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October 3, 2014
Comments (0) | Posted at 04:01PM PST by ClayMeow
Evil Necromancer Quan Chi Revealed for Mortal Kombat X

Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment (WBIE) has continued the trend of announcing one new Mortal Kombat X character each month since the game's official announcement. After initially unveiling Scorpion, Sub-Zero, D'Vorah, Ferra and Torr, Cassie Cage, and Kotal Kahn, there was Raiden in July, Kano in August, Goro in September, and now October's reveal: Quan Chi. The reveal is accompanied by a gameplay trailer, showing off his three variations, his inter-dimensional X-Ray move, and a glimpse at his Fatality.

In order of their appearance in the video, Quan Chi's three variations are: Sorcerer, specializing in spell circles; Warlock, specializing in dark portals; and Summoner, featuring a demonic minion.

Mortal Kombat X will be coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on April 14, 2015.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 01:55PM PST by Guest_Jim_*

Heart attacks are pretty serious and something very hard to recover from, in part because heart cells do not multiply and there are few cardiac muscle stem cells to repair the damage. Cardiac patches have been created to replace damaged cells, but because of how they are made, these patches can cause their own health problems. Researchers at Tel Aviv University have recently developed a new hybrid patch that could address those problems.

Traditionally the patches are made by growing cardiac tissue on a collagen scaffold from pig hearts. One of the problems with this approach is the potential for antigens that will trigger an immune response, causing the patient's body to attack the patch. To get around this the researchers instead harvest fatty tissue from the patient's stomach, as the body will not attack its own cells. This left an issue with connectivity, as the cells in the patch must respond to the electrical signals of the heart, and engineered patches do not immediately form the necessary connections. The solution the researchers tried was to deposit gold nanoparticles onto the cardiac tissue, providing the needed conductivity.

So far the nonimmunogenic hybrid patch has shown itself to transfer electrical signals faster and more efficiently than scaffolds without the gold nanoparticles, when tested in animals. The next step for the technology is to test it in larger animals, and eventually perform clinical trials.

Source: American Friends of Tel Aviv University

Comments (0) | Posted at 11:51AM PST by CheeseMan42

The secretive hardware group at Google, known as Google X, is reportedly working on large scale displays. The screens are being designed with modularity in mind, using a number of "smaller screens that plug together like Legos to create a seamless image." The concept of using several monitors to create a larger display isn't an entirely new one, but the lack of noticeable borders between monitors could set the Google design apart from competitors. This type of configuration is often used in applications such as "stadium jumbotrons, digital billboards, and video walls," and it remains to be seen who or what the target of the Google X project would be.

Source: Ars Technica

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:57AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

It is almost amusing how much we rely on lithium ion batteries, despite knowing quite little about their operation. Given the extreme nature of the inside of a battery though, perhaps that is not altogether surprising. Still some researchers do find ways to looking inside, such as those at Michigan Technological University who have uncovered what happens when ions enter the anode.

As part of how batteries operate, lithium ions will move from one side to the other, entering and exiting the electrodes as is appropriate. That movement is not exactly simple or easy though, which is something the Michigan researchers want to change. With transmission electron microscopy, the researchers were able to observe atomic shuffling, as they call it, when lithium enters an anode. The structure of the electrode has to change to receive the lithium ion, expanding and contracting to form a sandwich structure.

Obviously this explains how the ions move through the electrodes, but it also explains why anodes made of a layered material fail. The stress and phase transitions involved are too great for the material to survive over repeated charge/discharge cycles.

Source: Michigan Technological University

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:51AM PST by bp9801

Friday is upon us at last, which means there are some items to help close out the week. We have an early look at the EVGA Hydro Copper GTX 980 water block and, if this preview is anything to go by, the new Maxwell GPU is going to be kept quite cool. There's also a review on the SteelSeries Sibera RAW Prism, an entry-level gaming headset for those on a tight budget. If you're looking for some help in your games, then perhaps the Cougar 700M gaming mouse can help you get those few more kills to move up the leaderboard. Wrapping up things for the week is a podcast covering the latest news and reviews.

