This next month the World Energy Engineering Congress will take place here in DC on Sept. 25-26th, which is a huge event, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and other notable speakers. Also, we encourage everyone within a stone's throw of DC to at least take advantage of the FREE Expo Admission with hundreds of energy vendors on display. Pre-registration online for it is recommended. Lastly, the WEEC is also branching out for the first time into "New Emerging Technologies" with the Session K3 on Thursday, September 26th which is great.
In the same vein, can you believe that even the Nobel Prize Committee is sponsoring a Nobel Week Dialogue that includes, "Exploring the Future of Energy" on December 9th in Gothenburg, Sweden? The Facebook link ishttps://www.facebook.com/NobelWeekDialoguewhere one recent post by others on the Nobel Committee site asks, "Will you be discussing Free Energy systems?"
More close to home, as a direct result of the networking accomplished at the Nexus Youth Summit last month at the UN, IRI is now negotiating with a company for funding and development of at least one of our bioenergetics products which includes patent-pending Therapeutic Electric Clothes. In keeping with this theme, Chemistry World just announced in Story #1 a means for Self-Powering Cloth Electronics, which is a great match with tin oxide nanoparticles with high quantum efficiency.
Our Story #2 and #3 are complimentary and also represent breakthroughs in energy harvesting of ambient RF energy. IRI predicts that the world will see more and more of this future energy type of invention, so that small products will no longer need batteries! Developed on both sides of the ocean in the past month, it is an invention whose time has come and includes "battery-free wireless" by taking energy from other sources like TV, radio, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks. Video included in Story #3.
At our Sixth Conference on Future Energy in July at the University of Maryland, Dr. Max Formichev-Zamilov from Penn State explained that bubble fusion was suppressed by the competing scientists who also wanted government funding (listen to his video lecture online for free). It now seems that Dr. Taleyarkhan from Purdue is bouncing back with the help of New Energy Times in Story #4. The conspiracy deepens as the facts about the previous suppression attempt are now surfacing. Both Dr. Max and Dr. Taleyarkhan specialize in this type of fusion, better technically known as "cavitation fusion" which also has ties to zero point energy as well.
Now talk about future bioenergetics, Star Trek fans are once again vindicated with the introduction of the Scanadu Scout in Story #5, thanks to NASA. Put it next to your temple for ten seconds and the closest thing to a Star Trek "Tricorder" will send your skin/core temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, ECG data, and SpO2 level to your smart phone! I once heard from a public affairs rep for William Shatner that he was working on a book about all of the current technology that was inspired by the Star Trek television series. Well here is another big one that we all have been waiting for, guaranteed to reduce your doctor bills. Maybe all of the data will be electronically available to your doctor too so he can give a diagnosis by email perhaps and then send you a bill of course J.
Flexible electronics are an exciting area of research with foldable displays and wearable electronics being potential uses. Self-contained power generation complements flexibility by removing the need for bulky external power supplies to make smaller devices more feasible.
Guozhen Shen from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and co-workers at the Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics, have made tin dioxide cloth by growing tin dioxide nanoparticles on a carbon cloth template to give hollow microtubes of tin dioxide in a woven pattern. Tin dioxide is a wide band gap semi-conductor that has high quantum efficiency in the UV region, making it a good material for both battery electrodes and light sensing. Shen's team integrated a tin dioxide cloth-based UV photodetector and a tin dioxide cloth-based lithium-ion battery into one device to form a flexible, self-powering photodetector that can be trimmed to match any shape. The detector's performance is comparable to conventional devices and, importantly, no change in performance occurs when the cloth is folded.
Shen says that fabricating large areas of cloth that retain a consistent woven structure was initially challenging, however, by growing a dense layer of nanoparticles on the template a well-defined structure could be reliably formed. He is pleased that the resulting device 'is a very simple system possessing advantages of adjustable size and portability.'
Jia Huang of Tongji University, China, an established researcher in the field of materials chemistry and electronics, is impressed by this low cost approach to fabricating flexible electronic devices which have 'unique applications in foldable, stretchable and wearable electronic systems.' However, he warns that optimising the mechanical durability of the cloth will be important when developing these devices in the future.
Shen and colleagues plan to develop even smaller and neater devices from this prototype to suit a wide range of applications.
Imec and the Holst Centre, along with the Delft University of Technology and the Eindhoven University of Technology, have designed and fabricated a self calibrating rf energy harvester which may pave the way towards capturing energy from ambient WiFi or GSM signals.
