Supercapacitors can store substantially more charge than regular capacitors and they charge and discharge faster than batteries. Unfortunately they only have a fraction of the energy density of batteries. Improving the energy density of supercapacitors would represent a significant advance in energy storage technology, but this requires electrodes that not only maintain high conductivity but also provide higher and more accessible surface area than conventional activated carbon electrodes.
Researchers at UCLA have now produced laser scribed graphene electrodes that have these desired properties. The electrodes consist of an expanded network of graphene and have excellent mechanical and electrical properties, as well as exceptionally high surface area. The open network structure reduces the diffusion path of electrolyte ions, which is crucial for charging the device and also allows supercapacitors to deliver very high power in a short period of time. [via]
LightScribe DVD drive makes novel supercapacitor electrodes - [Link]
The paperless office clearly is an illusion as people continue to print and photocopy incredible amounts of emails, memos and other useless documents that end up in the bin. So if we cannot get rid of paper in the office, maybe we can remove the ink from it and then use the paper again?
An engineering team at the University of Cambridge in the UK has figured out how to erase pages by vaporizing common toners using a laser-based technique that doesn’t damage the underlying paper. The key idea was to find a laser energy level that is high enough to vaporize the toner without destroying the paper on which it is fixed. After many experiments it was found that 4-ns pulses with a wavelength of 532 nm (green light) worked best. [via]
Unprinter removes Ink from Documents - [Link]
LONDON – Mar. 26, 2012 – element14, the first collaborative community for design engineers and electronics enthusiasts, powered by global electronics distributor Premier Farnell [LON:PFL], has today announced its Design Flow Series webinars will be kicked off by Raspberry Pi founder Eben Upton on 4 April.
In the first session Raspberry Pi fans around the world have a chance to see how simple it is to program one of the credit card sized computers. The possibilities of what can be done on a Raspberry Pi are only limited by the imagination, so to help users get up and running quickly, in this live session, Eben will talk through the simple set up procedure, how to download and install the Operating System on the SD card, run the boot up script, use the script editor and begin to create applications using the Python scripts that are pre-supplied with the software download.
Raspberry Pi founder demonstrates how to program the mini-computer - [Link]
Silicon is the basis of most modern technology, including cellular phones and computers. But according to Tel Aviv University researchers, this material is quickly becoming outdated in an industry producing ever-smaller products that are less harmful to the environment.
The researchers have brought together cutting-edge techniques from multiple fields of science to create protein-based transistors from organic materials found in the human body. They could become the basis of a new generation of nano-sized technologies that are both flexible and biodegradable.
The researchers turned to biology and chemistry for a different approach to building a transistor. When applied to a base material various combinations of blood, milk, and mucus proteins molecules self-assemble to create a semi-conducting film on a nano-scale. In the case of blood protein, for example, the film has a thickness of approximately 4 nm. The researchers have already succeeded in taking the first step towards biodegradable displays. [via]
Biodegradable Transistor made from Blood, Milk & Mucus - [Link]
Holst Centre, imec and DELTA announce an innovative body patch that integrates an ultra-low power electrocardiogram (ECG) chip and a Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) radio. This unique combination fuses power-efficient electronics and standardized communication, opening new perspectives for long-term monitoring in health, wellness and medical applications. The system integrates components from Holst Centre and imec’s R&D programs. It is designed in collaboration with DELTA and integrated in DELTA’s ePatch platform.
The ECG patch measures up to 3 lead ECG signals, tissue-contact impedance and includes a 3D-accelerometer for physical activity monitoring. The data are processed and analyzed locally, and relevant events and information are transmitted through Bluetooth Low Energy. The patch is capable of monitoring, processing and communication on a minimal energy budget. When computing and transmitting the heart rate, the entire system consumes a mere 280µA at 2.1V, running continuously for one month on a 200mAh Li-Po battery. When transmitting accelerometer data (at 32Hz) on top of the heart rate, the power consumption remains below 1mA in continuous operation, giving about 1 week of autonomy.
Innovative technology for an ECG patch - [Link]
Sam Byford writes:
NEC has been developing its organic radical battery (ORB) technology for a while, and today it unveiled the latest iteration. The newest ORB is a 0.3mm (0.012 inch) flexible battery that’s designed to fit into integrated circuit (IC) cards, commonly used for public transport payment, credit cards, and suchlike. Standard IC cards are 0.73mm thick, meaning the addition of a battery shouldn’t prove too taxing on your wallet. Furthermore, the battery can be printed directly onto the IC card as part of the manufacturing process, and the surrounding 0.05mm polymer film can incorporate circuit boards with small components like antennas.
0.3mm thin ‘organic radical battery’ can be printed - [Link]
Printing three dimensional objects with very fine details using two-photon lithography can now be achieved orders of magnitude faster than similar devices in a breakthrough by Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) researchers.
The 3D printing process uses a liquid resin, which is hardened at precisely the correct spots by a focused laser beam. The focal point of the laser beam is guided through the resin by movable mirrors and leaves behind a hardened line of solid polymer a few hundred nanometers wide.
Fast 3D printing with nanoscale precision - [Link]
Knowles Sound Solutions has launched a specially developed material called N’Bass Virtual Back Volume, designed to improve the acoustic performance of speakers in devices with small form factors. N’Bass stands for ‘enhanced bass’ and it increases the apparent back volume seen by the loudspeaker driver by up to 100%. It can provide better acoustic performance – specifically more bass – or enable smaller loudspeaker box designs while maintaining the same performance. It also facilitates the use of bigger drivers to provide better sound performance in the same total volume. [via]
Miracle Material Doubles Speaker Volume For Better Bass Response - [Link]
MinION – $900 usb-powered DNA sequencer on sale this year – [via]
Oxford Nanopore (ON) has been developing a disruptive nanopore-based technology for sequencing DNA, RNA, proteins, and other long-chain molecules since its birth in 2005. The company has just that within the next 6-9 months it will bring to market a fast, portable, and disposable protein sequencer that will democratize sequencing by eliminating large capital costs associated with equipment required to enter the field.
MinION – $900 usb-powered DNA sequencer - [Link]
Sony’s SmartTags could change phone habits @ Crave – CNET – [via]
Near field communication (NFC) technology enables smartphones to work with mobile payments and public transit systems, but a new accessory from Sony could make the wireless wonder much more personal.
SmartTags are small programmable tokens that give your NFC-equipped Android phone a series of commands to keep you from performing repetitive tasks.
For example, swiping your phone by a SmartTag placed on a nightstand could turn your phone silent, turn off Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, and activate your alarm for the following morning. While the aforementioned tasks are easy to do on your own, perhaps there is a certain charm in an automatic trigger.
“SmartTags” could change phone habits - [Link]