Buildings as Solar Generators? Heliatek Creates Ultrathin Panels to Harness the Sun’s Power

It helps vertical structures to collect and transform energy from the Sun.

Turning buildings into solar-powered generators is the challenge, but researchers and companies are now on the verge of creating new panels that could change the way it stands out in the area. A German company called Heliatek has developed new ultrathin and organic solar panels that could be applied to high-rise structures to become more self-sufficient and eco-friendly. 

Harnessing the power of the Sun is one of the present challenges in the world, especially as solar panels are getting more commercialized in society. 

Continue reading… “Buildings as Solar Generators? Heliatek Creates Ultrathin Panels to Harness the Sun’s Power”

Fed up with facial recognition cameras monitoring your every move? Italian fashion may have the answer

By Elliott Gotkine

Tel Aviv(CNN)The red-headed man wearing what looks like the ultimate Christmas sweater walks up to the camera. A yellow quadrant surrounds him. Facial recognition software immediately identifies the man as … a giraffe? 

This case of mistaken identity is no accident — it’s literally by design. The sweater is part of the debut Manifesto collection by Italian startup Cap_able. As well as tops, it includes hoodies, pants, t-shirts and dresses. Each one sports a pattern, known as an “adversarial patch,” designed by artificial intelligence algorithms to confuse facial recognition software: either the cameras fail to identify the wearer, or they think they’re a giraffe, a zebra, a dog, or one of the other animals embedded into the pattern. 

“When I’m in front of a camera, I don’t have a choice of whether I give it my data or not,” says co-founder and CEO, Rachele Didero. “So we’re creating garments that can give you the possibility of making this choice. We’re not trying to be subversive.”

Continue reading… “Fed up with facial recognition cameras monitoring your every move? Italian fashion may have the answer”


“The challenges with water around the world are dramatic.”

By Rachel McGlasson

Clean, renewable drinking water made straight out of thin air almost sounds too wild to be true.

But “hydropanels,” created by the Arizona-based company SOURCE, can do just that. The high-tech panels use the sun to extract moisture from the air, providing safe drinking water for many of the places around the world that need it most. 

The technology is fairly straightforward. Fans on each panel draw in ambient air and push it through a water-absorbing material, trapping the vapor from the air. The vapor is then condensed into a liquid using energy from the sun, after which it’s collected in a reservoir. The water is then mineralized with magnesium and calcium to maintain quality and achieve a better taste. 

While condensing air into water is not a new idea, the energy used to do it — all coming from the sun — makes these panels more sustainable than other, traditional methods.  

Each panel, coming in at $2,000 each, produces about 1.3 gallons of water a day and can operate completely independently of other existing infrastructure, meaning the hydropanels can provide safe drinking water virtually anywhere. 

“The challenges with water around the world are dramatic,” Cody Friesen, CEO of SOURCE, told CNN. “We aim to make safe water an unlimited resource around the world.” 


Light-based tech could inspire moon navigation and next-gen farming

This chip is the size of a fingernail and is made on a thin film of lithium niobate. It can be used in a range of applications, including in telecommunications to make our internet faster. Credit: RMIT University

Super-thin chips made from lithium niobate are set to overtake silicon chips in light-based technologies, according to world-leading scientists in the field, with potential applications ranging from remote ripening-fruit detection on Earth to navigation on the moon.

They say the artificial crystal offers the platform of choice for these technologies due to its superior performance and recent advances in manufacturing capabilities.

RMIT University’s Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell and University of Adelaide’s Dr. Andy Boes led this team of global experts to review lithium niobate’s capabilities and potential applications in the journal Science.

The international team, including scientists from Peking University in China and Harvard University in the United States, is working with industry to make navigation systems that are planned to help rovers drive on the moon later this decade.

As it is impossible to use global positioning system (GPS) technology on the moon, navigation systems in lunar rovers will need to use an alternative system, which is where the team’s innovation comes in.

By detecting tiny changes in laser light, the lithium-niobate chip can be used to measure movement without needing external signals, according to Mitchell.

“This is not science fiction—this artificial crystal is being used to develop a range of exciting applications. And competition to harness the potential of this versatile technology is heating up,” said Mitchell, Director of the Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre.

He said while the lunar navigation device was in the early stages of development, the lithium niobate chip technology was “mature enough to be used in space applications.”

“Our lithium niobate chip technology is also flexible enough to be rapidly adapted to almost any application that uses light,” Mitchell said.

“We are focused on navigation now, but the same technology could also be used for linking internet on the moon to the internet on Earth.”

