3D printing your own clothes just became (kinda) a reality

Unless the technology, somehow, proves to be drastically limited, 3D printing is likely to the genesis of a manufacturing revolution. Now, a team in San Francisco believes that it has taken another leap towards our utopian future by building a "3D printer" for our clothes. The team behind Electroloom hope that, a few years down the line, instead of trips to H&M, you’ll be ducking into your basement with a set of drawings the next time you need a new outfit.

Essentially, the Electroloom is a plastic box that can hold a thin metal template, for instance a crudely crafted tank top. Then, a customized mix of liquid polyester and cotton is passed through an electrically charged nozzle and spun into nano-fibers. These fibers are then drawn towards the 2D template, where they bind to each other to form a very thin, but very strong fabric. Even though they’re quite crude, the resulting "clothes" have no seams or stitching, making them much stronger than your average t-shirt. If there’s one downside, it’s that the terminally impatient will have to wait between eight and 16 hours for their clothes to form. Of course, given the various ethical and environmental issues that surround fashion providers, on-the-go clothes manufacturing seems like an easy win.

The company is looking to raise $50,000 in funding on Kickstarter, and much like Oculus and some other high-profile startups, Electroloom isn’t offering this as a consumer product. Instead, it’s offering Alpha versions of its hardware for designers, inventors and creators in the hope of improving the system. If you’re prepared to chip in $4,500 (told you), then you’ll get a prototype, complete with 1.5 liters of solution that, the company promises, is enough to produce 7 beanies, 4 tank tops or 3 skirts. You’ll be able to buy more liquid when you run out, but Electroloom doesn’t yet know how much it’ll cost you.

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MetricCook Featured
8 hours ago

I like the spray-on clothes better, that disappear/dissolved in the rain…

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psychodad391 Featured
8 hours ago

Women would love this I’m sure. Some of them would buy 3 or more printers lol.

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How to make continuous rolls of graphene

( Nanowerk News) Graphene is a material with a host of potential applications, including in flexible light sources, solar panels that could be integrated into windows, and membranes to desalinate and purify water.
But all these possible uses face the same big hurdle: the need for a scalable and cost-effective method for continuous manufacturing of graphene films. That could finally change with a new process described this week in the journal Scientific Reports ( "High-speed roll-to-roll manufacturing of graphene using a concentric tube CVD reactor") by researchers at MIT and the University of Michigan. MIT mechanical engineering Associate Professor A. John Hart, the paper’s senior author, says the new roll-to-roll manufacturing process described by his team addresses the fact that for many proposed applications of graphene and other 2-D materials to be practical, “you’re going to need to make acres of it, repeatedly and in a cost-effective manner.”

Copper substrate is shown in the process of being coated with graphene. At left, the process begins by treating the copper surface, and, at right, the graphene layer is beginning to form. Upper images are taken using visible light microscopy, and lower images using a scanning electron microscope. (Courtesy of the researchers) Making such quantities of graphene would represent a big leap from present approaches, where researchers struggle to produce small quantities of graphene — often pulling these sheets from a lump of graphite using adhesive tape, or producing a film the size of a postage stamp using a laboratory furnace.
But the new method promises to enable continuous production, using a thin metal foil as a substrate, in an industrial process where the material would be deposited onto the foil as it smoothly moves from one spool to another. The resulting sheets would be limited in size only by the width of the rolls of foil and the size of the chamber where the deposition would take place. Because a continuous process eliminates the need to stop and start to load and unload materials from a fixed vacuum chamber, as in today’s processing methods, it could lead to significant scale-up of production. That could finally unleash applications for graphene, which has unique electronic and optical properties and is one of the strongest materials known. The new process is an adaptation of a chemical vapor deposition method already used at MIT and elsewhere to make graphene — using a small vacuum chamber into which a vapor containing carbon reacts on a horizontal substrate, such as a copper foil. The new system uses a similar vapor chemistry, but the chamber is in the form of two concentric tubes, one inside the other, and the substrate is a thin ribbon of copper that slides smoothly over the inner tube.

