Carbon Nanotubes Can Self-Assemble Themselves at a Distance

Nanotechnology is part of a whole new stage of technology, the ability to create microscopic machines that can perform tasks such as replacing torn knee ligaments or as was previously found it could be used to double hard drives space. Part of nanotechnologies problems is that if it is damaged, you are talking about a tiny tear. Self-repairing technology can help with that, enabling machines and devices to not only protect themselves but also repair some of the damage that has been done to them, and researchers at Rice university have taken it a step further by letting carbon nanotubes self-assemble themselves all with just a little remote prompt.

The researchers at Rice university posted a video to YouTube that shows a series of carbon nanotubes gather together and assembles themselves into a wire. Remember when you broke your favourite pair of headphones because part of the cable broke but you could never tell what part? With this technology, you could simply place your headphones in a force field created by a Tesla coil and watch at it repairs itself.

Described by one of the scientists sons as “spider-man webs”, the video clearly shows that this technology could be used in creating self-building/repairing technology, similar to that found in the self-healing gel that Cockrell School of Engineering at the University of Texas showed off a few months ago.

MSI Launches X99 And Z170 Carbon Edition Motherboards @ CES 2016

CES 2016: MSI’s X99A GODLIKE GAMING motherboard is instantly recognizable with a feature list that almost defies belief. It’s certainly one of the best motherboards ever designed in terms of visual effects, build quality and overclocking prowess. While it’s an expensive proposition, there isn’t any other product like it on the market! However, not everyone enjoyed the lavish colour scheme, and wanted those amazing features in a more neutral package. Thankfully, MSI has delivered with the X99A GODLIKE GAMING CARBON. This black finish works beautifully with white builds and looks so sophisticated. Additionally, MSI has improved on the Mystic Light to add a sense of visual flair to the carbon layer.

The Z170A PRO GAMING CARBON follows a similar pattern, and is a revised version of the Z170A PRO GAMING. As you can see, the motherboard looks astonishing and is a real show piece. Nothing has been altered in the core specification (which is a good thing), and I’m really pleased with how the accents on the heatsink contrast with the PCB’s colour.

Do you prefer the stealth black look or traditional red and black gaming theme?

Scientists Turn Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide into Carbon Nanofibres

A team of US scientists have developed a method of converting the carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere into valuable carbon nanofibres, suitable for creating industrial and consumer products ranging from bulletproof vests to artificial human tissue.

Stuart Licht, Ph.D. and his team of chemists at George Washington University first revealed the news at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the technique, funded by the US National Science Foundation, is set to not only help tackle the over-abundance of atmospheric CO2 but also create a brand new carbon nanofibre manufacturing process, which Licht has called “diamonds from the sky.”

The process itself, only requiring a few volts – via solar power – to create the nanofibres, its carbon footprint hugely offset by the CO2 it pulls from the air. Licht claims that the “solar thermal electrochemical process” costs $1,000 per ton of carbon nanofibre.

“We have found a way to use atmospheric CO2 to produce high-yield carbon nanofibers,” Licht said. “Such nanofibers are used to make strong carbon composites, such as those used in the Boeing Dreamliner, as well as in high-end sports equipment, wind turbine blades and a host of other products.”

“We are scaling up quickly,” Licht adds, “and soon should be in range of making tens of grams of nanofibers an hour.”

New Form of Carbon Creates Diamonds at Room Temperature

Diamonds. Known for being priceless stones and hard to scratch, they’ve been at the centre of jewellery for years due to their shine, price and resilience. This could all change soon though, thanks to Scientists from North Carolina State University who have just announced their newly created form of carbon, Q-Carbon.

Previously carbon could exist in two other forms, graphite and diamond. Q-carbon is unique in that it is ferromagnetic, meaning not only is it harder than diamonds, but when exposed to energy it begins to glow.

Q-Carbon has also been used to construct diamond structures at room temperature, a feat that was only ever possible in extreme heats (e.g. specialised furnaces and volcanos) and under immense pressure. While still requiring a temperature of 3,726 °C, a feat achieved by a single laser pulse, the heat is only needed for 200 nanoseconds before being cooled down.

With current films of Q-Carbon measuring between 20 and 500 nanometers thick the researchers have been able to adjust the created structures by changing the laser pulse’s properties or the substrate, a material where the reactions take place.

Jay Narayan, the lead author of several papers described the process and continued to say, “And it is all done at room temperature and at ambient atmosphere – we’re basically using a laser like the ones used for laser eye surgery. So, not only does this allow us to develop new applications, but the process itself is relatively inexpensive.”

With its strength and luminescent properties, imagine a phone screen made of Q-Carbon?

You can find the latest update into their research here.

Scientists Say Cigarette Butts Are Great for Storing Energy

I’m sure many of our readers smoke, it might not be great for your health, but it’s a common fact that quite a lot of people do it anyway. However, while the cigarette may be bad for your health, not forgetting the often discarded into the street cigarette butt, which is bad for the environment, it seems that some good may actually come from the latter!

A team of scientists in South Korea have published their finding in the IOP publishing journal Nanotechnology, after successfully converting cigarette butts into a high-performing carbon-based material. They’ve done this with a special one-step burning process called pyrolysis.

