Adrian Covert

RFID Waves Visualized and Demystified Using a LED Wand

RFID Visualization:  Touch/Berg
Two Oslo-based design researchers have created a visual model of RFID fields in an effort to show curious designers how RFID looks and works, and help shed light on its functionality.

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Ever Wonder What Every Space Mission From the Last 50 Years Looks Like on One Map?

A Visual History of Space Exploration:  National Geographic
Well, here it is. National Geographic has plotted the route of every space mission carried out over the last 50 years onto a map of the solar system, giving a nice visual look at the history of space travel.

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Scientists Find Fundamental Maximum Limit for Processor Speeds

Silicon wafers. Quantum computing. Light-based processors. Any way you slice it, scientists say that processor speeds will absolutely max out at a certain point, regardless of how hardware or software are implemented.

Lev Levitin and Tommaso Toffoli, two researchers at the University of Boston, devised an equation which sets a fundamental limit for quantum computing speeds. According to their studies, a perfect quantum computer can generate 10 quadrillion more operations per second than fastest current processors. They estimate that the maximum speed will be reached in 75 years.

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UK Citizens Can Catch Crimes on Closed-Circuit Cameras for Cash

Starting next month, British citizens will be given the chance to watch a number of the country's closed-circuit security cameras in hopes of catching a crime and winning up to £1,000 as a reward. The "game," run by the website, lets participants log in online, alerting officials in real time via SMS and/or email.

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World's First All-Electric Locomotive Has Over 1,000 Batteries, Runs 24 Hours On a Single Charge

Norfolk Southern is the latest company to push a piece of heavy industrial machinery into green territory with their 100% electric NS 999 locomotive. The zero-emissions train makes use of 1,080 12-volt batteries that allows it to run for 24 hours on a single charge--all while carrying the same load as a conventional locomotive.

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Electron Microscopes Powered by Quantum Mechanics Could See Through Living Cells

Electron microscopes are great and all, but the problem is that you can't use them to get up close and personal inside a living cell without killing it. That might change, however, as scientists are working to use quantum mechanics to overcome this obstacle.

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The Computer Glitch As Art

Who says there's no beauty in making your computer spaz out on screen? In new book Glitch: The Design of Imperfection over 200 contributors took inspiration from those silicon freakouts to provide beautiful visuals that make the Windows BSOD look like the cold authoritarian artifact that it is.

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As Your Children Grow, So Does Kilobike

The tricky thing about buying a bike (or anything else) for a kid is that there's a 99.9-percent certainty they'll outgrow it. The genius behind the Kilobike is that while they're between the ages of 6 and 12, the bike will grow with them.

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Air-Driven Microprocessor Runs on Hand-Pumped Power

Scientists at the University of Michigan have created an air-powered microprocessor that is able to function without an electrical power source. It runs with just pneumatic valves and a handpump that pushes air through the system. The end result is a CPU that could eventually be used in a lab-on-a-chip device aimed at developing countries where electricity is scarce.

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ISS's New Reactor Uses Sound Waves to To Form Materials Attainable Only In Space

Space-DRUMS: The Space-DRUMS chamber makes use of 20 sound beams to produce materials free of container contamination. Semiconductors are especially an area of interest for the souped-up pressure cooker.  NASA

This dodecahedron-shaped device currently on board the International Space Station may resemble a landmine, but in fact it serves quite an opposite purpose: within, scientist Jacques Guigne hopes to use sound waves to cleanly manipulate a brew of ingredients into custom materials that can only be made in the unique conditions of space.

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Your Hybrid Car Is Hogging All the Rare Earth Metals

So it turns all those hybrid car owners who turn their environmentally conscious noses up have an unexpected caveat to their green-ness--their cars are sucking up rare earth metals at a disturbing rate.

Rare earth elements take up 17 slots on the periodic table, and are named not for their overall scarcity (they're actually quite common in trace elements throughout the Earth's core) but for the relatively uncommon minerals in which they were originally found; few rare earth elements exist in pure elemental form naturally.

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Japan Wants to Power 300,000 Homes With Wireless Energy From Space

Japan has serious plans to send a solar-panel-equipped satellite into space that could wirelessly beam a gigawatt-strong stream of power down to earth and power nearly 300,000 homes.

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What if You Had a Reality-Augmenting Lens Right In Your Eye?

It's the year 2023 and you're lost in a gigametropolis full of flying cars and robots who have achieved singularity. A guide literally appears before your eyes, giving you enough info about your surroundings to guide you on your way. The computerized contact lenses that Babak Parviz is developing could make this fantasy a reality.

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Möbius Strip Music Box Brings Non-Orientable Topology to the Trinket World

The brain-melting concept of the Möbius strip has been used to explain complex, meaningful ideas such as time travel. But this simple, trivial music box, which uses a punch strip in the shape of a Möbius strip, might be my favorite application of the idea.

The music box will play the song once through, then plays it again upside-down, creating an endless, repeating loop of music. It may not solve the secrets of the universe--but hey--it looks so cool. Can you recognize the upside-down-and-backwards tune?

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Solar Panels Built Into Roads Could Be the Future of Energy

The Department of Energy just gave $100,000 to upstart company Solar Roadways, to develop 12-by-12-foot solar panels, dubbed "Solar Roads," that can be embedded into roads, pumping power into the grid. The panels may also feature LED road warnings and built-in heating elements that could prevent roads from freezing.

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