Taking Power from the Air

Does Air Comprise of Energy?

Free energy from air was once a skeptic’s sarcastic jest until it became a reality. There are energy particles all around us, everywhere we go there are telecommunication, radio & television networks, satellite systems and various other equipment creating a dynamic field of electromagnetic energy around us. There is enough evidence that the air is full of energy which can now be harnessed and used to power other devices without the need for a battery.

Recently an Israel based company called Wiliot has demonstrated the first Bluetooth Chip that harnesses energy from mere air. Like many other chips, this too is as tiny as a postage stamp and as thin as paper. This smart Bluetooth can send encrypted information covering about 3 meters of distance via Bluetooth. This chip is smartly designed to pull and wield energy from the air like cellular signals, ambient Wi-Fi and Bluetooth.

This recycling of the radiation around us will change the face of technology and the way power is consumed. According to Wiliot’s CEO, such self-power generating products will be able to share the temperature and when it needs to be replaced or replenished.

Coming Attractions

In Las Vegas’s Consumer Electronic Show (CES), a spokesman from the Radio Corporation of America (RCA) gave a demonstration of their Airenergy charger. He mentioned how ambient Wi-Fi signals are being tested and used as power sources for the charger. He clearly stated how they used ambient Wi-Fi signals only to fully charge a Blackberry phone (with the Airenergy charger) that had 30% charging, in about 90 minutes! That’s not bad at all considering that charging is dependent on the number of such Wi-Fi sources as well as the proximity to the signals. This Airenergy unit is able to convert the Wi-Fi’s antenna signal to DC power which recharges its internal lithium battery. All one has to do is place it anywhere near a Wi-Fi hotspot and let it do its work automatically.

The Bluetooth chip is just one successful device that is launched as an air energy converter. But with the growing popularity and success in the energy and tech industry, one can soon expect many other interesting gadgets to come forward.

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Electricity Producing Bacteria

In the quest for finding the most economical means to produce countless watts of power, science has been spending billions of dollars. Turns out it isn’t just human beings that are able to harness electricity but researchers claim that certain microbes are also capable of these rare abilities. Picture this, transferring electrons from a molecule to another is essential for all kinds of organisms because this needs to be exercised in order to produce energy, which is imperative for their survival.

For bacteria living in extreme conditions, finding alternatives for breathing in an oxygen deprived environment requires them to be creatively adaptive. Such microbes exist in various places. As fascinating as it would appear they also live in the ‘Human Gut’. This is how these microbes were forced to breathe in a uniquely creative way by pushing out electrons and as a byproduct, producing electricity.

Let us understand how the engineers, researchers, and scientists are thinking of harnessing the electrical power produced by such bacteria.

Bacteria Producing Electricity – Testing

Research has been going on to figure out ways to harness and develop such microbial power plants that are expected to purify water from the sewage, run fuel cells and other constructive uses.  But here’s the challenge, these microbe cells are much smaller than the conventional mammalian cells scientists have been dealing with and growing them in laboratories is extremely difficult.

The MIT engineers have been able to develop a microfluidic technique. This microfluidic technique enables quick processing of such small bacterial samples and analyzes their specific property. These specific properties, called the Polarizability, determine the highest correlation of electricity production by that particular species of bacteria. Polarizability can gauge the electrochemical activity of the bacteria compared to other techniques.

According to MIT’s associate professor of mechanical engineering, Cullen Buie, the current work being done on the bacteria portends that there is a broad range of such electricity-producing bacteria. Thus a special tool for probing such organisms have now become much more important than they were assumed to be earlier. The reason being, after all the research and experiments carried out, they have come to the conclusion that it is not just the job of a handful of microbes, and more species need to be tested.

Research Results

The study concludes that the higher the polarizability of a bacteria, the higher the rate of electricity produced. We can expect the researchers to start their bacteria search for the strongest candidate that will be able to produce large amounts of power soon. If the analysis made on the bacteria’s polarization turns out as expected then it won’t be wrong to say that this technique will be very useful in accessing electricity-producing bacteria.

Chinese Moon Base

The idea of life in space is very intriguing; numerous movies and TV series fictionalized this concept and had a fair amount of success. Though this notion is not limited to fiction anymore; the possibility of life in space is actually being considered.

