Stretchable Tablet may be future reality

Have you ever thought of having a Tablet that can be stretched from small to a large size, or a wallpaper that turns a wall into an electronic display? This imagination may soon be a future reality.

Engineering researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have developed the first stretchable integrated circuit that is made entirely using an inkjet printer, raising the possibility of inexpensive mass production of smart fabric.

“We can conceivably make the costs of producing flexible electronics comparable to the costs of printing newspapers. Our work could soon lead to printed displays that can easily be stretched to larger sizes, as well as wearable electronics and soft robotics applications,” said Chuan Wang, Assistant Professor at MSU.

Since the material can be produced on a standard printer, it has a major potential cost-advantage over current technologies that are expensive to manufacture.

According to the researchers, the smart fabric is made up of several materials fabricated from nanomaterials and organic compounds.

“These compounds are dissolved in solution to produce different electronic inks, which are run through the printer to make the devices,” a paper published in the journal ACS Nano noted.

Researchers created an elastic material, the circuit and the organic light-emitting diode, or OLED from the ink.

Researchers estimate that in a year or two, they will be able to combine the circuit and OLED into a single pixel, and once that is done, the smart fabric can be potentially commercialised.

“Conceivably, the stretchable electronic fabric can be folded and put in one’s pocket without breaking. This is an advantage over current ‘flexible’ electronics material technology that cannot be folded,” added Wang.

“We have taken it one big step beyond the flexible screens that are about to become commercially available,” Wang added.

Amazon CEO Bezos’ Blue Origin Successfully Lands Reusable Rocket

The private space firm founded by Internet entrepreneur Jeff Bezos claimed a breakthrough for its space travel efforts Tuesday with the launch of a reusable rocket.

Bezos announced the milestone with his first Twitter message following the launch and return of the rocket by his firm, Blue Origin.

“The rarest of beasts a used rocket. Controlled landing not easy, but done right, can look easy. Check out video,” said the tweet, with a link to a YouTube video.

The unmanned New Shepard rocket blasted off from its west Texas launch site and then returned and landed safely, representing a coup for spaceflight.

“Rockets have always been expendable. Not anymore,” Bezos said in a blog post on the Blue Origin website.

Bezos told CBS This Morning that the successful launch and return is a major step toward enabling space travel.

“That’s a game-changer because it changes the cost structure of space travel completely,” he said.

“Our long term vision is millions of people living and working in space and continuing to explore the solar system and reusability is a total game-changer for that.”

Bezos added that the company would continue “a very methodical test program” as it prepares its space travel program.

‘Flying robot’
“One of the good things of this vehicle is that it can fly autonomously,” he said.

“It’s kind of a flying robot that can fly into space, bring itself back and land so we don’t have to put pilots at risk during the test program. Once we are completely confident in the vehicle we will start taking people up into space.”

He noted that it would take time to figure out details for space travel but that “as soon as we have ticket information we will have the price.”

The successful launch and landing puts Blue Origin ahead of rival SpaceX founded by another Internet entrepreneur, Elon Musk which has so far failed to accomplish the same feat.

“This flight validates our vehicle architecture and design,” Bezos said in his blog post.

He added that the video showed that “we took the liberty of engineering all the drama out of the landing” with a controlled descent.

“Our unique ring fin shifted the center of pressure aft to help control reentry and descent… hydraulically actuated fins steered the vehicle through 119-mph high-altitude crosswinds to a location precisely aligned with and 5,000 feet above the landing pad; then the highly-throttleable BE-3 engine re-ignited to slow the booster as the landing gear deployed and the vehicle descended the last 100 feet at 4.4 mph to touchdown on the pad.”

In a Twitter message, Musk said “Congrats to Jeff Bezos and the BO team for achieving VTOL on their booster,” referring to vertical takeoff and landing.

New Method to 3D Print Customised Medical Devices Developed

Researchers have developed a 3D printing technology that creates medical devices such as catheters for premature newborns and surgical implants customised according to individual patients.

The biomedical devices they are developing will be both stronger and lighter than current models and, with their customised design, ensure an appropriate fit.

