Artificial Leaves Store Solar Power as Hydrogen Fuel

First Practical Artificial Leaf Makes Debut : Discovery News

  • Researchers have developed a practical "artificial leaf" that turns sunlight into storable fuel.
  • The device splits molecules of water into hydrogen and oxygen.
  • The team still needs to design a system to capture the fuels before the system can be fully commercialized.

Scientists find 'Holy Grail' of science as they mastermind the world's first artificial leaf | Mail Online

Scientists claim to have found the 'Holy Grail' of science in an artificial leaf that could turn ever British home into its own power station.

The leaf, which is the same size as a playing card, mimics the process of photosynthesis that plants use to convert sunlight and water into energy.

Scientists behind the invention say it could provide an affordable solution to the third world's growing energy crisis.

Dr Daniel Nocera, who led the research team, said: 'A practical artificial leaf has been one of the Holy Grails of science for decades.

'We believe we have done it.

The device is an advanced solar cell, no bigger than a typical playing card, which is left floating in a pool of water. Then, much like a natural leaf, it uses sunlight to split the water into its two core components, oxygen and hydrogen, which are stored in a fuel cell to be used when producing electricity.

Nocera's leaf is stable -- operating continuously for at least 45 hours without a drop in activity in preliminary tests -- and made of widely available, inexpensive materials -- like  silicon, electronics and chemical catalysts. It's also powerful, as much as ten times more efficient at carrying out photosynthesis than a natural leaf.

With a single gallon of water, Nocera says, the chip could produce enough electricity to power a house in a developing country for an entire day. Provide every house on the planet with an artificial leaf and we could satisfy our 14 terawatt need with just one gallon of water a day.

Making hydrogen gas (the bubbles) from a solar cell in water, a Sun Catalytix prototype.
(Credit: Martin LaMonica/CNET)

Debut of the first practical 'artificial leaf'

The key to this breakthrough is Nocera’s recent discovery of several powerful new, inexpensive catalysts, made of nickel and cobalt, that are capable of efficiently splitting water into its two components, hydrogen and oxygen, under simple conditions. Right now, Nocera’s leaf is about 10 times more efficient at carrying out photosynthesis than a natural leaf. However, he is optimistic that he can boost the efficiency of the artificial leaf much higher in the future.

MIT’s Daniel Nocera Announces Artificial Leaf With Goal To Make Every Home a Power Station, Signs with Tata | Free Energy Times

Nocera has founded a company called Sun Catalytix which is working on the development of this technology — specifically on ways to store the power of the sun so it can be used around the clock so electricity is always available.

The Indian Tata group has recently signed an agreement with Nocera to help them commercialize this discovery.

You can see Nocera talking about his technology and Sun Catalytix here.


Universal Property of Music Discovered

Cognitive universal for scales : Compute Scotland

Researchers at the Institute for Logic, Language and Computation (ILLC) of the University of Amsterdam have discovered a universal property of scales: if their tones are compared in a two- or three-dimensional way by means of a coordinate system, they form convex or star-convex structures.


By placing scales in a coordinate system (‘Euler lattice’) they can be studied as multi-dimensional objects.

Dr Aline Honingh (left) and Prof. Rens Bod (right) from the ILLC did this for nearly 1,000 scales from all over the world, from Japan to Indonesia and from China to Greece.

Universal property of music discovered

The many hundreds of scales in existence seem to possess a deeper commonality: if their tones are compared in a two- or three-dimensional way by means of a coordinate system, they form convex or star-convex structures. (Credit: Image courtesy of Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA))

1000 scales

By placing scales in a coordinate system (an ‘Euler lattice’) they can be studied as multidimensional objects. Dr. Aline Honingh and Prof. Rens Bod from the ILLC did this for nearly 1,000 scales from all over the world, from Japan to Indonesia and from China to Greece. To their surprise, they discovered that all traditional scales produced star-convex patterns. This was also the case with almost 97% of non-traditional, scales conceived by contemporary composers, even though contemporary composers often state they have designed unconventional scales. This percentage is very high, because the probability that a random series of notes will produce a star-convex pattern is very small. Honingh and Bod try to explain this phenomenon by using the notion of consonance (harmony of sounds). They connect their research results with language and visual perception where convex patterns have also been detected, possibly indicating a cognitive universal (a general cognitive property).


