Category Archives: Technology

LED lights point shoppers in the right direction

Imagine that the products on the shelves of a supermarket could talk.  Not in a “Hi, how are you?” kind of way, but just enough to tell a central computer where they are in the store, so that the computer could tell shoppers where to go to find them.  That’s what a new system is supposed to do, using blinking overhead LEDs and low-power radio frequency tags on merchandise.

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Graphene: The perfect water filter

Chalk up another miraculous property to graphene.  Apparently it’s also the world’s best water filter, in that, when a graphene oxide membrane is prepared properly, it will let water pass through it and nothing else.  Coincidentally, this also makes it great for distilling alcohol.

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New technique for harvesting algae with micro-bubbles

Scientists at Sheffield University have figured out a new way to separate particles of algae from the water that it grows in through the use of micro-bubbles.  This isn’t a brand new idea – micro-bubbles have been used to purify water and separate out algae for a while now – what they’ve figured out is a method of doing it cheaply and with much lower energy requirements than previous techniques.  This should reduce the costs for harvesting algae for producing food or biofuels – whether it’ll be enough of a reduction to make a difference is another question, but every little bit helps.

The Engineer   Futurity   PhysOrg

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Filed under Energy/Mining/Resources, Environment/Agriculture, Technology

D-Dalus, a bizzare new kind of flying machine

PopSci has an (unfortunately, very brief) article on a new kind of flying machine, which is capable of hovering and rapid forward movement, all with a completely out-there propulsion system.

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DARPA’s itty-bitty super-cheap eavesdropper

Hidden cameras and other spy gadgets are all very well and good, but the suckers can get expensive if you’re buying them in quantities that require a forklift to move, like the CIA and other intelligence organizations do.  Hence why DARPA funded an inventor to whip up $50 mini-computers that can be hidden almost anywhere and eavesdrop on people – they’re so inexpensive that agencies can afford to loose some.

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Hold your horses, fanboy: why 3D printing isn’t going to revolutionize everything

Technology Review has an excellent summary of 3D printing as a technology here.  They also just posted a rant about the limitations of 3D printing, and how the people who are gushing about the technology need to stop trying to boost everybody’s expectations.

 

Update:  And now an opposing viewpoint from a guest writer at Technology Review’s been posted here.

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LightSail Energy: storing energy in compressed air

An article on Forbes discusses LightSail Energy, a company working on using compressed-air as a method to store energy and make the grid cheaper, greener, and more efficient.

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