Mountains of space junk could carry us to Mars

Space is big. Really big. And there’s not much up there – except all the trash. And that’s suddenly become a valuable resource, as recycling space junk could put an end to the days of fire-and-forget satellite launches. Thanks to South Australian space-industry start-up Neumann Space, every piece of scrap metal in orbit above us … Continue reading Mountains of space junk could carry us to Mars

A concrete solution to carbon capture

A newly developed concrete – made from recycled construction waste and industrial exhaust gases – could reduce construction emissions, suggests a study published in Journal of Advanced Concrete Technology. This shows promise for a cleaner construction future when natural resources are limited. The concrete industry is enormous – so large, in fact, that an estimated … Continue reading A concrete solution to carbon capture

Life-saving portable X-ray machines

Can a CT scanner fit onto an ambulance? Why would you even want to do it? Portable X-Ray machines are not only more comfortable for patients, they can save crucial minutes to get to treatment. This is particularly the case with stroke victims, for whom the first few hours of treatment will make a difference … Continue reading Life-saving portable X-ray machines

3D printing rocket and satellite parts

The ability to 3D print satellite parts sounds like something out of science fiction, but Swinburne University of Technology is planning to do just that. The university will install an elaborate 3D-printing system, built by additive manufacturing company Titomic, next year. The system will be able to print a range of different substances – including … Continue reading 3D printing rocket and satellite parts

3D printing is helping paralympians gain an edge

By James Novak, The University of Queensland and Andrew Novak, University of Technology Sydney Major sporting events like the Paralympics are a breeding ground for technological innovation. Athletes, coaches, designers, engineers and sports scientists are constantly looking for the next improvement that will give them the edge. Over the past decade, 3D printing has become … Continue reading 3D printing is helping paralympians gain an edge

The Western Green Energy Hub is a “nation-building” project – but will it work?

At 15,000 square kilometres, the size of the recently proposed Western Green Energy Hub in Western Australia is hard to fathom. That’s half the size of Belgium – larger than the area of Greater Sydney. If the plan goes ahead it will be the largest renewable energy hub in the world, with solar and wind … Continue reading The Western Green Energy Hub is a “nation-building” project – but will it work?

Acoustic tweezers put the pinch on particles

There are no physical structures in this video. The “walls” guiding the particles through the liquid are actually a complex combination of sound waves created by a new technique called a shadow waveguide. Credit: Junfei Li, Duke University A ‘shadow waveguide’ sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but it’s actually a technique developed … Continue reading Acoustic tweezers put the pinch on particles

Turning the tide on wave energy

Ocean waves have long been heralded as a source of energy, but so far it’s been difficult to turn this energy into electricity in a commercially viable way. A team of Australian and Chinese researchers has advanced the cause, developing a device that is twice as effective as any existing technologies. “Our prototype technology overcomes … Continue reading Turning the tide on wave energy

South Australian mRNA vaccines?

Last month, the federal government closed applications for a critical approach to market process: it was looking for biotech firms that want to make messenger RNA (mRNA) vaccines in Australia. The successful bidder is likely to be announced by the end of August. One of the bids was entered by BioCina, which – if the … Continue reading South Australian mRNA vaccines?

Full steam ahead: the journey from Thomas Newcomen to James Watt

In the technology-themed winter 2021 edition of Lapham’s Quarterly magazine, writer Simon Winchester makes note of what he calls “one demonstrable and inalienable fact: water heated to its boiling point transmutes into a gaseous state, steam, which occupies a volume fully 1700 times greater than its liquid origin”. The ‘demonstrable and inalienable fact’ to which … Continue reading Full steam ahead: the journey from Thomas Newcomen to James Watt

Electricity from sweaty fingertips?

A team of US researchers have made a tool that can generate electricity from sweat. Worn as a small cap on a fingertip, it could be used to power small medical devices while sleeping. Engineers around the world have previously explored the potential of human sweat to generate energy. But previously developed devices are “hindered … Continue reading Electricity from sweaty fingertips?