The Hooves of the Mountain Goat

"Mind-Boggling" Pictures: Goats Scale Dam in Italy

Adapted to their perilous environment, Alpine ibex have evolved a specialized split hoof, whose cleft is wider than on any other split-hooved species, according to Smithsonian Magazine. The hoof also has a hard wall that can grab on to steep cliffs and a soft, rubbery inside that serves as a "stopper" when the animal is pushed forward by gravity, the magazine reported.

Biomimetic Designers Take Note: Goat Hooves Confer Ninja-like Climbing Abilities - Core77

Unlike horses, goats have hooves comprised of two split toes. The outer part of each toe, which is shaped like a parabola when seen from below and is labeled "Wall" in the diagram below, is hard; the part marked "Sole" on the diagram is soft and rubbery.

The parabolic shape of the hoof wall adds strength, while the cushy sole provides traction on sloped surfaces and can deform inwards to absorb irregularities in the terrain. And because the toes can operate independently, the goat can use just one to gain purchase on extremely narrow surfaces, or splay the toes to gain more contact area.


NeuroFocus' Mynd™, World's First Portable Brain Scanner

Advertising analytics next frontier: Monitoring your subconscious - SmartPlanet

A gadget is aiming to monitor consumers’ “deep subconscious responses” and brainwaves to gauge the reaction to advertising and other media content.


Dr. A. K. Pradeep, CEO of NeuroFocus, said Mynd can enable “neuromarketing” to gain “critical knowledge and insights into how consumers perceive their brands, products, packaging, in-store marketing, and advertising at the deep subconscious level in real time.”

For advertisers, Mynd holds the Holy Grail—knowing what consumers really think about your marketing instead of just what they tell you. In theory, consumers could wear Mynd at theaters, the home, malls and auditoriums. The data could be streamed to smartphones and tablets.

NeuroFocus Announces World's First Wireless Full-Brain EEG Measurement Headset: Mynd™ -- NEW YORK, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ --

NEW YORK, March 21, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- NeuroFocus unveiled the first dry, wireless headset designed to capture brainwave activity across the full brain today at the 75th Annual Advertising Research Foundation conference being held at the Marriott Marquis in New York.  Developed over the last three years, Mynd™ combines medical-grade technology with mobility, leapfrogging current neurological testing methods.  For the first time, market researchers will be able to capture the highest quality data on consumers' deep subconscious responses in real time wirelessly, revolutionizing mobile in-store market research and media consumption at home.

MediaPost Publications Nielsen-Backed NeuroFocus Unveils Breakthrough Brain Measuring Technology, Critics Say Nevermynd 03/21/2011

Dr. A.K. Pradeep, the founder and CEO of NeuroFocus told MediaDailyNews that the Mynd represents a breakthrough, not just because of its lightweight nature, and the fact that it utilizes a "dry electrode" method that doesn't require people to put wet gels on their heads to be tested, but because it can read their brain signals with a level of fidelity that was not previously


Because the Mynd device also includes wireless Bluetooth technology enabling it to sync with various Bluetooth enabled devices such as smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming systems, Dr. Pradeep says it will enable media researchers to understand aspects of consumer behavior never before possible.

Neuromarketing - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Neuromarketing is a new field of marketing that studies consumers' sensorimotor, cognitive, and affective response to marketing stimuli. Researchers use technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to measure changes in activity in parts of the brain, electroencephalography (EEG) to measure activity in specific regional spectra of the brain response, and/or sensors to measure changes in one's physiological state (heart rate, respiratory rate, galvanic skin response) to learn why consumers make the decisions they do, and what part of the brain is telling them to do it.


