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University Scientists Unveil Device That Uses Proteins to Generate Electricity 'Out of Thin Air' – Good News Network

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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.

RELATED: First Fully Rechargeable Carbon Dioxide Battery is Seven Times More Efficient Than Lithium Ion

“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.”

Graphic image of a thin film of protein nanowires generating electricity from atmospheric humidity. Photo by UMass Amherst/Yao and Lovley labs.

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.

The current Air-gen device can power small devices. Photo by UMass Amherst/Yao and Lovley labs.

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.

LOOK: Generator That Creates Electricity From Gravity Could Revolutionize Renewable Energy

“Once we get to an industrial scale for wire production, I fully expect that we can make large systems that will make a major contribution to sustainable energy production.”

In addition to the Air-gen, Yao’s laboratory has developed several other applications with the protein nanowires. “This is just the beginning of new era of protein-based electronic devices,” he said.

Reprinted from University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Samsung temporarily shuts down phone factory following coronavirus case – Engadget

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Chris Velazco/Engadget

Samsung’s coronavirus problems extend beyond people steering clear of phone stores. The company has closed a phone factory in Gumi, South Korea until February 24th after confirming that a factory worker was infected with COVID-19. The company told the worker’s associates to self-quarantine and will test them for the virus, and will also keep the relevant floor closed until the 25th.

Chip and display factories across South Korea aren’t affected, Samsung said. Gumi isn’t far from Daegu, the heart of the current outbreak in the country.

The Gumi plant makes higher-end handsets primarily destined for the South Korean market, but they include foldable phones like the Galaxy Z Flip and Galaxy Fold. That could pose problems given already limited stock — while it’s not a devastating blow, even a few days without production could lead to shortages and dampen the Z Flip’s launch.

Samsung isn’t alone in facing coronavirus-related supply issues. Apple has warned of iPhone shortages after a temporary halt to production, while Valve expects a shortfall of Index VR headsets due to production stoppages. Few are directly the result of infections, though, and this is a blunt reminder that the risk to the tech industry extends beyond China.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

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Samsung camera test: Galaxy S20 Ultra's 108-megapixel camera, 100x zoom photos – CNET

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The Galaxy S20 Ultra is all about the camera.


Sarah Tew/CNET

Of Samsung’s three new phones, the Galaxy S20 Ultra is the one most stuffed with camera goodies. While Samsung redesigned the entire camera system (the company says S20’s sensors are three times larger than the Galaxy S10), it’s the 108-megapixel sensor and 100x AI-assisted zoom that make the biggest splash. Part of my job during my ongoing Galaxy S20 Ultra review is to evaluate if the photo experience helps justify the Ultra’s $1,400 price. 

I’ve already shot dozens of photos, peering at them closely from my computer screen and on the phone. It’d be overkill (and probably break your browser) if I shared them all here, so consider these the highlights. In the coming weeks, my colleagues and I will snap and analyze hundreds of photos and scores of video to drill down into exactly where the S20 Ultra’s camera stands, especially against top competition like the iPhone 11 Pro MaxGoogle’s Pixel 4 and Huawei’s Mate 30 Pro

These photos are not touched up or edited in any way unless stated. But note that they have been processed by CNET’s content image tool — you won’t see every pixel, but you’ll hopefully see enough to give you an early idea of the S20 Ultra’s camera performance. I’m also testing the regular and 8K mode video camera, but those files are huge and harder to share here. There will be plenty of footage in the final review, though.