Diagram of the roll-to-roll process (a) shows the arrangement of copper spools at each end of the processing tube, and how a ribbon of thin copper substrate is wound around the central tube. Cross-section view of the same setup (b) shows the gap between two tubes, where the chemical vapor deposition process occurs. Photos of the system being tested show (c) the overall system, with an arrow indicating the direction the ribbon is moving; (d) a closeup of the copper ribbon inside the apparatus, showing the holes where chemical vapor is injected; and (e) an overhead view of the copper foil passing through the system. (Courtesy of the researchers) Gases flow into the tubes and are released through precisely placed holes, allowing for the substrate to be exposed to two mixtures of gases sequentially. The first region is called an annealing region, used to prepare the surface of the substrate; the second region is the growth zone, where the graphene is formed on the ribbon. The chamber is heated to approximately 1,000 degrees Celsius to perform the reaction.
The researchers have designed and built a lab-scale version of the system, and found that when the ribbon is moved through at a rate of 25 millimeters (1 inch) per minute, a very uniform, high-quality single layer of graphene is created. When rolled 20 times faster, it still produces a coating, but the graphene is of lower quality, with more defects. Some potential applications, such as filtration membranes, may require very high-quality graphene, but other applications, such as thin-film heaters may work well enough with lower-quality sheets, says Hart, who is the Mitsui Career Development Associate Professor in Contemporary Technology at MIT. So far, the new system produces graphene that is “not quite [equal to] the best that can be done by batch processing,” Hart says — but “to our knowledge, it’s still at least as good” as what’s been produced by other continuous processes.
Further work on details such as pretreatment of the substrate to remove unwanted surface defects could lead to improvements in the quality of the resulting graphene sheets, he says. The team is studying these details, Hart adds, and learning about tradeoffs that can inform the selection of process conditions for specific applications, such as between higher production rate and graphene quality. Then, he says, “The next step is to understand how to push the limits, to get it 10 times faster or more.” Hart says that while this study focuses on graphene, the machine could be adapted to continuously manufacture other two-dimensional materials, or even to growing arrays of carbon nanotubes, which his group is also studying. “This is high-quality research that represents significant progress on the path to scalable production methods for large-area graphene,” says Charlie Johnson, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Pennsylvania who was not involved in this work. “I think that the concentric tube approach is very creative. It has the potential to lead to significantly lower production costs for graphene, if it can be scaled to larger copper-foil widths.”

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Top 10 new species for 2015 : TreeHugger

CC BY 2.0 Dr. Bruno Kneubühler/IISE + ESF

From a cartwheeling spider and a bird-like dinosaur to a fish that makes beautiful circles on the seafloor, these curious creatures made the annual list created by an international committee of taxonomists.

Every year since 2008, a team of taxonomists from SUNY’s Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF) International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) have been pouring over the previous year’s new species discoveries to select their favorite 10 for an annual shout-out. And while news of species going extinct sadly dominates the headlines, it’s heartening to know that every year, approximately 18,000 new species are discovered. And among those many thousands are some truly spectacular plants and critters.

"The last vast unexplored frontier on Earth is the biosphere. We have only begun to explore the astonishing origin, history, and diversity of life," says Dr. Quentin Wheeler, ESF president and founding director of the IISE.

Scientists think that we still have 10 million species to discover, five times more than we already know. It’s a profound thought to ponder; while it doesn’t mean there are actually more species out there, it’s certainly a humbling thing for us know-it-all homo sapiens to consider.

"An inventory of plants and animals begun in the 18th century continues apace with the discovery of about 18,000 additional species each year. The nearly 2 million species named to date represent a small fraction of an estimated 12 million. Among the remaining 10 million are irreplaceable clues to our own origins, a detailed blueprint of how the biosphere self-organized, and precious clues to better, more efficient, and more sustainable ways to meet human needs while conserving wild living things. It is time to mount a mission to planet Earth to distinguish, describe, name and classify its life-forms before it is too late. The Top 10 is a reminder of the wonders awaiting us," Wheeler says.

Right on. And without further ado, the who’s who of wonders:

1. Feathered Dinosaur: Anzu wyliei (U.S.)

© Illustration: Mark A. Klingler, Carnegie Museum of Natural History Well hello, bird dragon thing. With its motley mix of bird and dinosaur features, Anzu wyliei is from a bird-like group of dinosaurs that lived in North America some 66 million years ago. It was 10-feet long and 5-feet tall; ostrich meets Godzilla. A contemporary of the more famous T. rex and Triceratops, A. wyliei was a nest builder and roosted until its eggs hatched; other avian characteristics included feathers, hollow bones and a parrot-like beak. Three well-preserved partial skeletons were discovered in North and South Dakota, in the (appropriately-named) Hell Creek Formation.

2. Coral Plant: Balanophora coralliformis (Philippines)

© P.B. Pelser & J.F. Barcelona/IISE + ESFThis parasitic plant might have passed us right by; although we’ve only just discovered it, it’s already considered critically endangered. With its long, repeating branches and aboveground tubers, this plant does not contain chlorophyll and is incapable of photosynthesis, and thus derives its nutrition from other living plants. So far, only 50 plants of the species have been found.

3. Cartwheeling Spider: Cebrennus rechenbergi (Morocco)

© Prof. Dr. Ingo Rechenberg/Technical University Berlin This desert-dwelling acrobatic arachnid cartwheels its way out of threatening situations, clever thing. When faced with danger, C. rechenbergi first assumes a fierce posture, and if that doesn’t work, the entertainer starts to run and turn cartwheels, which must be rather surprising to the predator. Especially since the spider cartwheels in the direction of, not away from, the threat. In the barren desert called home, there’s no place to run to hide, so it’s gymnastics or die. The agile spider’s behavior has already inspired a biomimetic robot that can similarly walk or roll.