A Permanent Anti-Fog Coating

Gadgets, Mobile Phones, Tablets, all the cutting edge tech you'd expect. 

‘World’s First’ Permanent Anti-fog Coating Developed - Mobile Magazine

Foggy lenses cramp the style of skiiers, snowboarders, divers and the average eyeglass-wearer who steps inside a building on a chilly day only to find themselves momentarily blinded.

Anti-fog coatings on the market often require multiple coatings, or don’t work that well, leaving a swimmer’s goggles fogged within minutes in the pool.

But researchers from Quebec City’s Université Laval might have a solution. The researchers claim they have developed the world’s first permanent anti-fog coating. According to the researchers, just one application is needed to work on eyeglasses, windshields, camera lenses, ski goggles, dive masks – whatever has a transparent glass or plastic surface – forever.


First permanent anti-fog coating developed

Researchers used polyvinyl alcohol, a hydrophilic compound that allows water to spread uniformly. The challenge was to firmly attach the compound to the glass or plastic surface. To accomplish this, researchers applied four successive layers of molecules, which formed strong bonds with their adjoining layers, prior to adding the anti-fog compound over this base. The result was a thin, transparent, multilayered coating that does not alter the optical properties of the surface on which it is overlaid. In addition, the chemical bonds that join the different layers ensure the hardness and durability of the entire coating.

"Existing anti-fog treatments don't have these properties and won't withstand washing, so the product application must be repeated regularly," notes Professor Laroche. "Our coating, on the other hand, is permanent."

Foggy glass. A new innovation could eliminate, once and for all, the fog on eyeglasses, windshields, goggles, camera lenses, and on any transparent glass or plastic surface.

ACS Publications

Research Article

Characterization of Multilayer Anti-Fog Coatings

Pascale Chevallier, Stphane Turgeon†, Christian Sarra-Bournet, Raphal Turcotte, and Gatan Laroche

ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, Article ASAP
Publication Date (Web): March 7, 2011

[...] Coating thickness was evaluated by profilometry, nanoindentation, and UV visible light transmission. The hydrophilic nature of the anti-fog coating was assessed by water contact angle (CA), and its anti-fog efficiency was determined visually and tested quantitatively for the first time using an ASTM standard protocol.  Results show that the PEMA/PVA coating not only delayed the initial period required for fog formation but also decreased the rate of light transmission decay. Finally, following a 24 hour immersion in water, these PEMA/PVA coatings remained stable and preserved their anti-fog properties.


A Shockwave-Generating Wave Disk Engine

Shockwave-Generating Wave Discs Could Replace Internal Combustion Engines | Popular Science

Michigan researchers have built a prototype of a new auto motor that does away with pistons, crankshafts and valves, replacing the old internal combustion engine with a disc-shaped shock wave generator. It could slash the weight of hybrid cars and reduce auto emissions by 90 percent.


The novel generator would use about 60 percent of fuel for propulsion, according to MSU. This is a dramatic improvement over typical car engines, which use only 15 percent of fuel for forward movement. The system could also make cars 20 percent lighter, improving fuel economy even more.

Shock wave engines could triple fuel efficiency in hybrid cars | DVICE

A wave disk engine is essentially just a disk with a bunch of channels cut into it that spins around super fast. The center is hollow, and portions of the inside and outside edges of the rotor are alternately sealed off and opened up as it rotates. As shock waves from the rotation compress and ignite fuel in the channels, the rotor spins, and if you hook the back end of it up to a generator, you get electricity.
Confused? No problem, here's a helpful diagram from New Scientist:

Wave disk engines to make hybrid vehicles cheaper, more efficient | ZDNet

How do wave rotor engines work?
The wave disk engine is a new implementation of wave rotor technology (think micro turbines).  The first successful realization of a wave rotor was developed in the mid-1950s.

Wave rotors (also called pressure wave machines or pressure exchangers) are unsteady-flow devices that utilize shock waves to transfer energy directly between a high-energy fluid to a low-energy fluid, thereby increasing both temperature and pressure of the low-energy fluid.