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Samsung Galaxy S20 Ultra’s 100x zoom makes snooping easier

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Galaxy S20 Ultra cameras

  • 108-megapixel main camera: You need to select the 108-megapixel quick setting to take a super high-resolution photo, otherwise images resolve to 12-megapixel (using nona-binning, which essentially creates one super pixel out of ever 9 individuals pixels. Part of the benefit of such a high-resolution image is to get more detail when you crop into a shot.
  • 12-megapixel wide-angle lens: Samsung enlarged the sensor, so this isn’t the same camera as on the Galaxy Note 10 or S10 phones even though it uses the same megapixels. The goal is to let in more light, for better image quality, especially in low light.
  • 48-megapixel telephoto camera: This gets you up to 100x “space zoom,” a feature that uses AI algorithms to take shots at extreme distance. The higher the zoom, the shakier your photo will be (a monopod or tripod is key).
  • DepthVision camera: I didn’t go out of my way to test this yet, but it’s meant to assist with various camera modes. You can’t take individual photos from it.
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Main camera and standard resolution.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

What I think so far

In abundant lighting scenarios, the S20 Ultra’s photos look fantastic: crisp and bright, with plenty of detail. Low light shots get a typical Samsung boost of brightness that you may love or find a little overly cheerful, but that comes down to your mood. Selfies look good, and there’s even a new feature to select a warmer or darker image tone than the default (to apply to the scene, not to skin).

At this early stage in my testing, the two marquee features confuse me. In some of my shots using the 108-megapixel camera option versus the main camera’s 12-megapixel resolution, the benefits of using 108 are clear. Cropping in or zooming in on the image, the superior detail practically punches you in the face. In others, I don’t see much difference. In others still, zooming in on the phone screen or in a full-screen image on the computer reveals mushier edges and more noise than the 12-megapixel counterpart.

I’m going to keep testing that.

The camera’s 100x zoom feature absolutely works, but at such distance, images are intensely blurry, and to me, fairly unusable beyond showing off the phone’s technological capability. I’m just not sure why Samsung didn’t stop at a really good 30x zoom, apart from one-upping competitors. I’m open to being convinced as I continue to learn about the feature and use it in the wild.

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Main camera and standard resolution.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Ultra-wide angle shot.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Main camera, standard resolution.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Main camera, standard resolution.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

*The 108-megapixel resolution version of this image was too large to load.

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Crop from standard resolution image.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

galaxys20ultra-flower-108cropgalaxys20ultra-flower-108crop

Crop from 108-megapixel resolution image.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Main camera, standard resolution.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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SF Museum of Modern Art. No zoom.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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At 10x zoom.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Now at 30x zoom.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

galaxys20ultra-moma-zoom100galaxys20ultra-moma-zoom100

Here we are at 100x zoom.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

galaxys20ultra-selfie-yerbabuenagalaxys20ultra-selfie-yerbabuena

Obligatory backlit selfie.

galaxys20ultra-table-plant-standardgalaxys20ultra-table-plant-standard

Shot on automatic mode with main camera, low-light conditions.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Crop in of 108-megapixel version is impressively detailed.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

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Shot in automatic mode in low light conditions.


Jessica Dolcourt/CNET

This story will be updated often with new photos. Keep checking back for more!

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5 reasons you should stick with your Galaxy S10 instead of buying the new Galaxy S20 – Business Insider – Business Insider

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  • The Galaxy S20 represents one of the biggest leaps in Samsung’s phones in years because of new features like 5G connectivity and a smooth 120Hz screen that makes for a powerful experience. 
  • But the Galaxy S20 starts at $1,000, which makes it a pricey upgrade. You can trade-in your Galaxy S10 for up to $600, which gives you a massive discount for the Galaxy S20. But that’s still spending $400 for not much reason at all. 
  • The new features in the Galaxy S20 will surely feature in Samsung’s next smartphone in 2021. Since the Galaxy S10 is only a year-old, it’s worth saving your money until at least the next Samsung phone is released. 
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Samsung’s Galaxy S20 is one of the biggest leaps we’ve seen on a Samsung phone, even when you compare it to last year’s Galaxy S10

The new devices have totally refreshed camera systems, 5G connectivity, a glorious 120Hz screen, and even Samsung’s Quick Share that’s reminiscent of Apple’s AirDrop — an incredibly useful feature loved by iPhone users. 

These are worthy upgrades, even if you’re a Galaxy S10 owner. But there’s one big, massive obstacle that prevents me from recommending that anyone upgrade from the Galaxy S10 to the Galaxy S20. 

