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Wed, 12 Dec 2007 00:24:25 GMT

Petfinder Goes Primetime

Petfinder Goes Primetime
Wanting to find the ideal pet for your wired home? Then go the hi-tech way of finding a pet with Petfinder.

Or you can wait to see Petfinder on your home theater screen. Yes, the very popular website Petfinder is going to become a television series. All 13 programmes are about finding a pet from your nearest shelter a comfy and happy home.

BTW this looks to be the first time a website has spawned a television program. There have been many examples where websites have been made about television programs but this is a first.

Posted by: Elwyn Jenkins      Read more     Source

December 10, 2007, 10:30 PM CT

MIT creates oil-repelling materials

MIT creates oil-repelling materials
MIT engineers have designed a class of material structures that can repel oils, a novel discovery that could have applications in aviation, space travel and hazardous waste cleanup. Such materials could be used to help protect parts of airplanes or rockets that are vulnerable to damage from being soaked in fuel, like rubber gaskets and o-rings.

"These are vulnerable points in a number of aerospace applications," said Robert Cohen, the St. Laurent Professor of Chemical Engineering and an author of a paper on the work that appeared in the Dec. 7 issue of Science.

"It would be nice if you could spill gasoline on a fabric or a gasket or other surface and find that instead of spreading, it just rolled off," Cohen said.

Creating a strongly oil-repelling, or "oleophobic" material, has been challenging for scientists, and there are no natural examples of such a material.

"Nature has developed a lot of methods for waterproofing, but not so much oil-proofing," said Gareth McKinley, MIT School of Engineering Professor of Teaching Innovation in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and a member of the research team. "The conventional wisdom was that it couldn't be done on a large scale without very special lithographic processes".

The tendency of oils and other hydrocarbons to spread out over surfaces is due to their very low surface tension (a measure of the attraction between molecules of the same substance).........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

November 27, 2007, 10:17 PM CT

Fatigue effects in silicon

Fatigue effects in silicon
Optical micrographs of contact damage in silicon from cyclic stress show progressive damage after (a) 1,000 cycles, (b) 5,000 cycles, (c) 20,000 cycles and (d) 85,000 cycles. Color added for clarity, white circle shows computed size of the contact circle.

Credit: NIST

Scientists at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have demonstrated a mechanical fatigue process that eventually leads to cracks and breakdown in bulk silicon crystalsa phenomenon thats especially interesting because it long has been thought not to exist. Their recently published* results have important implications for the design of new silicon-based micro-electromechanical system (MEMS) devices that have been proposed for a wide variety of uses.

Siliconthe backbone of the semiconductor industryis one the worlds most heavily studied materials, and it has long been thought to beimmune to fatigue from cyclic stresses because of the nature of its crystal structure and chemical bonds. And indeed, conventional tests have validated this. Recent research into silicon MEMS devices, however, has revealed that these microscopic systems that incorporate tiny gears, vibrating reeds and other mechanical features do seem to develop stress-induced cracks that can lead to failure. Why this happens at the microscopic scale is a matter of debate. One school of thought holds that the effect is purely mechanical, due to friction, and the other argues that it essentially is caused by corrosiona chemical effect. Because the effect has only been noticed at submicrometer scales, it has been difficult to determine which theory is correct.........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

Wed, 10 Oct 2007 02:40:43 GMT

Control Your Seasonal Lighting with a Remote

Control Your Seasonal Lighting with a Remote
Tired of climbing behind the Christmas Tree, or walking from outlet to outlet to turn on your seasonal lighting. Don't climb around any more, you need the INSTEON Wireless Remote.

The remote comes in a kit with several controllers each of which fit into an outlet. To turn lighting on simply use the remote to control all outlets from one location. The remote can still control an outlet from 150' away.

Or if you want, you can use the remote to automate lights to turn on and off as required. Use the remote to review the power patterns and see a panel indicating when certain outlets are to be powered off or on.

The INSTEON Wireless Remote starter kit is available from Amazon for $129 which provides a saving of up to $75 should you have purchased these items separately.