One specific application of this new technology is developing patient-specific catheters, especially for premature newborns.

“With neonatal care, each baby is a different size, each baby has a different set of problems,” said lead researcher Randall Erb, assistant professor at Northeastern University in US.

“If you can print a catheter whose geometry is specific to the individual patient, you can insert it up to a certain critical spot, you can avoid puncturing veins, and you can expedite delivery of the contents,” said Erb.

The new technology enables researchers to control how the ceramic fibres are arranged – and hence control the mechanical properties of the material itself, the researchers said.

That control is critical if you are crafting devices with complex architectures, such as customised miniature biomedical devices.

Within a single patient-specific device, the corners, the curves, and the holes must all be reinforced by ceramic fibres arranged in just the right configuration to make the device durable.

This is the strategy taken by many natural composites from bones to trees.

“We are following nature’s lead by taking really simple building blocks but organising them in a fashion that results in really impressive mechanical properties,” said Joshua Martin, a doctoral candidate at Northeastern University.

Using magnets, Erb and Martin’s 3D printing method aligns each minuscule fibre in the direction that conforms precisely to the geometry of the item being printed.

The magnets are the defining ingredient in their 3D printing technology.

First the researchers “magnetise” the ceramic fibres by dusting them very lightly with iron oxide, which, Martin notes, has already been approved by US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for drug-delivery applications.

They then apply ultralow magnetic fields to individual sections of the composite material – the ceramic fibres immersed in liquid plastic – to align the fibres according to the exacting specifications dictated by the product they are printing.

Finally, in a process called “stereolithography,” they build the product, layer by layer, using a computer-controlled laser beam that hardens the plastic. Each six-by-six inch layer takes a mere minute to complete.

The study was published in the journal Nature Communications.

Massive Galaxy Cluster Spotted 8.5 Billion Light-Years Away

Astronomers have discovered a giant cluster of galaxies in a very remote part of the universe that is touted as the most massive structure yet found at such great distance.

The galaxy cluster, located 8.5 billion light-years away, was spotted with Nasa’s Spitzer Space Telescope and Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE).

Galaxy clusters are gravitationally bound groups of thousands of galaxies, which contain hundreds of billions of stars.

The clusters grow bigger and bigger over time as they acquire new members.

“Based on our understanding of how galaxy clusters grow from the very beginning of our universe, this cluster should be one of the five most massive in existence at that time,” said study co-author Peter Eisenhardt, project scientist for WISE at Nasa’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California.

The galaxy cluster — called Massive Overdense Object (MOO) J1142+1527 — existed 8.5 billion years ago, long before Earth was formed.

In coming years, the team plans to sift through more than 1,700 additional galaxy cluster candidates with Spitzer, looking for the biggest of the bunch.

“Once we find the most massive clusters, we can start to investigate how galaxies evolved in these extreme environments,” the authors noted in a Nasa statement.

Drones to Help Create Self-Repairing Cities of the Future

An army of drones could soon keep a watchful eye over streets in the UK, repairing things like potholes and busted street lamps, scientists say.

Researchers from the University of Leeds in UK are leading a pioneering GBP 4.2 million national infrastructure research project with the vision of creating self-repairing cities.

The project could soon see an army of drones that detect problems with infrastructure as soon as they pop up, to prevent them developing into inconvenient roadworks or other larger repair projects,’Gizmag’ reported.

“We want to make Leeds the first city in the world to have zero disruption from street works,” said Phil Purnell, professor at the university’s School of Civil Engineering.

“We can support infrastructure which can be entirely maintained by robots and make the disruption caused by the constant digging up the road in our cities a thing of the past,” Purnell said.

The researchers will initially develop new robot designs and technologies in three areas – “Perch and Repair”, “Perceive and Patch” and “Fire and forget”.

“Perch and Repair” aims to develop drones that can perch on structures like birds at height and perform repair tasks, such as repairing street lights.

The second, “Perceive and Patch” will develop drones able to autonomously inspect, diagnose, repair and prevent potholes in roads.

“Fire and forget” aims to develop robots which will operate indefinitely within live utility pipes performing inspection, repair, metering and reporting tasks. “Detecting faults and weaknesses early and then quickly performing smart repairs is the key,” said Rob Richardson, director of the National Facility for Innovative Robotic Systems at the university.

