Introducing PMMM: The Next-Generation Metamaterial for Cooler, Private, and Cleaner Spaces

Having numerous glass surfaces in your home can make rooms feel bright and open, but they often bring in too much heat and expose you to prying eyes. A groundbreaking new metamaterial offers a solution by enhancing transparency, ensuring privacy, cooling interiors, and even cleaning itself. This innovation is known as the Polymer-based Micro-photonic Multi-functional Metamaterial (PMMM).

PMMM is a thin film that can be easily applied to standard glass. Its unique properties stem from the microscopic pyramid patterns etched on its surface, each just 10 microns wide. These tiny pyramids scatter 73% of incoming light, giving the material a frosted appearance while still allowing 95% light transmittance, compared to the 91% typical of regular glass. This feature ensures a brighter, more comfortable environment for both people and plants.

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Revolutionizing the Road: The Power of the Water Engine in the Hydrogen Era

In the quest for a greener future, the role of hydrogen in energy transition is undeniable. Amidst this shift, an innovative water engine has emerged, setting new power records and challenging the status quo. This breakthrough represents a significant leap in the decarbonization of the economy, where hydrogen (H) has become a crucial player.

The production of hydrogen for energy is a global focal point, with green hydrogen being a particularly strong contender. Investment in hydrogen production has surged worldwide. For instance, in Spain alone, 20% of the world’s new hydrogen projects were initiated in the first quarter of 2022. According to Wood Mackenzie, by the end of 2022, hydrogen-related projects had increased production to a total of 11.1 million tons per year.

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Gen Z Redefines the Workforce with a Freelance Revolution

In 2024, Gen Z workers are expected to outnumber baby boomers in the American labor force for the first time. Despite this shift, the youngest generation in the workforce, with the oldest members now 27, is often treated as a novelty. From email signatures to salary expectations, Gen Zers are scrutinized in every aspect of their professional lives. CNBC Make It delves into how Gen Z is truly making its mark on career advice, office culture, and more.

Gen Z, defined as individuals born between 1997 and 2012, is rethinking what it means to enter the workforce. According to a February 2024 Fiverr survey of 10,033 Gen Zers worldwide, 70% are currently freelancing or plan to do so in the future.

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BrainBridge Unveils Revolutionary Head Transplant System

In a groundbreaking announcement, neuroscience and biomedical engineering startup BrainBridge has unveiled the world’s first head transplant system. This mind-bending concept proposes grafting a patient’s head onto a donor body, offering new hope to those suffering from untreatable conditions such as stage-4 cancer, paralysis, and neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

The ambitious procedure involves transplanting a patient’s head onto a healthy, brain-dead donor body, ensuring the preservation of consciousness, memories, and cognitive abilities. BrainBridge aims to make this futuristic system available within eight years, integrating advanced robotics and artificial intelligence to carry out the transplantation procedures.

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Peugeot Partners with Vay to Integrate Teledriving Technology for Last-Mile Deliveries

PARIS, France — French automotive giant Peugeot has announced a partnership with Vay, a German mobility startup, to integrate “teledriving” technology into its vehicles. This innovative tech offers an alternative to autonomous cars, allowing vehicles to be remotely driven by human operators. The collaboration will focus on assessing the use of Vay’s teledriving technology in “last-mile delivery” vans and smaller logistics vehicles, targeting business-to-business (B2B) customers.

The concept aims to replicate the typical journey a delivery vehicle takes from an order fulfillment center to its final destination, whether it be households or businesses. Unlike self-driving cars, which operate without human intervention, teledriven cars are controlled remotely by human drivers who navigate using a live feed of the vehicle’s surroundings. These teledrivers undergo several weeks of rigorous training and must receive certification before operating one of Vay’s teledrive stations.

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Powerless Computing: How Smart Rubber Can Revolutionize Mechanical Tasks

In the absence of electronic computational tasks, our daily lives would be drastically different. Everyday devices like elevators, vending machines, turnstiles, washing machines, and traffic lights rely on simple electronic computing to switch states. But what if these devices could operate without a power supply? A research team led by Martin van Hecke from Leiden University and AMOLF has demonstrated how smart rubber structures can carry out these computational tasks. “We now know how to design simple materials so they can process information,” van Hecke stated.

Their study, published on May 20 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, showcases a groundbreaking approach to computation using mechanical systems. Traditionally, electronic devices perform calculations with digital bits and complex circuits. However, the researchers have found an innovative way to compute using slender rubber elements as mechanical bits, assembling them into a “metamaterial.” The key to making these materials function as machines lies in controlling the interactions between the individual bits.