Posted by: Elwyn Jenkins      Read more     Source

Fri, 14 Sep 2007 11:33:11 GMT

The iPod Touch is Actually a PDA

The iPod Touch is Actually a PDA
Apple's marketing machine may be bunching in the new iPod touch with the other iPods, but the fact is that Apple's new iPhone-without-the-phone is a PDA.

Aside from the built-in Calendar, Contact, and Calculator apps, the iPod touch has WiFi, a decent web browser. It's also not a stretch to think that the third party apps that work on the iPhone could work here too. And 8GB and 16GB is a lot room for data, a lot more than your typical smartphone or PDA.

It's also thin. Thanks to the few standalone PDAs on the market, this will be the first time I'll use the term PDA anorexia (compared to the many many times I've used that for smartphones).

Granted, the iPod touch has no built-in camera. And adding in Bluetooth would've been nice. But once again, the genius of Apple's presentation wins the day. By categorizing this PDA as a portable media player, Apple's managed the expectations of its buyers. "A PDA that can play music" doesn't sound as good as "A music player that can surf the web, supports third party apps, and has basic organizer functions."

Posted by: Rico Mossesgeld      Read more     Source

Thu, 13 Sep 2007 03:50:18 GMT

What to do with the old computer?

What to do with the old computer?
So you have upgraded your computer and want to know what to do with the old beast?

"Creative Uses for "Old" Computers: Here's What You Can Do With Your Used Computer" is a very inventive article outlining what ways you can use your old computer around your "wired" home.

You can read the article for the details but here are the suggested ways you can use your old computer, in short:
     Trade it in for a new computer with Hewlett Packard Donate the old computer to charity Use your old computer as a print/file server Listen to tunes from it Watch TV from it Create a live weather station Store digital photos on it Create a work station in the kitchen Designate the living room as the family workstation Turn it into a workstation for visitors Set it up solely as a data center Use it as a live web cam for security purposes Use it as an experimental computer Create a mobile computer for your RV, van or boat
Have you other interesting options?

Posted by: Elwyn Jenkins      Read more     Source

Sun, 05 Aug 2007 20:19:55 GMT

Converting Organic Waste into Useful Cooking Fuel

Converting Organic Waste into Useful Cooking Fuel
Students at the MIT have given an answer to the ill-effects of deforestation with a mechanism with which they can convert organic waste, such as sugarcane waste, into useful cooking fuel.

Deforestation does has harmful effects on the environment but it also acts as a silent killer for those who rely on wood charcoal to cook their food. Now a team of MIT students is working to bring affordable and eco-friendly cooking fuel to developing countries like Haiti. The technique makes use of organic waste such as sugarcane waste and then processes it to convert it into charcoal briquettes.

These students have formed a company named Bagazo to produce and distribute the product to villagers in Haiti. The team will now be travelling to Haiti later this month to conduct a market survey and then meet with potential investors. They also hope that this project will appeal to all who want to serve people and make money as well.

Their charcoal making process does not only rely on sugarcane waste, but also work with plant wastes like banana leaves and corncobs. Several families in these villages use wood charcoal or dung cakes to cook food, these are hard to obtain and also produce more smoke which leads to lung problems in these villagers. Bagazos products makes use of organic waste so the fuel burns longer and also produces less smoke than its counterparts.

They however have developed a mechanism which converts organic waste into fuel in just three steps. The first step includes carbonizing organic waste in a drum in a low-oxygen environment, which prevents it from turning into ash. Then the powder is mixed with a binder so that it holds together, then the resultant is pressed into briquettes with a simple machine press. The process takes up to three hours in converting the waste into charcoal briquettes. The team is now hoping to automate the process so as to speed the production.

The team is currently focusing on Haiti; however, they are also interested to bring the project to Africa and India.

Via: MIT

Posted by: Jolly      Read more     Source

Sat, 04 Aug 2007 15:22:27 GMT

Nanotechnology-based Flexible Hydrogen Sensors

Nanotechnology-based Flexible Hydrogen Sensors
With hydrogen vehicles already embracing carbon-reduction footprints, global warming seems to be moving a step further with its nobility its sensors.