“Our robots will undertake precision repairs and avoid the need for large construction vehicles in the heart of our cities. We will use the unique capabilities of our robotic facility to make new, more capable robots,” Richardson said.

“The critical part of this project is being proactive rather than reactive,” said Raul Fuentes, from the School of Civil Engineering at the university. “This is crucial to ensuring we have sustainable and resilient infrastructure. We will target our interventions so that they are invisible to the human eye, before they become a real problem,” he said.

New Ion Drive Could Power Round Trip to Mars on Single Tank of Fuel

A student from University of Sydney claims to have created a technique that has the potential to take humans to Mars and back on a single tank of fuel.

Paddy Neumann, a Ph.D. student, explained that his ion thrusters work by hurling particles backwards so that a spacecraft can be propelled forwards, Daily Mail reported.

The ion drive works by bombarding the fuel source with electric arcs, which causes ions to be discarded. These ions then move through a magnetic nozzle, resulting in forward propulsion.

The innovative part of Neumann’s drive is the type of fuel that was used.

While High Power Electric Propulsion (HiPEP) system runs on xenon gas, Neumann’s ion drive can instead run on various metals, many of which can be found in space junk.

When it comes to acceleration, HiPEP may not be ideal to launch a spacecraft off a planet.

The current record holder for fuel efficiency of an ion drive is Nasa with its High Power Electric Propulsion (HiPEP) system, which allows 9,600 seconds of impulse.

This is a measure of thruster efficiency and is sometimes called ‘bounce per ounce’. The new drive developed by Neumann has achieved up to 14,690, according to student newspaper Honi Soit.

Neumann said it could power a spacecraft to “Mars and back on one tank of fuel”.

Neumann has applied for a patent and will be presenting his results on the 15th Australian Space Research Conference on September 30.

Easy Drone XL Pro Offers 45 Minute Flight Time

Easy Drone XL Pro Offers 45 Minute Flight Time

Ivan Stamatovski from Easy Aerial has launched a new quadcopter over on the Kickstarter crowdfunding website which is capable of flying for up to 45 minutes on a single charge.

The Easy Drone XL Pro drone takes the form of a modular design that has been specifically created to be portable yet capable of being deployed in just one minute.

Watch the video below to learn more about the Easy Aerial drone that is looking to raise $30,000 over the next 60 days via the Kickstarter website.

WE ARE BACK ON KICKSTARTER TO FUND THE EASY DRONE XL PRO – OUR NEWEST ADDITION TO THE EASY DRONE FAMILY. LAST YEAR WHEN WE LAUNCHED OUR EASY DRONE SERIES HERE ON KICKSTARTER WE GAINED A LOT OF HAPPY CUSTOMERS WORLDWIDE. THEY HELPED US TREMENDOUSLY TEST AND IMPROVE OUR MODULAR DESIGN AND PROVIDED INVALUABLE FEEDBACK.

WELL FIRST OFF, IT CAN STAY IN THE AIR FOR 45 MINUTES ON ONE BATTERY CHARGE. UNHEARD OF RIGHT? WE THOUGHT SO. IT SPANS AN AMAZING 28 INCHES (700MM) FROM MOTOR TO MOTOR DIAGONALLY, IN COMPARISON THE ORIGINAL DJI PHANTOM HAS 14 IN (350MM) SPAN. YOU DO THE MATH.

EVEN THOUGH IT’S TWICE THE SIZE IT FITS IN THE SAME BACKPACK AS A 350MM FRAME INCLUDING THE REMOTE, THE BATTERY, CHARGER, ETC., WITH ROOM TO SPARE. EASY DRONE XL PRO CAN EASILY LIFT A MIRRORLESS BACK CAMERA ON A GIMBAL WITH COMBINED WEIGHT OF UP TO 3 LBS (1.4 KG). CHECK BELOW FOR A LIST OF EXAMPLE CAMERAS YOU COULD USE.

Jump over to the Kickstarter website for full specifications and the ability to pledge with rewards starting from just $1,495 via the link below.

