Paper Battery

Stanford University researcher Yi Cui has developed a battery that is made by depositing an ink containing carbon nanotubes & silver nanowires on paper. He has previously done battery research using plastics but recently he’s found that the chemicals adhere much better to paper. The resulting battery or supercapacitor can then be folded, bent, rolled, and still work through about 40,000 charge cycles – twice the effectiveness of your standard Lithium Ion batteries.

via designboom

NASA’s Chemical Sniffing Iphone app

Ipod with Smelling hardware

What’s with all the good inventions lately? Either now is just a really productive time for good ideas or they are always happening and I don’t pay attention (most likely).

In any case this is another cool one and could be groundbreaking. NASA put together this prototype chemical sensor that can detect small amounts of chemicals like methane, ammonia, and chlorine gas. It uses a silicon chip that has 16 nanosensors and can transmit any data on detected chemicals through the iphone’s networking capabilities.

This innovation was developed in part by Jing Li, a NASA physical scientist, as part of the US Dept of Homeland Security’s Cell-All program. She has developed “nose” technology in several arenas, but this one might be the most wide-ranging.

via Inhabitat

Bokode – the next Barcode?

There are just a few technologies for tracking object-tagged items: Barcode and RFID are at the top of the list. Each has its strengths & weaknesses but the biggest problem is that they can only be scanned at close range. (Note that some long-distance RFID solutions exist such as those used for car toll systems like EZ-Pass but these are expensive and require large, self-powered tags)

Some new work coming out of MIT’s Media Lab may change this. Called Bokode, the system uses the Bokeh optical effect which maps how rays entering an out-of-focus camera lens will converge onto the camera’s sensor.

To see the details, you’ll have to watch the attached video, but in essense the “tag” consists of an LED with an encoded optical pattern and a small cheap lens. An out-of-focus camera will see the data on the tag’s pattern, whether it is a digital code, an image, text or whatever. What’s more, the camera can also determine the angle of the object by doing some tricky optical calculations (which I don’t understand yet).

The tech is still in the development stage, but there is a development WIKI to exchange information among those interested in working more with it. Give it a read – looks like really fun stuff!