Saturday, December 19, 2009

Thin Screens

Imagine reading a newspaper with moving images like those in the Harry Potter movies.  With interactive electronic paper or e-paper, the Horizon report feels it is as close as 5 years away.  Products like the Kindle and E-Book readers by Sony use a form of e-paper now.  However to really come alive it has to be flexible and interactive.  Imagine reading a magazine, and a car ad shows an SUV traversing a riverbed, or next summer blockbuster putting trailers in your daily newspaper.  Get ready, it's coming.

This is a very expensive prototype that is a proof of concept.  However, it is possible in the near future. 

Is Nuclear Power the Future?

The problem with current nuclear power is the danger of radiation and what to do with the radioactive material once it is no longer useful.  Nuclear fusion is the process the stars like our sun uses to create endless energy and it is the holy grail of renewable energy.  Cold fusion refers to this same process at room temperature.  Physicist have hinted at its possibility, but no one has come close to proving it is possible.  

Mission to Mars

William Halal and his TechCast team believe a manned mission to mars most like in 20 years.  Based on the distance to get there, it takes 6 months, and the power required; the experts believe a manned mission is just 4-5 years away.  However, the technology to deliver man has not been invented yet.  Russia, Europe, and the US are working to develop the technology, but it is just not quite possible.

There are theories about using nuclear power to create the thrust necessary to propel a manned spacecraft towards mars, but a 5 foot shield of water would be necessary to shield the passengers from the radiation.  Also the absence of gravity would have a harmful effect on the astronauts.  I think artificial gravity is within the realm of possibility at this time, so I don't think this is as much a hurdle as Dr. Halal. 

Dr. Halal also mentions terraforming, which is the transforming of the terrain to more closely match the Earth and helping the habitability for humans.  Without soil samples, which Halal believes is within a few years from being returned, it is impossible to know if the atmosphere is capable of support and earthly terrain.

I think Mars exploration is fascinating and I hope we have success in the near future in unmanned exploration and experiments on Earth that will allow us to make this planetary trip possible.   

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

The future of fresh water...

The innovation I brought up in class was instant desalinization. I had in mind a tablet or chemical that could be added to a water supply that could instantly remove salt and harmful minerals, also known as, desalinization. The fresh water supply of the globe is at risk and will only decrease as the population grows. Currently, desalinization is a very inefficient process. It takes large amounts of energy to evaporate the water and remove the particulates (e.g. salt, minerals).

The future of desalinization while not at the tablet phase, is undergoing research at Boston College. They are examining nano-technology that creates carbon tubes in water that removes the harmful additives and makes it fresh to drink or irrigate. "Nano-machines could be used to build "micro-pipes" of activated carbon only a few billionths of a meter(nanometer) in diameter. These pipes would be activiated by electric charge which would cause them to remove sodium and chloride ions from salt water. These filters made of these tubes would act as highly effecient desalination machines." (allsands 2009)


Cool Tool

Ever been in a meeting or an encounter without your computer or a pen and paper armed only with your cellphone?  Well now there is a great web 2.0 tool that turns your cellphone into a mobile extension of your notebook.  The tool is called Evernote.  It is a synergy of the cloud, your computer and your mobile device.  It gives you secure presence on the cloud, that you can collect notes, clips, images, and hyper links.  It also gives you an installable application, or a mobile website for you smartphone, where you can add notes, take snapshots, record an audio note, and post them to your portal on the cloud.

I tried to post some pictures, but blogger was not cooperating, here is the link to evernote.  Check it out.