Ad-Free YouTube May Launch Next Month

youtube adfreeRumors have been circulating for a while now that an ad-free YouTube could be coming very soon. YouTube has always been free to use, with ads being played before videos which is how YouTube and content creators monetize these videos.

So the big question is, when will this ad-free YouTube launch? According to one report from Re/code, we may have an idea. An email sent from YouTube to content owners suggests that this ad-free version could be launched in late October. The email reportedly tells content owners that they need to agree to YouTube’s new terms by October 22 or their videos will no longer be publicly listed. So if this is true, it will be happening soon.

We have no info about pricing of the service, but rumors suggest that YouTube was thinking about a $10 a month subscription. Take it with a grain of salt because nothing is official yet. We will just have to wait and see.

Google does have an event planned for the 29th of September where we think the new Nexus handsets will be launched, so who knows, maybe we will get some updates about YouTube then as well. We will let you know when we hear more.

Microsoft Virtual Reality Kit Unveiled As Possible Competitor To Google Cardboard

Microsoft Virtual Reality Kit

As well as announcing a new development kit for the Raspberry Pi mini PC to help those interested in running Windows 10 on the Pi mini PC, and aid in the creation of Internet of Things projects.

Microsoft has also unveiled a possible future competitor to the innovative Google Cardboard virtual reality device, with the unveiling of the Microsoft VR kit.

Although at the current time the Microsoft VR kit is not currently available to consumers, it has been created for a hackathon that Microsoft is holding in Russia. To build applications for the new virtual reality kit during an event that will be taking place next month on October 17th.

If you are interested in taking part in the virtual reality hackathon event organised by Microsoft in Russia, jump over to the signup page located here. Microsoft explains more (translated from Russian) :

SPEND A WEEKEND IN AN ATMOSPHERE OF CREATIVITY AND CREATIVITY. SIGN UP AND COME TO THE HACKATHON FOR CREATING APPLICATIONS OF VIRTUAL REALITY (VR) ON WINDOWS. SHARE IDEAS, COMMENTS FROM EXPERTS, THE OPPORTUNITY TO FIND LIKE-MINDED TEAM. FOR SUCCESSFUL IDEAS WILL BE GIVEN A SET OF CARDBOARD, WHICH YOU CAN USE TO TEST YOUR APPLICATION.

TRADITIONALLY, WE WILL CHOOSE THE BEST THREE PROJECTS AND WILL GIVE THE WINNING TEAM PRIZES. IN ADDITION, YOU ARE WAITING FOR THE NOMINATION OF OUR PARTNERS! BEST VR GAME, BEST EDUCATIONAL VR PROJECT AND BEST CORPORATE VR PROJECT

The Max Desktop 3D Printer Launches From $900

The Max Desktop 3D Printer

MaherSoft has this week announced the launch of their new Max desktop 3D printer that will be showcased for the first time during next month’s 3D Printing World Expo 2015 taking place in Mumbai from October 9 to 10th.

Features of the new desktop 3D printer include a print bed size of 203.2 x 203.2 x 152.4 mm and the ability to print PLA filaments

The new Max 3D printer is currently available at a limited time price of just $900, with shipping expected to start before the end of the year on in early December. MaherSoft explains a little more :

MAX IS A RETAIL 3D PRINTER MEANT FOR THE CONSUMER MARKET. IT IS BUILT ON A RIGID METAL FRAME STRUCTURE TO GIVE IT STRENGTH AND REDUCE THE WEAR AND TEAR FROM THE CONSTANT MECHANICAL MOVEMENT.

THE EXPERIENCE WE GAINED FROM DEVELOPING INDIE, WE USED IN DEVELOPING MAX TO DELIVER SEAMLESS CONSUMER 3D PRINTING EXPERIENCE. MAX SUPPORTS PLA (POLY LACTIC ACID). ITS DETACHABLE BED MAKES IT EASY FOR CUSTOMER TO EASILY REMOVE PRINTED PARTS. ITS INTUITIVE LCD AND SD CARD INTERFACE ALLOWS SEAMLESS TRANSFER AND MONITORING OF PRINTS.