Researchers are rejoicing over their newly-developed contraption that can generate clean electricity “from thin air”.
Scientists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst have designed a device that uses a natural protein to create electricity from moisture in the air: a new technology they say could have significant implications for the future of renewable energy, climate change and in the future of medicine.
As reported this week in Nature, the laboratories of electrical engineer Jun Yao and microbiologist Derek Lovley at UMass Amherst have created a device they call an “Air-gen” or air-powered generator, with electrically conductive protein nanowires produced by the microbe Geobacter.
The Air-gen connects electrodes to the protein nanowires in such a way that electrical current is generated from the water vapor naturally present in the atmosphere.
“We are literally making electricity out of thin air,” says Yao. “The Air-gen generates clean energy 24/7.”
Lovely, who has advanced sustainable biology-based electronic materials over three decades, adds, “It’s the most amazing and exciting application of protein nanowires yet.”
The new technology developed in Yao’s lab is non-polluting, renewable and low-cost. It can generate power even in areas with extremely low humidity such as the Sahara Desert. It has significant advantages over other forms of renewable energy including solar and wind, Lovley says, because unlike these other renewable energy sources, the Air-gen does not require sunlight or wind, and “it even works indoors.”
The Air-gen device requires only a thin film of protein nanowires less than 10 microns thick, the researchers explain. The bottom of the film rests on an electrode, while a smaller electrode that covers only part of the nanowire film sits on top. The film adsorbs water vapor from the atmosphere.
A combination of the electrical conductivity and surface chemistry of the protein nanowires, coupled with the fine pores between the nanowires within the film, then establishes the conditions that generate an electrical current between the two electrodes.
The researchers say that the current generation of Air-gen devices are able to power small electronics, and they expect to bring the invention to commercial scale soon.
Next, the scientists plan to continue their research by developing a small Air-gen “patch” that can power electronic wearables such as health and fitness monitors and smart watches, which would eliminate the requirement for traditional batteries.
They also hope to develop Air-gens to apply to cell phones to eliminate periodic charging.
Yao says: “The ultimate goal is to make large-scale systems. For example, the technology might be incorporated into wall paint that could help power your home. Or, we may develop stand-alone air-powered generators that supply electricity off the grid.
Who said you have to spend hundreds of dollars to get your hands on a new smartphone? Sprint has a deal that could score you a Samsung Galaxy S10 absolutely free when you lease the device for 18 months and add a new line of service. Another offer scores you the Galaxy S10e for only $5 per month with the same stipulations.
Today’s deal on Samsung’s Galaxy S10 requires approved credit and saves you over $30 off the usual monthly cost to lease this device. You should see the discount applied within two months, however you’ll owe the remaining balance on the phone if you cancel early.
Sprint is offering customers the Samsung Galaxy S10 for $0 per month when you sign up for an 18-month Flex Lease and add a new line of service. You could also score the Galaxy S10e for $5/month with a Flex Lease by adding a new line to your account.
Limited Time Offer
Sprint’s Flex Leases are perfect for those who get tired of using the same phone after a while. Once 18 months has passed, you’re able to return the phone and switch to a new one. How often do you do anything with your old smartphones anyway? Sprint also gives you the option of paying off the remaining balance on the phone to keep it if you decide you don’t want to give it back.
Samsung Galaxy phones sold by Sprint include Galaxy Forever, which allows you to return the device you have and switch to the latest Samsung Galaxy phone at any time after 12 months of lease payments have passed.
Set against signing up for Sprint? Verizon has a deal on the Samsung Galaxy S10 as well. You can score a $150 prepaid card when purchasing the Samsung Galaxy S10 device of your choice at their new low price, as well as up to $500 off the purchase price when you trade-in an eligible device.
Samsung’s Galaxy S10 features an immersive 6.1-inch Cinematic Infinity Display that is absolutely gorgeous, so much so that we called it the best-ever display in our in-depth review. Inside, it’s powered by a Snapdragon 855 processor, 8GB RAM, and has up to 512GB of storage. There’s also an in-display fingerprint sensor, 3,400mAh battery with Wireless PowerShare feature, and exceptional triple rear camera setup. You really can’t beat a deal like this on a phone this good.
We reviewed the S10 last year, calling it “the best-ever Galaxy S” and rating it with 4.5 out of 5 stars. If you’d like to know more about the latest Samsung Galaxy devices before buying, this Everything You Need To Know guide is pretty helpful, too.
