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The Pragyan Blog

SciTech Bulletin 4.6

Your monthly dose of the latest in science and technology

As the year draws to a close, we take a look at the recent breakthroughs in the fields of wearable technology, computing and lots more. Science is forever changing, so read on to know more!

Sensors That Fit

Wearable technology scales new heights with rubber-infused sensors. Source: news.berkeley.edu

Modern medicine and technology often go hand-in-hand. In the past, doctors relied on their knowledge and subjective understanding of patients’ symptoms to make a diagnosis. Today, however, their job is made easier in several ways by medical devices. These devices work by recording measurable biological data which can be used later in the medical process. To get this data, sensors are required — sensors that are fairly conspicuous and inconvenient. They serve their medical purpose, but reduce the comfort of the patient.

All this is about to change, however, as engineers at the Imperial College in London have come up with a way to fuse electrical components with rubber, helping them create a prototype of a sensor that can be stretched and worn comfortably. While soft sensors have been in the offing for quite a while, they never saw widespread use due to the difficulty in integrating the sensors with the required external circuitry. Now, these researchers have come up with a method that involves the use of metal-coated silicon, forming a bond much stronger than what has been achieved before. They have got positive results from their prototypes, which include a wearable breathing monitor and a leg band that helps in rehabilitation, among others.

Find out more at — http://bit.ly/2MgwViQ

Computing with magnetic waves

Magnetic circuits are shaping up to be the future of computing. Source: news.mit.edu

Researchers at MIT have conceived a novel circuit design that uses magnetic waves for computing, pushing us towards practical magnetic based circuits. With advancements in technology, the amount of data that needs to be stored and manipulated is increasing while the size of the devices is decreasing. Most of the modern devices use charges to store information.

The current RAM technologies employ the use of tiny capacitors to hold charges (i.e information). As the size of these capacitors is constantly decreasing, they tend to lose the charges resulting in loss of information. Also, the current data storage methods use a lot of electricity and generate a large amount of heat resulting in loss of energy.

Hence in search of more efficient ways to computing, scientists are leaning towards magnetic based circuits. Magnetic waves claim to reduce the electricity usage and generate practically no heat. This technology called ‘spintronics’ uses the property of spin of electrons to store information. Data is stored based on the spin states of the electrons, hence there is little possibility of loss of information.

To learn more check out this article by MIT — http://bit.ly/36UbTyn

Solid-State Batteries

Toyota’s scheme for a solid state battery. Source: Innovation and Tech Today

For as long as smartphones have been around, their conventional power storage has been in Lithium-Ion batteries and although these batteries offer a good storage capacity and decent charging speeds, they’re not really reliable. Most modern smartphones run for a maximum of a day or two on a full charge, but this new technology is here to change this forever.

The conventional Lithium-Ion batteries have two poles (anode and cathode) dipped in a liquid solution where lithium ions are released from the anode and they travel to the cathode releasing energy in the process. However, there’s a couple of problems — for starters, the liquid in the battery is flammable leading to battery explosions. Further, the liquid has a formation of dendrites over time leading to sluggish charging speeds and a drop in the battery capacity. The liquid, also being sensitive to temperature, limits charging speed and operating conditions. Solid-state batteries can resolve all of the aforementioned problems and also decrease the size of the already compact Li-Ion batteries.

Find out more on — http://bit.ly/34HW7Fh

Graphene to Diamond

The infamous quote, “Diamonds are created under pressure”, may not be entirely true anymore. Source: IITR CMLab

Diamonds could now no longer be a complex chemical formula to write with the newly found technique of producing monolayer diamond from graphene. In the world of materials, graphene is known as the king of wonder materials and diamond is the king of crystals. At the atomic level, diamond and graphene are both made of the same carbon atoms, yet the difference is stark, due to the atomic arrangement.

The bi-layered graphene was exposed to fluorine, in place of hydrogen, and hence, no high pressure was needed to make a strong bond. This resulted in the formation of F-diamane which serves as the independent monolayer of diamond. The, hence modified material is a wide gap band semiconductor and can be put to work in nano-optics and nano-electromechanical systems.

Read more about the jewel of technology at — http://bit.ly/2MhhlDM

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