If wearing a virtual reality or augmented reality headset is ever to become commonplace, hardware manufacturers will need to figure out how to make the devices small and lightweight while ensuring their images are sharp and clear. Unfortunately, this task faces a key limitation in optics: Conventional lenses are curved glass objects that focus different wavelengths of light in different locations, which would show viewers blurry images. As a result, pretty much anything with a lens – from tiny smartphone cameras to large-scale projectors – uses multiple lenses, which add weight, thickness and complexity, increasing cost.
Energy giant AGL this week unveiled plans to produce hydrogen power at its Loy Yang A coal station. But how do we transform coal, which is often thought of as simply made of carbon, into hydrogen – a completely different element?
If you’ve ever watched a modern blockbuster film, then you’ve almost certainly seen the magic of green screen compositing – or chroma keying – in action. The technique enables film and TV producers to record actors in front of a plain green backdrop, then replace the backdrop with special effects.
A new report casts doubt that Dyson will meet its goal of producing an electric vehicle with a solid-state battery by 2020. However, the report does note that the company is no longer focusing on just one EV, but three.
Scientists from the Netherlands have successfully created a 2-qubit silicon quantum processor. Silicon is widely used in current computer hardware, and the team hopes their success will eventually make it easier to control and produce quantum chips.
Dr. Michio Kaku is a theoretical physicist, futurist, and popular science communicator. He’s also the author of “Physics of the Impossible,” has hosted radio programs and television specials on the BBC, the Discovery Channel, the History Channel, and the Science Channel, and most notably, is a co-founder of string field theory (a branch of string theory).
Today's desktop 3D printers are fairly limited in terms of capabilities. However, we could be just a couple of decades away from a world in which every home has a 3D printer, capable of producing almost anything we can imagine.
A new facility designed to scan space for exoplanets has just successfully completed its first observation run. The French-led Exoplanets in Transits and their Atmospheres (ExTrA) project is housed at the European Southern Observatory’s (ESO) La Silla Observatory in Chile, and it is funded by the European Research Council and the Agence National de la Recherche in France.
Some of the best things in science are elegant and simple. A new propulsion system being developed in Spain is both those things, and could help solve a growing problem with Earth’s satellites: the proliferation of space junk.
For humanity to have any hope of long-term colonization on Mars, we’ll have to develop power systems capable of meeting our off-world energy needs. As such, NASA, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), and the Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) have been hard at work on Kilopower, a compact nuclear energy reactor that could operate on the Red Planet and beyond.
Mining asteroids might seem like the stuff of science fiction, but there are companies and a few governments already working hard to make it real. This should not be surprising: compared with the breathtaking bridges that engineers build on Earth, asteroid-mining is a simple, small-scale operation requiring only modest technological advances. If anything is lacking, it is the imagination to see how plausible it has become. I am afraid only that it might not arrive soon enough to address the urgent resource challenges that the world is facing right now.
New smart window technology, developed by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory in the US, is showing great potential. Apart from keeping heat out of buildings, this smart window could also work as a solar panel and convert sunlight into energy.