While you’re reading this very sentence, a Chinese rover is exploring the far side of the Moon. The fact that no other country has attempted to land on the far side of the moon makes it particularly interesting. Though this mission is full of technical challenges, China is ambitious to create history. As a matter of fact, there has been an official announcement made about the country’s space program stating that China is looking to launch three more lunar missions, which will serve as a ground for their Chinese Moon base.

The reason why no one has made an effort to land on the far side of the moon is mainly due to the multitude of challenges and difficulties in the communicational channels. However, achieving this feat will provide substantial payoffs in terms of scientific research, particularly due to the fact that it will block the stray radio signals from Earth. This will provide an unparalleled view of the radio universe.

Lunar Palace – Virtual base

China is resolute on the plan to set up a lunar base, which is evident with its persistent efforts to ensure the success of this project. To reduce the potential risk of failure and ensure that their astronauts are able to endure the rough condition on the moon, they have set up a Lunar Palace, a virtual base on Earth.

The Lunar Palace is equipped with two plant modules where astronauts grow and harvest food. It also contains a 42 square meter area living cabin with a common room, four sleeping cubicles, a bathroom, a waste management area, and believe it or not, a specific room for growing animals.

The primary objective of this experiment is to see and understand more about how Bio regenerative Life Support Systems (BLSS) function over an extended period of time, particularly in outer space. When considering sustainability of life in the lunar environment, it is crucial that humans, plants, animals, and microorganisms are able to co-exist together without creating obstacles.

Expected Timeline

It is not possible to predict a timeline for the Chinese Moon Base due to the involvement of several factors which could serve as a bottleneck to the entire project. However, there are systematic steps being laid down in order to expedite the process. Firstly, China’s space program will send the Chang’e-5 lander to the moon.  The readings and results collected from Chang’e-5, supplemented by three follow-up assignments will enable them to solidify plans to set up a base. Moreover, they are attempting to print 3D habitable structures using the lunar soil to increase their understanding of the lunar environment.

Another thing to consider is the Long March 9 rocket, which is under development and might be ready to fly by 2028 or 2030. It is bigger than the size of Apollo Lunar module, the rocket that carried astronauts to the moon half a century ago. With these developments, we cannot eliminate the possibility that China will have its own people on the moon by 2030s, which will put them well ahead in the competition from the likes of NASA and ESA.

Water on Asteroids

For decades, scientists have been trying to answer questions relating to outer space such as: ‘Is there any sign of life out there in the universe’ or ‘Is there water on other planets?’ Most scientists believe that presence of water on a planet signals life, which is true for Earth. Thus, the fact that NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex, which is 12 miles away from asteroid Bennu and millions of miles away from Earth, has found evidence of water on the asteroid is an exciting discovery. Here is the full story.

OSIRIS-REx’s

This spacecraft was sent out into space 2 years ago in order to study asteroid Bennu in more detail. Now it is getting closer and closer to the asteroid. NASA has stated that their estimates about Bennu’s rotation, size and orbit were correct. The only estimate they were not right about was the large boulder at the south side of Bennu. NASA’s observations had suggested that the boulder was only 10 meters (33 feet) in height, but OSIRIS-REx has confirmed that is it is about 50 meters (164 feet) in height.

How Has NASA Determined That There Is Water Present On The Asteroid?

The pair of spectrometers carried by the OSIRIS-REx has the ability to characterize molecules that are present on Bennu. The OSIRIS-Rex Thermal Emission Spectrometer (OTES) and OSIRIS-REx Visible and Infrared Spectrometer (OVIRS) helped NASA discover evidence that Bennu did previously contain water. The scans showed molecules called hydroxyls that are a composition on oxygen and hydrogen atoms. Thus NASA’s team working on the OSIRIS-REx mission, who are led by Dante Lauretta, professor of planetary science and Cosmo chemistry, have determined that the hydroxyls that are spread all over Bennu contain water-bearing clay minerals. Dante Lauretta stated that there is “strong, convincing evidence that the surface is dominated by these hydrated minerals,” which means it is water-rich, and this is a huge discovery.

What This Discovery Means

This does not by any means imply that Bennu is inhabitable, as it is extremely cold and that there is no current evidence of liquid water present on Bennu. There is probably no liquid water on the asteroid as it is too small of an area to be able to contain any sort of liquid. The likely explanation given for the water sources found on the asteroid is that Bennu probably interacted previously with water from a larger asteroid or host planet.

