Once Archimedes ran naked through the streets of Greece shouting “Eureka!” and Pythagoras hated beans – so much so that he refused to escape through a bean field when ambushed by attackers. Every now and then we hear about such geniuses being weirdos but what about their inventions? Well, they are weirder and electronics at present is a guinea pig for most of the contemporary masterminds. It might be a new robot or a new energy harvesting technique. Yet, some of them are so bizarre that it will make you hold your breath in awe. Let us take you through some wow innovations in electronics.
Grow these roses to replace supercapacitors
What strikes your mind first when you come across a rose? Should be romance or passion or poems, perhaps. But can you think of the same rose to store energy and serve as a supercapacitor? Yes, now that’s a reality, kudos to the scientists from Linköping University. They have come up with a weird technique that makes roses growing in your backyard function as supercapacitors.
They injected a specially made conducting solution into rose cutting and made it form wires in its stem, leaves and petals to make an electronic plant power plant. A fully functional transistor has been created by placing gold electrodes and probes at the ends and middle of rose cutting and with the help of an external resistor they successfully ran current through it.
Scientists were able to charge this rose repeatedly for hundreds of times without any loss on performance and generate an amount of energy sufficient to run an ion pump without any external optimisation of the system.
He sweats a lot but isn’t a human
Meet Kengoro from the University of Tokyo who has a musculoskeletal system and a sensory nervous system like any other human. But he is not a human – creepy, isn’t it? Thank electronics for it.
Kengoro is a musculoskeletal robot built with an unprecedented resemblance to human anatomy. He flaunts a muscular-skeletal system including joints and tendons and his sensory nervous system from implanted sensors on his body monitors balance and stability. His brain-like information processing capabilities allow him to use existing data to act without explicitly being told what to do.
The machinery that gifts him human-like mobility heats up and requires water to circulate through his metal frame to cool him. Steam vents through holes in his skeleton to accomplish the cooling process and that is how Kengoro sweats.
Now bacteria can power your origami batteries
Fusion of paper and electronics – papertronics, a new field of research has opened up another weird scope for the geniuses. Scientists have developed a foldable battery which is powered by bacteria from wastewater. These batteries are not only cheaper but also easy to manufacture.
To make these batteries researchers from Binghamton University have used a ribbon of silver nitrate on a piece of chromatography paper. On the top of this, they placed a thin layer of wax to create cathode. To make anode, they placed a reservoir made out of a conductive polymer on the other side of the paper. The battery gets its power from the bacterial cellular respiration. Now you breathe slowly and digest it.
Plants can be gold diggers too – India shows the way
Imagine extracting gold using leaves of a plant. That’s what the researchers from North Maharashtra University, IIT Kanpur and the Directorate of Geology and Mining, Government of Maharashtra have done. They used leaves of a plant called Lagerstroemia Speciosa as bio-sorbent for extraction of gold from e-waste.
They took leaves from the plants and washed them with ultrapure water, air dried them at room temperature and crushed them to powder. To prevent leaching and increase absorption, they mixed it with polyethyleneimine (PEI) at 25 °C using a magnetic stirrer.
To extract gold from e-waste, this solution underwent various acidic treatment creating an acid-leached solution of the gold. It was then mixed with the PEI-LS bio-sorbent and viewed under a scanning electron microscope and in an energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscope as well. Gold was obtained from this solution using eluting agents like acidic Thiourea.
Go, get your scientific microscope to view this wonder
Quickly fetch your scientific microscope to witness the world’s smallest hard drive as of now – made out of a single atom and it can store a single bit of data. Let’s pat the researchers from IBM who have achieved this by magnetising an atom, cooling it with liquid Helium and storing it in an extreme vacuum.
The hard disk you are using now occupies about 100,000 atoms to store a single bit of data, hence, this breakthrough technology can develop at least thousand times denser circuitry. While right now the procedure is too costly to make it commercial, it is a promising step in further shrinkage of storage devices.
Diode from a single DNA molecule – nothing’s impossible
Researchers from the University of Georgia took nanoelectronics to next level. They have created a diode from single DNA molecule. To achieve this, the team took a single strand of DNA having 11 base pairs and added a molecule called coralyne into its helix structure. Further, they connected the whole thing to a tiny electronic circuit, only a few nanometers long, to make a working diode.