Wednesday, January 19, 2011

New Invention Ideas

Bionic Eyes 

science-inventionsAs our population ages, impaired vision caused by damaged retinas has increased.
Among the new invention ideas to improve vision is to use silicon chips that can stimulate the retina to respond to light. But these chips are large and can tear or otherwise damage surrounding eye tissue over time.
Jeffrey Olsen, of the University of Colorado Hospital, has invented light amplifying "quantum" dots. This use of nanotechnology increases the light received by the retina so that images are brighter.
The "quantum" dots fluoresce when hit by photons so the images are more visible to functioning light sensitive cells.
The dots act as semiconductors and are implanted into the retina. They are much smaller than silicon chips.
To appreciate the miniature world of nanotechnology, it helps to get an idea of the sizes involved. A nanometer (nm) is the unit of measurement on the nanoscale. A nanometer is smaller than the wavelength of visible light or a hundred thousand times smaller than the width of a human hair.
On the nanoscale, atoms are assembled to make the latest science inventions - such as light amplifying "quantum" dots.


Viral Micro-batteries
latest-science-inventionsResearchers at MIT have created the world's first batteries constructed from microscopic viruses.
Viruses are genetically engineered to attract specific anode and cathode materials, molecules like cobalt oxide from a solution, which form wires packed together to create electrodes smaller than a human cell.
Batteries consist of two opposing electrodes, anode and cathode, separated by an electrolyte.
"Once you do the genetic engineering with the viruses themselves, you pour in the solution and they grow the right combination of these materials on them," says professor Angela Belcher.
The team is working on practical applications for this new invention idea, which include fiber configurations, smaller than a human cell, spun like silk and integrated into textiles providing a wearable power source. Nano-films could also be printed or laminated to electronic devices for the same purpose.
The research is being funded by the Army Research Office Institute of Collaborative Biotechnologies, the Army Research Office Institute of Soldier Nanotechnologies, and the David and Lucille Packard Foundation.


Power Leap
electricity-inventionElizabeth Redmond of Chicago is using the law of thermodynamics to create floor tiles that compress to generate and distribute electricity.
The tiles convert kinetic energy into electrical energy from the pressure exerted by people walking on them.
They are intended for high traffic areas such as sidewalks, public transport platforms etc.
"Energy can neither be created nor destroyed. This project is exactly about that," says the 23 year old inventor.
The innovative flooring system is a solution to wasted human kinetic energy by harnessing it from pedestrian foot traffic to generate electricity for the community.


NanoTube - Hair-Thin Loudspeakers
latest-science-inventionsShoushan Fan, Kaili Jiang and Lin Xiao, scientists at Tsinghua University in Beijing, have invented a super-thin loudspeaker (one thousandth the width of a human hair).
The material is flexible, transparent, stretchable - uses no magnets or moving parts - and produces sound quality as good as conventional speakers.
An audio frequency current is sent through a sheet of carbon nanotube to generate sound by vibrating surrounding air molecules.
The sheet of film experiences rapid temperature oscillations from the current causing pressure oscillations in the surrounding air, which creates sound pressure waves.
The film doesn't vibrate or move and can produce sound while being flexed or stretched, bent or even when partly damaged.
The applications for this new invention idea appear limitless.
Combined with wireless technology, the nanotube film could be incorporated into textiles converting your favorite sweater into an wearable ipod.
The film can be laminated to a computer or television to replace conventional speakers. It can be attached to any surface - ceilings, walls, doors, car interiors - anywhere you wish to create acoustical sound.


Solar Foil - The Future of Solar Energy
solar-inventionAnil Sethi, chief executive of the Swiss company Flison, holds a dark polymer foil. A paper-thin foil 200 times lighter than glass solar material. So light, it can be stuck to the sides of a building. So light, it can be mass-produced in rolls like packaging material.
This is solar film. This new invention idea is made from a semiconductor compound that is embedded into polymer foil. A compound that absorbs light by freeing electrons, which can generate electricity for heating, lighting and air-conditioning.
Just a small piece can power a mobile phone or laptop.
It will even work on a grey, cloudy day and it should be commercially available by 2010.
"We don't need subsidies, we just need governments to get out of the way and do no harm. They've spent $170 billion subsidizing nuclear power over the last thirty years," says Sethi.
The solar industry is expected to surpass wind power.
According to Michael Rogol, a solar expert with Credit Lyonnais, the industry will grow to $40 billion by 2010, especially in Japan and Germany where green energy laws have forced utitilies to purchase surplus electricity from households.
Solar foil technology is accelerating so fast that the cost for electricity per watt could be 70 cents within a few years and around 30 cents within a decade.
"This is a very powerful technology," says Mike Splinter, chief executive of the U.S. based semiconductor company Appied Materials.
Populations across Asia and Africa that do not have networks of electrical grids, could jump into the solar age with this technology, similar to how they jumped into wireless phones.
Electrical utilities in Japan and Germany have already seen diminishing profits.
But Jeroen Van de Veer, chief executive at Shell Oil assures us that oil will be around for awhile, "We have invested a bit in all forms of renewable energy ourselves and maybe we'll find a winner one day. But the reality is that in twenty years time we'll still be using more oil than now."


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