GPU Cooling
EVGA Hydro Copper GTX 980M Water Block Early Performance Testing @ PC Perspective

Cougar 700M Gaming Mouse @ Benchmark Reviews

SteelSeries Sibera RAW Prism @ LanOC Reviews

Podcast #320 @ PC Perspective

October 2, 2014
Comments (0) | Posted at 03:50PM PST by CheeseMan42

NVIDIA recently held the GAME24 event, a 24 hour global celebration of PC gaming. The entire event was broadcast live with more than 1.3 million viewers from over 120 countries watching the events that included tech talks, a 24 hour modding competition, and a Dota 2 tournament. NVIDIA also used the event to unveil its next graphics architecture, known as Maxwell, along with the GeForce GTX 980 and 970.

Source: NVIDIA

Comments (0) | Posted at 02:31PM PST by Guest_Jim_*

For years silicon chips and transistors have been used to build computers, but this may change in the future as modern technologies reach their limits. Exactly what the future may bring is hard to predict though, as there are many contenders and some are quite different from what we have today. Now one of these contenders has gotten quite a boost from researchers at the Technische Universität München and the University of Notre Dame, as they have successfully created a majority logic gate from a 3D stack of nanomagnets.

Single magnets have their own magnetic field, but when multiple are brought together, their individual fields will couple into one. The majority logic gate works by holding three nanomagnets in a fixed position, with a fourth free to move nearby. That free nanomagnet will flip its orientation depending on the orientation of the majority of the fixed nanomagnets, hence the name. Potentially a majority logic gate could be used as a programmable switch in a digital circuit, especially if combined with domain wall gates, which the researchers have been working on for years, as they enable the routing, buffering, and synchronization of signals in magnetic circuits.

There are many promising aspects to this technology, including low energy consumption, resistance to radiation, and being non-volatile. It also lends itself well to vertical stacking to improve scalability and packing density, and by using coupled fields transistors the contacts and wiring of transistors are not required.

Source: Technische Universität München

Comments (0) | Posted at 10:06AM PST by bp9801

The second day of October has arrived, and with it plenty of items for you to check out. We have a review on the AZZA 'Z' CSAZ-103 Mini-ITX case, which may look small, but is fully capable of holding big parts, like a long video card and full size power supply. If keeping your processor cool is what you're looking for, then you should check out the reviews on both the Cooler Master Hyper D92 and LEPA LV12 CPU coolers. Switching over to the portable world, there is a review on the updated version of the Motorola Moto G smartphone, as well as the iconBIT Toucan 4K Android Mini-PC. Lastly, if you want a chance to fight cancer and win an NVIDIA GeForce GTX Titan Black, hit up the contest link to see exactly what you must do (Folding@Home) to win.

AZZA 'Z' CSAZ-103 Mini-ITX @ Benchmark Reviews

CPU Cooling
Cooler Master Hyper D92 @ Frostytech
LEPA LV12 @ ThinkComputers

iconBIT Toucan 4K Android Mini-PC @ Madshrimps

Motorola Moto G (2014) @ TechSpot

Fight cancer and win a GTX Titan Black @ Bjorn3D

Comments (0) | Posted at 09:31AM PST by gebraset

Google has updated its Play Newsstand application for Android, which according to the search engine giant provides a wealth of news sources in one reading experience, including everything from online newspapers, websites, blogs, and print magazines. The latest update for the news application from Google brings in a fresh, new user interface that is based on Google’s material design. This design incorporates more contextual headers, smoother transitions, and larger images to improve how content is presented to users. Deeper topic cards have also been added thanks to the latest update, and a redesigned magazine reading experience that allows for toggling through a list of articles is also available.

Google Play Newsstand is currently available in 40 countries across the world, and users of the application will receive latest update over the next week.

Source: Official Android Blog

Comments (0) | Posted at 09:31AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

Some people hate needles tremendously, which can make delivering some medications very difficult. Ideally a patient could just be given the medication as a pill to swallow, but not all drugs can survive the digestion system and enter the bloodstream. Researchers at MIT however have developed a new pill design that circumvents the issues by injecting the medication through the GI tract.

Chemicals like insulin, vaccines, recombinant DNA, and RNA are part of a class of drugs called 'biologics' which are so large they are nonabsorbable, but even before they would be, the acids and enzymes in a patients GI tract would degrade them. To get around this the researchers have created a pill roughly two centimeters by one centimeter in size, covered with small needles. That may not sound much better than a traditional needle, but the GI tract has no pain receptors and the whole thing is too small to be a danger. By just filling the pill with the appropriate drug, it could be administered to a patient without any pain.

