Tilly was just 15 months old when she had to have her hand amputated after contracting meningitis septicaemia. Now, with a bionic arm from Open Bionics, Tilly can move all of her fingers and perform more complex movements. EMG sensors on her arm detect muscle movement, telling her bionic arm how quickly or firmly to squeeze its fingers.
Visible to the human eye in a layer that’s only one atom thick, able to bend into shapes that would make your mom blush (no small feat, the strumpet), and pound-for-pound quite probably the strongest material in the world – graphene is undoubtedly a bad motherfucker.
In fact, it shows incredible properties in almost every field of strength and conductance. It transports electrons 10 times faster than silicon, and may soon be replacing it as the go-to material for transistors and computer parts. If that’s not impressive enough for you, how about the fact that graphene is technically a plastic, so it should have no business conducting electricity – yet here it goes like it ain’t no thing.
We’re talking about “charging iPhones within five seconds” conductivity here. Imagine a world with electric cars that recharge as quickly as filling your tank with gas, or paper-thin foldable plastic phones that recharge the instant you set them down – that’s exactly what graphene offers.
And then there’s the slight matter of its strength. Mix graphene with metals, and it increases their resilience 500-fold. But hell, you’ve been around the block. You’ve seen a few fancy new materials in your day – lithium-ion batteries? Carbotanium? – we’ll forgive you if you stifle a yawn at mere strength and conductivity claims.
All Dutch electric trains are now powered by wind energy, the national railway company NS has said .
“Since 1 January, 100% of our trains are running on wind energy,” said NS spokesman, Ton Boon.
Dutch electricity company Eneco won a tender offered by NS two years ago and the two companies signed a 10-year deal setting January 2018 as the date by which all NS trains should run on wind energy.
“So we in fact reached our goal a year earlier than planned,” said Boon, adding that an increase in the number of wind farms across the country and off the coast of the Netherlands had helped NS achieve its aim.
Eneco and NS said on a joint website that around 600,000 passengers daily are “the first in the world” to travel thanks to wind energy. NS operates about 5,500 train trips a day.
One windmill running for an hour can power a train for 120 miles, the companies said. They hope to reduce the energy used per passenger by a further 35% by 2020 compared with 2005.
What’s the impact of an #HourOfCode? We just released a new study showing that after just one hour, more students reported liking computer science, and reported increased confidence towards their ability to do computer science. The group with the largest shifts in attitude and self-efficacy? High school girls.
@luthorzor-el AHH PRODIGY CHILD LENA WHO PROBABLY SKIPPED A YEAR OR TWO. Who couldn’t relate to her classmates since they were all older. So she spent all her time in the library and worked her ass off and took two degrees at the same time and still managed to graduate with honors
Quantum computing has long seemed like one of those technologies that are 20 years away, and always will be. But 2017 could be the year that the field sheds its research-only image.
Computing giants Google and Microsoft recently hired a host of leading lights, and have set challenging goals for this year. Their ambition reflects a broader transition taking place at start-ups and academic research labs alike: to move from pure science towards engineering.
“People are really building things,” says Christopher Monroe, a physicist at the University of Maryland in College Park who co-founded the start-up IonQ in 2015. “I’ve never seen anything like that. It’s no longer just research.”
And there’s one country that can claim a huge share of the credit for it.
Solar power is becoming the world’s cheapest form of new electricity generation, data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) suggests.
According to Bloomberg’s analysis, the cost of solar power in China, India, Brazil and 55 other emerging market economies has dropped to about one third of its price in 2010. This means solar now pips wind as the cheapest form of renewable energy—but is also outperforming coal and gas.
In a note to clients this week, BNEF chairman Michael Liebreich said that solar power had entered “the era of undercutting” fossil fuels.
Bloomberg reports that 2016 has seen remarkable falls in the price of electricity from solar sources, citing a $64 per megawatt-hour contract in India at the tart of the year, and a $29.10 per megawatt-hour deal struck in Chile in August—about 50% the price of electricity produced from coal.
Ethan Zindler, head of U.S. policy analysis at BNEF, attributed much of the downward pressure to China’s massive deployment of solar, and the assistance it had provided to other countries financing their own solar projects.
“Solar investment has gone from nothing—literally nothing—like five years ago to quite a lot,” Zindler said.
When the numbers come in at the end of 2016 the generating capacity of newly installed solar photovoltaics is expected to exceed that of wind for the first time: at 70 gigawatts and 59 gigawatts respectively, according to BNEF projections.