Google reportedly mulls investing in a hypersonic tunnelling boring company

Google reportedly mulls investing in a hypersonic tunnelling boring company

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF There is a race on to increase the speed of boring tunnels by at least ten fold, and if it can be achieved it will change the economics of energy generation and transportation.   Google announced recently, quietly, very quietly, that it’s carrying out research...

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Semi-synthetic cells could revolutionise everything from sensors to healthcare

Semi-synthetic cells could revolutionise everything from sensors to healthcare

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The ability to create semi-synthetic cells that have both organic and inorganic properties opens up a whole world of new use cases that span everything from biotech to new forms of manufacturing.   The more we study natural biological cells, the more we learn about...

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Scientists get green light to test tech that stops the formation of hurricanes

Scientists get green light to test tech that stops the formation of hurricanes

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Sometimes you need crazy ideas because one day those crazy ideas change the world, in this case scientists think they can use a new approach to stop hurricanes from forming and wreaking havoc.   Recently I wrote an article about a new Artificial Intelligence (AI)...

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US DoE wants to use AI to build world’s first autonomous energy grid

US DoE wants to use AI to build world’s first autonomous energy grid

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to fully automate the American energy grid could reduce regulatory burden, improve resilience and reliability, and make it more efficient.   The US Department of Energy, whose supercomputers are already building their own AI’s, has announced it will explore a first of a...

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Crazy thinkers suggest beaming solar energy from space to end energy poverty

Crazy thinkers suggest beaming solar energy from space to end energy poverty

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF In 2050 there will be 10 billion people on the planet who need energy, and while renewable energy will help reduce energy poverty some think solar energy beamed from space, or satellites, could also help.   Infalling solar radiation constantly illuminates the Moon’s surface with...

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MIT’s breakthrough battery makes electricity from thin air, literally

MIT’s breakthrough battery makes electricity from thin air, literally

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF We still live in a world where many people live in energy poverty and inventions like this one could one day become an important part of the overall energy mix.   Energy devices that  can generate electricity from thin air are increasingly appearing in labs...

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New theory let’s scientists bring light to a standstill

New theory let’s scientists bring light to a standstill

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF The manipulation of light is becoming an increasingly important factor in the development of new communications, computing, energy and entertainment systems, and our mastery of it is getting better all the time.   Light is famously fast, normally travels at nearly 300,000 kilometres per second through...

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New Graphene sieve turns seawater into drinking water

New Graphene sieve turns seawater into drinking water

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Water scarcity is one of the greatest worries facing the modern age, and as the world watches one of its great cities face the real prospect of running out of water in months, not years, the search for new water filtration systems has never been...

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World’s most powerful laser will be able to rip matter out of a vacuum

World’s most powerful laser will be able to rip matter out of a vacuum

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As laser technology develops at an accelerating rate it’s increasingly being used to help scientists unlock the mysteries of the universe, and many other things besides.   Amazingly physicists are getting close to building lasers powerful enough to rip matter out of a vacuum, yes,...

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Bioengineers hack biology to turn living tissue into any shape they want

Bioengineers hack biology to turn living tissue into any shape they want

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF One of the largest ascending mega trends is Synthetic Biology, and as our command and understanding of the natural world increases it will help transform our world in ways you never thought possible.   It turns out that many of the complex folded shapes that...

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ORNL’s new super fast ultrasonic dryer uses 70 percent less energy

ORNL’s new super fast ultrasonic dryer uses 70 percent less energy

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Tumble dryers account for more than 4 percent of the world’s energy consumption, so cutting that figure by 70 percent could be a big deal.   Forget heat, drying laundry in the future is all about cranking up the volume. At least, that’s how the folks at...

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Electric eel inspired bio-batteries could revolutionise pacemakers and wearables

Electric eel inspired bio-batteries could revolutionise pacemakers and wearables

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF A new type of ultra thin biological battery could replace batteries in pace makers, and power smart contact lenses, but their use cases don’t stop there.   New artificial organs may have a familiar, slimy face to thank for their near future prospects in the...

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UBeam uses sound to wirelessly charge phones on stage, confounds critics

UBeam uses sound to wirelessly charge phones on stage, confounds critics

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF More companies are showing interest in wireless charging and the pace of development and investment in the sector is accelerating, but this is one wireless charging technology that the experts say shouldn’t work, but it does.   Unlike Energous, a company that a few weeks...

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Wirelessly charged smart underpants hit the floor at CES

Wirelessly charged smart underpants hit the floor at CES

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As we become ever more reliant on the electron shuffling marvel that is electricity, we’re rapidly getting to the point where we no longer have to tether all our gadgets and devices to our wall sockets to charge them.   This year could well prove...

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Researchers unveil self-charging fabrics that could power tomorrow’s Smart Clothes

Researchers unveil self-charging fabrics that could power tomorrow’s Smart Clothes

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As transistors and computing devices continue to shrink it is inevitable we’ll bake more computing power into our clothing, and all that extra compute will need some way to power it.   Today, the majority of smart clothes we use to monitor a person’s vital...

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Nanogenerator breakthrough can generate electricity from the blood in your veins

Nanogenerator breakthrough can generate electricity from the blood in your veins

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF As researchers continue to develop micro-machines and implanted medical devices that live within our bodies we might need to find new ways to power them.   Humanity has been generating electricity from flowing water for millennia using everything from watermills to huge hydro-electric dams, but...

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AI can now beat polygraph tests to tell when you’re lying

AI can now beat polygraph tests to tell when you’re lying

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Being able to tell when someone is lying is important, but as with any technology authorities will have to know where to draw the line between just cause and violating a person’s rights to privacy.   Scientists have long known this, our pupils widen ever...

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MIT breakthrough creates glowing plants that could replace street lights

MIT breakthrough creates glowing plants that could replace street lights

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Around a fifth of all the world’s energy production is consumed by lighting, but in the future glowing plants could help provide us all with an infinite, renewable source of light.   Plants at the moment are getting the royal treatment. They’re being turned into...

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Companies have a plan to fix blockchain’s massive energy problem

Companies have a plan to fix blockchain’s massive energy problem

WHY THIS MATTERS IN BRIEF Processing Bitcoin is now consuming more energy than Denmark uses in a year, and as cryptocurrencies become increasingly popular their energy consumption is, literally, starting to affect the planet.   You’d have to be almost deaf and blind to not notice that at the moment...

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IBM’s AI learns how to predict the outcomes of chemical reactions

IBM’s AI learns how to predict the outcomes of chemical reactions

WHY THIS MATTERS BRIEF Chemistry is the basis and foundation of everything on Earth and being able to predict the outcomes of new chemical reactions will help industries create new compounds and new materials faster than ever before.   By thinking of atoms as letters and molecules as words an...

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