Future Plans

Of course, this discovery has led to excitement and anxiousness amongst the scientists working on the OSIRIS-REx mission, who want to be able to see the asteroid more closely and hopefully collect a sample as well. It is scheduled that the OSIRIS-REx will be as close as 1.4 kilometres (0.87 miles) from Bennu, orbiting around the surface, on the 31st of December this year. Also, in around 18 months, the OSIRIS-REx will start to approach the surface to attempt taking a sample of Bennu. The sample will be taken by the 10-foot robot arm the spacecraft will use to scoop up materials from the surface. OSIRIS-REx can collect up to 2 kilograms (4.4 pounds) of sampling material from the asteroid. If everything happens as planned, NASA’s team predicts that the sample will arrive at earth by September of 2023.

Discoveries like these makes one feel  grateful for innovative technologies, as they is being used for discovery and to gain knowledge about the world and universe at large.

Surgical Advances

Luckily, due to the advancement of technology and scientific research, our methods of medical treatment is now proving to be revolutionary. Here is how modern surgical advances are predicted to take place in the future-starting now.

Surgery Bots?

Breakthroughs are being made left, right, and centre in the world of science. From autonomous killer robots to sending space crafts on mars, technology is helping us find solutions to issues and questions people have had for centuries. And now in the world of medicine, a report by England’s Royal College of Surgeons may have made traditional surgery obsolete. In the groundbreaking report, the surgeons have highlighted the ways evolving technologies, such as new vaccines, surgical robots, and artificial intelligence will be used in shaping the future of medicine. The predictions say that these technologies will take over in the next two decades.

No Need For Surgery?

Modern surgery and medicines have allowed some operations to become less invasive and more precise. The surgeons’ report is taking modern medicine a step further by making most surgical operations obsolete.

The future of medicine also takes advantage of stem cells. The report by England’s Royal College of Surgeons explains that regenerative medications and stem cell treatments could be used to treat heart conditions and circumvent the need for open heart surgery. The report also predicts that stem cell treatments could possibly be used for the treatment of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.

What This Report Entails

Overall, less invasive procedures result in safer procedures. Safer procedures mean less room for error and more efficient surgery, reducing recovery time. It’s a great accomplishment for the medical sector and may seriously help to improve the lives of those struggling with life threatening illnesses.

Laser Cannon

The arms race may be escalating quite quickly and intensely, after the public acknowledgment that Russia has developed missiles and laser weapons that are ready for service, Russia posted a video in July 2018 which showcased a laser death weapon, and they have recently announced that it has officially entered service. Here is all you need to know about the Peresvet Combat Laser System, which is essentially a laser cannon, and how Russia plans on using it.

The Peresvet Combat Laser

Just recently, Russia announced that the Peresvet Combat Laser System has officially entered service and now has been permanently installed. The inspiration for the name Peresvet comes from the ancient Russian monk warrior named Alexander Peresvet. The video that Russia released back in July, which openly shows the unveiling of the laser, is said to be able to obliterate targets in a fraction of a second. Not much else is known about the laser cannon itself and thus, many people have speculated that it will not be used to kill people, but will actually be used for defence against enemy missiles and airplanes. It definitely looks like it is straight out of a movie though.

A Boastful Putin

Vladimir Putin, the President of Russia has been boasting about this laser cannon/death ray by saying, “Russia’s capacities for defending itself have multiplied.” Putin also boasted about the fact that laser weaponry, “is not just a concept or a plan any more. It is not even in the early production stages. Since last year, our troops have been armed with laser weapons.” He also taunted those against Russia in the arms race that, “We are one step ahead of our rivals,”

Is This The Start Of A Whole New Arms Race?

The implications of this cannon are far more deadly than they might seem. The death machine of which we do not even know the full details of will probably be used for more than just defence. The US is now threatening to pull out of the INF treaty as they claim the development of this laser cannon violates the treaty. However, Russia is retaliating and saying they are following all the conditions specified in the treaty. Putin also showed his concern over the fact that the New START pact between the US and Russia will expire in 2021 and that the US is not keen on discussing the future of the pact.

Real or Fake?

Some have even speculated that this laser cannon is not all that it is hyped up to be. The speculations stem from the fact that the laser cannon was announced during a press conference that was also hosting the launch of many other overly-hyped weapons. People also claim that Russia has previously lied or not been completely honest about their new technologies and that there is no evidence whether the cannon actually works as it claims to (since the video never showed it firing).

All we can hope for is that Russia and America stay true to their agreement and talk it out before deciding to fire on each other.