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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Promising products and interesting innovations

- Courtesy Scott Adams

Today’s Top Tech:

  • Electricity-free fridge fights food spoilage
  • Laser-lit magnetic detector
  • Liquid-metal printed flexible circuits

Laser-lit magnetic detector


A new magnetic-field detector developed at MIT is 1,000 times moreenergy-efficient than its predecessors.
Kurzweill AI reportsit could lead to miniature devices for brain-wave sensing, medical, and materials imaging, contraband detection, and geological exploration.
How’s it work? Laser light bounces around inside a synthetic diamond, excites “nitrogen vacancies,” which can measure magnetic fields.

Electricity-free fridge fights food spoilage


A student at MIT created a mobile cooler device that operates on sunshine and water.
The “Evaptainer” was inspired by the consequences of food spoilage in developing nations: In parts of Africa, 40 percent of produce spoils before it reaches the consumer.
The container uses an evaporative cooling process that extracts heat out of the interior using aluminum plates and special fabric. It requires six liters of water to work and keeps food cold and fresh for 12 hours,CNN reports here.

Liquid-metal printed flexible circuits


New inkjet-printing technology produces flexible electronics made of liquid-metal alloys.
The result could be wearable circuits, and “soft robots,” Purdue University says, that can be mass produced.
“Elastic technologies could make possible a new class of pliable robots and stretchable garments that people might wear to interact with computers or for therapeutic purposes, the university adds. “However, new manufacturing techniques must be developed before soft machines become commercially feasible. We want to create stretchable electronics that might be compatible with soft machines, such as robots that need to squeeze through small spaces, or wearable technologies that aren’t restrictive of motion. Conductors made from liquid metal can stretch and deform without breaking.”
The new potential manufacturing approach focuses on harnessing inkjet printing to create devices made of liquid alloys. The process allows printing “flexible and stretchable conductors onto anything, including elastic materials and fabrics.”
Because liquid metal in its native form is not inkjet-able, the researchers created “liquid metal nanoparticles that are small enough to pass through an inkjet nozzle. Sonicating liquid metal in a carrier solvent, such as ethanol, both creates the nanoparticles and disperses them in the solvent. Then we can print the ink onto any substrate. The ethanol evaporates away so we are just left with liquid metal nanoparticles on a surface.”

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