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Archive for the ‘News from the Future’ Category

postheadericon The quest for a rechargeable lithium-air battery

Lithium air prototype cell.
Interesting article from IEEE Spectrum about the potential benefits of developing a usefully rechargeable lithium-oxygen cell (for use, most importantly, in electric cars) and the challenges that remain for that research. So-called “air batteries,” in which one of the reacting chemical species is atmospheric oxygen, are already widely employed, for instance, in hearing-aid batteries, which are commonly zinc-air cells with a piece of adhesive film that must be removed before use to allow atmospheric oxygen onto the cathode. The know-how to make lithium-air cells is available right now; the hard part is making the reverse process practical over many recharging cycles. [Thanks, Glen!]


postheadericon The “Skin Gun”

The “Skin Gun”. A simple idea backed by stem cell research. It’s a spray gun that sprays skin. It uses your own cells, and the new skin is sprayed on – within a few *days* it’s completely healed. Still experimental, very promising.

So first up, medical advances and within 10 years graffiti artists will be skinning up buildings with their own DNA.

postheadericon Cyborg contact lenses


Smart contact lenses for health and head-up displays at New Scientist:

The next time you gaze deep into someone’s eyes, you might be shocked at what you see: tiny circuits ringing their irises, their pupils dancing with pinpricks of light. These smart contact lenses aren’t intended to improve vision. Instead, they will monitor blood sugar levels in people with diabetes or look for signs of glaucoma.

The lenses could also map images directly onto the field of view, creating head-up displays for the ultimate augmented reality experience, without wearing glasses or a headset. To produce such lenses, researchers are merging transparent, eye-friendly materials with microelectronics.

In 2008, as a proof of concept, Babak Parviz at the University of Washington in Seattle created a prototype contact lens containing a single red LED. Using the same technology, he has now created a lens capable of monitoring glucose levels in people with diabetes.

It works because glucose levels in tear fluid correspond directly to those found in the blood, making continuous measurement possible without the need for thumb pricks, he says. Parviz’s design calls for the contact lens to send this information wirelessly to a portable device worn by diabetics, allowing them to manage their diet and medication more accurately.

[via Cool Hunting]

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postheadericon Construction by teams of quadrotor drones

Teams of quadrotors autonomously build tower-like cubic structures from modular parts. Work done by Quentin Lindsey, Daniel Mellinger, and Vijay Kumar at the GRASP Lab, University of Pennsylvania.

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postheadericon Kids try their hands at robotics, da Vinci style


Kids try their hands at robotics, da Vinci style, thanks Kevin!

The task at hand seemed simple: Take a small rubber band and wrap it around a penny. But the task here was more like minor surgery that was performed Sunday at Liberty Science Center by children and adults eager to try their hands at test driving a da Vinci Surgical System, a.k.a. da Vinci robot. There was even a surgeon on call to answer questions and discuss his own experience , performing the first robotic kidney transplant. The demonstration was all part of a Liberty Science Center educational segment that that partners with New Jersey hospitals including Atlantic Health System and Saint Barnabas Health System to introduce children to medical technology such as robotic surgery.

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