Solar cells need to slim down
Thin-film solar cells could be 1/100th the thickness of a piece of paper and flexible enough to festoon surfaces ranging from an aerodynamically sleek car to clothing. To make thin-film solar cells, scientists are moving beyond the "classic" semiconductor compounds, such as gallium arsenide or silicon, and working instead with other light-harvesting compounds that have the potential to be cheaper and easier to mass produce. The compounds could be widely adopted if they could perform as well as today's technology.
Robots grow mini-organs from human stem cells
An automated system that uses robots has been designed to rapidly produce human mini-organs derived from stem cells.
The first wireless flying robotic insect takes off
Insect-sized flying robots could help with time-consuming tasks like surveying crop growth on large farms or sniffing out gas leaks. These robots soar by fluttering tiny wings because they are too small to use propellers, like those seen on their larger drone cousins. Small size is advantageous: These robots are cheap to make and can easily slip into tight places that are inaccessible to big drones.
Wearable device measures tendon tension
For athletes and weekend warriors alike, returning from a tendon injury too soon often ensures a trip right back to physical therapy. However, a new technology developed by engineers could one day help tell whether your tendons are ready for action.
UbiQD operates in the quantum dot world - an industry which is growing rapidly because of displays. The company provides quantum dots and solar concentrators for transparent PV and agricultural applications. It was founded in 2014, and today holds a portfolio of 15 patents, 5 of which have been granted, as well as holding exclusive licenses from MIT and University of Washington.
Tissue paper sensors show promise
Engineers have turned tissue paper - similar to toilet tissue - into a new kind of wearable sensor that can detect a pulse, a blink of an eye and other human movement. The sensor is light, flexible and inexpensive, with potential applications in health care, entertainment and robotics.
Robotic network to explore Antarctic ice shelves
One of the biggest unknowns for the future of Earth's climate is Antarctica, where the West Antarctic Ice Sheet holds so much ice that if it collapsed could bring several feet of rising seas. A new partnership will use a robotic network to observe the conditions beneath a floating Antarctic ice shelf.
Eliminating Batteries in Desalination Plants, Cellphones and IOT
IDTechEx Chairman, Dr Peter Harrop, explores the importance of eliminating batteries, with other energy harvesting techniques being increasingly more viable.
3-D printed objects connect to WiFi without electronics
Imagine a bottle of laundry detergent that can sense when you're running low on soap — and automatically connect to the internet to place an order for more.
Low power electronics and electrics without batteries
The new IDTechEx Research report, Battery Elimination in Electronics and Electrical Engineering 2018-2028 notes that billions of wireless electronic and electrical products consuming microwatts to milliwatts or more operate without batteries or even capacitors to store energy.
How to store information in your clothes invisibly without electronics
A new type of smart fabric could pave the way for jackets that store invisible passcodes and open the door to your apartment or office.