IBM Contracts Company to Take Chip Unit

IBM reported a four percent drop in revenue on Monday due to its weak sales in software and services businesses.
Credit: Reuters/Tobias Schwarz

IBM reported that they will be getting out of the chip making business in order to give more attention to cloud computing and big data analytics.

The company will pay Globalfoundries $1.5 million over the next three years to take control of chip operations.

“They need to narrow their focus, get their A-game on, and any distractions from a core business perspective, such as this deal, need to be put in the rear-view mirror,” FBR Capital Markets analyst Daniel Ives told Reuters.

This is not the first notion of IBM reducing its presence in the hardware industry. Earlier this month, the company sold its x86 server business to Lenovo Group Ltd. For $2.1 billion.

This from Reuters:

Globalfoundries Chief Executive Sanjay Jha said the company would invest $10 billion between 2014 and 2015 to develop 10 nanometer, 14 nanometer and radio-frequency technologies.

Read the full article here.

What does the future hold for IBM? Connect with us to join us in the discussion.

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New Window into the Brain via See-through Sensors

See-through sensors, which have been developed by a team of UW-Madison engineers, should help neural researchers better view brain activity.Credit: Justin Williams' Research Group

See-through sensors, which have been developed by a team of UW-Madison engineers, should help neural researchers better view brain activity.
Credit: Justin Williams’ Research Group

A team of engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed invisible implantable medical sensor array, which will help neural researchers better view and understand brain activity.

This from the University of Wisconsin-Madison:

Neural researchers study, monitor or stimulate the brain using imaging techniques in conjunction with implantable sensors that allow them to continuously capture and associate fleeting brain signals with the brain activity they can see. However, it’s difficult to see brain activity when there are sensors blocking the view.

Read the full article here.

The development of the see-through sensor will help overcome this major technological hurdle.

“One of the holy grails of neural implant technology is that we’d really like to have an implant device that doesn’t interfere with any of the traditional imagining diagnostics,” says Justin Williams, a professor of biomedical engineering and neurological surgery at UW-Madison. “A traditional implant looks like a square of dots, and you can’t see anything under it. We wanted to make a transparent electronic device.”

The research is published in the October 20 issue of the online journal Nature Communications.

The team developed the sensor using graphene due to its versatility and biocompatibility, thus making the device incredibly flexible and transparent because the electronic circuit elements are only four atoms thick.

Sensor science and technology is growing rapidly in response to an ever-increasing demand for faster, cheaper, smaller, and more sensitive means to monitor the chemical, biological, and physical world around us. Make sure you stay up-to-date with the latest research in this exciting field through our Digital Library.

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The Future of Energy Storage

The modified graphene aerogels are promising for high-power electrical energy storage applications due to their high surface area and excellent conductivity.Credit: Ryan Chen

The modified graphene aerogels are promising for high-power electrical energy storage applications due to their high surface area and excellent conductivity.
Credit: Ryan Chen

We all know the buzz around graphene, but now researchers from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have found a way to improve upon this ultra-light material to boost the efficiency of your personal electronics.

The team at Lawrence Livermore have turned to graphene aerogel for enhanced electrical energy storage. This new generation of graphene has the potential to smooth power fluctuations in the energy grid, among other things.

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Long Term Polarization with Autolab PGSTAT

This was a question in our LinkedIn group from Elnaz Asghari, Assistant Professor at University of Tabriz.

I need to know that can we use the Autolab PGSTAT30 for long term (about 20 hours) cathodic polarization of samples? Can any one help me?

Reply here or join our LinkedIn group.

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Major Breakthrough on Fusion Energy Project

The magnetic coils inside the compact fusion (CF) experiment are critical to plasma containment, as pictured in this undated handout photo

The magnetic coils inside the compact fusion experiment pictured in an undated photo provided by Lockheed Martin.
Credit: Reuters/Lockheed Martin

A few days ago we talked about fusion reactors and the new development out of the University of Washington that hopes to makes fusion a reality. Now we’re talking fusion again – only on a much different scale.

Lockheed Martin is making headlines for their announcement that their compact fusion reactors could be functional within one decade.

The company has been working for some time to develop a source of infinite energy, and have been devoting much time to fusion due to its clean and safe properties.

Their work on compact fusion revolves around the idea of using a high fraction of the magnetic field pressure, or all of its potential, to make devices much smaller than previous concepts. If they can achieve this, a reactor small enough to fit on a truck could provide enough power for a small city of up to 100,000 people.

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New Device Lets Bicycles Trigger Traffic Light Sensors

The Veloloop mounts on the non-drive-side chain stay to trigger traffic sensors at intersections.

The Veloloop mounts on the non-drive-side chain stay to trigger traffic sensors at intersections.

If you’re a cycler, you know this problem all too well: you’re stopped at a traffic light, the only vehicle at a controlled intersection, and are waiting for the seemingly never-ending red light to change. Now, thanks to Nat Collins’ new development, you may not have to encounter this problem.

Collins has created a device called the Veloloop, which uses a patented circuit technology to trigger sensors in asphalt. In essence, the device is designed to make traffic light sensors think that your bike is a car.

This from Gizmag:

Embedded “inductive loop” traffic sensors work by creating an electromagnetic field in the surface layer of the road. When a sufficiently-large metal object – such as a car – stops above the sensor, it creates eddy currents within that field. This is detected by the system’s traffic signal controller, which causes the light to change.

