A team of 50 scientists in various fields worked for years to develop paper-thin, printable solar panels as part of the Victorian Organic Solar Cell Consortium. They hope to see commercial market production for use in low-power applications in the very near future.
The key benefit of such technology is in transforming the way personal electronics are charged. “iPad covers, laptop bags, skins of iPhone [will no longer be] just for casing electronics, but to collect some energy as well and power those electronics,” Fiona Scholes, a senior research scientist at Australia’s national science agency CSIRO, told ABC News.
What’s more, the energy source can be transported to the world’s remote and developing regions in a cheap and easy way.
According to the consortium’s website, the difference between existing solar panels and the technology it is developing is that “organic cells offer the potential to allow printing directly onto materials such as roofing and windows, and therefore open intriguing building integrated design opportunities.”
The consortium is comprised of members of CSIRO, Melbourne and Monash universities.
They’ve now managed to reduce the solar panels to the size of a coin. They achieved results by using ordinary 3D printers adapted to work with solar ink. “It’s very cheap. The way in which it looks and works is quite different to conventional silicon rooftop solar,” Scholes went on.
“It can be made to be semitransparent – we can use it for a tinted window scenario.” The team is now in the process of developing a spray-painted coating.
The big implication for the future is that once they’ve got the process streamlined of adapting plastic for solar panel use streamlined, powering entire skyscrapers would be no big deal.
“We print them onto plastic in more or less the same way we print our plastic banknotes,” Scholes also said. “Connecting our solar panels is as simple as connecting a battery.”
As their dream gets closer to realization, companies are beginning to show interest in developing the technology further.
“We would like to improve the efficiency of solar panels – we need to develop solar inks to generate more energy from sunlight… We are confident we can push the technology further in the years to come,” Scholes said.
The potential for alternative uses is endless, she told Mashable. “They could potentially be used in a whole range of applications such as consumer product packaging, windows and window furnishings, temporary structures, remote locations and developing communities.”
Explanation: “Why would the sky look like a giant target? Airglow. Following a giant thunderstorm over Bangladesh in late April, giant circular ripples of glowing air appeared over Tibet, China, as pictured above. The unusual pattern is created by atmospheric gravity waves, waves of alternating air pressure that can grow with height as the air thins, in this case about 90 kilometers up. Unlike auroras powered by collisions with energetic charged particles and seen at high latitudes, airglow is due to chemiluminescence, the production of light in a chemical reaction. More typically seen near the horizon, airglow keeps the night sky from ever being completely dark. ” – NASA
It turns out you have no excuse for your lack of admiration. “The human brain is built for art appreciation,” The Wall Street Journal reports. It’s a “natural biological process.”
The revelation comes courtesy of a paper titled “Neural correlates of viewing paintings: Evidence from a quantitative meta-analysis of functional magnetic resonance imaging data,” compiled by researchers at the University of Toronto. Based on meta-analysis of 15 different neuroaesthetics studies conducted between 2004 and 2012, in seven countries across the world, the findings reveal that viewing paintings activates various regions of the brain, meaning our minds just might be organized to engage with visual art.
The research involved 330 participants, ages 18 to 59, who were tasked with viewing a series of familiar and not-so-familiar artworks inside the confines of an MRI scanner. Most of the projects (about 2/3) asked their participants to make “aesthetic judgments” about the masterpieces, while in other cases they were directed to observe the paintings.
What scientists found, after evaluating these studies, is that viewing paintings triggered activity in regions of the brain associated with “vision, pleasure, memory, recognition and emotions, in addition to systems that underlie the conscious processing of new information to give it meaning.”
The Brain and Cognition abstract explains:
As predicted, viewing paintings was correlated with activation in a distributed system including the occipital lobes, temporal lobe structures in the ventral stream involved in object (fusiform gyrus) and scene (parahippocampal gyrus) perception, and the anterior insula-a key structure in experience of emotion. In addition, we also observed activation in the posterior cingulate cortex bilaterally-part of the brain’s default network. These results suggest that viewing paintings engages not only systems involved in visual representation and object recognition, but also structures underlying emotions and internalized cognitions.
Over the years, the relationship between the general public and the exclusive art world has been tenuous, to say the least. While curators, critics and artists live in a bubble of contemporary revelry, many amateur admirers and museum patrons can feel left out of the highfalutin cliques, and it leaves a sour taste in their mouths. So, perhaps, this study can reawaken the confidence we all need to tackle a Kandinsky or Cezanne. After all, your posterior cingulate cortex and anterior insula are there to help.
We would, however, like to reiterate artnet News’ astute pondering: “We would also be curious to know if the same principles apply to more mentally taxing genres like performance art, where the reward for viewing is typically less immediate, and shot through with the inherent awkwardness of watching performance art.”
Source: The Huffington Post
“We cannot become who we are meant to be by remaining who we are.”
– Max DePree