The now available hydrogen sensors may soon be replaced by a newly developed flexible sensor, which is not only comparatively cheaper but also explores the world of nano-technology! Thanks the researchers at the U.S. Argonne National Laboratory.

What could help make the sensors cheaper is the use of only palladium nanoparticles instead of pure palladium.

But, of course this will not compromise on its pure-palladium-like efficiency. To add to, it can be used in many applications ranging from aircraft to portable electronics. To detect a hydrogen leakage caused by even tiny pinholes in the space shuttle pipe, the new technology can be of great use.

This is how the new flexible hydrogen sensor is fabricated:

The new sensing devices is fabricated by using a two-step process separated by hig] h and low temperatures. First, at around 900 degrees C, researchers grow SWNTs [single-walled carbon nanotubeson a silicon substrate using chemical vapor deposition. Then, researchers transfer the SWNTs onto a plastic substrate at temperatures lower than 150 degrees C using a technique called dry transfer printing.

And the result:-

The new sensors are highly sensitive, thus fast responding and quick recovering. The plastic sheets it uses help reduce the overall weight, increasing the mechanical flexibility as well as shock resistance.

Thus, its wide range - as well as sensitive and affordable - applications seem to be making the hydrogen (or eco-friendly) vehicles gradually affordable to more and more people who are environmentally conscious, but could not serve it because of the hard-to-meet costs.


Posted by: Irani      Read more     Source

July 30, 2007, 7:33 PM CT

Think Pink To Produce "Green" Solar Energy

Think Pink To Produce
Yiying Wu
When it comes to producing earth-friendly solar energy, pink may be the new green, as per Ohio State University researchers.

Researchers here have developed new dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs) that get their pink color from a mixture of red dye and white metal oxide powder in materials that capture light.

Currently, the best of these new pink materials convert light to electricity with only half the efficiency of commercially-available silicon-based solar cells -- but they do so at only one quarter of the cost, said Yiying Wu, assistant professor of chemistry at Ohio State.

And Wu is hoping for even better.

"We think that one day, DSSC efficiency can reach levels comparable to any solar cell," he said. "The major advantage of DSSCs is that the cost is low. That is why DSSCs are so interesting to us, and so important".

Pink is a typical color for DSSCs. Most use dyes containing ruthenium, which has a red color; the metal oxide powder that turns the mix pink is most often titanium oxide or zinc oxide, which are both whitish in color. But Wu's materials are novel in that he's using more complex metals and exploring different particle shapes to boost the amount of electricity produced.

In a recent issue of the Journal of the American Chemical Society (JACS), he and his team report that they have made a new DSSC material using zinc stannate.........

Posted by: John      Read more         Source

Sat, 28 Jul 2007 22:46:15 GMT

Paint-on Solar Cells: Let Walls Power Your Home

Paint-on Solar Cells: Let Walls Power Your Home
Gone are the days when we used to paint our walls with glossy paints and then with vinyls. A new technique will change the face of the walls and allow you to beautify your walls with solar cells.

The technique has been developed by researchers at the New Jersey Institute of technology. These researchers claim to have developed a way to create a solar cell that can be painted on flexible plastic sheets. To achieve solar cells these researchers have used a complex combination of carbon nanotubes and carbon Buckyball molecules to create a series of snake-like patterns which can conduct electricity.

When sunlight falls on the surface of this paint it excites the polymer backing, which in turn releases electrons. Buckyball molecules catch electrons but they cannot transmit them. For transmitting electrons in a flow researchers have used carbon nanotubes. Carbon nanotubes act as a copper wire to conduct the free flowing electrons, thus generating electricity.

Researchers also hope that the technique will not be expensive and will be easy to implement. Once the material is painted on walls, ceiling or on the roof top it can provide enough electricity to power your home. This technology will someday allow homeowners to paint sheets of the material with a machine that will not be much different from an ink-jet printer and all you will have to do is just paste them on your walls and enjoy free power.

Via: Inhabitat

Posted by: Jolly      Read more     Source

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