Future Tech: Plus…beer in space & a drone that flies like a bird.
Check out this portable, almost unbreakable solar panel
From Fast Company:
A typical solar panel—more than five feet long and encased in glass—isn't exactly portable. But a new type of solar technology, miniaturized so that each cell is the size of a piece of glitter, could be used anywhere.
The tiny cells are made from high-efficiency silicon, like standard solar panels. But the new form means that they're not only small but flexible, and can be folded up for transportation, incorporated into clothing, or easily used in electronics.
Conventional solar panels "are brittle because they're crystalline," Murat Okandan, CEO of mPower Technology, the startup making the new technology, tells Co.Exist. "If you bend or flex them, at some point they'll just break and shatter. By making our cells small and then interconnecting them we're able to make them almost unbreakable."
Crack a cold one in space?
From Ad Week:
As scientists search for life on Mars and plot a way for people to live there in the future, Budweiser is hard at work figuring out how to make life in space a little more fun by developing a beer made just for the Red Planet.
Today at South by Southwest Interactive in Austin, Texas, Budweiser announced its plans to research and produce a microgravity brew, on a panel moderated by The Martian star, Kate Mara, with retired astronaut Clayton Anderson, who discussed the future of space colonization.
Ricardo Marques, VP of Budweiser, and Val Toothman, Anheuser-Busch’s VP of marketing innovation, outlined the experiments and research that will go into the Martian beer.
This drone flies like a bird
Watch out, birds. The drones are coming for your jobs. Researchers at BMT Defence Services (BMT) and the University of Bristol in Britain have built a fixed-wing UAV that can land as well as its avian counterparts, reports Popular Mechanics. Although BMT's project is currently part of a wider defense program called Autonomous Systems Underpinning Research, the team believes their drone could one day be used for other tasks like putting out fires or delivering packages.
When birds land, they perform a "deep stall," meaning they swoop in at low altitude and angle their wings upward before landing. BMT's drone does this too, thanks to a new morphing wing that can sweep forwards and backwards to create a pitching moment, or twist to allow the aircraft to roll. With this kind of high maneuverability, researchers envision a future where UAVs can easily fly through urban environments, dodging lampposts and power lines.