Solar Technology For Dark Climates

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A prototype of a Stirling engine that’s powered by a solar water heater.

Cool Energy, a startup based in Boulder, CO, is developing a system that produces heat and electricity from the sun. It could help make solar energy competitive with conventional sources of energy in relatively dark and cold climates, such as the northern half of the United States and countries such as Canada and Germany.

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German Vending Machines to Sell Gold

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Golden Showers of Vending Goodness

Shoppers in Germany will soon be able to buy gold as easily as bars of chocolate after a firm announced plans to install vending machines selling the precious metal across the country.

TG-Gold-Super-Markt aims to introduce the machines at 500 locations including train stations and airports in Germany.

The company, based near Stuttgart, hopes to tap into the increasing interest in buying gold following disillusionment in other investments due to the economic downturn.

Gold prices from the machines – about 30 per cent higher than market prices for the cheapest product – will be updated every few minutes….

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Machine Keeps Heart Beating Outside of Body

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Who needs a body these days anyway?

 

Researchers at the North Carolina State University has developed a machine that can keep a heart beating outside the body. The potential medical benefit is huge, though for whatever reason I kept on thinking about Dr. Frankenstein:

“Researchers can obtain pig hearts from a pork processing facility and use the system to test their prototypes or practice new surgical procedures,” says Andrew Richards, a Ph. D. student in mechanical engineering at NC State who designed the heart machine.

The computer-controlled machine, which operates using pressurized saline solution, also allows researchers to film the interior workings of the pumping heart – enabling them to ascertain exactly which surgical technologies and techniques perform best for repairing heart valves.

(video after jump…)

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Rubber OLED Display Developed

Rubber OLED Display Developed 

Rubber-like OLED

Researchers have developed a stretchable OLED display that can be bent and deformed without breaking.  The rubber-like OLEDs are currently monochrome and each have just 256 pixel resolution; however the University of Tokyo team responsible for their development are now working on adding color and increasing resolution. 

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RAPHaEL: Robotic Hand With A Delicate Touch

RAPHaEL: Robotic Hand With A Delicate Touch

RAPHaEL robotic hand

The Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory (AKA the RoMeLa Project) at the College of Engineering at Virginia Tech has designed and built a prototype robotic hand that is controlled and operated by compressed air. Called RAPHaEL (Robotic Air Powered Hand with Elastic Ligaments), the robot can hold heavier, solid objects, as well as light or delicate ones such as a light bulb or an egg.  (Video after the break)

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Lightning Hybrid 100MPG Speedster

Lightning Hybrid 100MPG Speedster

Lightning Hybrid 

Tiny car company Lightning Hybrids showed it means business at the Denver Auto Show this week, rolling out the first prototype of the LH4, a 100MPG speedster with a hydraulic-biodiesel hybrid drivetrain that can zip the tight four-seater from 0 to 60 in 5.9 seconds. (Video and Pics after the break)

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Year 2036: Mars colonization and a date with destiny

Year 2036: Mars colonization and a date with destiny

Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson host of the NOVA scienceNOW PBS program

From a half billion kilometers away, the message was powerful. In 1994, fragments of the Shoemaker-Levy 9 comet slammed into Jupiter. The earth-size fireballs ejected into space were captured and relayed back to be seen again and again in Internet replay. The message: we need a foothold in space if our species is to survive.

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Vertical Wind Turbine

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Imagine spending your life savings on an invention you are sure will someday be successful, even if skeptics think it is impossible. It’s pretty risky right? Well Adam Fuller from Racine, Wisconsin has done this very thing. He has spent his life savings designing an invention he believes in, a vertical wind turbine. Will it work?

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Media Vehicle Virtual Reality Pod

Media Vehicle Virtual Reality Pod 

 Media Vehicle Pod

Thanks to a new device called the Media Vehicle we now know what the future control-pods allowing us to manipulate our giant, super strong, battle robots will look like. Although the prototype unit can currently only accommodate an operator weighing up to 132 pounds, the first iteration of the Media Vehicle is impressive.

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