So far the researchers have tested the pill with insulin in pigs. It took about a week to pass through the pigs and the body received it well. Those pigs that were given the pill were also affected more by the insulin than those that received it by injection, suggesting this method may be a more efficient delivery system.



Source: MIT

Comments (0) | Posted at 08:54AM PST by gebraset

Dropbox has released an important update to its Android application, allowing users of the service to transfer Dropbox files to an external SD card. With the feature being one of the most requested by users, it is obviously why Dropbox decided to implement it into its Android application. All types of files can be transferred to an SD card for offline use, such as meeting agendas, trip photos, and shopping lists. Users can utilize the newest feature by tapping the “Quick Action” button to the right of any file, selecting “More,” then “Export,” and finally tapping “Save to Device” and picking the external SD card. The latest update to the Dropbox Android application also includes faster search support and improved Android L support.

Source: Dropbox Blog

Comments (0) | Posted at 06:22AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

Doctors, like many professionals, need information to best perform, but getting the vital information can be difficult. One example is tissue oxygenation, which is indicative and healing but typically is hard to record in noninvasive and accurate ways. As reported in The Optical Society's Biomedical Optics Express journal, researchers have created a smart bandage that will actually glow to indicate tissue oxygenation.

The bandage as actually a viscous fluid one would apply to a wound, and in a minute it will dry into a thin film. A transparent barrier layer is then placed on top to protect the bandage and reduce the amount of oxygen from the environment that reaches it. Within that bandage are phosphors, like those used in glow-in-the-dark inks. This particular phosphor reacts to oxygen by glowing for longer and brighter, when less is present. A camera-based readout device is then used to actually read the oxygenation information, by providing the light to get the phosphors glowing, and the camera to measure the brightness or color of the light. Regular digital cameras, like those on smartphones, could fill this role, which would help bring this technology to the field.

The researchers developed this technology to aid wounded soldiers, as tissue oxygenation information can help doctors deal with severe wounds and burns, even improving the success of surgeries. Next the researchers are looking to expand the bandage's sensing capability, and possibly add an on-demand drug delivery system.

Source: The Optical Society

October 1, 2014
Comments (0) | Posted at 08:19PM PST by ClayMeow

Colonizing an alien world is no easy task – or so I would assume – so it's probably a good thing that Firaxis Games has provided a new Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth gameplay trailer to help us out. The video, entitled "Discovery", is broken up into seven chapters: A New Beginning, Planetfall, Exploration, Affinities, Tech Web, Advancement, and Victory. If you have annotations turned on, you can skip to whichever chapter tickles your fancy if you don't want to watch the whole nine-minute video.

Sid Meier's Civilization: Beyond Earth is launching exclusively for Windows PC on October 24, with pre-orders netting the Exoplanets Map Pack.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 07:25PM PST by ClayMeow

After a mighty impressive Dragon Age: Inquisition Character Creation video, followed by some lovely Character Posters, what does BioWare have in store for us now? A new Gameplay Features video focused on "Crafting & Customization". From potions to armor to weapons, Inquisition offers quite a lot to mess around with.

Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch on November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The Standard Edition costs $59.99 for all platforms, while a Deluxe Edition is available for $69.99 and includes the following bonus content: Flames of the Inquisition Armor, Flames of the Inquisition Armored Mount, Skyhold Throne, Red Hart Halla, Bog Unicorn, and the digital soundtrack. Pre-ordering either version grants you some nice fiery weapons from the Flames of the Inquisition Arsenal.

Source: BioWare

Comments (0) | Posted at 06:29PM PST by ClayMeow

The eighth and ninth videos in the Alien: Isolation #HowWillYouSurvive series of videos are now live. These two videos follow the trend of the previous one, showing us that the synthetics are just as deadly as the Xenomorph, so you should never feel safe.

