Future Tech: Plus…the world’s smallest mirror that may have amazing applications & a battery-munching fungus that produces valuable lithium
Hyperloop One, the company leading the race to bring Elon Musk’s vision of high-speed tubular travel to life, has signed a deal with Dubai’s Roads and Transport Authority. Representatives say the LA-based startup will spend the next three months working with the government, McKinsey & Co., and the BIG-Bjarke Ingels Group to figure out how to actually build this thing in Dubai, and where it should run.
That’s it for reality. The rest of today’s announcement is the stuff Hyperloop One and the other companies in this sparse concept hoping to become an industry have been aces at from the start: slick renderings and bold promises.
Hyperloop One promises a “beautiful and seamless” experience. First, open the app and pop in your destination. Things get fancy real quick: “An autonomous pod appears,” says the company’s blog post, “and drives you into the portal and docks inside a waiting Hyperloop One transporter and off you go.”
Check out the world’s tiniest mirror— made from only 2000 atoms
From Popular Mechanics:
Scientists at the Pierre and Marie Curie University have created the world’s smallest mirror, using only 2000 atoms. Their results are published in the journal Physical Review Letters.
The team used a very thin optical fiber, combined with a chain of cesium atoms, to create a highly efficient mirror. The team managed to make the mirror so small because they carefully selected the color of the light, and engineered the cesium atoms so they would be in exactly the right places to reflect the light.
This fungus can recycle valuable material from your old phone battery
From Fast Company:
The lithium inside your smartphone battery probably came from a huge brine pool in South America or a mine in Australia. But as demand surges, researchers are trying to figure out better ways to recycle the material instead.
One solution might come from fungus, which can naturally eat up old batteries and spit out lithium, along with cobalt, another valuable material.
Unlike existing methods of recycling rechargeable batteries, a fungi recycling plant could potentially be both cost-effective and safer for the environment. “The existing methods tend to use harsh environmental conditions, strong acids that are not necessarily great for the environment or for health if there’s a human exposure to them,” says Jeff Cunningham, an environmental engineering professor at the University of South Florida. “There can be toxic emissions from the current processes.”
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