unique inventions and discoveries in science.doc

Download unique inventions and discoveries in science.doc

Post on 03-Jan-2016




0 download

Embed Size (px)




<p>Angellie Faye V. Sale</p> <p>June 7, 2013</p> <p>IV-Einstein</p> <p>1.Most Earthlike Planets Found Yet: A "Breakthrough"</p> <p> New exoplanets are at right distance from sun to support life, scientists say.</p> <p>Marc Kaufman</p> <p>forNational Geographic NewsPublished April 18, 2013</p> <p>Planet hunters are significantly closer to their goal of finding an "Earthtwin" with the discovery of two planets similar in size to our own, astronomers withNASA's Kepler missionannounced today.</p> <p>NASA's Kepler space telescope has discovered three exoplanets that may be capable of supporting life, and one of them is perhaps the most Earth-like alien world spotted to date, scientists announced today (April 18).</p> <p>That most intriguing one is called Kepler-62f, a rocky world just 1.4 times bigger than Earth that circles a star smaller and dimmer than the sun. Kepler-62f's newfound neighbor, Kepler-62e, is just 1.6 times larger than Earth, making the pair among the smallestexoplanetsyet found in their star's habitable zone the just-right range of distances where liquid water can exist on a world's surface.</p> <p>Kepler-62e and f, which are part of a newly discovered five-planet system, "look very good as possibilities for looking for life," said Kepler science principal investigator Bill Borucki, of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif.</p> <p>The planets, described at a NASA press conference, orbit a sun that's cooler than ours but is at the right distance to allow water to remain liquid, which is considered essential for a planet to support life. </p> <p>And because of their sizes and orbits, the newfound planets are likely either rockylike Earthor watery, NASA scientists said. The two planets are located 1,200 light-years away in a five-planet system orbiting a star dubbed Kepler-62.</p> <p>Called Kepler-62e and -62f, the planets "are by far the best candidates for habitability of any found so far," saidWilliam Boruckiof NASA's Ames Research Center, the science principal investigator for the agency'sKepler Space Telescope.</p> <p>"If you were on Kepler-62f and looking at the sun, it would be a little less yellow than ours," said Borucki, whose announcement coincided with the release of a study on the topic in the journalScience.</p> <p>"And at sunset the sky would be more red. But otherwise it would basically look and feel the same," he said.</p> <p>"I would call this a breakthrough discovery."</p> <p>The press conference also introduced another study released today in theAstrophysical Journal, which involves a related discovery of asunvery much like our own named Kepler-69.</p> <p>2.LONG BEACH, Calif. Astronomers have discovered a giant asteroid belt circling the bright star Vega, a find that may ultimately reveal an entire solar system of planets, scientists say.</p> <p>Vega is one of the brightest stars in the night sky and located about 25 light-years from Earth. It gained fame as the fictional source of an alien signal in the science fiction novel Contact by famed astronomer Carl Sagan, which was adapted into a film starring Jodie Foster.</p> <p>The stars newfoundasteroid beltlayout suggest that Vega is surrounded by an icy outer belt of asteroids, as well as a warm inner space rock belt, researchers said. Their presence is also a clue that Vega could be surrounded by multiple undiscovered planets, they added.</p> <p>3.An HVAC system powered by an 18-wheelers exhaust.</p> <p>By Sarah FechtPosted 05.14.2013 at 1:55 pm5 CommentsSemitruck drivers idle their engines to heat or cool their vehicles cabsa practice that burns a billion gallons of fuel each year. Small engines on the back of a cab, called auxiliary power units (APUs), get the job done with less fuel, but theyre loud and smelly. A team of five Ontario-based engineers and mechanics has devised what may be a better solution: an APU called HYPER that runs on waste heat.</p> <p>The group originally formed to build a 100mpg car for the 2008 X Prize competition. During one brainstorming session, someone wondered aloud: Why not use energy from a vehicles exhaust to run an HVAC system? We did a lot of modeling and realized that the energy numbers made sense, says team member Jack MacDonnell. He and two others decided to work full-time to develop a new kind of APU.</p> <p>Like a household refrigerator yet a third the size, HYPER chills air by depressurizing a liquid refrigerant under high pressure into a gasa process that absorbs energy. The gas then condenses to start the cycle anew. But instead of using electricity to drive the process, HYPER does it with a semitrucks 660F exhaust heat. MacDonnell says the APU stores between six and 10 hours of heating or cooling capacity after an hour of driving. Based on early tests, he thinks the device could cut a truckers yearly fuel consumption by 9 percent and carbon emissions by about 20 tons.