The Ideas to Execution Weekly (Jul 18, 2011)

Soft Memory Device Opens Door To New Biocompatible Electronics

Researchers have created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O, and that functions well in wet environments. Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a memory device that is soft and functions well in wet environments – opening the door to a new generation of biocompatible electronic devices. “We’ve created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O,” says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.

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Tata Group to sell Ikea-like flat packed ‘Nano’ house for Rs 32,000 (US$720)

India’s Tata group will sell a flat-pack house that costs just $700 and can be built in a week. The Tata group , maker of the $2,500 Nano car, said that the 20-square-metre (215-square-foot) home comes from a pre-fabricated kit that includes doors, windows and a roof. “We have already prepared two-three different designs based on discussions with users and are gathering more feedback,” Sumitesh Das, the head of the project at Tata, told reporters in Hyderabad on Friday.

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Why Apple’s ITC patent victory over HTC Android phones is scary

Friday dealt a serious legal blow to HTC and the Android platform in general. A U.S. International Trade Commission judge has ruled that HTC infringed on two patents Apple submitted in a March 2010 complaint. Naturally, HTC appealed the judgment to the six ITC commissioners, who will ultimately have the final say on the patent verdict. But it’s easily possible their decision, which is due by Dec. 6, will uphold the judge’s initial ruling. The ruling is scary for competition because it could ultimately lead to the ban of all HTC Android devices and, to take things to the extreme, the ban of all Google Android phones and tablets. The two patents ruled to be infringing appear to be vital to the Android OS itself, so other companies’ Android products will be in Apple’s sights too.

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Graphite and water could be as good as lithium ion batteries but recharge in seconds

A combination of two ordinary materials – graphite and water – could produce energy storage systems that perform on par with lithium ion batteries, but recharge in a matter of seconds and have an almost indefinite lifespan. “The reason graphene isn’t being used everywhere is that these very thin sheets, when stacked into a usable macrostructure, immediately bond together, reforming graphite. When graphene restacks, most of the surface area is lost and it doesn’t behave like graphene anymore.” Now, Dr Li and his team have discovered the key to maintaining the remarkable properties of separate graphene sheets: water. Keeping graphene moist – in gel form – provides repulsive forces between the sheets and prevents re-stacking, making it ready for real-world application.

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Japan’s Shimizu Proposes a Loony Solar Idea

Taking space-based solar one rather giant leap further, Japan’s respected construction giant Shimizu is recommending that Earthlings build a huge moon-based solar plant to power the entire world from a Lunar Ring. The idea behind Shimizu’s lunar solar belt would be to build an array of solar modules extending like a belt around the 11,000 kilometer equator. Using robots (because they don’t need to breathe), solar modules would be constructed in situ, on the moon, using lunar material resources which Shimizu claims would be adequate for the task.

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