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Sci/Tech

Rubber That Conducts Electricity

Japanese scientist have discovered a way of embedding carbon nanotubes in a rubbery material, which can then be stretched but still retain it’s conductivity. Here’s what they have to say about it:

The elastic conductor would allow electronic circuits to be mounted in places that would have been impossible up to now, including “arbitrary curved surfaces and movable parts, such as the joints of a robot’s arm,” Sekitani and colleagues wrote.

The eyes have it?
The eyes have it?

Of course the Japanese would first look to use it in a robot. Not to be outdone, a US team mentioned in that same article has developed an elastic mesh which “allowed them to use standard electronics materials to build an electronic eye camera based on the shape and layout of the human eye.” So Geordi Laforge’s eye implants from the ST movies may be possible in the future. Pretty cool.

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Sci/Tech

Nanosolar 'Prints' First Flexible Solar Panels

I first saw this tech at PopSci, and now Nanosolar has announced that they met their deadline and are shipping the first batch of the flexible, copper indium gallium selenide (CIGS) based cells. It really seems like these guys are the real deal, and not one of the many ‘look at this cool tech!’ companies who gather interest (and investors) and disappear to the vaporware wastes with Duke Nukem 4ever and flying cars.

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Sci/Tech

Wave Power

Pacific Gas & Electric with Finavera Renewables for 2 megawatts of power, provided by wave-powered turbines. Here’s a snippet on how the tech works:

Finavera makes a device called the Aquabuoy, a buoy connected to a long underwater piston. As the buoy bobs up and down on the waves, it pushes the piston, which pressurizes a chamber filled with seawater. The pressure cranks a turbine and electricity is made.

It sounds like they have some obstacles yet to hurdle (the force behind waves and tides are pretty massive, it’s been hard design equipment to stand up to the stresses) but if successful it looks like technology that could provide a good amount of power at a lower environmental impact than fossil fuels.