New material could up efficiency of concentrated solar power

Above a certain temperature, it becomes possible to replace the steam with supercritical carbon dioxide. This works more efficiently, potentially providing a boost of more than 20 percent, but it requires temperatures in excess of 1,000K. That makes things a bit more challenging, given that many metals will melt at such temperatures; others will react with carbon dioxide under these conditions. Finding a material that could work involves balancing a lot of factors, including heat and chemical resistance, ea

Source: New material could up efficiency of concentrated solar power | Ars Technica

Watch This Net Capture Orbital Space Debris for the First Time in History

The RemoveDEBRIS satellite consists of a large, 220-pound main satellite that carries two smaller cubesats and a net. The mission involves deploying these cubesats as artificial space junk and them capturing them to demonstrate the effectiveness debris removal technology. The first cubesat was successfully captured on Sunday evening with a net after six years of testing the technology on Earth.

Source: Watch This Net Capture Orbital Space Debris for the First Time in History – Motherboard

Going up! Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

The test involves a miniature elevator stand-in—a box just six centimetres (2.4 inches) long, three centimetres wide, and three centimetres high.

If all goes well, it will provide proof of concept by moving along a 10-metre cable suspended in space between two that will keep it taut.

Source: Going up! Japan to test mini ‘space elevator’

This Man Is Building an Armada of Saildrones to Conquer the Ocean

This plan rests on Richard Jenkins, an engineer, sailor, and adventurer who invented the saildrone more or less by accident. Jenkins doesn’t act like one of Silicon Valley’s world-conquering capitalist nerds. For starters, he tends to skip the usual platitudes about disruption to focus on sailing, beer, and sailing with beer. “What’s the definition of a sailor?” he asks while launching one of the drones off the Alameda dock. “A primitive organism for turning beer into urine.”

Source: This Man Is Building an Armada of Saildrones to Conquer the Ocean – Bloomberg

Guatemala’s Maya Society Featured Huge ‘Megalopolis,’ LiDAR Data Show

In what’s being hailed as a “major breakthrough” in Maya archaeology, researchers have identified the ruins of more than 60,000 houses, palaces, elevated highways, and other human-made features that have been hidden for centuries under the jungles of northern Guatemala.

Source: Guatemala’s Maya Society Featured Huge ‘Megalopolis,’ LiDAR Data Show

Future of carbon fibre is here

The technology, developed by Carbon Nexus PhD student Maxime Maghe and Carbon Nexus General Manager Steve Atkiss, has the potential to reduce the energy used in carbon fibre production by 75 per cent and reduces the production process time from around 80 minutes to under 15 minutes.

In addition, the specialised carbon fibre production machinery required is expected to cost around 50 per cent less than current equipment.

Source: Future of carbon fibre is here : Deakin Invenio

Tesla’s Autopilot Vindicated With 40% Drop in Crashes

It turns out that, according to the data Tesla gave investigators, installing Autopilot prevents crashes—by an astonishing 40 percent.

Source: Tesla’s Autopilot Vindicated With 40% Drop in Crashes – Bloomberg

In October, the company began shipping new Autopilot hardware with enhanced sensors that it says will eventually enable fully autonomous driving. Every car now ships with eight cameras and a dozen sensors to give 360-degree visibility. The company is rolling out new features that make use of the sensor suite in regular over-the-air updates.

Lincoln Laboratory demonstrates highly accurate vehicle localization under adverse weather conditions

The reliance on static underground features is LGPR’s advantage as a complement to other localization methods, even in fair weather conditions. The use of a subsurface map reduces the need for continual modifications to high-resolution road maps. Fusing GPS, lidar, camera, and LGPR results yields a system that can accurately localize even when one of the sensing modes fails. This “fail-safe” capability will be necessary to the development of dependable autonomous vehicles that can handle demanding ground environments.

Source: MIT Lincoln Laboratory: News: Lincoln Laboratory demonstrates highly accurate vehicle localization under adverse weather conditions

World’s First 1,000-Processor Chip

Each processor core can run its own small program independently of the others, which is a fundamentally more flexible approach than so-called Single-Instruction-Multiple-Data approaches utilized by processors such as GPUs; the idea is to break an application up into many small pieces, each of which can run in parallel on different processors, enabling high throughput with lower energy use, Baas said.

Because each processor is independently clocked, it can shut itself down to further save energy when not needed, said graduate student Brent Bohnenstiehl, who developed the principal architecture.

Source: World’s First 1,000-Processor Chip | UC Davis

Flat lens promises possible revolution in optics

The lens is quite unlike the curved disks of glass familiar from cameras and binoculars. Instead, it is made of a thin layer of transparent quartz coated in millions of tiny pillars, each just tens of nanometres across and hundreds high.

Singly, each pillar interacts strongly with light. Their combined effect is to slice up a light beam and remould it as the rays pass through the array

Source: Flat lens promises possible revolution in optics – BBC News

“The quality of our images is actually better than with a state-of-the-art objective lens. I think it is no exaggeration to say that this is potentially revolutionary.”