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New Fluid Makes Geothermal Power Cleaner

More American homes could be powered by the Earth's natural underground heat with a new, nontoxic, and potentially recyclable liquid that is expected to use half as much water as other fluids used to tap into otherwise unreachable geothermal hot spots. The fluid might be a boon to a new approach to geothermal power called enhanced geothermal systems. These systems pump fluids underground, a step that's called "reservoir stimulation," to enable power production where conventional geothermal doesn't work.

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Smart Tablet Controls Swarms of Robots

Using a tablet and a red beam of light, researchers at Georgia Tech have created a system that controls a fleet of robots with the swipe of a finger. A person taps the tablet to control where the beam of light appears on a floor. The swarm robots then roll toward the illumination, constantly communicating with each other and deciding how to evenly cover the lit area. When the person swipes the tablet to drag the light across the floor, the robots follow. If the operator puts two fingers in different locations on the tablet, the machines will split into teams and repeat the process.

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Handheld Tools Perform Tasks Based on User’s Motions

What if handheld tools knew what needs to be done and were even able to guide and help inexperienced users to complete jobs that require skill? Researchers at the University of Bristol (UK) have developed a novel concept in robotics: intelligent handheld robots.

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Researchers Develop Biodegradable Wooden Computer Chips

Portable electronics — typically made of non-renewable, non-biodegradable and potentially toxic materials — are discarded at an alarming rate in consumers' pursuit of the next best electronic gadget. In an effort to alleviate the environmental burden of electronic devices, a team of University of Wisconsin-Madison researchers has collaborated with researchers in the Madison-based U.S. Department of Agriculture Forest Products Laboratory (FPL) to develop a surprising solution: a semiconductor chip made almost entirely of wood.

Posted in: Features

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64G MUX/DEMUX Modules

Anritsu Company (Richardson, TX) has introduced the MP1861A 56/64 Gbit/s MUX and MP1862A 56/64 Gbit/s DEMUX for its MP1800A BERT Signal Quality Analyzer to support 56/64 Gbit/s BER measurements required by signal integrity engineers to accurately evaluate high-speed serial transmission devices. The integrated solution supports generation of NRZ data and BER measurements up to 64.2 Gbit/s, as well as jitter tolerance and bathtub jitter measurements in accordance with the latest CEI-56G and 400GbE standards, for measurement of PHY devices such as SERDES used in high-speed servers and network equipment.

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6 Watt DC-DC converters

XP Power (Sunnyvale, CA) has introduced the ITQ series of 6 Watt DC-DC converters. Packaged in a compact SIP 8-pin format, with a footprint measuring just 0.86 x 0.44 x 0.36 inches, the ITQ series delivers a power density of up to 44 Watts per cubic inch and is highly efficient, typically 87%, making it well suited to modern green standard end products. The high efficiency means the ITQ produces less wasted heat and does not require forced airflow or heatsinking for cooling. The fully regulated single and dual output models accept a wide 4:1 input voltage range of 9-36 VDC or 18-75 VDC. Single output models provide standard +3.3, +5, +9, +12, +15, +24 VDC and duals +/-5, +/-12 or +/-15 VDC.

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Would you implant a technology under your skin?

This week's Question: During a speech at last week's Sensors Expo in Long Beach, California, keynote speaker and NewDealDesign technology designer Gadi Amit explained a new concept that he believes could be the next step in wearable technology. The idea, Project Underskin, is an implantable device that places a display within your palm. Powered by the body's electro-chemical energy, the proposed technology would enable the control of your various wearable devices. Specific quadrants of the device, for example, could act as a glucose sensor, a door opener, a payment confirmation, a data transfer, or a display of your emotional state. Amit imagines that the concept is five to ten years away from reality. What do you think? Would you implant a technology under your skin?

Posted in: Question of the Week

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