Flexible Silicon Solar Cell Wires Could Make Solar Charging Fabrics A RealityA team led by Penn State researchers has succeeded in building silicon fibers thinner than a human hair that can act as solar cells. If the work scales up to produce longer fibers as well as the team thinks it could, these solar energy absorbing threads could be woven into clothing in the future. So if you've ever wanted a jacket that can pull in energy through the fibers it's made of and use it charge your phone while you take a stroll in the park, take heart -- you might be getting it sooner than expected.Read on...
Tiny Drops Of Water Can Be Used For Basic ComputingResearchers at Aalto University have devised a way to convert tiny drops of water into encoded digital information, building a simple computer out of just water droplets and a water-repellant surface. A new study in the journal Advanced Materials demonstrates that, using a hydrophobic surface that causes water to bead up and roll off, researchers can follow the trails of individual water droplets along paths in the surface. That predictability allowed researchers to build simple computers like a memory device that tracks the droplets and encodes them as bits of information, with drops on one track representing ones and drops on the other representing zeroes. They even demonstrated machines that can use the technology to complete basic Boolean operations.Read on...
Not Just for Popeye: Spinach Protein Boosts Solar Cell PowerSpinach is apparently good for more than just growing hilariously oversized cartoon muscles. A team at Vanderbilt University has used a protein found in the light-loving leafy green to boost the electrical output from photovoltaic power cells. A study released today in the journal Advanced Materials found that by combining silicon solar cells with the photosynthesis protein Photosystem 1 (PS1), they could achieve improvements in both the current and voltage produced by traditional solar cells.Read on...