Tag Archives: electronics

Viruses for nanotech components

virusTurns out viruses are good for more than just killing cancer cells. Researchers at MIT have developed a method whereby viruses are coated with iron phosphate, then attached to carbon nanotubes, thus creating  the building-blocks of nanoscale electrical components:

This advanced ‘bio-industrial’ manufacturing process, which uses biological agents to assemble molecules, could help to evolve key energy material components (e.g. cathodes, anodes, membranes) used in batteries, fuel cells, solar cells and organic electronics (e.g. OLEDs).

It’s interesting to see how researchers are making use of the native biological territory instead of reinventing the wheel when it comes to nanotechnology – using viruses to make nanomaterials to make power cells.

[from Future Blogger][image from noii’s on flickr]

RepRap creates circuits

just-finishedA moment of history. The RepRap project has created circuits for the first time:

Ed and I have a final-year student – Rhys Jones – who’s working on RepRap for his MEng research project. He’s been taking the old idea of depositing metal in channels and an observation of Forrest’s and Nophead’s (that you don’t need a low-melting-point alloy because the specific heat of metals is so low that they shouldn’t melt the plastic anyway).

Also worth a look: Bruce Sterling points to Darwinian Marxism as a means of ensuring the proletariat gain possession of the means of production sans revolution.

[via the Yorkshire Ranter][image from the Reprap blog]

Magnetic currents and efficient memory

Japanese physicists have found something called the Spin Seebeck Effect that could lead to practical magnetic batteries:

Essentially, this spin-segregated rod now has two electrodes and serves as the basis for a new kind of battery that produces “spin voltage,” or magnetic currents, which have been difficult to produce. With this tool, physicists can work toward developing more kinds of spintronics devices that store information magnetically.

Magnetic information storage is inherently more efficient than storing information electronically because there is no waste heat.

This is an interesting development. There seems to be a lot going on in the world of practical applications for quantum dots, quantum cryptography and spintronics. I suspect it will be one of those areas that heralds a lot of unexpected innovation over the next few years and decades.

[image from Ella’s Dad on flickr]

The integrated circuit’s golden anniversary

Jack Kilby\'s first integrated circuitRaise a glass, folks – fifty years ago, Jack Kilby of Texas Instruments demo’d the first ever integrated circuit [pictured – from Wikimedia Commons]. From Custom PC:

In July 1958, Kilby took it upon himself to find the answer to small-scale modules with large numbers of transistors. As a new recruit at Texas Instruments he wasn’t able to take a two-week leave while his other colleagues were off sunning themselves. Instead, he confined himself to his lab alone where he came up with the idea of fabricating all of a circuit’s components with a single block of the same material. Two months later, the first integrated circuit was demonstrated, and technology has never looked back.

Thanks for the memories, Jack. 😉

E-paper prototypes show up in force

color epaper, bendy as well In what must be the most exciting conference ever (just ahead of Dewey Decimal 2008), a little feature known as epaper showed up at Display 2008 in Tokyo.  It seems several companies, including Bridgestone with a full-size broadsheet e-newspaper(what do tires have to do with epaper?) and a collaboration between  Seiko, E Ink and Epson (which also wins for strangest interactive website) to make epaper watches, showed off their wares at the Japanese trade show.  Other offerings included epaper that can be written on with a stylus(video at the link).

Along with the obvious books and notepads we’re all thinking of, other attendants were thinking of myriad other places epaper could be useful.  Those range from IC or RFID cards with PIN displays for added security, pill bottles, grocery price tags (come to think of it, I’ve seen something awfully like it in the supermarkets here), flash drives and headphones.  Interestingly enough, there’s a story about a Fujitsu ebook that’s in color as well, although price seems to be a factor in why it’s not out yet.  According to the guys at DWT, August is when many of these products will be available to vendors, so start looking for epaper everythings to start popping up soon after.  I know I can’t wait.

Bonus display blogging:  3D displays without the paper glasses.

(via DigitalWorldTokyo, a site I apparently need to visit more often) (image also via DigitalWorldTokyo)