The wave disc technology, however, uses a radial and circumferential flow, which can substantially improve the scavenging process by using centrifugal forces. Compared with straight channels, curved channels provide a greater length for the same disc diameter, which can be important to obtain certain wave travel times for tuning.  (Another paper, published in December 2008, explores this topic in detail.)


The LHC Could Cause Matter to Travel in Time

Large Hadron Collider could be world’s first time machine | Research News @ Vanderbilt | Vanderbilt University

If the latest theory of Tom Weiler and Chui Man Ho is right, the Large Hadron Collider – the world’s largest atom smasher that started regular operation last year – could be the first machine capable of causing matter to travel backwards in time.

“Our theory is a long shot,” admitted Weiler, who is a physics professor at Vanderbilt University, “but it doesn’t violate any laws of physics or experimental constraints.”

One of the major goals of the collider is to find the elusive Higgs boson: the particle that physicists invoke to explain why particles like protons, neutrons and electrons have mass. If the collider succeeds in producing the Higgs boson, some scientists predict that it will create a second particle, called the Higgs singlet, at the same time.

According to Weiler and Ho’s theory, these singlets should have the ability to jump into an extra, fifth dimension where they can move either forward or backward in time and reappear in the future or past.

“One of the attractive things about this approach to time travel is that it avoids all the big paradoxes,” Weiler said. “Because time travel is limited to these special particles, it is not possible for a man to travel back in time and murder one of his parents before he himself is born, for example. However, if scientists could control the production of Higgs singlets, they might be able to send messages to the past or future.”

Illustration of singlet time travel theory. When a pair of protons collide in the Large Hadron Collider, the resultant explosion may create a special type of particle, called a Higgs singlet, that is capable of traveling forward and back in time. It would do so by leaving familiar three-dimensional space to travel in an extra dimension. (Jenni Ohnstad / Vanderbilt)

Weiler and Ho’s theory is based on M-theory, a “theory of everything.” A small cadre of theoretical physicists have developed M-theory to the point that it can accommodate the properties of all the known subatomic particles and forces, including gravity, but it requires 10 or 11 dimensions instead of our familiar four. This has led to the suggestion that our universe may be like a four-dimensional membrane or “brane” floating in a multi-dimensional space-time called the “bulk.”

Higgs boson - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Higgs boson is a hypothetical massive elementary particle predicted to exist by the Standard Model of particle physics. The existence of the particle is postulated as a means of resolving inconsistencies in current theoretical physics, and attempts are being made to confirm the existence of the particle by experimentation, using the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at CERN and the Tevatron at Fermilab.
A simulated event, featuring the appearance of the Higgs boson

Introduction to M-theory - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

In the 1980s, a new mathematical model of theoretical physics called string theory emerged. It showed how all the particles, and all of the forms of energy in the universe, could be constructed by hypothetical one-dimensional "strings", infinitely small building-blocks that have only the dimension of length, but not height nor width. Further, string theory suggested that the universe is made up of multiple dimensions. Height, width, and length constitute three-dimensional space, and time gives a total of four observable dimensions; however, string theories initially supported the possibility of ten dimensions – the remaining six of which we cannot detect directly. This was later increased to 11 dimensions based on various interpretations of the ten dimensional theory that led to five partial theories as described below. Super-gravity theory also played a significant part in establishing the existence of the 11th dimension.
In the mid-1990s, a string theorist named Edward Witten of the Institute for Advanced Study and other important researchers considered that the five different versions of string theory might be describing the same thing seen from different perspectives. They proposed a unifying theory called "M-theory", in which the "M" is not specifically defined, but is generally understood to stand for "membrane".


Robonaut 2 NASA's Humanoid Space Robot

Robonaut: Home

What is a Robonaut?

