Tape + Vacuum = X-rays?

Simply cool, who would have thought you could get x-rays out of tape? Chalk one up for triboluminescence!

It turns out that if you peel the popular adhesive tape off its roll in a vacuum chamber, it emits X-rays. The researchers even made an X-ray image of one of their fingers.

X-rays emitted from ordinary Scotch tape

Silicon Camera That Mimics Mammalian Vision

Curved cameraThis is quite an impressive achievement if you ask me.

Conventional cameras use a curved lens to focus an image onto a flat surface where the light is captured either by film or by digital sensors. However, focusing light from a curved lens onto a flat surface distorts the image, necessitating a series of other lenses that reduce the distortion but tend to increase the bulk and cost of a device.

[via boingboing]
Curved electronic eye created

The Repeater

Ah, the amazing power of biological evolution. How this simplicity escapes some people I don’t know.

Here’s an evolutionist’s dream: 10,000 planet Earths, starting from the same point at the same time, and left to their own devices for four and a half billion years. What would happen? Could you go on safari from one planet to the next seeing an endless procession of wildly different organisms? Or would many of the planets be home to life forms that are broadly similar?

The Repeater – The Wild Side – Olivia Judson – Evolution – Opinion – New York Times Blog

Solar-thermal plant In Arizona

I’ll be the first one to say it, someone is going to complain about the reflection of the collectors. I would assume that things like this are taken into account but you can never tell in this litigious world.

Abengoa Solar Inc., a Spanish technology company that has several smaller solar-thermal projects in Spain, North Africa and the United States, will build and run the Solana Generating Station. Solana will use 2,700 "troughs" of mirrors lined up across former alfalfa farmland, focusing sunlight on tubes in the middle of the troughs. The tubes will be filled with a petroleum-based chemical that will heat up to 735 degrees, and transfer their heat to water, making steam and spinning turbines in two 140-megawatt generators. The petroleum liquid is reused in the tubes, not burned. The plant also will use molten salt to store heat and continue generating electricity for as long as six hours after the sun sets. That’s key in Arizona, where residents use the most electricity between 5 and 6 p.m., when the sun is low in the sky and common solar panels struggle to generate electricity.

[via lonelocust]
$1 billion solar-thermal plant near Gila Bend to supply APS customers 

New Holographic Display Technology

Advances in display technology are simply amazing. I hope to see holographic display units so common place that they are used in cheap kids toys like and LCD would be used today.

The new material is comprised of photorefractive polymers. These chemicals have photoelectric properties that make them well-suited to storing the optical interference patterns used to produce holograms. When a photorefractive polymer is exposed to a pattern of bright and dark areas, electrons are released from the areas exposed to high-intensity light and migrate to areas that are darker. Once in place, the electron-rich areas diffract light differently from the electron-poor ones, allowing the original interference pattern to be reproduced when the material is exposed to light

Holodeck 0.1: the durable, rewritable holographic display

Superhuman Vision from Contact lenses

My friend Greg sent this to me today. I’ll be first in line when these come out!

Building the lenses was a challenge because materials that are safe for use in the body, such as the flexible organic materials used in contact lenses, are delicate. Manufacturing electrical circuits, however, involves inorganic materials, scorching temperatures and toxic chemicals. Researchers built the circuits from layers of metal only a few nanometers thick, about one thousandth the width of a human hair, and constructed light-emitting diodes one third of a millimeter across. They then sprinkled the grayish powder of electrical components onto a sheet of flexible plastic. The shape of each tiny component dictates which piece it can attach to, a microfabrication technique known as self-assembly. Capillary forces – the same type of forces that make water move up a plant’s roots, and that cause the edge of a glass of water to curve upward – pull the pieces into position.

Contact lenses with circuits, lights a possible platform for superhuman vision