New Smartphone Battery Recharges in 30 Seconds Flat

By Carl Engelking | April 9, 2014 4:18 pm

shutterstock_186049325

Today’s smartphones are well-equipped to satiate our appetites for instant gratification. We stream live video, look up facts on a whim, receive breaking news alerts and stay connected to our friends via social media. But one thing has lagged behind this culture of immediacy: smart phones’ batteries.

Now, it looks like recharging our phones could finally keep pace with the demands of our fast-moving culture. Yesterday an Israeli company called StoreDot unveiled a new smartphone battery that fully recharges in just 30 seconds. In contrast the couple hours it takes for a typical smartphone to fully charge, seems hopelessly outdated.

The battery manages such a speedy charge by utilizing quantum dot technology. Quantum dots are tiny bio-organic nanocrystals made of semiconducting materials. The battery is just a prototype at this point, and it’s still big and clunky — about the size of a laptop charger. However, the company plans to scale down its size and begin mass production of the device in 2016, the Wall Street Journal reports.

Check out this video of the battery recharging in real time:

 

 

Photo credit: YURALAITS ALBERT/Shutterstock

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts, Uncategorized
MORE ABOUT: gadgets, nanotechnology

Solar-Powered Plane Aims for Round-the-World Flight

By Helen Fields | April 9, 2014 2:36 pm
Solar Impulse 2, the single-seater solar airplane unveiled today. Courtesy Solar Impulse

Solar Impulse 2, the single-seater solar airplane unveiled today. Courtesy Solar Impulse

The world’s most advanced solar plane, the Solar Impulse 2, was unveiled in Payerne, Switzerland, today. The plane, which has been in development for 10 years, is the successor to a solar plane that flew across the U.S. last summer. The plan is for Solar Impulse 2 to fly around the world next year using nothing but sunlight for power — the first solar-powered plane to accomplish that feat.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: energy, transportation

First Succesful Organ Regeneration in a Living Animal

By Carl Engelking | April 9, 2014 2:24 pm

lab mouse

Scientists discovered a way to reverse the process of aging — and no, they didn’t invent another skin cream. Instead, a team of scientists from the University of Edinburgh has, for the first time, succeeded in regenerating a living organ in an animal.

The team manipulated a single protein in very old mice that caused their bodies to rebuild their thymuses — an organ that produces white blood cells. After receiving the treatment, the senior citizen mice not only had thymuses that were similar in structure to a young whippersnapper’s, but they were also twice as large. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: genes & health

Need to Commit Something to Memory? Sleep On It

By April Reese | April 8, 2014 2:57 pm

sleep memory

Remember staying up all night cramming for that statistics test in college? Turns out you probably would have scored higher if you had closed the books and hit the hay.

A series of recent studies, some of which were presented at this week’s annual meeting of the Cognitive Neuroscience Society, suggest that a good night’s sleep doesn’t just make you feel more rested – it’s also crucial for remembering everything from test answers to when to mail your mother’s birthday card.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Mind & Brain, top posts

U.S. Navy Wants to Fuel Ships Using Seawater

By Carl Engelking | April 8, 2014 2:31 pm
A Navy fuel ship replenishes the the U.S.S. Mount Whitney on the Mediterranean Sea in October 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Collin Turner/Released)

A Navy fuel ship replenishes the the U.S.S. Mount Whitney (right) on the Mediterranean Sea in October 2013. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Collin Turner/Released)

The U.S. Navy’s Arleigh Burke-class destroyer typically burns 1,000 gallons of petroleum fuel an hour. Most of the Navy’s fleet shares the same ravenous appetite for fuel, and refueling these massive warships can interrupt missions and present challenges in rough weather. However, researchers at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory have now proven that it’s possible to power engines instead with a cheap, convenient supply of fuel: seawater.

Scientists have spent nearly a decade laboring to turn the ocean into fuel. The breakthrough, demonstrated in a proof-of-concept test, was made possible by a specialized catalytic converter that transforms carbon dioxide and hydrogen from seawater into a liquid hydrocarbon fuel.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts

Video: Two Rare, 15-Foot Oarfish Seen Swimming With Tourists

By Carl Engelking | April 8, 2014 10:38 am

If there were ever a contest to snatch the title of “Ocean’s Top Sea Monster,” the oarfish would win in a landslide. The rare, sinuous fish lives deep in tropical waters and can grow to a length of up to 56 feet and weigh over 600 pounds. And, if you still aren’t convinced, the fish sports a red dorsal fin that rises at its head and resembles a massive punk rock Mohawk.

In March, a lucky group affiliated with Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium bumped into two of these silvery sea serpents swimming near the shore of the Sea of Cortés in Mexico. Fortunately for us, their cameras were rolling and they captured rare footage of the eel-like creatures swimming at their feet.

A trip to shore for an oarfish is rare, and usually ends badly for the fish. The species made headlines in the fall when an 18-foot specimen, one of the biggest ever reported, died off the coast of California. Snorkelers brought it onto land where researchers and passers-by marveled at the behemoth.

The oarfish is often the subject of myth and legend, and you can see why from the video. But no need to fear an oarfish encounter: they feed primarily on small ocean prey like zooplankton, shrimp and other crustaceans.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts
MORE ABOUT: unusual organisms

Evolutionary Battle Explains Why Fruit Spoils

By Carrie Arnold | April 8, 2014 8:30 am

rotten strawberries

There’s a hidden war going on for your fruit. The apple snatchers and orange thieves aren’t what you might think, though. Humans and other fruit-loving species are locked in an ongoing evolutionary battle against the microbes that also want to feast.

Now, researchers believe they have found out why competition between mammals and microbes is so fierce, and how it explains why fruit goes bad.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Living World, top posts

Nervous Teen Drivers Are Safer Behind the Wheel

By Gemma Tarlach | April 7, 2014 3:00 pm

teen driver

Sometimes being stressed is a good thing.

The likelihood of a teenager to crash while behind the wheel — or to have a near-miss — is linked to the driver’s levels of cortisol, according to a new study. The higher the driver’s cortisol levels, researchers found, the lower the chance of a crash or near-crash.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, top posts
MORE ABOUT: psychology

A Hard Childhood Accelerates Kids’ Cellular Aging

By Carl Engelking | April 7, 2014 2:31 pm

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In the musical “Annie,” a youthful Shirley Temple sings about the strenuous life of an orphan in “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” As it turns out, little Annie was wise beyond her years. A new study shows that children from stressful, disadvantaged social environments get kicked even at the cellular level, which may cause their cells to age faster than those of children from advantaged households.

Researchers examined boys’ telomeres, which are regions of DNA on the tips of each chromosome that protect the DNA from degradation. Telomeres shrink a little each time our cells divide, and shrinking telomeres are thought to be associated with the negative effects of aging. The new findings show that boys from severely disadvantaged circumstances suffer much faster telomere shrinkage than their well-off counterparts, which could lead to health problems and an earlier mortality. Read More

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Health & Medicine, select
MORE ABOUT: genes & health

Smart Bulb Helps You Sleep and Wake on Schedule

By Breanna Draxler | April 4, 2014 3:53 pm

bedside lamp

Waking up is hard to do. But a new kind of LED light bulb could help to ease those pesky transitions between night and day by coaxing cooperation out of your melatonin levels.

Melatonin is the hormone in charge of making you feel sleepy, and your levels go up and down on a 24-hour cycle each day. When you wake up bright-eyed and bushy tailed, your melatonin levels tend to be low. But as the day gets longer and the sun starts to go down, the hormone production will ramp up again.

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CATEGORIZED UNDER: Technology, top posts
MORE ABOUT: gadgets, mental health
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