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We're a little crazy, about science!

Posts tagged “design

Drawing a line between quantum and classical world

Schrodinger's cat

Quantum theory is one of the great achievements of 20th century science, yet physicists have struggled to find a clear boundary between our everyday world and what Albert Einstein called the “spooky” features of the quantum world, including cats that could be both alive and dead, and photons that can communicate with each other across space instantaneously.

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Study finds metal foams capable of shielding X-rays, gamma rays, neutron radiation

metal foam

Research from North Carolina State University shows that lightweight composite metal foams — like the one pictured here — are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions. The finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.
Image credit goes to: Afsaneh Rabiei, North Carolina State University

Research from North Carolina State University shows that lightweight composite metal foams are effective at blocking X-rays, gamma rays and neutron radiation, and are capable of absorbing the energy of high impact collisions. The finding means the metal foams hold promise for use in nuclear safety, space exploration and medical technology applications.

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Carbon’s Place in a Silicon World

silicon

Everything is silicon based, well mainly your computer, your TV, your ipad, and pretty much every piece of electronics in existence. Still the world turns and so does technology; at a similarly fast pace no less. Even as the 2014 Nobel Prize in Physics has enshrined light emitting diodes (LEDs) as the single most significant and disruptive energy-efficient lighting solution of today, scientists around the world continue unabated to search for the even-better-bulbs of tomorrow. In this search we are now ditching silicon for new carbon-based electronics.

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State of the Art Bridge: A Failed Engineer Comic

Introducing the Failed Engineer…

Failed Bridge upright

It was about that time that the failed engineer decided to rethink the new lookout tower position.

Special thanks to my wife, for believing me when I told her that was exactly what happens when a bridge goes up!


Building with Batteries

low battery

Wires, we hate them. It’s okay you can say it, wires are… ugly. I hate throwing out the big “u” word like that, but facts are facts. So what if I told you, soon you might be finding power in unusual places. In fact, your whole home could be used to store energy.

This all thanks to a new type of supercapacitor that can take a licking and keep on ticking [I’ve always wanted to say that]. A supercapacitor so durable, it could be made into laptop casing, cars, buildings, just about anything. This new tech comes out of the [incredible] Vanderbilt Nanomaterials and Energy Devices Laboratory. 

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Mantis Shrimp, is there anything you can’t teach us?

Image from a webcomic [yes there is more!] by- TheOatmeal

Image from a webcomic [yes there is more!] by- TheOatmeal

A big tenant for starting Loony Labs was an idea that nature provides us with answers to some of the biggest technical problems. So I am proud to announce some work done outside of the lab based on a true warrior of the animal kingdom, the one and only mantis shrimp.

The mantis shrimp for those of you who did not read the awesomely done comic by TheOatmeal has some of the most unique talents in the animal kingdom. Namely it’s tenacity for killing things with it’s powerful clubs.

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Self-Healing Composites- The Trick is Biology

3D microvascular networks for self-healing composites: Researchers were able to achieve more effective self-healing with the herringbone vascular network (top) over a parallel design (bottom), evidenced by the increased mixing (orange-yellow) of individual healing agents (red and green) across a fracture surface. Photo Credit: University of Illinois

3D microvascular networks for self-healing composites: Researchers were able to achieve more effective self-healing with the herringbone vascular network (top) over a parallel design (bottom), evidenced by the increased mixing (orange-yellow) of individual healing agents (red and green) across a fracture surface. Photo Credit: University of Illinois

Let’s face it, things wear out. Car tires go bye-bye, seals get worn, and Jets need constant upkeep to make sure that cracks in the fuselage [the main body of an aircraft] don’t become points of failure. Thanks to a new technique right out of the labs at the University of Illinois, things may still wear out, but they will also self heal.

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DNA nanobots perform in living cockroach

cockroach

Cockroaches, not the cutest thing on the planet.

The six million dollar man has nothing on these cockroaches. We can rebuild them, better than they were before. We have the technology, and as it turns out, we do! While DNA robots may not, in itself be a new thing,a study published in Nature Nanotechnology is definitely not only new, but it’s something to talk about.

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Surprising New Synthetic Muscle

Photo credit goes to Popular Mechanics

Photo credit goes to — Popular Mechanics

It’s the stuff movies are made from. A new “super” synthetic muscle that is 100 times stronger than the muscle in your own body. It can be easily made, can be reused millions of times, and reacts much in the same manner as it’s natural counterpart.

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Prosthetic hand gives amputee feeling again

Amputee Dennis Aabo Sorensen tests the prosthetic hand in Rome last year. Photo credit [and caption] goes to the independent

Amputee Dennis Aabo Sorensen tests the prosthetic hand in Rome last year. Photo credit [and caption] goes to the independent

Imagine losing an arm. You pick up your smartphone to read this and without even thinking about the thousands of advancements your phone has inevitably made to enable you to do that, the Doctor walks into the room and explains your choices.

Hook or hand?

Those are your choices, do you want a fake non-movable plastic hand, or would you prefer the hook? At that point you are probably wondering why they are now making smartphone watches, but you are stuck getting [almost] the same technology that was used during the civil war.

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It’s a swarm… of robots?!

roboticconst

The rather cute TERMES robots doing their thing. Photo credit goes to Eliza Grinnell, Harvard SEAS

You’ve seen a swarm of bees, you’ve seen a swarm of ants. But now, a research group at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have introduced us to a new kind of swarm, a swarm of robots.

The idea stems from, of all things, termites.

Normally, when you have any sort of large scale building operation, like a home for example, you have someone in charge telling each individual what to do. There are specialized functions for each person, a electrician, a carpenter, etc and if one of them walks out on the project, the project is stalled until they are replaced.

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