Could SpaceX’s Starship feature an homage to a famous manga-inspired sci-fi film?
CEO Elon Musk shared an image Tuesday of the company’s upcoming rocket, designed to send humans to Mars and beyond, mocked up with images from Alita: Battle Angel. The 2019 American film is based on the ’90s Japanese manga Battle Angel Alita, and tells the story of a cyborg named Alita that works to uncover her mysterious past.
“Battle Angel Starship,” Musk wrote to his 31.5 million Twitter followers, sharing an image of the under-development rocket emblazoned with an image of Alita, the quote “all or nothing,” and the words “Mars Hunter Warrior,” a reference to Alita’s future bounty hunter role. The ship also features the number 99, commonly associated with the character and a number she uses when playing motorball.
Oh, and of course, it features a giant SpaceX logo.
The design was warmly received by Alita fans, with one declaring it “so amazing” and another stating that “now Alita has officially her own spaceship!”
Musk has been known to regularly share memes and jokes that reference science fiction and anime. Earlier this month he shared an image of Bernie Sanders standing in the United States Senate, photoshopped to look as if he’s explaining the famously abstract ending of Neon Genesis Evangelion. In October 2018, he professed his love of anime over Twitter and declared that he owned a chibi Wolverine. Musk mentioned in January 2017 that Ghost in the Shell was “not the ideal ending” and the then-forthcoming live-action version had “a lot of potential.”
Unfortunately that potential never seemed to quite materialize. The live-action Ghost in the Shell scored 44 percent on Rotten Tomatoes. Alita: Battle Angel also received a similarly muted 61 percent. The original works of both are hailed as classics.
Although it seems like a lighthearted joke in Musk’s downtime, he has been known to make references to science fiction in his work. Tesla vehicles are fitted with a Ludicrous mode and expected to offer PLaid power at a later date, both references to cult classic Spaceballs. SpaceX’s two rocket recovery ships are named Of Course I Still Love You and Just Read the Instructions, both references to Iain M. Banks’ Culture novels. The red Tesla Roadster that launched on the first Falcon Heavy trip features the words “Don’t Panic,” a reference to Douglas Adams’ Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy series.
The mockup also resembles a piece of aerial history: the nose art of World War 2 planes. The designs painted on planes in the era took a number of shapes: cobras, sharks, celebrities of the era like Ernie Pyle. But perhaps the most famous of these designs were sexualized pinup models of famous actresses like Rita Hayworth.
Musk’s art could be a tribute to this history, but it’s also worth noting that the character of Alita is presented as a teenager.
Whether this latest image is a sign of things to come for Starship may become clear relatively soon. SpaceX is aiming to launch the rocket on a fully-reusable orbital flight this year, the first step toward its more ambitious projects. These include a trip around the moon with Japanese billionaire Yusaku Maezawa, scheduled for around 2023. It also includes sending the first humans to Mars, where they will be tasked with building a city by 2050. This will be designed to support future missions for the Starship, acting as a refueling base so people can fly out further and explore other planets in the solar system.
We’ll have to wait and see whether “Mars Hunter Warrior”s will somehow feature in these plans.
The hardware will boast 12 TFLOPS of GPU power, which Microsoft notes is twice that of Xbox One X, based on an AMD Zen 2 and RDNA 2 architecture. A Variable Rate Shading technique allows the GPU to prioritize individual effects on specific game objects rather than focus on the entire screen. It will also sport hardware-based DirectX ray-tracing. The post also confirms SSD storage and 120 FPS support.
As for what all that power will go towards, Microsoft shared some end-user features too. The Quick Resume feature promises to be faster without waiting through loading screens, and now it can be used with multiple games at once. Xbox Series X will be backwards compatible with all previous generations of Xbox games and accessories. A new “Smart Delivery”‘ feature is essentially cross-buy, letting you purchase a game once and play it on whatever is the best hardware available. Microsoft says that developers and publishers will be able to choose to use the feature on games that release first on Xbox One and then later come to Xbox Series X.
The Xbox Series X is Microsoft’s first volley into the next generation, as the company has noted that it’s switching to just Xbox for its branding going forward. That means we may see multiple hardware revisions within the Xbox family, similar to a smartphone model. We don’t know a price or release date yet, but Microsoft may reveal those at its E3 2020 presentation. For more details, check out everything we know about Xbox Series X.
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