Continue reading… “Light-based tech could inspire moon navigation and next-gen farming”

boston dynamics’ humanoid robot ‘atlas’ effortlessly helps on construction sites


Boston Dynamics’ handy helper and humanoid robot Atlas can maneuver obstacles, seamlessly join a choreographed dance party, or jog on its own in the park, and today, he can effortlessly work on construction sites. In the recently released video by the group, Atlas manipulates the world around it as the humanoid robot interacts with objects and modifies the course it is on.

Atlas tests its locomotion, sensing, and athleticism by delivering a bag of tools to a person waiting at the top of a multi-story scaffold and even pushing a cargo box from his position. Atlas grasps, carries, and tosses the tool bag, climbs stairs, jumps between levels, and tips over a large wooden block out of its way before dismounting with an inverted 540-degree flip that project engineers have dubbed the ‘Sick Trick.’

Atlas control lead Ben Stephens says that parkour and dancing were examples of what might be extreme locomotion, and now the team is trying to build upon that research to also do more robotics manipulation. ‘It’s important to us that the robot can perform these tasks with a certain amount of human speed. People are very good at these tasks, so that has required some pretty big upgrades to the control software,’ he says.

Continue reading… “boston dynamics’ humanoid robot ‘atlas’ effortlessly helps on construction sites”

Exploring the Outer Solar System Takes Power, Here’s a Way to Miniaturize Nuclear Batteries for Deep Space

As science and technology advance, we’re asking our space missions to deliver more and more results. NASA’s MSL Curiosity and Perseverance rovers illustrate this fact. Perseverance is an exceptionally exquisite assemblage of technologies. These cutting-edge rovers need a lot of power to fulfill their tasks, and that means bulky and expensive power sources. 

Space exploration is an increasingly energy-hungry endeavour. Orbiters and fly-by missions can perform their tasks using solar power, at least as far out as Jupiter. And ion drives can take spacecraft to more distant regions. But to really understand distant worlds like the moons of Jupiter and Saturn, or even the more distant Pluto, we’ll need to eventually land a rover and/or lander on them just as we have on Mars. 

Those missions require more power to operate, and that usually means MMRTGs (Multi-Mission Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generators.) But they’re bulky, heavy, and expensive, three undesirable traits for spacecraft. Each one costs over $100 million. Is there a better solution?

Stephen Polly thinks there is. 

Polly is a research scientist at the NanoPower Research Laboratories at the Rochester Institute of Technology. His work focuses on something most of us have likely never heard of: the development, growth, characterization, and integration of III-V materials by metalorganic vapour phase epitaxy (MOVPE).

Continue reading… “Exploring the Outer Solar System Takes Power, Here’s a Way to Miniaturize Nuclear Batteries for Deep Space”


Massimiliano Pane


Italy-based Urban V, recently announced its intention to develop a flying taxi network for the Caribbean, reports The company is owned by Aeroporti di Roma, SAVE Group, Aeroporto di Bologna and Aeroports de la Côte d’Azur in France and has been set up for the development of global Advanced Air Mobility (AAM) infrastructure.

Urban V is presently in discussion with a Caribbean airline regarding a pilot project connecting a number of islands. The company also plans to establish stakeholder partnerships with local airports, cruise ship ports and major hotels and resorts.

Massimiliano Pane, Urban V’s Head of Business Development and Finance, commented, “We have the ambition to be among the first in the world to launch Advanced Air Mobility commercial networks. We plan to activate the first route by the end of 2024 in Rome.”

He continued, “Last October, UrbanV unveiled in Rome, Europe’s first test vertiport adjacent to one of Europe’s busiest airport hubs with crewed public trial flights.”


A nuclear-powered rocket could take astronauts to Mars in just 45 days

Image: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Chris Smith (KBRwyle)

By Joshua Hawkins

NASA’s manned mission to Mars would take seven months with the current technology we have for rockets. However, a nuclear-powered spacecraft could make that trek in just 45 days, according to news shared by the space agency. The design, which has been in the works in some fashion for the past few decades, uses a nuclear reactor to provide energy to the rocket.

Nuclear Thermal and Nuclear Electric Propulsion (NTP/NEP) is a top contender for the job, too. The original design is part of research completed by the NASA and Soviet space program, which happened during the Space Race all those years ago. A few years ago, NASA reignited the program for the explicit purpose of creating a bimodal nuclear propulsion device that would consist of NTP and NEP elements.

The idea is to create a nuclear-powered spacecraft capable of cutting down the transit time to Mars and other planets exponentially. NASA shared an updated page on the topic this month, detailing how the system would look and how it would take advantage of a wave rotor topping cycle. This new class of propulsion system would cut the Mars trip down by literal months.

