey has already demonstrated that cardiac signals…

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Meet Jibo, the family robot

In suite 712 of the Eventi Hotel, high above the sticky June bustle of Midtown Manhattan, New York, one of the world’s most advanced consumer robots awaits command…

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Boron buckyballs roll out from Brown University

Score one for boron. For the first time, a version of the famous football-shaped buckyball has been created from boron.

Discovered in 1985, buckyballs are made from 60 carbon atoms linked together to form hollow spheres. The molecular cages are very stable and can withstand high temperatures and pressures…

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Toshiba: 'most accurate all-CMOS oscillator'

Toshiba has developed a quartz-replacing all-CMOS +/-85ppm oscillator, claiming it to be the most accurate in its class.

Presented at the VLSI Symposium in Honolulu, the 24MHz RC oscillator was implemented on 0.18µm CMOS and consumes 2.9mW.
“Smaller CMOS oscillators have been designed, but with…

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Soapy tails self-assemble bucky balls

Researchers are attaching chains of carbon atoms to C60 ‘buckyball’ molecules causing them to controllably self-assemble into spheres, wires and sheets. The strings are semiconductive and photoconductive, and the structures could improve doping in organic solar cells.

Once the chains are attached, the resulting molecule is an ‘amphiphile’ (see…

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