Alien: Isolation is coming to PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360 on October 7. You can check the PC system requirements at the official site. A Season Pass will also be available, featuring five Survivor Mode add-on packs.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 04:13PM PST by CheeseMan42
Corsair Releases Flash Voyager Vega USB Drive

Corsair has released three new USB 3.0 flash drives under the Flash Voyager Vega product line. The drives are "ultra compact," measuring 5mm in thickness and 24mm in length with a key ring to make it even more portable. The drive is housed in a chrome plated scratch resistant case and will be available in capacities of 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB. The drives have USB 3.0 connectivity with USB 2.0 backwards compatibility. The 16GB has an MSRP of $16.99, the 32GB model will cost $24.99, and the 64GB has a price tag of $44.99.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 03:57PM PST by CheeseMan42
Thermaltake Announces TR2 Bronze Series Power Supplies

The TR2 Bronze Series is the latest power supply offering from manufacturer Thermaltake. All three power supplies in the series have received the 80 PLUS Bronze certification and use a single 12V rail to provide stable and reliable performance. A single 120mm fan keeps everything running cool while maintaining near silent operation. The Bronze Series will be available in capacities of 450W, 500W, and 600W.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 11:05AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

Mistakes happen to everyone, so what is important is to learn from the mistake and move on. A student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst learned this lesson perhaps better than most as a mistake led to quite a discovery. Researchers at the university have been looking for a way to produce the optimal polymer architecture for organic solar cells, and by a student accidentally using the wrong substrate, they have found it.

Organic solar cells are a promising technology that could potentially out compete modern, inorganic solar cells with comparable or better efficiency, but at a lower cost and greater flexibility. They do have problems though, such as discontinuous pathways that cause energy loss. This can be overcome with the right architecture though and a student produced it while trying to grow polymer crystals, on the wrong substrate. By accident the student had used graphene as the substrate, and the mistake was not realized for over a week, when the sample was put under a scanning electron microscope. At that time not only was the mistake found but so were vertically stacked crystals, resembling blades of grass.

This vertically stacked structure addresses the problem of discontinuous pathways because of how electrons prefer to travel in certain directions through the crystals. This discovery may not just impact solar cells, but could find applications in batteries and vertical transistors as well.

Source: University of Massachusetts at Amherst

Comments (0) | Posted at 09:35AM PST by gebraset

Comcast has revealed that it has launched its cloud DVR service, which provides users with the ability to stream television recordings to PCs, Macs, Android devices, and iOS devices, in San Francisco and Houston. The two cities join Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, and Washington D.C, which have had access to Comcast cloud DVR since earlier this year. The service takes its aim at competing companies, delivering content to devices located within and outside of the home where DVR service is active. While the cloud DVR service is currently tied to a traditional X1 DVR box, recordings are duplicated in the cloud for viewing. DVR boxes that simply stream content and come without a hard drive should be released in the near future, providing additional functionality to cloud DVR by Comcast.

X1 users who currently have an X1 box will need to request cloud DVR functionality. Comcast expects all X1 users to receive cloud DVR by the end of the year.

Source: Gigaom

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:46AM PST by bp9801

It is the middle of the week and also the start of October, and there are just a couple of items to keep you occupied today. There is a review on the Corsair Carbide 240 Air computer case, which is a dual chamber cube-style case that won't take up a lot of room. It still houses plenty of features within its unique design, so be sure to check out the article in full. Our other item for today examines the history of computers, and specifically the IBM Model 5150 and the amount of clones it helped spawn.

Corsair Carbide 240 Air @ Madshrimps

History of PCs, Part 3: IBM Model 5150 and the attack of the clones @ TechSpot

Comments (0) | Posted at 05:34AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

In science classes the concept of 'ideal conditions' can often be invoked, because under ideal conditions, complex systems can be made simpler. Outside of classes complex systems are still simplified by removing complicating terms, but such a sacrifice can also make a mathematical model inaccurate. Researchers at Brown University are working to repair these inaccuracies by adding uncertainty to the models for some very complex systems.

Predicting the weather is not easy, evidenced by the number of times a forecast is wrong, and part of the process for doing that is modelling how pressure waves interact, which we do have equations for. While those generalized equations do successfully model the interactions, they fail to consider other variables that also impact the waves, such as the geography beneath them, for the sake of simplicity. The Brown researchers are trying to correct that by adding a random term to the model as a random forcing. This will result in the model producing a range of values, instead of a single answer, and will make it more realistic.

This work is part of a mathematical field called uncertainty quantifications, which tries to recover some degrees of freedom removed by simplification, as a random forcing. The reason this is only being done now is that computing power has only recently reached the level needed for this work.

