Could Water Be Used to Charge a Cell Phone?

Research 2014

A research team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) recently found that water droplets can generate an electric charge when repelled from a superhydrophobic (ultra-waterproofed) metal surface. This technology may be used to develop portable devices that can harness the humidity from surrounding air, converting it into enough electricity to charge battery-powered electronics like cell phones. Read More →

Misidentification of Humans as Machines in Turing Tests

Image Credit: Bletchley Park Trust

Image Credit: Bletchley Park Trust

Alan Turing led a team of code breakers at Bletchley Park which cracked the German Enigma machine cypher during WWII – but that is far from being his only legacy. Read More →

Could Your Child Kill?

Image Credit: GlobalGrind

Image Credit: GlobalGrind

I’m currently taking a course focused on criminological theory and as I’ve been thinking through the theories, I’ve tried to better understand all of the things that can go wrong in a person that causes him/her to take the life of another. More specifically, how can this happen in the case of a child? Read More →

Atoms, Ions and Molecules. What’s the Difference?

atom_img1

When you view an atom, the first question you might ask is ‘what kind of atom is it?’ What you are really asking is ‘which element am I looking at?’ You can answer this by counting the number of protons in the atom. The number of protons, neutrons and electrons is the same in a neutral atom- that is, an atom with no charge. So, in a regular Calcium atom, there are 20 protons, 20 neutrons and 20 electrons. The electrons orbit around the nucleus and have a negative charge.  An isotope is a version of the element with a different number of neutrons. Read More →

Picotechnology: Beyond Nano-Scale Engineering

picotech

While it’s become quite popular to discuss nanotechnology for a number of years now, picotechnology is the science of the future. This type of engineering is on a scale three orders of magnitude smaller than that which nanotechnology deals with. It’s actually considerably smaller than most chemistry measurements. Read More →

Using Insects to Advance Cybernetics

Credit: UNIST/American Chemical Society

Credit: UNIST/American Chemical Society

While a majority of the attention on cybernetic technology has been paid to human test subjects, more researchers are now looking into what the interface between animals and machinery might soon look like. Graphene and carbon nanotubes have been melded together into a single mesh that works on a monolithic architecture. This flexible electronic device can then actually interface with living things. Read More →

Using ‘Frozen Smoke’ in Emerging Technologies

Aerogel

Aerogel (sometimes referred to as frozen smoke) is an emerging technology in the material science field that has actually been around for quite a long time. It was initially created by Samuel Stephens Kistler way back in 1931 after he had made a bet with Charles Learned. Apparently they wanted to see who could fill a gelled substance with gas first. Their bet stipulated that the gel couldn’t shrink, and as a result, frozen smoke was created. Technically referred to as aerogel, the substance feels somewhat like fragile styrene and is incredibly light. The substance is produce by first making a gel. The gel is then supercritically dried in such a way that the liquid is removed while preserving the solid matrix.  Read More →

Nanopositioning and Image Stabilization

satellite-image

Nanotechnology has been discussed as one possible solution to image positioning problems that exist today. Recently a new nanopositioning device was introduced that’s far more affordable than previous models, and may provide an attractive alternative to engineers. This kind of technology has a number of OEM/research-related applications that are otherwise cost prohibitive today. Read More →

Ed-Tech and Research Economics

EdTech

A recent post on MindShift addressing the current state of educational technologies addressed the growing use of the freemium model within the sector. While many ed-tech applications are in theory “free”, the organizations behind them consider the data that users produce to be more valuable than traditional revenue streams. Users also open up countless connections and these connections are far more valuable than a few cents made downloading a piece of software. Read More →

Intro to External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP)

Future Engine

External Pulsed Plasma Propulsion (EPPP)  is something that’s been discussed for some time. In fact, it was originally proposed by Stanislaw Ulam way back in 1947. Unfortunately the public perception of atomic technology as well as pieces of otherwise well meaning legislation have called into question the feasibility of spacecraft that operate using this advanced principle. Read More →