The final (commercial) frontier: A new space infrastructure startup called "ThinkOrbital" wants to boldly go where no manufacturing corporation has gone before — low-Earth orbit. It aims to construct a space station for manufacturing various commercial products. It says the platform can also recycle space junk.
In a nutshell: Researchers at ETH Zurich have spent the last few years perfecting a coating capable of passively preventing fogging on glass surfaces. Their latest iteration consists of extremely thin clusters of gold situated between ultrathin layers of titanium oxide on the top and bottom. The resulting coating is able to absorb a portion of infrared radiation from the Sun, which heats up the surface by as much as eight degrees Celsius and prevents condensation from forming.
Why it matters: Hospitals have a constant need for donated blood. Approximately 30,000 units per day are used to treat accident victims and people with blood ailments like sickle cell anemia. Hospitals often suffer shortages when they receive a high number of trauma patients. But what if we could duplicate a typical donation in a lab and give it a longer shelf life?
In context: Helium is an element that most of us take for granted. We use it to float birthday balloons. It is also a component in some electronics, such as helium-filled hard drives. Magnetic resonance Imaging (MRI) machines use liquid helium for superconducting magnets. Unfortunately, the earth is running out of this essential element.
Forward-looking: Dye-sensitized solar cells (DSCs) are cheap, transparent, and flexible. The promising technology set a new record in efficiency for turning visible light into electric energy, making it viable for use as energy-collecting windows.