According to the researchers, the device can harvest rf energy at lower input powers than current solutions. Measurements taken in an anechoic chamber in the 868MHz band show a -26.3dBm sensitivity for 1V output and 25m range for a 1.78W rf source in an office corridor. The maximum end to end power conversion efficiency is said to be 31.5%.
The key blocks are a five stage cross connected bridge rectifier, a high Q antenna and a 7bit capacitor bank. The capacitor bank and the rectifier are implemented in standard 90nm cmos and are esd protected.
The design is said to overcome several limitations of existing rf energy harvesters, including poor sensitivity, the need for calibration, the need for a special technology process and a large chip/antenna area.
The device features a smaller antenna area and operates at lower frequencies and is believed to be suitable for powering small sensor systems in applications where other energy sources are not available.
Devices that can make wireless connections even without an onboard battery could spread computing power into everything you own.
A novel type of wireless device sends and receives data without a battery or other conventional power source. Instead, the devices harvest the energy they need from the radio waves that are all around us from TV, radio, and Wi-Fi broadcasts.
These seemingly impossible devices could lead to a slew of new uses of computing, from better contactless payments to the spread of small, cheap sensors just about everywhere.
"Traditionally wireless communication has been about devices that generate radio frequency signals," says Shyam Gollakota, one of the University of Washington researchers who led the project. "But you have so many radio signals around you from TV, Wi-Fi, and cellular networks. Why not use them?"
Gollakota and colleagues have created several prototypes to test the idea of using ambient radio waves to communicate. In one test, two credit-card-sized devices-albeit with relatively bulky antennas attached-were used to show how the technique could enable new forms of payment technology. Pressing a button on one card caused it to connect with and transfer virtual money to a similar card, all without any battery or external power source.
"In that demonstration, the LEDs, touch sensors, microcontrollers, and the wireless communication are all powered by those ambient TV signals," says Gollakota.
The devices communicate by varying how much they reflect-a quality known as backscatter-and absorb TV signals. Each device has a simple dipole antenna with two identical halves, similar to a classic "rabbit ears" TV aerial antenna. The two halves are linked by a transistor, which can switch between two states. It either connects the halves so they can work together and efficiently absorb ambient signals, or it leaves the halves separate so they scatter rather than absorb the signals. Devices close to one another can detect whether the other is absorbing or scattering ambient TV signals. "If a device nearby is absorbing more efficiently, another will feel [the signals] a bit less; if not, then it will feel more," says Gollakota. A device encodes data by switching between absorbing and not absorbing to create a binary pattern.
The device gets the power to run its electronics and embedded software from the trickle of energy scavenged whenever its antenna is set to absorb radio waves.
In the tests, the devices were able to transfer data at a rate of one kilobit per second, sufficient to share sensor readings, information required to verify a device's identity, or other simple tidbits. So far the longest links made between devices are around 2.5 feet, but the University of Washington team could extend that to as much as 20 feet with some relatively straightforward upgrades to the prototypes. The researchers also say the antennas of backscatter devices could be made smaller than those in the prototypes.
Gollakota says the devices could be programmed to work together in networks in which data travels by hopping from device to device to cover long distances and eventually connect to nodes on the Internet. He imagines many of a person's possessions and household items being part of that battery-free network, making it possible to easily find a lost item like your keys. "These devices can talk to each other and know where it is," he says.
The researchers tested that scenario by placing tags on cereal boxes lined up on a shelf to mimic a grocery store or warehouse. Each tag communicated with its nearest neighbor to check if it was in the correct place, and blinked its LED if it was not.
That demonstration impresses Kristofer Pister, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley, whose work on tiny devices dubbed "smart dust," which gather data from just about anywhere, helped spawn many research projects on networked sensors. Using TV signals to enable such applications without batteries is "a really clever idea," he says.
While Pister and others around the world-including the Washington group-have spent years creating the technology needed to make cheap, compact sensors practical (see "Smart Specks"), such networks are relatively scarce. Josh Smith, a University of Washington professor who led the backscatter project with Gollakota, says that being able to do without onboard power could help.
The twelve-year-old "bubble fusion" saga reignited this week. Bubble fusion is the theory that nuclear fusion can be induced by rapidly collapsing bubbles in certain fluids. According to a new investigative report into Oak Ridge National Laboratory records, a highly publicized finding from 2002 that cast the controversial tabletop nuclear fusion experiment into doubt has itself been cast into doubt.
Photo Credit Lynn Freeney.
In fact, the reporter who examined the Oak Ridge document dump also found possible vindicating evidence that might have supported some of the embattled researchers-including lead author Rusi Taleyarkhan, now at Purdue University.
