Category Archives: tech

A self-replicating, open-source home factory

from sharable.net:

Today we’re on the verge of a factory in every home thanks to the RepRap, an open hardware 3D printer that is designed to replicate itself. You can make a RepRap for yourself, then use it to make one for your neighbor.

The design files and software needed to build and operate the RepRap are free. You can make one for about $500 in parts. And with each new version of the machine, an increasing percentage of the parts can be produced by the RepRap itself.

Nanotech tea bag creates safe drinking water instantly, for less than a penny

from io9:

A new “tea bag” uses nano-fibers to suck contaminants and bacteria out of water, providing a desperately-needed, cheap solution for the billions of people without clean drinking water.

Researchers at South Africa’s Stellenbosch University made the device from the same material used for the bags of the country’s popular rooibos tea. Inside the sachets are two tiny destroyers of all things unsafe: ultra-thin nanoscale fibers, which filter harmful contaminants, and bacteria-killing grains of carbon.

Nano-generators can harvest electricity from your blood

from io9:

New nano-generators can turn mechanical energy – like that of flowing blood – into electricity needed to power nanobots.

The tiny generators are the brainchild of Dr. Yong Shi, a professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department at Stevens Institute of Technology. They make use of a technology known as piezoelectric nanofibers, which are minuscule wires that are able to harness nearby mechanical energy (basically the energy of motion) and turn it into electrical energy. Each wire measures half a millimeter long and just 60 billionths of a meter in diameter.

Researchers create “Smart Sheets” that can self-assemble into airplanes, boats

from PopSci:

Scientists at MIT and Harvard have invented self-folding smart fiberglass sheets that can crease themselves into origami airplanes and boats.

It’s a far cry from previous programmable matter research we’ve seen, which works at the nanoscale to create scaffolds and gears.

The fiberglass sheets are about a half-millimeter thick and made of half-inch-wide triangular tiles. They can be made at a larger scale, enabling machines that can fold, Transformer-like, into any number of objects.

Researchers create biodegradable self-assembling DNA nanodevices that move and change shape

from Harvard Medical School:

By emulating nature’s design principles, a team at Harvard’s Wyss Institute for Biologically Inspired Engineering, Harvard Medical School and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has created nanodevices made of DNA that self-assemble and can be programmed to move and change shape on demand.

In contrast to existing nanotechnologies, these programmable nanodevices are highly suitable for medical applications because DNA is both biocompatible and biodegradable.

The work appears in the June 20 advance online Nature Nanotechnology.

Military-grade Augmented Reality could redefine modern warfare

from ReadWriteWeb:

Tanagram Partners is developing military-grade augmented reality technology that — if developed to the full potential of its prototypes — would completely change the face of military combat as we know it.

The company is developing a system of lightweight sensors and displays that collect and provide data from and to each individual soldier in the field. This includes a computer, a 360-degree camera, UV and infrared sensors, stereoscopic cameras and OLED translucent display goggles.

With this technology, soldiers will be able to communicate with a massive “home base” server that collects and renders 3D information onto the wearer’s goggles in real time. Various objects and people will be outlined in a specific color to warn soldiers of things like friendly forces, potential danger spots, impending air-raid locations, rendezvous points and much more.

PaperComp 2010: The Dawn of Paper Computing

from PaperComp.org:

Paper is not dead. Books, magazines and other printed materials can now be connected to the digital world, enriched with additional content and even transformed into interactive interfaces.

Conversely, some of the screen-based interfaces we currently use to interact with digital data could benefit from being paper-based or make use of specially designed material as light and flexible as paper.

In a near future, printed documents could become new ubiquitous interfaces for our everyday interactions with digital information. This is the dawn of paper computing.

1st International Workshop on Paper Computing
26-29 Sept 2010 / Copenhagen, Denmark