</p> <p>The team is testing HYPER on a retrofitted semi in hopes of selling road-ready devices in 2014. With 2.5 million trucks on U.S. roads, HYPER could make a significant impactbut the team also hopes to retrofit buses, RVs, passenger vehicles, and more. We would drastically cut emissions, fuel consumption, and be less dependent on foreign oil, MacDonnell says.</p> <p>HOW IT WORKS</p> <p>1)660F semitruck exhaust heats a refrigerant mixture [red] flowing through an exchanger. The refrigerants solvent boils from its solute, pressurizing the HYPER system.2)A second exchanger uses a fan to help cool and condense the refrigerant into a high-pressure liquid.3)The refrigerant [yellow] passes through a nozzle, flashing it into a gas [blue]. This draws heat from an adjacent fluid loop, cooling it to about 23F [green].4)A reservoir stores the chilled fluid.5)Air blown across an evaporator (fed by chilled reservoir fluid) cools the truck cab.6)A final exchanger condenses the refrigerant into a liquid to restart the cycle.</p> <p>INVENTORSJack MacDonnell, Dave Gibbs, John Stannard</p> <p>COMPANYEnerMotionINVENTIONHYPER APU</p> <p>4.U.S. businesses use about 21 million tons (19 million metric tons) of paper every year -- 175 pounds of paper for each American, according to the Clean Air Council. This has led to officerecycling programs, "please think before you print"e-mailsignatures and printers that offer double-sided printing. Now a trio ofChinese inventorshopes to add another device to the cubicle environment: theP&amp;P Office Waste Paper Processor, which turns paper destined for recycling into pencils. The machine, looking a bit like a three-hole punch crossed with an electric pencil sharpener, was a finalist in the 2010 Lite-On Awards, an international competition that seeks to stimulate and nurture innovation.</p> <p>Here's how the pencil-making gadget works: You insert wastepaper into a feed slot. The machine draws the paper in, rolls and compresses it, and then inserts a piece of lead from a storage chamber located in the top of the device. A small amount of glue is added before -- voil -- a pencil slides out from a hole on the side. It's not clear how many pieces of paper form a single pencil, but you figure the average office worker could generate a decent supply of pencils in a month.</p> <p>And that seems to be the biggest drawback to the pencil-producing gadget. How many No. 2 pencils can an office really use, given that most workers take notes on theirtablet PCsor laptops? And how much glue and lead core do you need to buy to keep up with the overflowing paper recycle bin? Too much, we would suspect, which is why you may never see this gadget in your office supplies catalog [source:Bonderud].</p> <p>5.2013 Invention Awards: Ballast Bulb</p> <p>A household lamp powered by a bag of rocks.</p> <p>By Amanda TustPosted 05.06.2013 at 10:00 am12 CommentsMore than 780 million people rely on kerosene to light their homes. But the fuel is pricey and is toxic when burnednot to mention a fire hazard. In 2008, London-based product designer Martin Riddiford and his colleague Jim Reeves decided to create a cheap, safe alternative.</p> <p>Riddiford knew a falling weight could produce enough energy to run a grandfather clock, so why not a light? To find out, he attached the crank of a wind-up flashlight to a bicycle wheel. He hung a weight from the wheel to cause it to spin; the wheel cranked the flashlight, and the device lit up.</p> <p>Over the next four years, Riddiford, Reeves, and a small team spent their downtime between projects in a basement, refining the GravityLight. To use it, a person hangs the device and fills an attached fabric bag with up to 28 pounds of rocks, dirt, or other material. Lifting and releasing the bag steadily pulls a notched belt through GravityLights plastic hub; the belt spins a series of gears to drive a small motor, which continuously powers an LED for about 30 minutes.</p> <p>The team used crowdfunding to manufacture 1,000 GravityLights, which it plans to send to developing countries for field testingplus 6,000 more for backers. Its exciting to witness so much positive reaction to what were doing, Riddiford says. Besides remote villages, the lamp could prove handy in campsites, closets, and any dark nook far from a socket, so Riddiford also hopes to license a retail version for less than $10.</p> <p>GravityLight:Graham Murdoch</p> <p>HOW IT WORKS</p> <p>1)As a weighted bag descends, it tugs a belt to turn a series of plastic gears.2)The gears work in unison to spin an electric motor.3)The motor powers a small yet bright LED, providing continuous illumination for about 30 minutesthe maximum amount of time that the bag can take to descend.4)External connectors can power low-voltage devices, and the entire system is designed to work for thousands of lift-and-drop cycles.</p> <p>INVENTORSJim Reeves, Martin Riddiford</p> <p>COMPANYThereforeINVENTIONGravityLight</p> <p>6.2013 Invention Awards: Smart Ball</p> <p>A wireless data-gathering grenade to toss into danger.