A Robonaut is a dexterous humanoid robot built and designed at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas. Our challenge is to build machines that can help humans work and explore in space. Working side by side with humans, or going where the risks are too great for people, Robonauts will expand our ability for construction and discovery. Central to that effort is a capability we call dexterous manipulation, embodied by an ability to use one's hand to do work, and our challenge has been to build machines with dexterity that exceeds that of a suited astronaut.
Collected from: Robonaut: Home

NASA - Robotics


In February 2011, NASA launched the first humanlike robot to space to become a permanent resident of the International Space Station. Robonaut 2, or R2, was developed jointly by NASA and General Motors under a cooperative agreement to develop a robotic assistant that can work alongside humans, whether they be astronauts in space or workers at GM manufacturing plants on Earth.
Collected from: NASA - Robotics

"Our challenge today is to build machines that can help humans work and explore in space," said Mike Coats, Johnson's center director. "Working side by side with humans, or going where the risks are too great for people, machines like Robonaut will expand our capability for construction and discovery."

Robonaut2 surpasses previous dexterous humanoid robots in strength, yet it is safe enough to work side-by-side with humans. It is able to lift, not just hold, this 20-pound weight (about four times heavier than what other dexterous robots can handle) both near and away from its body.

Collected from: Robonaut: GM Partnership

The space shuttle Discovery delivered a humanoid robot helper called Robonaut 2 to the International Space Station.


EADS Airbike a 3D-Printed Nylon Bicycle

DailyTech - EADS ALM Process "Grows" Airbike Demonstrator

EADS can use the process to grow any part

EADS is known mostly for its work in the aerospace industry [...] has announced a new breakthrough in manufacturing with a demonstrator product called the Airbike.

The Airbike was constucted from a powder allowing complete and complex sections to be formed out of the powder as one piece. Things like the wheels, bearings, and axle were incorporated within the growing process and built at the same time. The product can also be built to rider specifications and needs no adjustment.

EADS calls the process Additive Layer Manufacturing or ALM. [...]

EADS Global Website EADS Global Website

The revolutionary manufacturing process is known as Additive Layer Manufacturing (or ALM) and it allows single products to be grown from a fine powder of metal (such as titanium, stainless steel or aluminium), nylon or carbon-reinforced plastics from a centre located next to Airbus’ site at Filton. Similar in concept to 3D printing, the bike design is perfected using computer-aided design and then constructed by using a powerful laser-sintering process which adds successive, thin layers of the chosen structural material until a solid, fully-formed bike emerges.

These parts were 'grown' from a nylon powder

Additive layer manufacturing for aerospace parts: News from ES Technology

The ability to produce components in a range of materials including hot-work steels, stainless steel, cobalt chromes and Inconel, plus titanium and aluminium alloys, presents the aerospace industry with large potential for direct part production using ALM.
Component designed by Material Solutions and manufactured on the Concept Laser M3 linear laser ALM system.

ALM has already been used to produce small and medium-sized aerospace components, and having realised the potential of the process, aerospace manufacturers are seeking to produce larger, more complex parts.


Hypersonic Transportation: The Airstream Train

Hypersonic Transport - Hypersonic Zero Emission Transportation

Our Invention, Patent in Hong Kong on May 05 2008 is the Solution for all transport and Infrastructure problems the world faces today.
This should be especially interesting for country’s like India China and Africa as a whole that desperately need a modern 21st Century environmentally Integrated transport system that also provides Infrastructure.

Abstract: An air stream train comprises a rail (1) and a train body (2) which runs on the rail (1), a turbojet engine (E1) and an energy conversion chamber (20) belonging to the turbojet engine (E1), which are used to suspend and drive the train body (2), an air collecting chamber (7) disposed in the front of the train body (2). During the forward traveling of the train body (2), the air collecting chamber (7) generates a lifting force. If the pressure of the air collecting chamber (PACC) is higher than the nominal pressure (PN), a pressure exchanging valve (22) disposed at the bottom of the air collecting chamber (7) opens. A scramjet (E2) is used to accelerate the train body (2) continuously after the velocity of the train body (2) reaching a predetermined velocity. The air stream train uses a running method combining with the above configuration.