The report by Steven B. Krivit, publisher of New Energy Times finds, Talekyarkan's critics instead "said that they attempted their own experiment, but they didn't. They measured confirmatory data and later publicly said that they did not measure confirmatory data."
The report is a 12-part series that has appeared on the website New Energy Times over the past two weeks. (All but the report's first installment are behind New Energy Times's paywall.) The report details the back-channel dealings and institutional politics behind Taleyarkhan's peer-reviewed paper in the 8 March 2002 issue of Science.
In the 2002 paper, "Evidence for Nuclear Emissions During Acoustic Cavitation," Taleyarkahan and his five co-authors fired neutron pulses into collapsing bubbles of the solvent acetone. When the acetone contained the isotope deuterium, they said they also observed statistically significant traces of both neutrons (beyond the flux of neutrons going into the experiment) as well as the radioactive isotope tritium. Both are hallmarks of nuclear reactions of some kind, whether fusion or not.
However, technical reports posted on the Oak Ridge website in 2002 (one of which is now archived on New Energy Times's site) claimed to contradict Taleyarkhan's controversial findings. At the time, publications such as theNew York Times and the news pages of Science provided a platform for the non-peer-reviewed critiques, sometimes without a Taleyarkhan rebuttal.
Using Oak Ridge documents, Krivit investigated the critical claims about the experiment's generation of neutrons and tritium, particularly those claims of Oak Ridge scientists Dan Shapira and Michael Saltmarsh.
"Not only was there excess tritium production in the Taleyarkhan group's experiment, checked by a resident ORNL expert, but also Shapira and Saltmarsh knew it," Krivit writes. "Not only had the Taleyarkhan group measured excess neutrons with its detector, but so did Shapira and Saltmarsh, independently with their own detector."
Also published in the New Energy Times report is a recent interview with Shapira about his role in the 2002 controversy. "First, they asked me to review the paper [Taleyarkhan] wrote," Shapira told Krivit. "It didn't hold water."
The lab's associate director then told Shapira to perform an independent replication of Taleyarkhan's experiment, but in one-quarter of the time Shapira said he'd need to properly run such an experiment.
"He said, 'OK, well, you have three months, and together with Taleyarkhan, you should repeat the experiment,'" Shapria told Krivit. "So essentially, Taleyarkhan set it up. The only thing I brought is my own neutron detector. I told him to add it to the setup, that's all. I was asked to do it. I didn't volunteer to do it. I wasted a year on the analysis and the write-up and setting up the experiment."
Where the "bubble fusion" saga might go from here is unclear. Krivit's report concludes with a promise to investigate the subsequent controversies around Taleyarkhan's findings.
And as Taleyarkhan wrote in a 2005 feature for IEEE Spectrum, science itself could provide the controversy's ultimate resolution. "There is just one way we can find out," Taleyarkhan wrote. "We will continue making bubbles."
Two devices, long familiar to Star Trek fans, are coming to life with a little help from NASA.
Just in time for the summer movie season come two reports on innovations that advance the technology revolution in healthcare and in food production. Conceptually though, both have been with us for years thanks to the visionaries behind the Star Trek franchise. From Quartz we get a report on mechanical engineer Anjan Contractor, who is well on his way to developing the "Replicator" (the microwave oven-like device that produced passable renditions most common meals). Contractor is taking 3D printing technology and working to develop cartridges that will layer powders of the protein, carbohydrates and nutrients needed to create meals that provide a balanced diet (not unlike the Soylent compound we covered in last week's blog post). Top Chef it's not. And questions of hygiene have yet to be addressed, but if the prototype being constructed now works as planned it could create a safe, sustainable food source for the world's growing population. Meanwhile, Fast Company reports that those of you wishing you had your own Star Trek tricorder are just $199 away from the chance. The Scanadu Scout, from Belgian futurist Walter De Brouwer and designer Yves B�har, will send your skin/core temperature, heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure, ECG data, and SpO2 level to your smart phone for collection and display. According to the project's IndieGoGo campaign, just place the Scout to your temple, wait 10 seconds and get results with a 99% accuracy rate. Unlike many of the gadgets that have come to epitomize the quantified-self revolution, Scanadu's creators aim to get past data-driven navel gazing. They want to enable change. As De Brouwer told Fast Company: "If you know the present, you can change the future." And if you wonder, who we have to thank for both of these advances? Thank, NASA. Contractor received an initial grant to develop his food printing technology from NASA's Small Business Innovation Researchprogram. While Scanadu is a Singularity University startup at NASA's Research Park in Moffett Field. So the next time someone asks what good is funding NASA, you can tell them the care and feeding of an additional four billion people.
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