From lithium to sugar: unveiled the future of batteries

ottobre 30, 2012 Technology No Commenti

The study is gripping scientists from different years, replace the lithium batteries present in smartphones, laptops, tablets, and numerous electronic devices with sugar batteries. Just like that, it seems that the exposure to very high temperatures generates sugar anodes capable of storing energy for batteries. This would have the 20% more than electric storage capacity of the lithium ion. So there would be more duration and considerably lower costs. In addition, the lithium is a non-renewable mineral presents on Earth in very scarce quantity and therefore destined to finish in time. The lack of presence makes it expensive even though it’s harmful to both humans and the environment.

Together with the sugar, sodium may also be a viable alternative at a cost of advantage. To this is added the unlimited availability of the mineral.

In reality, the story of the sugar batteries is a kind of laboratory curiosity that, in recent years, it has enjoyed some fleeting moment of glory. Other hand never before have been achieved so promising results as those obtained by the Japanese giant, Sony, given that the prototypes of this kind previously made were able to produce an amount of energy too small to find a practical use.

If this is true, in a short everyday electronic devices could be powered by batteries economic and completely biodegradable and with environmental impact extremely content.

The researchers think to immetter this technology on the market within 5 years. In a perspective of technological innovation, which in recent times has seen the implementation in everyday life of advanced systems such as biometric access control or GPS tracking systems, batteries sugar could remedy to the increasingly frequent alarms of gradual exhaustion of fossil fuels and add an important element to the incessant search for alternative sources and renewable energy.

The electronics could be biodegradable?

There is who thinks to save data for millions of years, who instead want to get rid of them as soon as possible.

To be precise, they’re hi-tech components very durable and completely biodegradable. The research conducted by the American University of Illinois and published in “Science” aims to solve the problem of disposing of electronic devices. The raw material of the project is the silk. This ancient material, completely revised in a technological key and made very strong, would be to cover the traditional electronics devices, however, composed of silicon and magnesium. The researchers would be able to precisely control the structure of the casing of silk that covers them so calculating the expiration date of the components.

This new mix also promises great performance, preserving the environment. The advantages of “transient electronics”, so named by the researchers, would be many, in addition to the disposal of many components, we can think to the mobile phones, it could have important applications in the biomedical field, would be feasible for example prosthesis perfectly absorbed by the body without having to be surgically removed. The life may vary from a few minutes to several years and they simply dissolve in water or organic liquids.

In the market there are already “hard drive destoyer” such as the secure deletion of data on electronic devices. HD-Eraser for example, is a device that uses the technique of demagnetization to ensure the protection of privacy with regard to private, public or financial institutions. Once this is done, it would be best to dispose of the equipment.

Thinking about the environment and the huge amount of electronic waste abandoned in landfills for years, the benefits that electronic biodegradable could make would be very important: products may dissolve themselves with no damage, once they have completed their work.

Even sharks tracked with GPS

ottobre 22, 2012 Localization No Commenti

Until recently, GPS tracking systems were used for the control of small animals. Now the GPS challenges even the most dangerous animals. Indeed, it is in an experimental phase the scientific mission of the American non profit association, Ocearch, led by Chris Fischer. During the operation, the sharks are caught, mainly in North America, and to them is applied a GPS tracking device, then they come back to the sea.

The aim of the project is to analyze the movements of dangerous aquatic predators through a satellite signal issued from the transmitter installed in their dorsal fin. At the end of the work should be created a database accessible to all via the web. Animals already cataloged can be controlled by the organization’s website, where is possible to know their characteristics and the route taken since the installation of the GPS. The new technological development would be useful also to warn people when the sharks approaching to the coast.

No shortage of controversy. These have been raised concerning the techniques used to implant GPS systems. The team of Fisher, is blamed for the capture methods used. The use of hooks, especially, it’s a method that, according to some, brings animals to unnecessary trauma. It seems that a shark has even lost their lives. To really understand how animals react to the capture, the research team was followed by an expert on sharks that through the analysis of blood samples and the use of an accelerometer, has come to the conclusion that the animals have been subjected to physiological stress and which, once released, the predators are exhausted and swim slowly least for the first moments.

Samsung patents a “Life Diary”

ottobre 17, 2012 Technology No Commenti

Songs, images, video, texts, movements and everything of personal that can be on our smartphone, captured and shown in a diary self-writing.

It’s that the idea behind the patent filed by the Korean giant, Samsung and for which it’s already working. A new app in short, evolution and integration of other existing software, able to recreate in virtual form our day. A kind of personnel black box, that implemented to the operating systems for smartphones or tablets, will draw up a detailed report of the activities carried out by a person and of the time dedicated to each of them.

As if we were surrounded by a large number of bugs, the system could make known what we are doing, what we’re looking at, where we’re going to and write it for us and for potentially thousands of users connected to the network.

And it’s this last aspect which could be problematic: the information could be made available to third parties, perhaps people with bad intentions. In this regard it’s working to make effective the data filtering system.

We have to wait a few more months to see if Samsung will give us a real choice of filtering or if users will have to be willing to barter their privacy for an app of questionable utility.

The biometric scanners arrive at school

ottobre 12, 2012 Biotechnology No Commenti

Access control systems that use the biometry are becoming more and more part of institutions and companies because they allow a high degree of safety and the reduction of physical control procedures.

From some days, no badge or card for teachers and staff of the high school “Plinio Seniore” in Rome. The school principal has imposed on the employees the use of biometric scanners to signal the entry to and exit from the building. The trade unions together with the interested have been moving to contest the use of these tools because they cast doubt on the effective functioning of the same and, first of all, they criticize the lack of an official informative that authorizes the school princypal to use their fingerprints, appealing to the Privacy Act. Very questionable visions.

