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September 7, 2014, 1:00pmET

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Old 03-26-2014, 09:53 AM   #71
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This is cool (at least until it's found to cause cancer)

Generator uses the human body as an electrode to power portable electronics

It's well-known that the human body is a good conductor of electricity, and now researchers have taken advantage of this fact to create a small generator that uses the body as an electrode to power portable devices without the need for batteries. The "body contact electrode" replaces a grounded electrode that was used in a previous version of the generator, which would have been impractical for portable devices.

The researchers, Bo Meng, et al., at Peking University in Beijing, China, have published a paper on the generator using a human body electrode in a recent issue of Applied Physics Letters.

"At present, the generator is more suitable for low-power devices," coauthor Haixia Zhang, a professor at Peking University, told Phys.org. "In our future plans, we hope it can be used as a back-up power source for portable electronics."

The device's full name is a single-friction-surface triboelectric generator, or STEG. Due to the triboelectric effect, when certain materials rub against each other, they can become electrically charged. The most well-known example of the triboelectric effect is static electricity. Activities such as tapping a mobile phone with a STEG covering can also produce these electric charges. The STEG then harvests the electric charges, which can be used to power low-power electronics.

In their study, the researchers covered the front panel of a mobile phone with a flexible, transparent layer of STEG composite material. The body contact electrode—contacted with the palm of the hand or the fingers—was located on either the back side or the border of the phone to complete the electric connection.

The researchers demonstrated that patting the phone with the palm of the hand or tapping the phone with a finger causes electrons to be exchanged between human skin and the STEG material. After repeated patting/tapping, electric charge moves back and forth between the induction electrode and the charged skin.

Although researchers have a good understanding of how the triboelectric effect works, the difficulty lies in designing a generator that can achieve good performance. Somewhat surprisingly, when the researchers replaced the grounded electrode in the STEG with a human body electrode, the STEG achieved an increase in both the output current and the amount of charge transferred.

With these improvements, the STEG has potential applications for low-power portable electronics and wearable devices, which may include implanted medical devices and sensors. The researchers plan to further improve the STEG performance in the future.

"For the STEG devices, we are making efforts to improve the output of the STEG device, attempting to use new materials and fabrication methods," Zhang said. "The advantage of the human body as a good conductor will be taken to develop several novel triboelectric generator devices as well."

http://phys.org/news/2014-03-human-b...-portable.html
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Old 03-26-2014, 09:55 AM   #72
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Default Re: Cool Science Stuff

Go to Youtube, and do a search for "use the force luke" and press enter.
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Old 03-31-2014, 09:49 AM   #73
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Old 03-31-2014, 05:13 PM   #74
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http://www.cosmosontv.com/watch/211631683935
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Old 04-06-2014, 12:08 PM   #75
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Great Debate Transcending Our Origins: Violence, Humanity, and the Future

http://www.ustream.tv/asutv
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Old 04-16-2014, 06:36 AM   #76
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http://phys.org/news/2014-04-outline...eory-life.html

New study outlines 'water world' theory of life's origins

Life took root more than four billion years ago on our nascent Earth, a wetter and harsher place than now, bathed in sizzling ultraviolet rays. What started out as simple cells ultimately transformed into slime molds, frogs, elephants, humans and the rest of our planet's living kingdoms. How did it all begin?

A new study from researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., and the Icy Worlds team at NASA's Astrobiology Institute, based at NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., describes how electrical energy naturally produced at the sea floor might have given rise to life. While the scientists had already proposed this hypothesis—called "submarine alkaline hydrothermal emergence of life"—the new report assembles decades of field, laboratory and theoretical research into a grand, unified picture.

According to the findings, which also can be thought of as the "water world" theory, life may have begun inside warm, gentle springs on the sea floor, at a time long ago when Earth's oceans churned across the entire planet.

This idea of hydrothermal vents as possible places for life's origins was first proposed in 1980 by other researchers, who found them on the sea floor near Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Called "black smokers," those vents bubble with scalding hot, acidic fluids. In contrast, the vents in the new study—first hypothesized by scientist Michael Russell of JPL in 1989—are gentler, cooler and percolate with alkaline fluids. One such towering complex of these alkaline vents was found serendipitously in the North Atlantic Ocean in 2000, and dubbed the Lost City.

