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.
Graphene is proven, yet again, to be a wonder-substance beyond compare. Rice University scientists have just published an article describing a method to easily and cheaply manufacture graphene quantum dots (nanoscopic specs of graphene that glow when you hit them with light, essentially). This is good news for the lighting industry and for a number of medical applications, which can make use of the glowing material to improve diagnoses and imaging.
Ah, CES. What wonders it holds each year. And what a deluge of news stories. Which I have sifted through and picked out what I think will actually matter. Read on…
- A new survey says that only 48% of consumers were watching cable TV in 2011, down from 71% in 2009. I wonder if we’re going to see the TV turn into a peripheral for the internet and mobile devices, rather than being the central media device?
- We’re used to touchscreens by now, but what about touch-sensitive clothing or upholstery?
- Touchscreens are coming to the kitchen, now, too: A touchscreen is the controller for an induction stove, which can selectively heat whatever is on its surface, wherever it’s placed.
- Liquipel is a new waterproof coating for the innards of your electronics; we may be looking at the beginning of widespread waterproofing of anything and everything electronic. [Update, 1/11: Here’s another brand that’s looking to do the same thing.]
- You’re at a conference (say, CES) and your cell is about to die. You don’t want to be tied to a wall socket waiting for it to recharge, so what do you do? Plug it into your backpack. The Powerbag is a backpack with a battery built in, which can charge your electronics while you’re on the go. And they thoughtfully provided some attending reporters with some, just to make sure that we heard about it.
- Somebody’s finally built a couple of wall sockets with built-in USB plugs. All I have to say is, it’s about time.
- 3D printing is trying to make a move into the home market – for reals, this time – and the Cube and MakerBot’s new two-color printer called the Replicator are the contenders that I’ve seen in the coverage of CES today.
- Sheesh, talk about a wonder-material. Scientists have found another use for graphene. Again! This time they’ve tinkered with the isotope make-up of the material, which creates a form of the stuff that’s apparently very good at dissipating heat. So now, even if we can’t figure out a way to make graphene computer chips, we’ll be able to use graphene to keep our old-fashioned silicon chips cool.
- Scientists have recreated the white, fungus-filled layer that coats some types of cheese. Why am I talking about fungus and cheese, you ask? Because the layer that they’ve created could be used to keep a surface permanently clean – it eats organic material (like bacteria) that falls onto it, and it can theoretically live forever as long as there’s enough moisture in the air.
- The Marines are looking for a new brain/control-system for their robots – something that doesn’t need its hand held going from one place to another, and that can be plugged into multiple different platforms.
- And speaking of military robots… The US military’s airfleet is now 1/3 UAVs. I repeat: one third of all aircraft in the US military is now unmanned. Mind you, this includes the itty-bitty ones that are launched by hand, but that’s still an… interesting milestone, considering that the number was 5% in 2005. I wonder when it’ll become 50%? or 90%?
- Is NASA thinking of sending another lander to Venus? It’s not a particularly hospitable environment, what with a temperature around 1000*F, massive air pressure and a choking atmosphere. Still, NASA’s building a hell-on-Earth simulator for wannabe Venusian probes, so they seem to be considering the possibility…