Continue reading… “A nuclear-powered rocket could take astronauts to Mars in just 45 days”

Affordable-housing hopes are building around 3D printed homes

D printing can potentially be a faster and cheaper method of building homes. But it may require more than technology to take these dwellings mainstream.

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To make housing more affordable in the U.S., we need more of it. Millions of additional units, by most estimates.

This shortage of housing has a range of complex causes, but the high cost of construction — which rose even further thanks to pandemic-driven labor and supply constraints — is definitely not helping.

An idea from the tech world holds the potential to make the building process more efficient: 3D printing. Startups have been experimenting with the technology in large-scale construction, and now there’s a push to take it mainstream.

Marketplace’s Meghan McCarty Carino spoke with journalist Rachel Monroe, who took a deep dive into the topic in this week’s issue of The New Yorker.

The following is an edited transcript of their conversation.

Continue reading… “Affordable-housing hopes are building around 3D printed homes”

New nanocapsules deliver therapy brain-wide, edit Alzheimer’s gene in mice

Researchers at UW–Madison have engineered silica nanocapsules to cross the blood-brain barrier in mice to deliver brain-wide gene editing therapy for Alzheimer’s disease. 

By Laura Red Eagle

Gene therapies have the potential to treat neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases, but they face a common barrier — the blood-brain barrier. Now, researchers at the University of Wisconsin–Madison have developed a way to move therapies across the brain’s protective membrane to deliver brain-wide therapy with a range of biological medications and treatments.

“There is no cure yet for many devastating brain disorders,” says Shaoqin “Sarah” Gong, UW–Madison professor of ophthalmology and visual sciences and biomedical engineering and researcher at the Wisconsin Institute for Discovery. “Innovative brain-targeted delivery strategies may change that by enabling noninvasive, safe and efficient delivery of CRISPR genome editors that could, in turn, lead to genome-editing therapies for these diseases.”

CRISPR is a molecular toolkit for editing genes (for example, to correct mutations that may cause disease), but the toolkit is only useful if it can get through security to the job site. The blood-brain barrier is a membrane that selectively controls access to the brain, screening out toxins and pathogens that may be present in the bloodstream. Unfortunately, the barrier bars some beneficial treatments, like certain vaccines and gene therapy packages, from reaching their targets because in lumps them in with hostile invaders.

Continue reading… “New nanocapsules deliver therapy brain-wide, edit Alzheimer’s gene in mice”

Medical students get ready to diagnose and treat patients with realistic 3D virtual simulation

Wolters Kluwer and Body Interact collaborate to build clinical reasoning skills and confidence of medical and PA students with realistic virtual patient simulations, in a safe-to-fail environment.

Wolters Kluwer, Health, a leading global provider of information and point of care solutions for the healthcare industry, has announced a new collaboration with Take the Wind, the company behind the leading digital simulation platform Body Interact, to help expand virtual training tools and resources for medical and physician assistant students. The offering allows students to interact with virtual patients in life-like scenarios, where they are encouraged to assess, order tests, and diagnose in a safe environment. 

Continue reading… “Medical students get ready to diagnose and treat patients with realistic 3D virtual simulation”

Robots Can Stop To Smell The Roses Now, Thanks To AI And A Biological Sensor

by Tim Sweezy

Researchers at the University of Tel Aviv have developed a robot that can “smell” using an innovative biological sensor. The sensor transfers electrical information in response to the presence of an odor, which the robot is capable of detecting and interpreting. However, the technology is still lags far behind what of millions of years of evolution has enabled.

The breakthrough out of the University of Tel Aviv has researchers hopeful that the new technology could be used in the future to identify explosives, drugs, diseases, and more. This is due to the fact that they were able to identify odors with a level of sensitivity 10,000 times higher than that of a commonly used electronic device that’s employed today.

“An example of this can be found at the airport where we go through a magnetometer that costs millions of dollars and can detect if we are carrying any metal devices. But when they want to check if a passenger is smuggling drugs, they bring in a dog to sniff him,” stated Dr. Ben Maoz of the Fleishman Faculty of Engineering and the Sagol School of Neuroscience.

Researchers provided the example of a mosquito, which can detect “a 0.01 percent difference in the level of carbon dioxide in the air.” Professor Amir Ayali of the School of Zoology and the Sagol Neuroscience added, “Today, we are far from producing sensors whose capabilities come close to those of insects.”Play

Continue reading… “Robots Can Stop To Smell The Roses Now, Thanks To AI And A Biological Sensor”