Source: Brown University

September 30, 2014
Comments (0) | Posted at 07:58PM PST by bp9801
Microsoft Unveils Windows 10

Microsoft took the wraps off its newest Windows operating system earlier today, but it bears a name that isn't what everyone thought it would be: Windows 10. It was expected the new version would be Windows 9, considering Windows 8 is its predecessor, but Microsoft decided to change things up a little. Microsoft's Terry Myerson, the executive vice president for the Operating Systems Group, explains the new name is because of a shift in the company's approach to the operating system, with everything as "one tailored experience", and how Windows 9 wouldn't fit with that idea. Windows 10 does, however, hence the name change. The new OS is a blend of the best of both worlds, as it combines the traditional elements of Windows 7 with the touch features of Windows 8, along with some new goodies.

A familiar Start menu appears when you click the Start button, just with the addition of Live Tiles from Windows 8. As seen in the preview video, the Start menu and Live Tiles are customizable, with both the menu and Live Tiles able to be resized. The Start menu can even be expanded beyond the borders of your screen, so you can scroll left and right to see every app (just like in Windows 8). Metro apps now appear in a resizable window instead of fullscreen, so no more having the weather app dominate until you close it. The taskbar has been updated too, as it can now show all running apps in each virtual desktop. Your current desktop is the primary one, but you can switch between several others (or add new ones) for different tasks; so one may be for work, another for play, and others for video chats or anything else you wish. There's still the familiar Alt + Tab command, but it brings up every running app in every desktop now.

Microsoft wasn't willing to divulge every little detail about Windows 10, but expect more of that over time. The touch features weren't really expanded upon in today's event, although we do know of a feature called "Continuum" that switches the system's behavior based on the hardware. So say you're using something like the Surface Pro 3 as a tablet; Windows 10 will show its touch interface. If you then hook up the keyboard cover, Windows 10 switches into the traditional desktop mode that's keyboard and mouse-friendly. Microsoft is still tweaking Continuum, but it sounds exceptionally promising.

Windows 10 is expected to launch sometime during the middle part of next year, but starting tomorrow a Technical Preview will be available through Microsoft's Insider Program. If you're interested in checking out Windows 10 and giving Microsoft your feedback, head here to do just that.

Source: Ars Technica [1] & [2], and Engadget

Comments (0) | Posted at 07:56PM PST by ClayMeow

Yesterday, BioWare unveiled some pretty damn impressive Character Creation for Dragon Age: Inquisition. But if you've ever played a Dragon Age game, you know that there are also several NPCs and companions to meet along the way. While you can't mold them aesthetically to your liking, BioWare's designers have done a pretty good job on their own, as evidenced by some newly released Character Posters, attached below.

Dragon Age: Inquisition Group Poster

Dragon Age: Inquisition will launch on November 18 in North America and November 21 in Europe for PC, PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360. The Standard Edition costs $59.99 for all platforms, while a Deluxe Edition is available for $69.99 and includes the following bonus content: Flames of the Inquisition Armor, Flames of the Inquisition Armored Mount, Skyhold Throne, Red Hart Halla, Bog Unicorn, and the digital soundtrack. Pre-ordering either version grants you some nice fiery weapons from the Flames of the Inquisition Arsenal.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 07:06PM PST by ClayMeow
Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor Has Launched

One of the most highly anticipated games of the year has finally launched! Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor has released globally for PC and in North America for PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, along with parts of the Season Pass. Other regions and platforms will have to wait a little bit longer. Of course, no launch would be complete without an official Launch Trailer, so enjoy:

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 03:51PM PST by CheeseMan42

Arduino is well known for its low cost open source hardware platform, and the company is now throwing its hat into an entirely different arena, 3D printing. A partnership was announced today with startup Sharebot to create a 3D printer known as the Materia 101 that will cost between $800 and $1000. The official announcement stated, "The printer will be available only on the Arduino Store both as a kit and pre-assembled," the announcement said. "Official pricing of the device will be disclosed at a later date but the kit will sell for less than 600 EUR/800 USD, while the pre-assembled version will be available for less than 700 EUR/1000 USD." Arduino added that all documentation including technical drawings, mechanical documentation, and customized firmware will be made available as part of this partnership.

