Zothecula writes "In the quest to develop implantable electronics to monitor the human body from within, flexibility and stretchability have been major hurdles. We've seen numerous developments including stretchable LED arrays, an implantable device for measuring the heart's electrical output, and an electrode array that melts onto the surface of the brain. Now researchers have developed technology that combines a porous polymer and liquid metal that allows electronics to bend and stretch to more than 200 percent their original size (abstract)."
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Hugh Pickens points out a report from Jamie Smith Hopkins that "The unusual nature of the 'derecho' is complicating efforts to get everyone's much-needed air conditioning up and running again as more than 1.4 million people from Illinois to Virginia still remain without power and power companies warn some customers could be without power for the rest of the week in the worst hit areas. Utilities don't have enough staff to handle severe-storm outages – the expense would send rates soaring – so they rely on out-of-state utilities to send help, says Stephen Woerner, Baltimore Gas and Electric's (BGE) chief operating officer. Hurricane forecasts offer enough advanced warning for utilities to 'pre-mobilize' and get the out-of-state assistance in place but the forecast for Friday's walloping wind was merely scattered thunderstorms. 'No utility was prepared for what we saw in terms of having staff available that first day,' says Woerner. But is it a given that a strong storm would cause this magnitude of damage to the electricity grid? 'Even without pursuing the extremely expensive option of burying all of the region's electrical lines, the utilities can and do take steps between bouts of severe weather to prevent outages,' writes the Baltimore Sun, adding that consumer advocates are concerned that utilities invest sufficiently in preventive maintenance. 'Tree trimming and replacement of old infrastructure — particularly in areas that have been shown to be vulnerable to previous storms — helps prevent outages.'"
Hugh Pickens writes writes "Simone Sebastian writes in the Houston Chronicle that the nation's energy transportation network is undergoing a multibillion-dollar overhaul, as oil and natural gas production surges in new regions of the country and energy producers charge into new areas with technology that can reach oil and natural gas trapped in shale and other tight rock formations leaving pools of crude and gas stranded far from the Gulf Coast refineries and petrochemical plants that need them. 'Where it used to be isn't where it is now. Where it needs to go isn't where it used to go,' says Terrance McGill, president of fuel carrier Enbridge Energy. 'You're seeing this fundamental shift of crude oil across the country.' For example Phillips 66 CEO Greg Garland says his company is considering buying 2,000 more rail cars that could carry an additional 150,000 barrels a day from shale regions (PDF) to its refineries across the country because the glut of crude oil pouring out of the newly tapped shale oil plays like North Dakota's Bakken has kept the price of Mid-Continent crude at a record-wide discount of up to $27 per barrel relative to its rival European benchmark Brent crude because there is not enough pipeline capacity to get Bakken crude to Gulf coast refineries. 'That's a pipeline on wheels,' says Garland. 'You'll see us stepping out and doing some more things around infrastructure. Like everyone else, we're doing everything we can to get more barrels in front of those facilities.'"
Once upon a time, it was easy to characterize Google’s domain and business model: they provided well-organized internet search results through a simple, friendly interface, and made money through targeted advertising. Over the years, the company has grown more complex even faster than has the — still admirably spare — Google home page, as it’s either assimilated or originated all kinds of adjuncts to pure search. The Nexus Q, as the company’s first-ever fully home-grown consumer electronics product (as opposed to Google-branded but jointly developed phones and tablets) shows just how far that path has led, and hints at cooler things to come. By default, though, the device is severely limited, intended basically as an overqualified gateway to content stored at Google’s Play media store, or at (Google-controlled) YouTube. And if that weren’t constrained enough, it requires another Android device (phone or tablet, say) as a remote control. The Q is equipped with impressive hardware internally, though, which might soon be exploited with software more flexible than that which comes loaded.
redletterdave writes "Apple will begin transitioning the leadership role within its hardware engineering department, now that Bob Mansfield, who led the engineering of many of Apple's most successful products since 2005, has decided to retire. Apple was quick to name Dan Riccio — currently the VP of hardware engineering for the iPad — as Mansfield's successor, mentioning that Riccio will learn the new role over several months. During that time, the hardware engineering team will continue to report to Mansfield."
1sockchuck writes "An Amazon Web Services data center in northern Virginia lost power Friday night during an electrical storm, causing downtime for numerous customers — including Netflix, which uses an architecture designed to route around problems at a single availability zone. The same data center suffered a power outage two weeks ago and had connectivity problems earlier on Friday."
sweetpea86 writes with an update on color e-ink screens. From the article: "Plastic electronics company Plastic Logic has demonstrated color video animation on a flexible plastic display, which it claims is the first example of an organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) driving electronic paper at video rate. The demonstration proves that the potential uses of electronic paper extend far beyond monochrome text-based e-readers to more sophisticated tablet-style devices that can run color video, while still keeping power consumption low." SlashGear also took a look at it and has a short video of the animated e-ink display.
