What's the buzz.....

What's the buzz.....

Floor tiles that generate electricity

This summer shoppers at one of the largest malls in Europe, the Westfield Stratford City shopping center in east London, will be generating more than just revenue for the stores.

Visitors will also be creating power by walking over specially designed floor tiles.
A London-based company, called Pavegen Systems, has developed a green energy technology, which harnesses the power of the pedestrian.

The technology consists of a rubber tile, 17.7-by-23.6-inches (45 x 60 centimeters) in size. When stepped on, the tile bends slightly, around 5 millimeters (only one fifth of an inch), harvesting the kinetic energy generated by the footstep and converting it into usable electricity at a rate of about 7 watts per footstep.

At that rate, it takes only five tiles to power a small storefront, or light up the streetlamps on a relatively busy street, according to the Laurence Kemball-Cook, the company’s CEO.
According to Kemball-Cook the tiles are “200 times more efficient than any other form of other energy harvesting technology.”

In addition, they’re non-invasive, that is if desired, they can be made to blend in completely with the surrounding street.

Because it comes from people as opposed to fossil fuels, the energy is eco-friendly, leaving behind little to no negative effect on the planet. Even the tiles themselves are recycled, coming primarily from old truck tires which have been refitted for the purpose.  “We’re taking tires off the road and putting them back on the road,” Kemball-Cook told ABC News.

Asteroid measured when nudged by sunlight

NASA scientists have measured the orbit of asteroid, 1999 RQ36, with such accuracy that they were able to directly measure the drift resulting from a subtle but important force called the Yarkovsky effect – the slight push created when the asteroid absorbs sunlight and re-emits that energy as heat.

The scientists who made the measurement were on NASA’s asteroid sample return mission, Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security, Regolith Explorer (OSIRIS-REx).

“The new orbit for the half-kilometer (one-third mile) diameter 1999 RQ36 is the most precise asteroid orbit ever obtained,” said OSIRIS-REx team member Steven Chesley of the NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif.

Observations that Michael Nolan at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico made in September 2011, along with Arecibo and Goldstone radar observations made in 1999 and 2005, when 1999 RQ36 passed much closer to Earth, show that the asteroid has deviated from its gravity-ruled orbit by roughly 100 miles, or 160 kilometers, in the last 12 years, a deviation caused by the Yarkovsky effect.

 The Yarkovsky effect is named for the nineteenth-century Russian engineer who first proposed the idea that a small rocky space object would, over long periods of time, be noticeably nudged in its orbit by the slight push created when it absorbs sunlight and then re-emits that energy as heat.

Cell therapy may ease chronic pain

A new study has described how a cell therapy might one day be used not only to quell some common types of persistent and difficult-to-treat pain, but also to cure the conditions that give rise to them. UCSF scientists, working with mice, focused on treating chronic pain that arises from nerve injury -- so-called neuropathic pain.

In their study, the scientists transplanted immature embryonic nerve cells that arise in the brain during development and used them to make up for a loss of function of specific neurons in the spinal cord that normally dampen pain signals. A small fraction of the transplanted cells survived and matured into functioning neurons. The cells integrated into the nerve circuitry of the spinal cord, forming synapses and signaling pathways with neighbouring neurons.

As a result, pain hypersensitivity associated with nerve injury was almost completely eliminated, the researchers found.

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