"Life takes advantage of unbalanced states on the planet, which may have been the case billions of years ago at the alkaline hydrothermal vents," said Russell. "Life is the process that resolves these disequilibria." Russell is lead author of the new study, published in the April issue of the journal Astrobiology.

Other theories of life's origins describe ponds, or "soups," of chemicals, pockmarking Earth's battered, rocky surface. In some of those chemical soup models, lightning or ultraviolet light is thought to have fueled life in the ponds.

The water world theory from Russell and his team says that the warm, alkaline hydrothermal vents maintained an unbalanced state with respect to the surrounding ancient, acidic ocean—one that could have provided so-called free energy to drive the emergence of life. In fact, the vents could have created two chemical imbalances. The first was a proton gradient, where protons—which are hydrogen ions—were concentrated more on the outside of the vent's chimneys, also called mineral membranes. The proton gradient could have been tapped for energy—something our own bodies do all the time in cellular structures called mitochondria.

The second imbalance could have involved an electrical gradient between the hydrothermal fluids and the ocean. Billions of years ago, when Earth was young, its oceans were rich with carbon dioxide. When the carbon dioxide from the ocean and fuels from the vent—hydrogen and methane—met across the chimney wall, electrons may have been transferred. These reactions could have produced more complex carbon-containing, or organic compounds—essential ingredients of life as we know it. Like proton gradients, electron transfer processes occur regularly in mitochondria.

"Within these vents, we have a geological system that already does one aspect of what life does," said Laurie Barge, second author of the study at JPL. "Life lives off proton gradients and the transfer of electrons."

As is the case with all advanced life forms, enzymes are the key to making chemical reactions happen. In our ancient oceans, minerals may have acted like enzymes, interacting with chemicals swimming around and driving reactions. In the water world theory, two different types of mineral "engines" might have lined the walls of the chimney structures.

"These mineral engines may be compared to what's in modern cars," said Russell.

"They make life 'go' like the car engines by consuming fuel and expelling exhaust. DNA and RNA, on the other hand, are more like the car's computers because they guide processes rather than make them happen."

One of the tiny engines is thought to have used a mineral known as green rust, allowing it to take advantage of the proton gradient to produce a phosphate-containing molecule that stores energy. The other engine is thought to have depended on a rare metal called molybdenum. This metal also is at work in our bodies, in a variety of enzymes. It assists with the transfer of two electrons at a time rather than the usual one, which is useful in driving certain key chemical reactions.

"We call molybdenum the Douglas Adams element," said Russell, explaining that the atomic number of molybdenum is 42, which also happens to be the answer to the "ultimate question of life, the universe and everything" in Adams' popular book, "The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy." Russell joked, "Forty-two may in fact be one answer to the ultimate question of life!"

The team's origins of life theory applies not just to Earth but also to other wet, rocky worlds.

"Michael Russell's theory originated 25 years ago and, in that time, JPL space missions have found strong evidence for liquid water oceans and rocky sea floors on Europa and Enceladus," said Barge. "We have learned much about the history of water on Mars, and soon we may find Earth-like planets around faraway stars. By testing this origin-of-life hypothesis in the lab at JPL, we may explain how life might have arisen on these other places in our solar system or beyond, and also get an idea of how to look for it."

For now, the ultimate question of whether the alkaline hydrothermal vents are the hatcheries of life remains unanswered. Russell says the necessary experiments are jaw-droppingly difficult to design and carry out, but decades later, these are problems he and his team are still happy to tackle.
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Old 05-07-2014, 06:23 AM   #77
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Flexible all-carbon electronics integrated onto plants, insects, and more



Carbon-based electronics are being widely explored due to their attractive electrical and mechanical properties, but synthesizing them in large quantities at low cost is still a challenge.

Now in a new study, researchers have developed a new method for synthesizing entire integrated all-carbon electronic devices, including transistors, electrodes, interconnects, and sensors, in a single step, greatly simplifying their formation. The inexpensive electronic devices can then be attached to a wide variety of surfaces, including plants, insects, paper, clothes, and human skin.