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Dolphin ‘Breathalyzer’ Developed to Aid in Conservation

The dolphin 'breathalyzer' will analyze the for health problems and aid in wildlife conservation.Credit: American Chemical Society

The dolphin ‘breathalyzer’ will analyze the for health problems and aid in wildlife conservation.
Credit: American Chemical Society

While breath analysis is most commonly known for its ability to detect alcohol consumption, it has the potential to extend far beyond that use. Breath analysis has the ability to diagnose a wide range of human conditions, and is now being utilized to aid the bottlenose dolphin.

Engineers from the University of California, Davis have developed a device for collecting dolphin breath for analysis. Because invasive techniques such as skin biopsies and blood sampling are difficult to perform on wild dolphins, this device will make it easier to check the health of the marine animals, study their biology, and aid in wildlife conservation.

This from UC Davis:

The researchers designed an insulated tube that traps breath exhaled from a dolphin’s blowhole and freezes it. They analyzed samples to create profiles of the mix of metabolites in breath, established baseline profiles of healthy animals and were able to identify changes in the breath of animals affected by disease or other factors. The researchers concluded that breath analysis could be used to diagnose and monitor problems in marine mammals – and, by extension, in ocean health as well.

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Flat Panel Lights Based on Carbon Nanotubes to Produce ‘Greener’ Bulbs

Scientists from Tohoku University in Japan have developed a new type of energy-efficient flat light source based on carbon nanotubes with very low power consumptions of around 0.1 Watt for every hour's operation -- about a hundred times lower than that of an LED.Credit: N. Shimoi/Tohoku University

Scientists have developed a new type of energy-efficient flat light source with a power consumption about a hundred times lower than that of an LED.
Credit: N. Shimoi/Tohoku University

Scientists all around the globe are constantly looking for a way to create the even-better-bulb of tomorrow. In order to do this, researchers are looking toward carbon electronics.

This from the American Institute of Physics:

Electronics based on carbon, especially carbon nanotubes (CNTs), are emerging as successors to silicon for making semiconductor materials, and they may enable a new generation of brighter, low-power, low-cost lighting devices that could challenge the dominance of light-emitting diodes (LEDs) in the future and help meet society’s ever-escalating demand for greener bulbs.

Read the full article here.

With this in mind, scientists from Tohoku University have developed a new type of energy-efficient flat light source with a very low power consumption that comes in around 0.1 Watt for every hour of operation. This is about one hundred times lower than that of an LED.

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UW Reactor Could Make Fusion a Reality

The reactor uses a tokamak design, which is a giant torus surrounded on the sides and in the core by superconducting magnets generating tremendous energy.Credit: University of Washington

The reactor uses a tokamak design, which is a giant torus surrounded on the sides and in the core by superconducting magnets generating tremendous energy.
Credit: University of Washington

Fusion energy appears to be the future of energy storage – or at least it should be. Fusion energy yields zero greenhouse gas emissions, no long-lived radioactive waste, and a nearly unlimited fuel supply.

Up until this point, there has been an economic roadblock in producing this type of energy. The designs that have been penciled out to create fusion power are too expensive and won’t feasibly outperform systems that use fossil fuels.

Now, the engineers at the University of Washington (UW) are hoping to change that. They have designed a concept for a fusion reactor, that when scaled up, would rival costs of fossil fuel plants with similar electrical outputs.

This from the University of Washington:

The design builds on existing technology and creates a magnetic field within a closed space to hold plasma in place long enough for fusion to occur, allowing the hot plasma to react and burn. The reactor itself would be largely self-sustaining, meaning it would continuously heat the plasma to maintain thermonuclear conditions. Heat generated from the reactor would heat up a coolant that is used to spin a turbine and generate electricity, similar to how a typical power reactor works.

Read the full article here.

Currently, the University of Washington’s concept is about one-tenth the size and power output of a final product, which would still be years away.

Does the future of energy interest you? Check out what our Energy Technology Division has to offer. And head over to our Digital Library to see what our scientists are researching in the field of energy storage and conversion.

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New Battery Lasts 20 Years, Recharges in 2 Minutes

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years.Credit: Nanyang Technological University

Researchers at Nanyang Technological University have developed ultra-fast charging batteries that last 20 years.
Credit: Nanyang Technological University

If you’re tired of spending more time charging your phone than actually using it, a team of researchers out of Singapore have some good news for you. The group from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) have developed an ultra-fast charging battery – so fast that it can be recharged up to 70 percent in only two minutes.

When comparing this new discovery to the already existing lithium-ion batteries, the new generation has a lifespan of over 20 years – approximately 10 times more than the current lithium-ion battery. Further, each of the existing li-ion’s cycles takes two to four hours to charge, which is significantly more than the new generation’s two minute charge time.

The development will be of particular benefit to the industry of electric vehicles, where people are often put off by the long recharge times and limited battery life. The researchers at NTU believe that drivers of electric vehicles could save tens of thousands on battery replacement costs and will be able to charge their cars in just ten minutes, all in thanks to the new ultra-fast charging battery.

This from NTU:

In the new NTU-developed battery, the traditional graphite used for the anode (negative pole) in lithium-ion batteries is replaced with a new gel material made from titanium dioxide. Titanium dioxide is an abundant, cheap and safe material found in soil. It is commonly used as a food additive or in sunscreen lotions to absorb harmful ultraviolet rays. Naturally found in spherical shape, the NTU team has found a way to transform the titanium dioxide into tiny nanotubes, which is a thousand times thinner than the diameter of a human hair. This speeds up the chemical reactions taking place in the new battery, allowing for super-fast charging.

Read the full article here.

If you’re interested in battery research, take a look at what our Battery Division has to offer.

You can also explore the vast amount of research ECS carries on the technological and scientific breakthroughs in the field of battery by browsing through our digital library or taking a look at this past issue of Interface.

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