“Our study has shown that used cigarette filters can be transformed into a high performing carbon-based material using a simple one step process, which simultaneously offers a green solution for meeting the energy demands of society,” says co-author ProfessorJongheop Yi of Seoul National University. “Numerous countries are developing strict regulations to avoid the trillions of toxic and non-biodegradable used cigarette filters that are disposed of into the environment each year. Our method is just one way of achieving this,” adds Professor Yi.

Not only does the technique, which no doubt has a long way to go before becoming an economically viable solution, help clean up waste, but it also provides a vitally useful product that can benefit technology industries.

“A high performing supercapacitor material should have a large surface area, which can be achieved by incorporating a large number of small pores into the material,” says Professor Yi. “A combination of different pore sizes ensures that the material has high power densities, which is an essential property in a supercapacitor.”

“Our carbon-based material has the potential for use as an electrode material in lithium-ion batteries, a catalyst-supporting material in fuel cells, and pollutant adsorbents,” says Professor Yi. “We hope our inventions will ultimately help reduce the environmental burden of cigarette butts while lowering the manufacturing cost of high quality carbon materials.”

Who knows, perhaps in a few years time we won’t be throwing cigarette butts away, but recycling them to make batteries!

Audi has Successfully Made a Renewable Diesel source

In the current race for an oil alternative, focus has moved from making a renewable source to moving to a new source altogether. Audi however, has made a diesel alternative out of water and carbon-dioxide.

So let’s step back a little. Our current oil source is gathered from millions of years of decomposition of animal and dinosaur fossils. This has been a pretty reliable source, but with our boom of using this oil for pretty much our sole source of energy; levels are dwindling. We then moved onto solar powered cars, a good idea in principle; yet not practical due to the price and vulnerability of the solar panels. We’ve seen sources from Hyundai of hydrogen powered cars, again a good idea, but really heavy. Today, we have Electric Vehicles; we like EV’s here at eTeknix, all of the power all the way through the ‘rev’ range.

Audi has made some EV’s, but secretly deep down they have been sourcing a way to produce a renewable source of fuel for current production cars.

Let’s take a look through their current three step method of producing this “e-Diesel”.

Step one: It begins with air collection, gathering carbon dioxide from the air from a partner “Climeworks”. This is then fed through to an Audi conversion reactor and creates carbon monoxide from that process.

Step two: During that process, they are chemically breaking down water into its base elements; water and hydrogen. The hydrogen is then added to the carbon monoxide at high temperatures and under immense pressure; this creates a long-chain hydrocarbon that results in “blue crude”.

Step three: The hydrogen is then added to the carbon monoxide at high temperatures and under immense pressure; this creates a long-chain hydrocarbon that results in “blue crude”. This is then sent off for refinement.

Once refined, the e-Diesel can be used on its own or added to our current diesel fuel stock to bulk it out. This will be produced in approximately 160 litres a day for the foreseeable future.

Audi has given the operations to a German based company, Sunfire. they state that the fuel has an overall efficiency of 70% compared to naturally sourced diesel. Audi and Sunfire are in talks to build a large production plant to boost the output levels; in hope that this will compete with electricity. They plan to sell it within the 1EURO – 1.50EURO per litre.

Hewlett-Packard to Release ‘Revolutionary’ New Computer and Operating System in 2015

Troubled IT company Hewlett-Packard has announced plans for a hardware and software combination it thinks will revolutionise computer technology as we know it.

The HP research division is calling the device ‘The Machine’. Current computer memory architecture has operated on the same ROM and RAM principle since the 1940s. HP hopes it has developed a better alternative. Or, as Kirk Bresniker, chief architect for The Machine, puts it, “A model from the beginning of computing has been reflected in everything since, and it is holding us back.”

HP aims for their computer to more energy-efficient and powerful than standard models by integrating a new kind of computer memory that stores both temporary and long-term data.

According to Bresner, a prototype of The Machine, with the operating system Linux++, is expected in 2016. Though, HP hopes to replace Linux++ with its own custom operating system called Carbon, designed to fully utilise its unique new system.

Source: MIT Technology Review

Oculus VR Acquires Xbox Controller & Kinect Design Team

Oculus VR are working hard to push their Oculus Rift into the consumer market and while the technology is still only in Dev Kit 2 (DK2) form, it’s quickly becoming clear that the company are working to get the final pieces put together. News broke yesterday that Oculus VR have been on a little shopping spree, picking up Carbon Design Group, the same company that helped Microsoft in the creation of the Xbox 360 gamepad and its first Kinect camera.

“The team will officially become a key component of the product engineering group at Oculus,” Said Oculus VR in a recent announcement.

Nothing is said to change at Carbon despite the acquisition, with Oculus stating that they’ve actually been working with Carbon for over a year now. This does however cement their relationship and should mean that they can focus more on the development of the Consumer Rift headset.

“Carbon approaches products with a design-driven methodology rooted in quality engineering, ergonomics, deep user insights, and rapid iteration,” Oculus said in a statement. “All of this adds up to an incredible skill set to deliver ground-breaking new virtual reality products.”

This new deal should be one of the final pieces that Oculus VR need to get their tech ready for the consumer market and if it can also help them develop it to become as sleek and sexy as the original concept renders, then I’m happy.

Thank you The Verge for providing us with this information.