Archive for the ‘Science Breakthroughs’ Category

CEA Smart Grid Products Added to Catalog of Standards

CEA Smart Grid Products Added to Catalog of Standards

Arlington, VA — According to the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA), the Recommended Practice for the Installation of Smart Grid Devices, CEA/CEDIA-CEB29, has been added to the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel’s Catalog of Standards. Today’s homes include many products that connect to each other over a variety of networks, and to operate reliably, both the products and the wiring to which they connect must be well protected and installed according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

While CEB29 was written as a recommended practice for the installation of communicating smart grid devices in the home, all communicating products — including home controls, AV, HVAC, computers and appliances — are connected to the same electrical wiring and networks, and face the same installation challenges. To remedy this, CEB29 combines information from many sources into a simple, accessible format that assumes no prior knowledge of the subject matter.

“Whether you’re an electrician, professional installer, consumer, or work for a manufacturer or a utility, this guide will provide the basic knowledge you need,” said Walt Zerbe, product manager, audio, OnQ Legrand and NuVo; and Chairman of CEA’s R10 Residential Systems Committee. “CEB29 will help ensure your communicating products and the wires they connect to are installed properly and protected against lightning, electrical surges and electrical noise generated by other devices in your home.”

“As more smart grid devices are connected, the importance of proper installation practices grows,” said Brian Markwalter, senior VP of research and standards at CEA. “Although there are many sources for information on installation, most of them are written for trained professionals. Those sources are narrowly focused, typically addressing only a single area, so the reader must master many of them to get the complete story. CEB29 ties everything together for the installation professional.”

CEB29 includes the most important installation requirements and recommendations from the National Electric Code (NEC), UL, wiring standards and other expert sources covering a wide range of subjects including the proper installation of high- and low-voltage wiring, grounding, lightning and surge protection, and many of the installation problems encountered by today’s wired, wireless and power-line carrier networks.

To order a copy of CEA/CEDIA-CEB29, call TechStreet 800-699-9277 or 734-780-8000, or visit to order online.

CEA leads technology manufacturers in fostering CE industry growth by developing industry standards and technical specifications that enable new products to come to market and encourage interoperability with existing devices. CEA’s Technology & Standards program maintains an unmatched reputation as an effective and flexible standards-making body accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI). For more information on Technology and Standards at CEA and how to get involved, please visit

The SGIP Catalog of Standards serves as a compendium of standards, practices, and guidelines considered relevant for the development and deployment of a robust and interoperable Smart Grid.

The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 directed the National Institute of Science and Technology (NIST) in 2009 to form the Smart Grid Interoperability Panel (SGIP) as a public-private partnership. SGIP was charged to coordinate standards work to ensure interoperability and security as the grid is modernized. In 2012 the SGIP transitioned to SGIP 2.0, Inc., a member-funded organization that carried forth its predecessor’s original mission.

Contact: Consumer Electronics Association, 1919 S. Eads St., Arlington, VA 22202 Web:


University of Wisconsin-Madison materials engineers have made a significant leap toward creating higher-performance electronics with improved battery life — and the ability to flex and stretch.

Photo: Michael Arnold

Michael Arnold

Led by materials science Associate ProfessorMichael Arnold and Professor Padma Gopalan, the team has reported the highest-performing carbon nanotube transistors ever demonstrated. In addition to paving the way for improved consumer electronics, this technology could also have specific uses in industrial and military applications.

In a paper published recently in the journal ACS Nano, Arnold, Gopalan and their students reported transistors with an on-off ratio that’s 1,000 times better and a conductance that’s 100 times better than previous state-of-the-art carbon nanotube transistors.

“Carbon nanotubes are very strong and very flexible, so they could also be used to make flexible displays and electronics that can stretch and bend, allowing you to integrate electronics into new places like clothing,” says Arnold. “The advance enables new types of electronics that aren’t possible with the more brittle materials manufacturers are currently using.”

Carbon nanotubes are single atomic sheets of carbon rolled up into a tube. As some of the best electrical conductors ever discovered, carbon nanotubes have long been recognized as a promising material for next-generation transistors, which are semiconductor devices that can act like an on-off switch for current or amplify current. This forms the foundation of an electronic device.

Photo: Padma Gopalan

Padma Gopalan

However, researchers have struggled to isolate purely semiconducting carbon nanotubes, which are crucial, because metallic nanotube impurities act like copper wires and “short” the device. Researchers have also struggled to control the placement and alignment of nanotubes. Until now, these two challenges have limited the development of high-performance carbon nanotube transistors.

Building on more than two decades of carbon nanotube research in the field, the UW-Madison team drew on cutting-edge technologies that use polymers to selectively sort out the semiconducting nanotubes, achieving a solution of ultra-high-purity semiconducting carbon nanotubes.

