Self healing batteries could change mobile power

Scientists have developed a polymer that heals itself and have invented a way to coat battery electrodes with it to create a battery that self heals. The technology is said to inmprove the Lithium Ploymer batteries in use today by extending the life of current cells.

The team at Standford University and the Department of Energy’s (DOE) SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory led by Chao Wang and Professor Zhenan Bao have been working on the technology and say:

“Self-healing is very important for the survival and long lifetimes of animals and plants,” said Chao Wang, a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford and one of two principal authors of the paper. “We want to incorporate this feature into lithium so they will have a long lifetime as well.”
“We found that silicon electrodes lasted 10 times longer when coated with the self-healing polymer, which repaired any cracks within just a few hours,” Bao said.

“Their capacity for storing energy is in the practical range now, but we would certainly like to push that,” said Yi Cui, an associate professor at SLAC and Stanford who led the research with Bao. The electrodes worked for about 100 charge-discharge cycles without significantly losing their energy storage capacity. “That’s still quite a way from the goal of about 500 cycles for cell phones and 3,000 cycles for an electric vehicle,” Cui said, “but the promise is there, and from all our data it looks like it’s working.”

Find out more at the phys.org article.

The TIME Invention Poll

Time Magazine have run a poll with cooperation with Qualcomm to establish the most important inventions of all time.

The poll resulted in the mobile phone being the most useful invention of all time. Top three most important were electricity, the internet and the wheel. Top three inventions needing reinvention were the computer, the car and the telephone.

See the full results here

Uncool quantum states

Quantum computing is the next big thing and I posted just recently about the blue pigment used in money possibly being suitible for a new semiconductor material. Traditionally these semiconductors, or superconductors, have had to be cooled to very low temperatures to enable them to enter a state of superposition.

Reseachers have now managed to get a superconductor to enter superposition at room temperature for 39 minutes. This would be enough for it to perform 2 million calculations should it be used as the basis of a quantum computer.

This could bring the leap needed to bring Quantum computing to the masses as it would be far less comllex than a machine requiring high levels of cooling.

Engadgets Insert Coin Winners

Engadgets Insert Coin competition has wrapped up with some very deserving winners. DIWire and GrowCubes have come in with the Judges and readers respectively.

DIWire is a very cool device that plugs into your computer and will bend wire for you. This would prove to be an infinitely handy device for gadget tweakers and modders the world round.

GrowCubes allow you to grow fresh food in your innercity apartment with stackable units featuring adjustable lighting and aeroponic nutrient sprays.

And your Insert Coin winners are: DIWire and GrowCubes!.

Low cost organic semiconductor

Scientists have discovered a semiconductor that can be used in Quantum computing that is much lower cost than traditional ones.

The blue pigment, copper phthalocynanine, is used in bank notes all over the globe and has been for many years. It has been disovered that it can be put into a state of superpostion, that is being in two states at one time. This is the key function to quantum quibits and are used to replace traditional transistors (the main component in CPU and Integrated curcuits in electronics). Becuase they are only single atoms in size, they are much smaller than silicon compounds used in semiconductors now.

Potential for spin-based information processing in a thin-film molecular semiconductor : Nature : Nature Publishing Group.

Flying robot uses luck to bounce around obstacles

This cool little fly like robot could provide a very cheap way of sending drones into emergency or risky areas. The designers have noted that by bouncing off obsitacles similar to a fly against a window, the drone could navigate itself around and between two points.

The device can choose it’s direction and correct itself to end up at a certain point based on basic compass bearings but uses not collision avoidance software to avoid any obstacles, instead it simply bounces off them then corrects its path and flys on to it’s destination.

via This Sensorless Flying Robot Is Like A Drunken Speeder Bike Orb | Gizmodo Australia.

Post-It Memory

The National Taiwan University in Taipei has developed a stickable memory curcuit using a graphine coating and conductive polymers topped with aluminium electrodes.

Graphene has a variety of properties including a high ven der Walls force that gives a type of natural adhesion. This concept uses this effect much in a way that is thought to be used by geckos to stick to walls.

The memory can be used to stick to business cards or other surfaces. “Our memory is not only flexible but also transferable,” says Yang-Fang Chen of NTU.

Sticky memory may turn Post-it notes into flash drives – tech – 28 October 2013 – New Scientist.