</p> <p>ByGregory MonePosted 05.10.2013 at 9:04 am3 CommentsAfter an earthquake devastated Haiti in 2010, search-and-rescue teams descended upon Port-au-Prince to look for survivors. Francisco Aguilar, a graduate student in public policy at the time, was shocked to read stories about crews relying on complex, expensive imaging systems. Only a few teams had them, and you had to be really well trained to use them, Aguilar says. He soon launched a start-up in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to develop a simple way to explore hard-to-reach places: a throwable, expendable, baseball-size probe.</p> <p>The Bounce Imaging Explorer has a shock-absorbing shell embedded with six cameras, plus clusters of near-infrared LEDs to light up dark rooms (for the cameras). To deploy the Explorer, an emergency worker links it to a smartphone or tablet and chucks the ball into danger. It immediately begins taking photos and testing for methane, carbon monoxide, and dangerously high temperatures. A microprocessor inside the ball then stiches the photos together and converts the raw data for transmission over Wi-Fi. Just seconds after the toss, a wrap-around panoramacomplete with environmental warningsappears on the synced device.</p> <p>Aguilar quickly imagined applications beyond disaster areas, such as burning buildings, hostage crises, and combat zones, so he sought feedback from potential customers. His start-up cranked through dozens of prototypes in the first 18 months, tweaking the design as requests poured in. When several police officers said they wanted to be able to hear inside a room, for example, Aguilar added a digital microphone.</p> <p>Police, firefighters, soldiers, and nuclear-plant inspectors have offered to test the device, which Aguilar is determined to keep between $500 and $1,000. We want to get it as cheap as possible so it can be as broadly deployed as possible, he says.</p> <p>INVENTORFrancisco Aguilar</p> <p>COMPANYBounce ImagingINVENTIONBounce Imaging Explorer</p> <p>7.Touchscreen interface for seamless data transfer between the real and virtual worlds</p> <p>-15 APRIL 2013</p> <p>With a webcam, a projector, and special software, researchers from Fujitsu Laboratories have made an awesome (and unexpected) mix of dead-tree and digital tech: a system that turns paper into touchscreens.</p> <p>Put your documents under the machine while motion trackers determine where your finger is and, with a series of gestures, users can highlight images or text, then automatically digitize what they select. The machine can pick up on either a flat sheet of paper or adjust to the curve of a real book.</p> <p>We've seen inventions like thisbefore, and they always seem like they're caught between two worlds. The technology is amazing, but can't you just digitize text and make that digital version into a touchscreen? Maybe you're really attached to your tattered copy ofThe Sun Also Risesbut want a little more functionality.</p> <p>Fujitsu Laboratories has developed a next generation user interface which can accurately detect the users finger and what it is touching, creating an interactive touchscreen-like system, using objects in the real word.</p> <p>"We think paper and many other objects could be manipulated by touching them, as with a touchscreen. This system doesn't use any special hardware; it consists of just a device like an ordinary webcam, plus a commercial projector. Its capabilities are achieved by image processing technology."</p> <p>Using this technology, information can be imported from a document as data, by selecting the necessary parts with your finger.</p> <p>This technology measures the shape of real-world objects, and automatically adjusts the coordinate systems for the camera, projector, and real world. In this way, it can coordinate the display with touching, not only for flat surfaces like tables and paper, but also for the curved surfaces of objects such as books.</p> <p>"Until now, gesturing has often been used to operate PCs and other devices. But with this interface, we're not operating a PC, but touching actual objects directly, and combining them with ICT equipment."</p> <p>"The system is designed not to react when you make ordinary motions on a table. It can be operated when you point with one finger. What this means is, the system serves as an interface combining analog operations and digital devices."</p> <p>To detect touch accurately, the system needs to detect fingertip height accurately. In particular, with the low-resolution camera used here (320 x 180), if fingertip detection is off by a single pixel, the height changes by 1 cm. So, the system requires technology for recognizing fingertips with high precision.</p> <p>"Using a low-res webcam gives a fuzzy picture, but the system calculates 3D positions with high precision, by compensating through image processing."</p> <p>This system also includes technology for controlling color and brightness, in line with the ambient light, and correcting for individual differences in hand color. In this way, it can identify fingertips consistently, with little influence from the environment or individual differences.</p> <p>Also, in situations that don't use touch, the system can be operated by gesturing. In this demo, when you move...</p>