Printable A3-sized solar cells hit a new milestone in green energy
Imagine a future where solar panels speed off the presses, like newspaper. Australian scientists have brought us one step closer to that reality.
Researchers from the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium (VICOSC) have developed a printer that can print 10 meters of flexible solar cells a minute. Unlike traditional silicon solar cells, printed solar cells are made using organic semi-conducting polymers, which can be dissolved in a solvent and used like an ink, allowing solar cells to be printed.
Not only can the VICOSC machine print flexible A3 solar cells, the machine can print directly on to steel, opening up the possibility for solar cells to be embedded directly into building materials.
“Eventually we see these being laminated to windows that line skyscrapers,” said David Jones, a researcher at University of Melbourne who is involved with the work. “By printing directly to materials like steel, we’ll also be able to embed cells onto roofing materials.”
Printing 10 meters of solar cells in a minute means good things for solar.
explore-blog: What antiheroes teach us about the heroic.
ACME Product Catalog
Was there anything ACME didn’t have? Portable holes, Invisible Paint, and Jet-Propelled Pogo Sticks: basically if you were crazy enough to dream it, odds are they had it tucked away in their warehouse somewhere, ready for rush order. Kind of like how I envision Amazon, tons of conveyor belts and automated claw cranes ready to snatch up all the inflatable sheep, colored minerals, and wolf urine you ordered late at night while drunk.
I’m a little late to the discussion, but I wanted to make sure I gave this topic the thought it deserved. Two weeks back, I - like many others - shotgunned House of Cards over the course of a couple days. I’d come down with some sort of ebola-esque virus, rendering me unable to do much outside of consuming massive quantities of over-the-counter medication and equally massive quantities of Netflix. Thus, in a perfect storm of “why the fuck not” I decided to devote what little energy I had to seeing whether House of Cards was really all Netflix professed it to be.
Here’s the short answer: Yes, House of Cards may well be the most important and influential piece of content this year - but for many reasons that I hadn’t predicted. While it’s very existence was enough to make it interesting from a business perspective, there were certain aspects of its execution that really pushed it beyond curiosity and into importance. No, I’m not talking about the oft-cited breaking of the fourth wall (which you either buy into early or spent the remaining 12 hours or so hating everything about) but rather, certain other aspects of the final product turned out to be significant game-changers for both the creative and business models of television as a whole - and the implications are staggering.
Let’s break it down:
This brilliant post summarizes the social issues around Google Glass and comparable interfaces of the (near) future. Well said, Nina!
The thing about Google Glass is that it’s success will not be determined by the people who use it: it will be determined by everybody around the people who use it. Looking to the device that Glass ultimately wants to replace, the mobile phone has not glided to its place atop the technology food chain without acquiring some of that messy baggy we call culture. What we do with our phones is not just about utility, but some of it is performative, about conveying messages to those around us. Think of the act of sitting down at a table to share a meal with a friend, silencing our phones and turning the screen face down (so we can’t see it), or dropping the phone into a bag. This isn’t about utility: it is a show of our presence to a conversation. To think that Glass might avoid this show just because it sits on our face seems a bit preposterous to me.
Another thing about phones is that they have become so much more than phones. Ian Bogost hints at why the Wii U is so interesting: it plays with that tension between the large screens around us that we eschew for the tiny glowing rectangles.
The sensation of being split between the television and the handheld computer feels strange and awkward. But isn’t this precisely how all of us feel today, all the time? Torn between the lush absorption of newly cinematic television and the lo-fi repetition of streams of text and image on our mobile phones and tablets? If the Wii attached to television’s past, the Wii U couples to its present: still seemingly unassailable, the most powerful mass medium around, delivering more and more immersion annually, yet substantially eroded by tiny devices delivering quips, quotes, and cat photos.
To me, the largest reason we do this is because of how personal these devices feel: they say the smaller the screen, the more intimate the experience. We find ourselves curling up with iPads and phones in ways that only the most determined laptop users can replicate. They are comfortable. There is less and less space between us and these machines: they have all the intimacy of reading a book, our own little world we can escape to. A conversation happening between ourselves and a device. They have become like tiny little dæmons (in the Philip Pullman sense: we carry them with us always, usually on our person, and even when we are not using them, they are a comfortable shadow. These things are wonderfully personal.
Part of me wonders about this intimacy: can it be achieved with an object that we cannot touch? There’s another, more pressing issue with building intimacy with Google Glass: its voice interface. I have always been deeply uncomfortable with voice interfaces, and prior to this point, I’ve just thought that it had something to do with my deep hatred of using the phone to do things which should be done via a form online (like, say, getting a plane ticket). But it’s not that. If you reread that paragraph above, what’s implicit in this relationship we have with our phones is not just that we are close to them: it is also that they are private, a little world of our own. Everyone in the room can see what I’m watching on TV, if you sneak a glance at my monitor you will be able to see the basic shapes of what I’m doing on my computer. But seeing the tiny little screen on my phone requires a bit more maneuvering. And this makes it a private space in spite of the public places I may use it. If we start to move t owards voice interfaces, we surrender a large chunk of this privacy: you may not see what I see on my screen, but you will know, through what I say, what am I doing. That broken barrier also shatters the relationships we can have with these devices. But that is precisely the relationship you need to out do if you would like to replace the mobile phone.
Maybe we’ll move to gesture based computing instead. Glass and gestures. A little of our privacy will be maintained. We’ll have coffee shops full of people twitching in little kinetic patterns. Maybe the gestures will gain a rhythm, it’ll be a little bit like dancing with our hands. But we’ll probably still take the glasses off when our friend joins our table.
Good advice in this or most any age.
Years ago, someone asked me what I looked for in a partner. I replied, “Kindness.” They walked away, quite bewildered, probably expecting me to rattle off a list of physical attributes.
When all is said and done, and the fat lady starts practicing for my last oratorio, I’d rather have someone beside me who is kind to me and others.
Using sound waves to levitate individual droplets of solutions containing pharmaceutical drugs and drying them in mid-air. Why do this? This is useful because most of the drugs on the market are either amorphous or crystalline and the crystalline form doesn’t get absorbed by the body. So levitating the solution allows the drug to be made into an amorphous state (by evaporation) because if it were to touch any surface it would simply crystallize. They call this “containerless processing”.
The frequencies used are just above the audible range at about 22 kilohertz and when the two speakers are aligned they create two sets of sound waves, perfectly interfering with each other creating a phenomenon known as a standing wave. This allows the objects to levitate in areas within the waves known as nodes as the acoustic pressure is enough to cancel the force of gravity.
Turning The Place Over by Richard Wilson
Triggered by light sensors this incredible installation consists of an 8 metre oval cut out from a buildings facade which continuously rotates through out day time hours. Although originally being created as a temporary installation the immense popularity of the piece meant it was left rotating for over three and half years. Unfortunately in January of last year the piece was official shut off, but you can see a video demonstration below showing the piece in all its glory.