Tag: power

Can You See Me Now? Transparent Batteries Pave Way for See-Through Phones

By Joseph Castro | July 26, 2011 3:31 pm

Stanford University researchers have now created see-through lithium-ion batteries; when combined with transparent screens, keyboards, and circuitry, manufacturers may be able to create fully transparent electronic devices. So soon, rather than searching frantically for those set of keys you somehow misplaced, you can spend your time trying to find your see-through cell phone sitting right in front of you.

Scientists usually make devices like solar cells appear translucent by creating ultra-thin versions of their components. But this doesn’t work with a battery because its electrodes need to be thick enough to store a decent amount of energy. So, the Stanford researchers, in their study recently published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (pdf), took a different approach: they created lithium-ion electrodes out of components too small for the naked eye to see.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!

Cyborg Bugs! Researcher Controls Beetles With Radio Antenna

By Boonsri Dickinson | October 1, 2009 5:49 pm

beetleborgThe idea of cybernetic organisms, known as cyborgs, is becoming less science fiction and more reality. Cyborg research has helped “the paralyzed walk, the mute speak, and the near-dead return to life.”

But cyborgs don’t always have to be human. University of California, Berkley’s Kirotaka Sato decided to create a cyborg insect, so he could control how they fly. And it worked: When he attached electrodes to a living insect’s brain and muscles and sent an electrical signal through them, he was able to motivate the bug to fly, and to manipulate its flight direction.

The lucky insects—green June beetles and a close relative called Mecynorrhina torquata—had their brains outfitted with a radio antenna. Sato and his team then conducted an experiment to see how the insects performed in the air. After the researchers sent electrical pulses to the insects’ brains, the bugs did indeed take flight. While the longest flight time was 30 minutes, most beetles didn’t hit the one-minute mark. By stimulating the insect’s wing muscles—the wing that is opposite to the direction the insect is heading— the beetle will adjust its other wing so it can resume flying parallel to the ground. By knowing their flight behavior, Sato found he could change their direction about 75 percent of the time.

Ultimately, the researchers want the cyborg insects to be remote-controlled, so they can be used to spy and perform other important tasks. But first we’ll need to figure out how these bugs can fly for more time and more efficiently than they do now.

Related Content:
Discoblog: Superhuman Cyborg Vision
DISCOVER: Beetle Borgs

Image courtesy of Hirotaka Sato and Michel M. Maharbiz, U. C. Berkeley

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
MORE ABOUT: brain, cyborg, insect, power

Can Chatting on Your Cell Phone Cause It to Recharge? Researcher Says Yes

By Boonsri Dickinson | December 3, 2008 7:22 pm

cell-phone-pic.jpgTired of running out of cell phone juice in the middle of a conversation? A professor at Texas A&M University may have just the answer for turning your chatter into power.

Chemical engineering professor, Tahir Cagin is using piezoelectrics, a material made of either crystals or ceramics, to generate electricity. Piezoelectrics were used in World War I in sonar devices. Today, they’re found in microphones, inkjet printers, and even cigarette lighters. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency is making a shoe with piezoelectrics that can change the energy created by walking into electric power for charging soldiers’ equipment. Some European clubs even use them to transform the dance power from late night partiers into power to light up the club.

Cagin discovered that when piezoelectrics are small and thin (between 20 and 23 nanometers to be exact), twice the amount of energy is created. By finding the ideal length, he was able to convert the mechanical energy it creates into electric power.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology Attacks!
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