Solar power has become a focal point of the battle to mitigate climate change.  The potential of solar power is massive – Earth receives as much solar energy in an hour as all of humanity uses in a year.  Even with that much energy hitting the Earth, it is only a tiny fraction of the sun’s overall output.  Some of that other solar energy hits other planets, but most is just lost to the void of deep space.


There are a number of groups that are leveraging various technologies to capture some of that lost energy.  One of the most common technologies being pursued is the idea of the power satellite.  Recently, one of those groups at America’s Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) hit a milestone in the development of power satellite technology by launching their Photovoltaic RF Antenna Module (PRAM) test satellite.


The idea underlying power satellites is called “power beaming”.  Power beaming systems use one of three different frequencies of light to transmit significant amounts of power over a distance wirelessly.  Last year NRL had a successful demonstration of a land-based power beaming system using an infrared laser.

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It’s an approach officials are considering for ramping up coronavirus testing.


Also known as batch testing, pool testing combines samples from several people and tests them for the coronavirus all at once, cutting down on the time and supplies required. The protocol was first invented to test for syphilis during World War II and has been used in the past for outbreaks of other sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV.


“If everyone is negative, then you’re done,” Ashish Jha, director of the Harvard Global Health Institute at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health, explained. If the test detected the presence of the virus, then each person would have to be tested and the results individually analyzed to determine whose sample produced the positive result.


“You can rapidly increase the capacity of testing,” said Benjamin Pinsky, director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Stanford University’s School of Medicine. “The trade-off is that there’s reduced sensitivity. It’s kind of a balance.” Samples with low viral loads are more likely to go undetected in a pool, he said.

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Last Friday, it was reported that Canadian smart glasses startup North was on the verge of being snapped up by Alphabet, Google’s parent company. Today, it’s official.

North announced the acquisition on both Twitter and in an official blog. Details regarding the terms of the sale were scant, though a Globe and Mail scoop from Friday put the number at around $180 million. North’s remaining staff will, however, be staying in Kitchener-Waterloo, Canada and joining a Google team also based there.


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Bas Uterwijk, an Amsterdam-based artist, is using AI to create extremely lifelike photographs of historical figures and monuments such as the Statue of Liberty, artist Vincent van Gogh, George Washington and Queen Elizabeth I.



Using a program called Artbreeder, which is described as “deep learning software,” Uterwijk builds his photographs based on a compilation of portraits, reports the Daily Mail. The program pinpoints common facial features and photograph qualities to produce an image.


“I try to guide the software to a credible outcome. I think of my work more as artistic interpretations than scientifically or historically accurate,” the artist tells the outlet. On Instagram, he details the many variations that go into creating his work. So far, he’s created more than 50 of these images.

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In the ever-evolving quest to never have to take our VR headsets off, Valve recently released a new feature for Index users that can accurately project the room around you in 3D space.The goal of the feature, called Room View 3D, is to give a more precise representation of the user’s environment for moments when you’d otherwise need to take the headset off. Valve’s announcement post doesn’t go into detail about how it works, but people who have tried it speculate that it’s using the Index’s multiple cameras to build a live 3D environment.

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Researchers at the Dutch Advanced Research Center for Nanolithography (ARCNL) and Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU), developed an advanced microscope capable of super-resolution microscopy trough an ultra-thin fiber. 


Up until now, it was generally the case that the higher the resolution of a microscope, the larger the device needed to be, making it virtually impossible to look inside the human body in real-time. Although some methods that enable researchers to look inside living animals already exist, their resolution is very limited, and it takes a long time to generate an acceptable image. 


With the use of smart signal processing, the researchers are able to beat the theoretical limits of resolution and speed. With this newly developed compact setup, scientists are finally able to, for example, look inside the brain in real-time and high resolution, using an ultra-thin fiber. Because the method does not require any unique fluorescent labeling, it is promising for both medical uses and characterization of 3D structures in nano-lithography! 

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