The researchers, Kyongsoo Lee, et al., at the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology (UNIST) in Ulsan Metropolitan City, South Korea, and the Korea Electrotechnology Research Institute in Changwon, South Korea, have published a paper on the new synthesis method in a recent issue of Nano Letters.

The new approach takes advantage of the unique atomic geometries of carbon to synthesize entire arrays of electronic devices, specifically carbon nanotube transistors, carbon nanotube sensors, and graphite electrodes.

"Our all-carbon devices (transistors and sensors) are composed of (i) carbon nanotubes (as channels) and (ii) graphite (as electrodes)," coauthor Jang-Ung Park, Assistant Professor at UNIST, told Phys.org. "The channel part requires semiconducting materials whose resistance can be sensitively controlled by external bias. The electrode part needs metallic materials whose resistance is very small with the negligible change by external bias."

As Park explained, the different properties of the nanotubes and graphite are due to their different bond structures.

"Both the carbon nanotubes and graphite are carbon," he said. "Depending on the bond structure of carbon, the carbon nanotubes can exhibit semiconducting properties and the graphite can show metallic properties. We designed multiple catalysts to synthesize the carbon nanotubes and graphite locally with the desired structures of electronic devices. In this way, the all-carbon devices can be synthesized."

The resulting devices demonstrate good performance, with the transistors operating with a high on-off ratio exceeding 103. To demonstrate the flexibility of the devices, the researchers transferred the sensors directly onto the curved surface of an optical fiber with a radius of 100 Ám, where the sensors continued to operate normally.

The electronic devices can also be integrated onto various surfaces via van der Waals forces. For example, after wetting the transistors and sensors, the researchers showed that they can be attached to the leaf of a live bamboo plant and to the epidermis of a live stag beetle. The researchers also demonstrated that the sensors could be fitted onto the surfaces of a fingernail, a particulate mask, a protective arm sleeve, adhesive tape, and newspaper.

The widespread application of all-carbon electronics in outdoor environments could be useful for a variety of reasons. Here the researchers show that the sensors can detect very low levels of DMMP vapor, which is used for producing nerve agents such as soma and sarin. The sensors could also be used to monitor environmental conditions, including temperature, humidity, pollution, and infections. All this can be done without an on-board power source.

"We integrated antennas with our devices," Park said. "Thus, the wireless transportation of power and sensing signals was possible with no battery."

Due to their good adhesion to the nonplanar surfaces of biomaterials, the all-carbon electronics have the potential for use as bioimplantable devices, as well. The researchers plan to further explore the potential applications in the future.

"In this paper, we just demonstrated the detection of the nerve gas using the biocompatible devices," Park said. "As our future research, we will develop various sensing systems, including diabetes, pollutions and radioactivity, using the wearable electronic devices."


Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-05-flexibl...sects.html#jCp
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Old 05-07-2014, 09:49 AM   #78
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Old 06-03-2014, 05:59 AM   #79
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Old 06-04-2014, 06:38 AM   #80
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NASA calls it the most colorful image ever captured by the Hubble Space Telescope--and the most comprehensive. It has to be one of the most spectacular.

But the image--the remarkable payoff of a new survey called the Ultraviolet Coverage of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field--is more than merely beautiful. It may also help fill in some gaps in our understanding of how stars form.

Previous versions of the Hubble Ultra Deep Field captured wavelengths of light from visible and near-infrared as well as the far-ultraviolet (UV), Alan Boyle wrote on the NBC News website. But near-ultraviolet light wasn't covered nearly as well.

When you add the UV light, you get quite a view.

And what a view it is! The new image, a false-color compilation of shots taken during the course of 841 orbits of Hubble between 2003 and 2012, contains roughly 10,000 galaxies in a vast variety of shapes and sizes.

"The galaxies show every possible shape and size, astronomer Phil Plait wrote on Slate. "Many are distorted, victims of collisions with other galaxies, their mutual gravity pulling them into weird shapes like taffy quadrillions of kilometers across. Many are very blue, showing active star formation, while others are exceedingly red, probably galaxies much farther away, their light taking far longer to reach us. Note that most of the very red galaxies are smaller dots, another indication of their tremendous distance."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/0...n_5440225.html
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