Technology videos

Flow batteries are rechargeable energy storage systems that do their job by storing energy in contained liquid chemicals divided by a membrane layer. Once the battery has been filled by drawing electrons away from a positively-charged liquid mixture into a negatively-charged fluid, an electric current is created when the battery is turned on and the electron movement goes in the opposite direction from the negative to the positive solution. The resultant cell voltage generated by this electron shift is typically in the region of 2 volts. Researchers at Harvard University have now come up with a new way to create these alkaline flow batteries making use of a modified natural vitamin, known as vitamin B2. Initially, the researchers replaced the metal ions that normally reside within the products of acidic electrolytes, with organic compounds called quinones. This was followed by a research study where they created a quinone able to operate in alkaline fluids by replacing the original bromine additive with ferrocyanide, a common anti-caking substance used in kitchen salt. This work eventually led to the hunt for a much more environmentally-friendly quinone, before the researchers realised that the natural vitamin B2 could be used as a substitute. Making use of molecules such as vitamin B2 opened up a new world of similar natural molecules for the group to explore, with the goal of creating a high-performing, long-lasting, organic-based flow battery. Like vitamin B2, many of these molecular derivatives are non-toxic and are able to be manufactured inexpensively, so the scientists hope that their use could one day facilitate large, ineffective power storage from renewable sources such as wind and solar.


At the MIT Media Laboratory, the Tangible Media Group thinks the foreseeable future of the computer is tactile. Revealed recently, the inFORM is MIT’s brand-new scrying pool for visualizing the user interfaces of the future. Practically like a board of living bricks, the inFORM is a structure that three-dimensionally alters form, enabling individuals to not just connect with online information but also hold hands with an individual many kilometers away. It’s essentially an elaborate Pinscreen, any of those executive workdesk playthings that enables you to make an approximate 3-D design of anything by pushing it into a base of smoothed pins. With inFORM, each one of those “pins” is attached to an electric motor manipulated by an adjacent laptop computer, which can reposition the pins to transcribe digital material in physical form, and is able to even have an effect on real-life materials as a result of being connected to a modified Microsoft Kinect.


Over the last few years, LED systems have led to debate in the growroom. The fundamental issue: Do they really work? LED lighting undoubtedly deliver on power savings and produce less heat compared to high-pressure sodium and metal-halide lamps (click on the link for an in-depth review of LED Grow Lights), however the majority of seasoned gardeners continue to be unconvinced. Perhaps the LED setup at Rocky Mountain High dispensary in Denver, Colorado will reform a handful of hearts. Chief growing publisher Danny Danko checks out this outstanding LED operation.


Ion Torrent systems uses a brand-new strategy to DNA sequencing, making it a lot faster, less complex, and even more cost effective than ever before. In contrast to alternative sequencing systems, Ion Torrent devices sequence DNA with a semiconductor chip, just like the semiconductor in your electronic camera. Although the microchip your electronic camera has a sensing level blanketed with countless pixels that decode light into electronic data, an Ion chip has countless wells covering those pixels. Any time a nucleotide is actually combined into an one strand of DNA, a hydrogen ion is produced. This is exactly how the Ion Torrent system decodes DNA, by reading this synthetic modification straight into the well on the chip. Essentially, each well functions as the tiniest pH meter ever made.