Games and Software - Finding New Ways to Finance Development
Working closely with UKIE, Brian Williamson, Director of Jumpstart and Euan Mackenzie, Director of 3MRT were invited to explain how R&D tax credits help boost firms’ financial situation and recover money to reinvest in more development.
See their presentation here
Posted on Friday, 26th August, 2011
We are becoming more attached to our technology, but what if we could actually be attached to it? Until now, a key issue in bioelectronics has been how to take conventional electronics made from hard, unbending materials that tend to perform poorly in wet conditions and place them in the soft, flexible and wet environment of cells or tissues. Now, a team of chemical and biomolecular engineers at North Carolina State University have created a device that may be the first step in fusing electronics with biological systems.
The device has electrodes of gallium and indium metals, both of which are liquids at room temperature, set within a conductive, water-based gel. Its consistency lies somewhere between raw jelly and a bendy ruler. The device has conductive and non-conductive states, which are used to represent a binary system of ones and zeroes. It uses ions (charged molecules) to create the states, in the same way that conventional electronics uses electrons. The device’s memory comes from its ability to store the state after the stimulus (in this case ions) is gone.
To produce a non-conductive state, an electrode is exposed to a positive charge, producing an oxidized layer on the electrode, which is resistive to electricity. For a conductive state, a negative charge is applied, removing the oxidization. The negative charge would normally cause positive charge to move across the electrode, oxidizing it and leaving the device in a permanently non-conductive state. To prevent this, the team changed the chemical composition of one side of the gel. As a result, solely the second electrode determines the state.
The prototype shows great potential for developing biological sensors that would be embedded in the body and allow medics and researchers to continuously monitor biological systems. The electrodes’ malleability and the gel’s biocompatibility mean that the device could perform more robustly in biological environments than its hard, metallic counterparts. Perhaps more exciting is this technology’s potential for mimicking the brain; recent work has drawn parallels between similar types of memory devices and neural systems.
Original paper at http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/adma.201101257/pdf
Photo credit: Michael Dickey, North Carolina State University
Posted on Wednesday, 17th August, 2011
In 1898, the wonderfully named Frenchman, Gaston de Chasseloup-Laubat, set the world’s first land speed record when he maxed out his electrical car, Jeantaud Duc, at 39mph. Since that fateful day, generations of brave young men have been pushing themselves and their machines to the limit to better the previous record.
Currently, the jet powered ThrustSSC, engineered by a team from Britain, holds the prestigious land speed record at a mind-boggling 760mph – FASTER than the speed of sound. Unsatisfied with that, the same team is now trying to break the 1000mph barrier and hopes to do so once their new Bloodhound SSC is ready, in 2013.
Achieving these sorts of speeds requires some serious engineering – the Bloodhound has a jet engine taken from a Eurofighter Typhoon, which will accelerate the car from a standstill to around 300mph. A rocket engine will kick in to produce a further 25,000lbs of thrust, accelerating the car to its top speed of 1000mph, while a 750bhp F1 engine is required just to pump enough fuel into the rocket. The Bloodhound should take just 42 seconds to reach its top speed from a standstill – the same time it takes a small family car to reach 100mph. This is unsurprising as the Bloodhound produces power equivalent to 200 Formula 1 cars and, thanks to its carbon fibre construction, weighs less than seven tonnes.
Once the top speed has been achieved, the driver, RAF fighter pilot Andy Green, will cut the throttle and deploy the Bloodhound’s airbrakes, which will decelerate the car to around 600mph. Here parachutes will be deployed, slowing the car further, and finally disk brakes will bring the car to a halt and into the record books.
We wish Andy Green and his Bloodhound SSC team the best of luck. Find out more at We wish Andy Green and his Bloodhound SSC team the best of luck.
Find out more at http://www.bloodhoundssc.com/
Posted on Wednesday, 3rd August, 2011