Lasrick writes "Yun Zhou writes about the end result of China's long reconsideration of nuclear power safety in the wake of Fukushima. Important details about the decision to adopt designs created in China, and incorporate Gen III in those designs." The short version is that they won't be building more Generation II reactors, opting instead to only build Generation III reactors (which have passive safety systems). Instead of relying entirely on the AP1000, China is speeding up the design of their own Generation III reactors. Plans are still in place for 70GW by 2020, but that date will likely slip due to regulatory delays and the temporary construction moratorium.
Warmlight writes "Rice University researchers have created a type of lithium-ion battery that can be spray-painted onto most surfaces. 'Their batteries, outlined in Scientific Reports (abstract), are made up of five separate layers, each with its own recipe — together measuring just 0.5mm thick. To demonstrate the technique, the team painted batteries onto steel, glass, ceramic tile and even a beer stein.' What do you think this will do for future form-factors? Maybe a form-fitting PipBoy-style device that doesn't weigh 30lbs?"
Not too many years ago, people who carried on conversations with folks the rest of us couldn't hear were considered demented (or drunk). Then came the cellular phone headset, which meant normal people could walk along, carrying on conversations with people we couldn't hear, although many researchers came to believe that a large percentage of so-called "normal" cell phone users were also demented (or drunk). Now Google's Project Glass means people can walk along, seeing things no one else can -- and carrying on conversations with them. Are Google's Project Glass users demented? Are they drunk? Or are they looking at heads-up displays mounted on glasses frames or attached to prescription glasses? Inquiring Slashdot editor Timothy Lord wanted to know, so he joined a Glass demonstration hosted by Google co-founder Sergey Brin (whose company is not related to Barney Google, as far as we know) to find out for himself -- and to share his findings with you.
Slashdot editor Jeff Boehm visted Maker Works in Ann Arbor, MI, where they not only have an Epilog Helix Laser Cutter/Engraver, but let him use it. Which, of course, he happily did, just as you or I would have done if somebody said, "Here. Borrow my laser cutter and engraving machine." The sound in the video is a little rough, since it was recorded live in a room full of loud machines -- like laser cutters. But it's still fascinating to watch (and hear) the process. The only downside is the "Ooh! I want one of those!" effect. There are used units available out there, but they cost as much as a pretty good used car. Maybe that's why there are so many Maker Spaces, also called Hacker Spaces, out there. Here's a global Hacker Space list. Hopefully, you'll find one near you, so you can do a little laser cutting (and lots of other neat stuff) yourself. Note: Slashdot accepts reader video submissions. Email robin at roblimo dot com for details.
MrSeb writes "Applied Materials has taken the wraps off a new etching system meant to turn vertically stacked, three-dimensional transistors from lab experiments into commercial reality. The new Centura Avatar solves multiple problems facing manufacturers who are interested in 3D NAND but find their current equipment not up to the task of actually building it. According to the folks at Applied Materials, trying to build 3D NAND structures in real life would be like trying to dig a one-kilometer-deep, three-kilometer-long trench with walls exactly three meters apart, through interleaved rock strata — and that's before we discuss gate trenches or the staircases. While this machine specifically targets 3D NAND today, a number of the challenges to scaling flash memory apply to scaling CPU logic as well. As for when 3D chips will be available for commercial purchase, Applied Materials was vague on that point, but personally I would expect to see companies adopting the new etch equipment in the next few years."
lukehopewell1 writes "The Raspberry Pi is a triumph in computing, and it's now set to become a triumph in robotics as one developer plans to build a model boat around it and sail it across the Atlantic Ocean, completely unmanned. It's codenamed FishPi and will see a model boat sail across the Atlantic all by itself save for a camera, GPS module, compass and solar panels." The creator is posting updates on the build progress using a forum on his website.
theodp writes "Bill Davidow is the real Silicon Valley deal. Commenting on how Silicon Valley has changed over the decades, Davidow is not impressed, dishing out harsh words for Facebook, Apple, Google, and others. 'When corporate leaders pursue wealth in the winner-take-all Internet environment,' concludes Davidow, 'companies dance on the edge of acceptable behavior. If they don't take it to the limit, a competitor will. That competitor will become the dominant supplier — one monopoly will replace another. And when you engage in these activities you get a different set of Valley values: the values of customer exploitation.'"
An anonymous reader writes with an update on DARPA's plans to rebuild satellites in orbit. "A year old DARPA program which aims to recycle satellites in orbit has started its next phase by looking for a guinea pig defunct satellite to use for evaluating the technology required. The program involves a Dr Frankensat 'complete with mechanical arms and other "unique tools"' and blank "satlets" to build upon.' Need parts! Kill the little one!" If we're ever going to build space craft and other things in orbit, this seems like a great first step.