Researchers have genetically engineered biological viruses to form the anode and cathode of a battery. MIT researcher Angela Belcher and her colleagues manipulated the genes of a harmless virus so that the bug coats itself in tiny iron phosphate particles and connects to highly-conductive carbon nanotubes. From Science News:
Ions and electrons can move through smaller particles more quickly. But fabricating nano-sized particles of iron phosphate is a difficult and expensive process, the researchers say.
So Belcher’s team let the virus do the work. By manipulating a gene of the M13 virus to make the viruses coat themselves in iron phosphate, the researchers created very small iron phosphate particles.
“We’re using a biological template that’s already on the nanoscale,” Belcher says.
Tweaking a second gene made one end of the virus bind to carbon nanotubes, which conduct energy well. The resulting network of iron phosphate-coated viruses and carbon nanotubes formed a highly conductive cathode, one that ions and electrons could move through quickly.
I asked Amy Parness, the co-founder of Sparkle Labs, maker of fantastic educational electronics kits, to write a Medium post about gender and the business of being a maker business person. Her terrific essay calls out the problems with “pink girly engineering kits.” From Medium:
Zero UI is the new term for “invisible interfaces”—what happens in the future when all the clicking and tapping and typing is history: “If you look at the history of computing, starting with the jacquard loom in 1801, humans have always had to interact with machines in a really abstract, complex way.” [Fast Company]
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It’s time for a power upgrade — throw out that tired-out power strip and swap in this family-size USB charger, packed with 6 high-speed ports. With a built-in control chip, Kinkoo optimizes each port to ensure the fastest charging possible for all your devices. The Kinkoo is made from high-grade and durable materials so you […]
Watching Netflix, Hulu or other streaming services can unfortunately be difficult while traveling outside the US. Rather than bypass these restrictions with the help of a complex and slow VPN, choose a faster and simpler solution with Getflix. Instead of rerouting all your Internet traffic through a different server, this handy service only routes the […]