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Thursday, February 20, 2014

Artificial ‘Leaf’ Could Be Answer To Clean Energy, Device Converts Water Into Hydrogen And Oxygen

Engineers have designed a means of using solar energy to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using an artificial “leaf.”
Scientists are constantly in pursuit of newer and more efficient energy sources. Hydrogen fuel has long been an area of interest, but producing pure hydrogen, which does not occur naturally in the environment and takes a great amount of energy to manufacture, has hindered plans to put it to good use.

Now, researchers may be one step closer to achieving cheaper and cleaner hydrogen production. A group of U.S. engineers has designed an artificial means of using solar energy to convert water into hydrogen and oxygen using an artificial “leaf.”

The team from Arizona State University and the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago have drew inspiration from nature, looking to the way leaves harness the power of sunlight to produce hydrogen and oxygen through photosynthesis. Their study, published in the journal Nature Chemistry, details the progress they’ve made on an electron relay that mimics photosynthesis.

"Initially, our artificial leaf did not work very well, and our diagnostic studies on why indicated that a step where a fast chemical reaction had to interact with a slow chemical reaction was not efficient," ASU chemistry professor Thomas Moore said in a statement. "The fast one is the step where light energy is converted to chemical energy, and the slow one is the step where the chemical energy is used to convert water into its elements hydrogen and oxygen."

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Researchers Develop Termites-Inspired Robots To Build Shelter On Mars

In a new research it is said termite-inspired robots may help doing several important tasks on Mars or Moon for human beings. It may even build shelters there for us.

Similar to the termites, the robots will be capable of building structures several times bigger and larger than themselves. Moreover, these robots don’t need instructions as to how to do the job. They will be self sufficient once the handlers orders the terms along with some simple rules as well as master plan such as when to build the stairs or when to seek shelter when there is bad weather.

Computer scientist Justin Werfel at the Harvard University said the inspiration of robots from the termites is really great. He added the phenomenon in which the termites operate is called stigmergy, which means they don’t observe each other and still completes their task. All the robots operate in the same principal.

Each of the robots are small, but are simple and contains four simply types of sensors apart from three actuators. Engineers simply program the robots with blueprints and leave them alone to perform the desired task of their own. Also, the robots can be scaled up or scaled down according to the needs.

The project paper has been published in the Science magazine on February 14 titles as Designing Collective Behavior in a Termite-Inspired Robot Construction Team.

Source: http://www.thealmagest.com/

Friday, February 14, 2014

Scientists take big step on path to fusion energy

Clean electrical power from a fusion reactor remains a distant goal, but it's one step closer following a test in which fusion energy output exceeded the energy pumped into a fuel pellet.

Scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have reported an important step on the way to fusion energy: a reaction in which fusing hydrogen gave off more energy than the lasers put in to initiate the reaction.

Fusion, the reaction that powers the sun and the more powerful part of thermonuclear explosions, combines lightweight atoms like hydrogen and releases a lot of energy in the process. In contrast, heavy elements such as uranium are split to release energy in the fission reactions that powered the first atomic weapons and today's nuclear power reactors.

Scientists long have hoped to harness fusion's power to produce energy free from the radioactive byproducts that are so troublesome with fission reactors. But controlled fusion has been extremely hard to create: it requires an extraordinarily high concentration of energy to get the reaction started and to produce enough extra energy to achieve a self-sustaining reaction.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

VIDEO: Watch man use first bionic hand with a sense of touch

Dennis Sorensen was able to 'feel' and describe objects while blindfolded thanks to the revolutionary prosthetic which could change the lives of millions of amputees.

Using a bionic hand to grip an object, blindfolded Dennis Sorensen can tell from how it feels it is a plastic cup.

This astonishing feat was made possible as he is the first person to have a prosthetic hand fitted which has a sense of touch.

Dennis, 36, who lost his left hand in a firework accident nine years ago, said it was “quite amazing” to suddenly be able to feel things again.

The incredible technology uses sensors in the prosthetic device to pick up information about touch. This data is then converted into impulses which his nerves can interpret.

The signals are sent through wires into four electrodes that were surgically implanted into what remains of Dennis’s arm nerves.

He said: “You can feel round things and hard things and soft things.

“The feedback was totally new to me, and suddenly when I was doing the movements I could feel actually what I was doing, instead of looking at what I was doing.”

The dad added: “It was quite amazing because suddenly I could feel something I had not been feeling for nine years. My kids thought it was cool.”

Sunday, February 2, 2014

VIDEO: Terrifying footage of Felix Baumgartner's death-defying space jump

This is the terrifying new footage of Felix Baumgartner’s space jump.

It was released by the company who provided the cameras, GoPro.

The daredevil jumped from a balloon 24.5miles above the Earth and managed to land on his feet.

He reached speeds of 834mph and travelled the distance in just five minutes.

Felix, 44, became the first skydiver to break the sound barrier after only 34 seconds of fall in October 2012.

He also set records for the highest balloon ascent, highest parachute jump and the fastest speed achieved by a human through the atmosphere.

The tiny capsule took two hours to reach 128,177ft above the New Mexico desert.

Speaking afterwards he said: “Trust me, when you stand up there on top of the world, you become so humble.

“It's not about breaking records any more. It's not about getting scientific data. The only thing you want is to come back alive.

“When I was spinning the first 10, 20 seconds, I never thought I was going to lose my life but I was disappointed because I'm going to lose my record. I put seven years of my life into this.”

Source: http://www.dailystar.co.uk/