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Revolutionizing Auto Repair: The Emergence of 3D Printing in MRO Operations

Though the automotive industry has long utilized 3D printing technology, its potential in end-part production and maintenance, repair, and overhaul (MRO) operations has been underutilized. While companies like BMW are developing automated additive manufacturing (AM) lines for car components, MRO applications lag behind. Harold Sears, a Ford veteran and 3D printing expert, emphasized the importance of standards and quality control for applying AM in auto repair. This need prompted Sears and others to launch the 3D Printing in Auto Repair Task Force with the International Bodyshop Industry Symposium (IBIS).

Following the Task Force’s report on the state of AM in auto repair published in October 2023, progress has been anticipated in this crucial segment. At the IBIS Worldwide event in Greece, a new business named Auto Additive emerged, leveraging the Task Force’s expertise and technology to address AM for auto repair.

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Revolutionizing Construction: Carbon-Zero Cement from Recycled Concrete and Steel

Concrete and steel production are major contributors to CO2 emissions, but researchers from Cambridge University have developed a revolutionary solution that could recycle both materials simultaneously. By introducing old concrete into steel-processing furnaces, the process not only purifies iron but also produces “reactivated cement” as a byproduct. When powered by renewable energy, this method could potentially yield carbon-zero cement.

Scientists have long sought to make concrete more environmentally friendly. Efforts include altering the concrete mix to replace the most polluting ingredients, such as limestone, or designing concrete to absorb more CO2 from the atmosphere after being laid. In their new study, Cambridge researchers explored how waste concrete could be transformed back into clinker—the dry component of cement—ready for reuse.

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Revolutionary Method for Diamond Synthesis at Atmospheric Pressure

Scientists have developed a groundbreaking technique to synthesize diamonds at normal atmospheric pressure without the need for a starter gem, potentially simplifying the production of these precious gemstones in the lab.

Traditionally, natural diamonds form in Earth’s mantle, the molten zone buried hundreds of miles beneath the planet’s surface. This natural process occurs under immense pressures of several gigapascals and scorching temperatures exceeding 2,700 degrees Fahrenheit (1,500 degrees Celsius).

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Pioneering Thermal Desalination: A Breakthrough in Water Security

“It’s exciting to see a phenomenon that no one has seen before,” said Shuqi Xu, a PhD candidate at the Australian National University (ANU). “I don’t want people to think I am a workaholic, but I often come to the lab on Sundays. I can’t wait to find out the results of our experiments.”

Xu’s dedication has led to the world’s first thermal desalination method where water remains in the liquid phase throughout the process. This power-saving and potentially lifesaving approach is detailed in a new study published in Nature Communications.

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Revolutionary Ferroelectric Diode Enables Computing in Extreme Heat

A groundbreaking development in computing storage, capable of operating at temperatures so high that rock begins to melt, promises to enable computers to function in the harshest environments on Earth and even on Venus for the first time.

Current non-volatile memory (NVM) devices, such as solid-state drives (SSDs), fail at temperatures of 572 degrees Fahrenheit (300 degrees Celsius). However, scientists have now developed a new ferroelectric diode—a semiconductor switching device—that remains functional for hours at a staggering 1,112 degrees Fahrenheit (600 degrees Celsius). This advancement means that sensors and computing devices using this diode can be used in extreme environments, such as nuclear plants, deep-field oil and gas exploration, and our solar system’s hottest planet, where previous devices would fail within seconds.

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Reimagining the Future: The Power of Backcasting

In science fiction, the Grandfather Paradox suggests that traveling into the past and altering key events can dramatically change or even obliterate the future. But what if we flipped this idea on its head? Instead of worrying about the potential disruptions of time travel, we could define a desirable future and then reverse engineer the necessary steps to achieve it. Unlike the Grandfather Paradox, which resides in the realm of sci-fi, the concept of backcasting is not only feasible but also practical.

Backcasting, first outlined by Professor John B. Robinson from the University of Waterloo nearly 35 years ago, starts with a clear vision of the end goal and works backward to identify the steps needed to achieve it. This method contrasts with traditional forecasting, which predicts the future by extrapolating from past trends. In 2014, futurist Thomas Frey presented eight backcasting scenarios to better understand the future. These scenarios included ambitious visions such as controlling hurricanes or extending human lifespan beyond 200 years, and then mapped out the necessary technologies, policies, and actions to realize these visions.

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