4. The X-Phyla: Dendrogramma enigmatica (Australia)

© Jørgen Olesen/IISE + ESFNot only is it a new species, but D. enigmatica and a second new species, D. discoids, could comprise an entirely new phylum. These multicellular animals – found deep on the sea floor off Point Hicks, Victoria – look like mushrooms and could be related to the phylum Cnidaria (jellyfish, corals, sea anemones and hydras) or Ctenophora (comb jellies) or both, but the new animals lack evolutionary novelties unique to either. The mystery surrounding this animal accounts for its name, and its relationships are likely to remain enigmatic until specimens can be collected suitable for DNA analysis, notes the listing.

5. Bone-house Wasp: Deuteragenia ossarium (China)

© Michael Staab/IISE + ESF“Mom Bug of the Year” award goes to this conniving wasp whose gory egg-laying scheme is tops for baby. She makes a nest in a hollow stem with consecutive “rooms” divided by soil walls; after laying an egg, she kills a spider and places it in the next room for baby to eat when its hungry, alternating egg and dead-spider rooms until she gets to the last room. And then, the icing on the cake: She fills the last vestibule with up to 13 bodies of dead ants, which creates a chemical camouflage by way of volatile chemicals, throwing predators that hunt wasp larvae by scent off the trail. Nothing like a mother’s love.

6. Indonesian Frog: Limnonectes larvaepartus (Indonesia)

© Jimmy A. McGuire/IISE + ESFThis little frog is less than 2 inches and is fanged (fanged!), but what makes L. larvaepartus special is that it does something very unfroggy: it gives birth to live tadpoles rather than eggs. Fewer than a dozen of the world’s 6,455 frog species have internal fertilization and all except this new species lay fertilized eggs or give birth to tiny froglets, notes the list. But not L. larvaepartus, tadpoles!

7. Walking Stick: Phryganistria tamdaoensis (Vietnam)

© Jonathan Brecko/IISE + ESFWalking sticks may be one of Mother Nature’s cleverest masters of disguise; few things are cooler than a bug that looks exactly like a twig, adaptation is pure genius. While P. tamdaeoensis – at an impressive 9 inches in length – is not the longest in the world, it is nonetheless compelling evidence, the listers say, that, in spite of their size, more giant sticks remain to be discovered and we have a lot more to learn about bugs that look like plant parts. And who knows, maybe one day we’ll discover a walking stick that breaks the current record – an honor held by Chan’s megastick ( Phobaeticus chani) with the disconcerting length of 22 inches (567 mm).

8. Sea Slug: Phyllodesmium acanthorhinum (Japan)

© Robert Bolland/IISE + ESFWhile P. acanthorhinum could have been nominated for looks alone, it’s the creature’s status as "missing link" that earned it a place in the list. P. acanthorhinum completes the chain between sea slugs that feed on hydroids and those specializing on corals. This super photogenic gastropod shows up in shades of blue, red and gold – although rather petite, measuring in at merely an inch long.

9. Bromeliad: Tillandsia religiosa (Mexico)

© A. Espejo/IISE and ESFWe all know of poinsettias and Christmas cactus, but in Sierra de Tepoztlán, Tlayacapan, San José de los Laureles, and Tepoztlán, a comely bromeliad plant is often included in elaborate Christmas displays. And well it should be, what with its pretty rose-colored spikes and flat green leaves. Growing up to 5-feet tall, these stemless, solitary plants are found on cliffs and vertical walls in deciduous, coniferous, oak and cloud forests where they flower from December to March. But while long loved by locals, it was unknown to science until just last year – which is really kind of beautiful.

10. Pufferfish: Torquigener albomaculosus (Japan)

© Yoji OkataWell of course T. albomaculosus made the list! The discovery of this pufferfish includes the solving of a 20-year-old mystery in which everyone was wondering why there seems to be crop circles on the seafloor. We have T. albomaculosus to thank for the under-the-sea intricate circles with geometric designs which are about six feet (2 meters) in diameter. Males make these beautiful patterns as spawning nests by swimming and wriggling in the seafloor sand. The reason? To attract females, of course – this is the animal world, after all, and nothing says "let’s have babies" like the presentation of a perfect nest.

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Why Everything We Think We Know About Nutrition Seems To Be Wrong | First We Feast

Why Everything We Think We Know About Nutrition Seems To Be Wrong

There’s been an onslaught of nutrition and diet studies, but are they completely bogus?