The Airstream Train is a new concept of Transportation.
It opens possiblities previously unheard of.
It is fast safe yet simple and very inexpensive to build and to maintain.
It uses Aviation Technology which is combined with Hovercraft and Train Technology.
It uses a Scramjet engine which is tested and verified to reach a speed of Mach 10.
It uses an Air cushion the Ground effect and then an Airstream to levitate itself around a specially shaped Track.
This Technology in it's principles was proven to be working better and more sufficcient then Magnetic Levitation Trains in 1973 by Jean Bertin with his Hovercraft Train he called: "Aero Train".
The Speed of 472km/h is still higher then that of a Maglev Train Today.
The Airstream Train takes advantage of all that came before together with the technology that we have today to create an absolute in Transportation Technology.
A truly Integrated System that allows for the best safest fastest yet cheapest and cleanest silent journey.
And that is the Transportation Side only.
Due to the fact that we have to build the Track once, we then can use the Inside of the Track to provide the public with infrastructure.
Electricity Internet Telephone even water and waste water can be supplied though the Track.
And this will be an easily accessible and upgradable System for Future stability.


The Uncanny Valley

Uncanny valley - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The uncanny valley is a hypothesis regarding the field of robotics.[1] The hypothesis holds that when robots and other facsimiles of humans look and act almost like actual humans, it causes a response of revulsion among human observers. The "valley" in question is a dip in a proposed graph of the positivity of human reaction as a function of a robot's lifelikeness.

A number of design principles have been proposed for avoiding the uncanny valley:
  • Design elements should match in human realism. [...]
  • Appearance and behavior should match ability. [...]
  • Human facial proportions and photorealistic texture should only be used together.  [...]

If you want something non-human to emote like a human, you can’t just slap human eyes on it and call it a day.

When cartoony characters move like humans, you get that cheap rotoscope/mo-cap look, but when real people move like cartoons you get the Black Hole Sun music video;

Cartoon characters with human skin stretched over them just look horrible:

Most Realistic Android Yet: Have We Passed the Bottom of the Uncanny Valley? | Discoblog | Discover Magazine

His name is Geminoid DK, and yes it’s a he: Henrik Scharfe of Denmark’s Aalborg University worked with Japan’s Kokoro entertainment company to create this avatar of himself. The android holds the distinction of being the first Geminoid modeled after a non-Japanese person (it’s also the first facial-haired bot of the lot).


Panasonic Lumix FX77 Beautifying Camera

New Camera Will Beautify You?

Panasonic's new cam will even add makeup to your face

The LUMIX FX77 has a “beauty re-touch” function that will deliver on the traditional “beauty” front – it whitens teeth, removes dark eye circles, makes your face look smaller, your skin more translucent and your eyes bigger.

DMC-FX78/DMC-FX77 | PRODUCTS | LUMIX | Digital Camera | Panasonic Global

Cosmetic Mode

The Cosmetic Mode allows to take portraits with favored skin color (soft skin, natural skin, summer look) and degree of transparency of skin detail (low, standard, high). This makes it possible to take portraits with different impression of skin. For example, you can look yourself suntanned even if you’re not, or you can defocus the unwanted wrinkles or mottles like having underlight for studio photoshoot.

Beauty Retouch Mode

The Beauty Retouch Mode makes it possible to virtually makeup the faces. In Esthetic Mode, various effects can be applied to the face including clearing the skin texture, whitening of teeth and so on. In the Make-up Mode, you can choose the color of foundation, lips, cheeks or eye-shadow.

Panasonic Lumix FX77 – the first digital camera with integrated beauty parlour  - The Red Ferret Journal

The new Panasonic Lumix DMC-FX77 is more than just a conventional 12.1 megapixel point and shoot digital camera. It’s the first digicam to feature an integrated beauty salon, which uses face recognition to let you edit your subject’s face in camera. In this regard, it’s clearly the first salvo in a fight back by the dedicated camera makers against mobile phone cameras stealing their market share.