Previous techniques to align the nanotubes resulted in less-than-desirable packing density, or how close the nanotubes are to one another when they are assembled in a film. However, the UW-Madison researchers pioneered a new technique, called floating evaporative self-assembly, or FESA, which they described earlier in 2014 in the ACS journal Langmuir. In that technique, researchers exploited a self-assembly phenomenon triggered by rapidly evaporating a carbon nanotube solution.

The team’s most recent advance also brings the field closer to realizing carbon nanotube transistors as a feasible replacement for silicon transistors in computer chips and in high-frequency communication devices, which are rapidly approaching their physical scaling and performance limits.

“The advance enables new types of electronics that aren’t possible with the more brittle materials manufacturers are currently using. ”

Michael Arnold

“This is not an incremental improvement in performance,” Arnold says. “With these results, we’ve really made a leap in carbon nanotube transistors. Our carbon nanotube transistors are an order of magnitude better in conductance than the best thin film transistor technologies currently being used commercially while still switching on and off like a transistor is supposed to function.”

The researchers have patented their technology through theWisconsin Alumni Research Foundation and have begun working with companies to accelerate the technology transfer to industry.

The work was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation, as well as grants from the UW-Madison Center of Excellence for Materials Research and Innovation, the U.S. Army Research Office, the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship Program, and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation. Additional authors on the ACS Nano paper include UW-Madison materials science and engineering graduate students Gerald Brady, Yongho Joo and Matthew Shea, and electrical and computer engineering graduate student Meng-Yin Wu.

Adam Malecek

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"Engineers are exploring systems that encode signals in LED light. "

“Engineers are exploring systems that encode signals in LED light. “

By Lewin, S.

Drive on a city’s streets at night and you’re guided by artificial lights: glowing traffic signals beckoning you forward, the headlights of a car trailing you, a sign warning of work ahead. Artificial lights may soon guide your car, too: In the quest for cars that understand the world around them and respond intelligently, a growing number of research engineers are exploring systems that encode signals in LED light. “We envision car lights transmitting messages that your eyes can’t see,” says Richard Roberts, a research scientist at Intel. “They’re blinking out messages to be used by other automobiles for safety reasons: positioning, collision avoidance, cooperative driving-maybe even someday for autonomous driving.” Roberts has been a part of this work since Intel started looking into visible light communication (VLC) in 2008, and he’s seen it go from the “next Wi-Fi” to a research topic on hold-at least at Intel. While companies have tried using visible light to send extra information from a sign when scanned, as with a QR code, to pinpoint locations within a store, and even as a high-bandwidth Wi-Fi substitute-called Li-Fi-it just hasn’t caught on in the mainstream.

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:51 ,  Issue: 9 )

Shiva Nathan’s new prosthetic can read patterns in the wearer’s brainwaves and transmit them to a robotic arm, allowing the user to flex the mechanical fingers with nothing more than their thoughts. And if this project needed any more cool points, its creator is 15 years old.

Read more at I Love Science

Photo Source: Shiva Nathan via Parallax

The use of drones is a hotly debated topic right now. These robots of the air could be used for spying or they could deliver Amazon packages — no one really knows.

But thanks to YouTube channel TheDmel, we at least know one thing for sure: Drones can groove.

While waiting for the rest of the world to figure out what the heck to do with those enigmatic fliers, the guys at KMel Robotics decided to drop a beat and choreograph a handful of drones for some fun. We can see these talented machines put to good use on Broadway — maybe WALL-E the Musical is right around the corner.

Take a look and see if you could step up to their sweet moves.

Via: Mashable & YouTube


Anyone who has ever ridden a bike in the city knows what it’s like to get a mouthful of exhaust. What if your bike could reduce those fumes and clean the air? A group of designers and engineers from Bangkok-based Lightfog Creative and Design won a Red Dot aware for their air-purifying bicycle designed to scrub polluted air while moving through traffic.

The idea, which is not yet a prototype yet, is that a filter between the handles bars would filter polluted air, scrubbing it of particulates. The frame itself would work something like a leaf, converting sunlight into energy that would, presumably run a fuel cell battery, the by-product of which would be good, clean oxygen for everyone.

CLICK HERE for more!

Sources: I Love Science, Science Channel,

Creating electricity with caged atoms.

Creating electricity with caged atoms

Thermoelectric materials create electric current when they are used to bridge hot and cold objects. The new class of thermoelectric materials has a special crystal structure that consists of tiny cages that house cerium atoms, which are magnetic. The technical term for crystals that host atoms in cage-like spaces is clathrates. The cerium atoms constantly try to escape their cages and the interaction between the atoms and the cages seems to be responsible for the material’s favourable properties. The experiments showed that the cerium atoms increase the material’s thermopower by 50%.

Read more:

Image shows clathrates. Credit: TU Vienna

Sources: I Feaking Love Science & EurekAlert