I’m talking about the Galaxy S20’s $1,000 minimum price tag. 

On their own, those four numbers after the dollar symbol should deter most Galaxy S10 owners from upgrading. There isn’t a slightly pared down and less expensive model like the Galaxy S10e.

Samsung does, however, give you the option to trade-in your Galaxy S10 for a huge $600 credit towards a new Galaxy S20, bringing the price tag down from $1,000 to $400. That’s a pretty great deal that almost made me stop writing this article. 

Still, that’s $400 you’d be spending over what you spent on the Galaxy S10 just one year ago. 

Here’s a quick reminder on why your Galaxy S10 is still great, and why a massive $600 discount still doesn’t justify the upgrades you’d get on the Galaxy S20:

The Galaxy S10 phones are still strong performers with great specs.

galaxy s10 custom wallpaper



Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider


The Galaxy S10 phones run on the top hardware from 2019, including the Snapdragon 855 chip and between 8 GB and 12 GB of RAM. Those specs will run the Android operating system, your apps, and games just fine for at least another year until Samsung launches a new phone in 2021. 

And it still looks like a modern, sleek smartphone.

Samsung S10 Smartphone



Hollis Johnson/Business Insider


The Galaxy S10 is still among the prettiest smartphones, even after the Galaxy S20 was announced. They’re classy and clad in premium materials like metal and glass.

The Galaxy S10 has the same variety of camera lenses, including a regular, ultra-wide, and zoomed lens.

Samsung S10 Smartphone



Hollis Johnson/Business Insider


The base Galaxy S20 doesn’t offer much more in the camera front compared with the Galaxy S10. Yes, Samsung added new sensors with more megapixels and zoom than ever before, but that’s unlikely to fix one of the biggest issues with Galaxy smartphone cameras, which typically try too hard to make your photos look good. It often results in photos that look badly photoshopped. Plus, the Galaxy S20’s ultra-wide cameras clock in at 120-degree field-of-view, which is actually slightly narrower than the 123 degrees offered by the S10’s ultra-wide lens.

It’s hard to justify spending $1,000 on the biggest upgrade in the Galaxy S20 that you don’t get with the Galaxy S10: 5G.

***EMBARGO FEB 11*** samsung galaxy s20 5g



Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider


5G is one of the biggest upgrades you get with the Galaxy S20. After all, 5G is the next generation of wireless networks that promises better performance than today’s 4G LTE. It’s a pretty big deal. 

With that said, 5G networks are still quite sparse. There’s no guarantee that you’ll be connected to a 5G network if you get the Galaxy S20. T-Mobile users will have the best chance, as T-Mobile’s 5G network has the most coverage so far. Just note that T-Mobile’s 5G network is the long-range version, which also means it’s the slower version of 5G. You can expect somewhat faster speeds than 4G LTE, but it’s not the super fast 5G you may have heard about. 

AT&T and Verizon have the super fast 5G networks so far, but the coverage is extremely limited at the moment. Verizon and AT&T customers may get a glimpse of 5G connectivity if they happen to live in a city where these carriers have deployed it, but their 5G networks are unlikely to be the primary networks you’ll be connecting to on a daily basis. 

There’s also the Galaxy S20’s buttery-smooth 120Hz screen, but I wouldn’t ditch a year-old-phone just for that feature.

galaxy s20 ***FEB 11 EMBARGO***



Antonio Villas-Boas/Business Insider


No doubt about it. The Galaxy S20’s 120Hz screen makes for a buttery-smooth look and feel while you’re swiping around. It gives off the impression that the phone is more powerful and advanced than previous phones with standard 60Hz screens, like your Galaxy S10!

Still, I wouldn’t ditch a year-old phone just to get that smooth screen experience. It’s a feature that’s likely to stick around for a while, and it’ll surely be on Samsung’s next big smartphone in 2021, and the year after that, and after that, and so on. There’s no rush, basically. 

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