News

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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Engineer Creates Origami Battery

A Binghamton engineer, Seokheun "Sean" Choi, developed an inexpensive, bacteria-powered battery made from paper. Using a drop of bacteria-containing liquid, the battery generates power from microbial respiration and delivers enough energy to run a paper-based biosensor.

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New Computer Operates on Water Droplets

A synchronous computer from Stanford University operates using the unique physics of moving water droplets. The work combines the manipulation of droplet fluid dynamics with a fundamental element of computer science – an operating clock.

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Compact Light Source Improves CT Scans

A new study shows that the recently developed Compact Light Source (CLS) – a commercial X-ray source with roots in research and development efforts at the Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory – enables computer tomography scans that reveal more detail than routine scans performed at hospitals today. The new technology could soon be used in preclinical studies and help researchers better understand cancer and other diseases.

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"TREASORES" Project Moves Towards "Printed" Organic Solar Cells, LEDs

Flexible optoelectronic devices that can be produced roll-to-roll – much like newspapers are printed – are a highly promising path to cheaper devices such as solar cells and LED lighting panels. Scientists from "TREASORES" project recently demonstrated prototype flexible solar cell modules, as well as novel silver-based transparent electrodes, that outperform currently used materials.

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