Source: Ars Technica

Comments (0) | Posted at 03:39PM PST by CheeseMan42

ECS launched round 1 of the "Design Your Own LIVA" competition at the start of the month with an entry deadline of midnight tonight, which means you still have a few hours to get an entry in. ECS plans to announce qualifiers for round 2 tomorrow, with entrants receiving their own LIVA case to finish their submissions by the end of next month. As part of the announcement, ECS has extended round 1 entries to October 15, though these entrants won't be eligible for the main contest, but will instead have a chance to earn mystery prizes.

Source: Press Release

Comments (0) | Posted at 02:32PM PST by Guest_Jim_*

In many ways, we are used to one-way reactions, such as glass breaking and not healing, and fire consuming, not restoring a material. Under the right circumstances though, many reactions can be reversed, at least in part. Among these is converting carbon dioxide back into a fuel using artificial photosynthesis, and researchers at Berkeley Lab have recently made a discovery that could greatly impact that process.

Actually reducing carbon dioxide to create a fuel is very difficult, so researchers have been looking for an efficient and selective catalyst to ease the process. To that end, the Berkeley researchers investigate bimetallic nanoparticles made of gold and copper. Typically nanocatalysts are comprised of a single element, but by using two instead, the researchers were able to tune their electronic properties. Also, by virtue of being nanoparticles, the researchers were able to control their geometry in monolayers. From this the researchers were able to determine the electronic effect and geometric effect on the production of intermediates; materials that are created during the catalyzed process.

Though the work was done with gold-copper nanoparticles, its results should extend to other potential carbon dioxide reduction catalysts. From that it may be possible to engineer superior catalysts that will make it possible to capture carbon dioxide from the air, and create useable fuels from it.

Source: Berkeley Lab

Comments (0) | Posted at 10:42AM PST by gebraset

The 32GB and 4G LTE version of the NVIDIA SHIELD tablet is now available to purchase. The device, which was revealed last July and was available earlier this month for customers to pre-order, is aimed directly at gamers who want to play demanding titles on a mobile platform. NVIDIA is including a few goodies with the SHIELD tablet to entice potential customers, including Trine 2: Complete Story, Twitch, and productivity apps such as Evernote. Other accessories are available for the NVIDIA SHIELD, such as the SHIELD wireless controller that works seamlessly with the gaming tablet.

The SHIELD tablet that features 32GB of storage and 4G LTE connectivity currently retails for $399 and is unlocked for use with T-Mobile or AT&T.

Source: TechHive

Comments (0) | Posted at 10:15AM PST by gebraset

Google has officially launched Drive for Education, which is available to students who make use of Google Apps for Education. The new offering provides students with unlimited storage along with the ability to store files up to 5TB in size, which is more than virtually any user will need. In comparison, unlimited storage is also offered to Drive for Work users, the premium offering of Google Drive that costs business users $10 per month. Before this announcement, users of Google Apps for Education could only access 30GB of storage for free.

Google Drive for Education is available for all non-profit educational institutions at no charge and will be available to all Google Apps for Education users over the coming weeks.

Source: Google for Education

Comments (0) | Posted at 10:07AM PST by Guest_Jim_*

When one envisions a solar power device, they likely picture a silicon panel that directly converts light into electricity. Just like skinning a cat though, there are many ways to harness the power of the Sun. Researchers at MIT have recently created a material that may greatly advance one of these alternatives.

Solar-thermophotovoltaic (STPV) devices work by collecting Sunlight to heat up a material. This material then glows, due to this heat, and that glow is what is converted into electricity. Under ideal circumstances, the material absorbs just the frequencies of light in Sunlight, so as to reduce the amount of energy it may radiate away. That is exactly what the MIT researchers have achieved with this new material, thanks to an idea about a previous study. Some of the team members had previously worked on a STPV device that used hollow cavities in the collector, to help capture and hold light. At the time these cavities were just filled with air, but now the researchers have filled them with a dielectric material, and that resulted in some interesting properties.

Along with the excellent absorption spectrum, this new material can be produced with modern manufacturing techniques on silicon wafers up to a foot on a side. Now the researchers are searching for other materials that this device can be made with, to help cut costs. They predict we may see a commercially viable product in just five years.

Source: MIT

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