In England are the same students to be recipients of these new technologies. The protagonists are the children of a school in Berkshire that, since the beginning of the year, enter and leave the school using fingertips. In fact, was introduced a biometric system of identification through fingerprints. At the beginning and in the end of lessons, each student places his thumb on a sensor, installed at the entrance of the institute, to allows his identification. The school principal was reached much consensus by parents of children given the increase of security that this entails. The teachers had no hesitation, thanks to this system they save valuable time required by the roll call in classroom. For now, the project is an experiment, it lasts one year.

In Pennsylvania, instead, for some years now is in use a system that allows to the students to pay the cost of meals at the school, simply using fingerprints and accumulating a debt paid periodically by the families.

Elsewhere, for example in the schools of the New Jersey, are in function more complex biometric systems that involve the iris scan to allow access to the institute, only to authorized personnel and to members.

The biometric control is a good example of how technology is combined with safety.

Save data for millions of years

ottobre 9, 2012 Technology No Commenti

The Japanese company Hitachi in collaboration with the laboratory Kiyotaka Miura of Kyoto University is working on a project that will allow substantial development in the field of saving and preservation of digital data. At the base of this new idea, squares of quartz.

The data will be sculpted with a laser on the highly stable and resistant glass that has been tested and subjected to a temperature of 1000 degrees Celsius for a couple of hours and still remain functional. It’s result also resistant to water and to radio waves and in case of breakage, the data were recoverable. So, according to the company, it could be capable of storing data for millions of years. If we think that the actual media store for a maximum of 100 years, the new technology could be a revolution in the field. Furthermore, the advantage would occur even in less waste of materials: they don’t deteriorate and so they don’t need to be replaced, reducing the physical parts and the wastes.

The quartz glass slides used are about the size of 2 cm for side and 2 mm thick, and the language used for writing is the binary code. The storage capacity is approximately 40 MB per square inch, higher than a CD, but still much lower compared to a modern hard disk able to store up to one terabit per square inch. The burning takes place as for CDs and DVDs with a laser, while it’s necessary an optical microscope to reading.

Hitachi’s new technology will not be on the market before 2015, and the costs will tend to be high. Essentially, the aim of this project is to store data of great importance that need to be passed on to posterity, such as the artistic and cultural information.

To date, there is often problem to recover lost data from PC or mobile phone. There are advanced systems for storing and retrieving these type of data on which we can rely, but paradoxically most of the historical sources of which we can still enjoy are ancient manuscripts on paper and etchings on stones. In the future, archaeologists might find the data of our civilization without problem through slides of quartz.

Place Raider, malware-spy on the smartphone

ottobre 3, 2012 Technology No Commenti

It would seem an application created by expert thieves, but it has been studied at Indiana University and developed at the Naval Surface Warfare Center for scientific purposes. It’s a Trojans, PlaceRaider, which, hiding in photo apps similar to Instagram and Hipstamatic, is able to enter in smartphones, take pictures and create 3D models of environments in which the unfortunate live in or visit, with a precision that allows to observe in detail the objects. In addition, PlaceRaider would be able to listen live what is happening around, transforming the mobile phone into a real spyphone. So a prying eye might creep into our homes.

At the basis of the project there are the technologies that allow you to rotate images shown on the displays of smartphones. Some additional options would allow to the hackers to take and receive photos only when they are interested, to understand if smartphone is upside down or in the owner’s pocket, to automatically mute the sounds of shooting and to cover preview images of the photos just taken.
Collected data and images, the hacker, he will be able to create a 3D model of the environment in which the owner of the phone moved, calmly observe the objects and obtain valuable informations. For the moment, we can rest assured: this technology is guarded in the laboratory, but soon hackers engaged in industrial espionage or national security or common apartment thieves, could get hold and so it will be necessary take countermeasures.
In the domestic environment, have already been tested systems for bug sweeping that allow you to find microcameras, bugs and transmitters. Meanwhile, there is no danger for smartphones equipped with iOS and Windows Phone systems bacause at the moment the virus works only on Android.

Home with the GPS shoes

ottobre 1, 2012 Localization No Commenti

Dominic Wilcox, british designer, has created a fully functional prototype pair of shoes with a built-in GPS that will guide you home. The name of this extravagant invention is “No Place Like Home” and it’s inspired by the famous novel “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” in witch the protagonist Dorothy, with her magic shoes, can go everywhere clicking her shoes together three times.

For Wilcox’s shoes, with expertly decorated sole, just beat the heels once. Infact, the shoes can be programmed by connecting to the computer. After uploading your required destination to the shoes with a USB cable, the GPS, which is embedded in the heel, is activated by a heel click. The GPS system is powered by a battery similar to those found in mobile phones. The shoes communicate with each of them and they have two different utility thanks to the microcontroller called “Arduninos”: the right shoe has a progress bar of lights to show to the wearer how close he is to the destination. Once you arrive at your destination the led will light green. Instead, the left shoes communicates via a ring of LED lights to point in the required direction.

The project, commissioned by the Global Footprint project in Northamptonshire, was exhibited at the London Design Festival 2012.
The uses of these shoes could be very numerous, we can think for example to Alzheimer’s sufferers or to those people who may have the habit of drinking a glass too or even to teenage children that are late at night and don’t want to go home or to the careless wife that continually loses the way.
GPS systems entered fully into our daily and now also in our shoes.

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