Spiderweb Space Sail

Imagine how many exploratory space probes could be built and then sent off into space to travel the universe.

Article: Space ‘spiderwebs’ could propel future probes

A new type of solar sail has been woven by a team of scientists in Finland. The spiderweb-like sail is designed to catch the wind of ionised gas that blows from the Sun, carrying spacecraft to the outer reaches of the solar system, or letting them tack back and forth through the asteroid belt on exploration or mining missions.

The new sail differs from the more conventional type of solar sail, which is designed to use the gentle pressure of sunlight to move a spacecraft. Read more

Superlens

This is an amazing breakthrough and one that has practical applications

Article: Simple ‘superlens’ sharpens focusing power

A simple-to-make “superlens” can focus 10 times more sharply than a conventional lens. It could shrink the size of features on computer chips, or help power gadgets without wires.

No matter how powerful a conventional lens, it cannot focus light down to more than about half its wavelength, the “diffraction limit“. This limits the amount of data that can be stored on a CD, and the size of features on computer chips. Read more

Good Gas?

Creative thinking and high oil prices will see more ideas like this

Article: Scientists unlock frozen natural gas

A remote drilling rig high in the Mackenzie Delta has become the site of a breakthrough that could one day revolutionize the world’s energy supply.

For the first time, Canadian and Japanese researchers have managed to efficiently produce a constant stream of natural gas from ice-like gas hydrates that, worldwide, dwarf all known fossil fuel deposits combined. Read more

Racetrack Memory

And the race is on! Just imagine what you could store with that much memory

Scientists unveil revolutionary ‘racetrack’ computer memory
By Roger Highfield, Science Editor

A Californian team has developed a new generation of memory that combines the high performance and reliability of solid state “flash” memory, stored in microchips, with the high capacity of the PC’s hard disk drive, which is cheap but contains moving parts and is slow.

In two papers in the journal Science, Dr Stuart Parkin and colleagues at the IBM Almaden Research Centre in San Jose describe a revolutionary technology dubbed “racetrack” memory, or RM memory.

The team believes that it marks a milestone that could lead to electronic devices capable of storing far more data in the same amount of space than is possible today, with lightning-fast boot times, far lower cost and unprecedented stability and durability. Read more

Expensive way to light a room, but this is very cool!

I love invention and especially when it’s something like this, it serves a purpose, sort of, and you have to be able to afford it. But the thing is it looks great and if I could afford it I would buy it in a second. Just think of all the ways you could use it. I’d like to have an entry hallway with this lining the walls and when guests enter the hall from the front door the overhead lights would extinguish and the walls would then glow. Read more

Rotacaster – Which way do you want to go?

rotocaster.jpg

I like the thinking behind this invention, a wheel inside a wheel. By adding small wheels to the larger wheel it allows you to move in any direction. Good one…

The Rotacaster wheel was a show-stopper at the 2007 ProMat Expo in Chicago.

The exhibition drew 35,000 visitors to inspect the wares of the materials handling market.

Tuncurry designer Graham Guile’s creation was hailed “the most innovative product at the show.”

Company CEO Peter McKinnon described the prospects of Rotacaster Wheel Limited, currently being assessed by US consultants, as “very positive.”

“The response has been very encouraging, and now we’re finalising negotiations for larger premises and additional machinery in Tuncurry.”

The little gadget at the centre of all the fuss is a fixed wheel that uses dozens of embedded rollers to move in all directions, including directly sideways.

Read more