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Month: May 2014

This Algae Battery Could Power A Tesla With 200X The Charge

In a small lab, near a lake at the edge of West Berkeley, sits the prototype of what could revolutionize battery power as we know it. The secret to this power? Algae. OK, just hang with me here. Lots of research has already been done on algae’s possible power capabilities. Prototype creator Adam Freeman says this new kind of battery, the one he’s working on, could power even a Tesla. And he says it could do it 200X greater than the current lithium-based battery used today. He’s created a research company called alGAS that aims to prove just that. Freeman says the algae battery also charges faster and lasts longer than current ion batteries used in, say, your cell phone, iPad… or a Tesla. As Freeman explains, paper-thin fibers in algae provide an easier surface for ions to get through, resulting in a charge in as little as 11 seconds, not minutes or hours. Here is how a current battery charges, using lots of rare earth minerals that may be going extinct or, worse, cause cancer: Though there isn’t much by way of illustration to show how this works for algae, Ryan Bethencourt, founder of the Berkeley Biotech Labs, was able to send me this brief video that sort of explains the process: Previous tests proved algae has a charge and could theoretically work as battery power, but what’s not known is how much of a...

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New Materials Let You Bake Your Own Robot

MIT researcher Daniela Rus wants to help you bake a robot. Not out of cake batter, silly (although that would be delicious.) Instead, Rus’ project involves cutting out and “printing” plastic materials that change shape when baked, essentially allowing for self-forming objects that build themselves. The system takes a 3D CAD file and flattens it, adding creases that react to the heat. When heat is applied, the creases force the various surfaces to fold over on themselves. For example, you could create a powerful spring that can pull on objects when heated or cut out a flat robot that then turns three-dimensional in your high-tech oven. By cutting slits into a substrate of the material, you create a sort of “origami crease pattern” that heat can then activate. “You’re doing this really complicated global control that moves every edge in the system at the same time,” said Rus in a release. “You want to design those edges in such a way that the result of composing all these motions, which actually interfere with each other, leads to the correct geometric structure.” This project could also produce a variable resistor by opening or closing an electric component and even create metallic muscles that contract when heated or current is applied. It’s obviously still in very early stages right now but Rus and her team will exhibit the technology at the...

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The Lomo’Instant Blows Through Crowdfunding Goal To Bring Artistic Instant Photography To The Masses

Lomography makes weird cameras that take weird pictures – on purpose. The New York-based company is famous for their work at rebuilding old fixed-focus camera styles that produced photographs that were a cross between a Soviet-era crime scene snapshot and Henri Cartier-Bresson’s street photography. Now the company is looking to launch the Lomo’Instant, an camera that uses special lenses and Fujifilm Instax Mini Film to take cool instant photos. The Lomo’Instant looks like no other instant camera. It comes in multiple colors and styles and features multiple modes including color filters, fisheye shots, and infinite long and multiple exposures. It has a maximum aperture setting of f/8 and can go down to f/22. The early bird model costs $69 for a black or white model with wide angle lens. A pledge of $160 gets you the camera in black or white with plus fisheye and portrait lens attachments and a flash. Lomo has been at the cool photography business for a while now and this looks to be a nice addition to their line. They were looking for $100,000 but passed that into half-a-million dollar territory, a milestone that they could surpass in the next few days. The cameras should ship in November. Remember: this is a film camera so you probably have to put some thought into how you shoot. However, if you and your mustachioed friends are...

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Nike SB Dunk High "Captain America"

Continuing to toy with different textures and motifs with each release, Nike SB‘s latest Dunk High takes on a patriotic American theme with this “Captain America” colorway. The upper features a mix of premium black faded leather and black suede with a blue and white star-covered panel around the ankle. Rounded out by a rubber gum outsole, the high-top sneakers are now available at select stockists including Renarts. Article source:...

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A Closer Look at the adidas Originals Stan Smith Primeknit

After getting an early look at the adidas Originals Stan Smith Primeknit, we’ve now got some better images of this remixed classic. For this rework, adidas Originals has thankfully kept to the original winning formula of a clean white upper with subtle green accents, only here the upper is a fully-knit one instead of the usual leather. No word on whether or not adidas Originals will introduce other colorways of this Primeknit version but in the meantime you can pick these up now at select stockists including Invincible for you $5,2800 NTD (approximately $175 USD). Article source:...

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