Written by Janaki Jitchotvisut | May 11, 2015 at 1:02 pm | 6 Comments

Photos: Flickr/USDA, Flickr/Lotzman Katzman

The U.S. Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee made headlines in February when it announced its conclusion that the cholesterol we consume in food plays a relatively insignificant role in our blood cholesterol levels. That was—and is—a huge deal, because it reverses things our society has regarded as basic facts for decades.

With this huge reversal, as well as new nutritional studies coming out every week that seem to contradict each other, it’s natural to wonder if we really know anything about nutrition at all.

Dr. David Allison of the University of Alabama at Birmingham’s School of Public Health is extremely skeptical of nutritional advice from all sources. He recently spoke to the Washington Post about several reasons why so many things we think we know seem to be wrong.

The world’s most advanced particle accelerator is just 12 inches long and sits on a lab bench in the US | ExtremeTech

By Sebastian Anthony on November 6, 2014 at 3:02 pm

“Go big or go home” might be the unofficial motto of the United States — but in the case of the world’s newest and most advanced particle accelerator, that’s certainly not the case. The new plasma wakefield accelerator, constructed at the SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory in California, is just 12 inches long — or about 90,000 times smaller than CERN’s 17-mile-long Large Hadron Collider in Switzerland.

As you probably know, particle accelerators are usually very large. It’s not that we want to spend billions of dollars boring out a 17-mile tunnel deep underground (or even longer, in the case of some new accelerators that are being considered at the moment). It’s not like we choose to spend billions more creating a vacuum tube in that tunnel, wrapping it in superconducting electromagnets, and cryogenically freezing the whole thing. It’s just that, until now, that was the only way we knew how to reliably accelerate protons and electrons to close to the speed of light.

According to SLAC, there’s another method of particle acceleration that’s much more efficient, and can thus be used to build massive accelerators that are orders of magnitude more powerful — or alternatively, much smaller, lab-sized accelerators. The technology is called plasma wakefield acceleration — and, despite how awesomely complex it sounds, it’s actually fairly self-explanatory.

Read: Searching for supersymmetry: Work begins on Large Hadron Collider’s 60-mile-long successor

Basically, instead of a big vacuum tube, you have a container filled with plasma — usually a super-heated, very diluted gas (such as hydrogen). Then, y pulsing a laser, you can create a bunch of ionized electrons that travel through the plasma — and then you pulse the laser again to produce another bunch, which gathers energy from the wake of the first bunch… and so on, until you have a powerful particle accelerator. [Research paper: doi:10.1038/nature13882]

Plasma wakefield accelerator diagram [Image credit]

For now, SLAC’s plasma wakefield accelerator is fairly useless as far as actual particle physics research goes — rather, it’s just just one of a very long line of lab-sized prototypes that need to be built so that we can fully understand how plasma wakefields work. As you can probably appreciate, decades of research went into electromagnetic acceleration before CERN even thought about building the LHC — and likewise, we probably won’t see a useful plasma wakefield accelerator for years, or maybe even decades.

In the long run, though, plasma wakefields could allow for cheap, lab-sized accelerators that massively increase the global scientific community’s throughput of particle physics research. Or alternatively, we could spend billions of dollars and build a giant plasma wakefield accelerator that (probably) reveals the universe’s deepest, darkest secrets. That’s the great thing about accelerators: Until you actually get up to speed and start smashing subatomic particles together, you have no idea what you might learn.

Now read: What happens if you get hit by the main beam of a particle accelerator like the LHC?

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NASA rocket experiment redefines how we think of galaxies – CNET

Scientists have discovered that the universe contains twice as much infrared light than previously thought, helping us better understand the construction of space.

A time-lapse photograph of the Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment rocket launch from NASA’s Wallops Island Flight Facility in Virginia last year. T. Arai/University of Tokyo

A NASA rocket experiment that measures infrared light has made a surprise discovery: the universe is far brighter than we thought.

This surplus light, which scientists call a diffuse cosmic glow, exists in the dark space between galaxies and is brighter than all the light produced by all known galaxies in the universe. Instruments on board a suborbital rocket collected the data as part of NASA’s Cosmic Infrared Background Experiment, or CIBER. The results were published Thursday in the journal Science.

"These findings redefine what we think of as galaxies," Michael Garcia, a program scientist with NASA, said in an online press conference Thursday. "Instead of having sharp edges, galaxy stars may stretch out in vast distances." This "vast, interconnected sea of stars," NASA says, is a novel understanding of how the universe is constructed.

Scientists have long known that the universe’s earliest galaxies emit a red glow and newer, undetected stars produce a blue light. The debate, however, was whether the background light, first discovered by NASA’s Spitzer Space Telescope, was coming from those older galaxies or those newer stars.

"The light looks too bright and too blue to be coming from the first generation of galaxies," said James Bock, the principal investigator on CIBER, and a scientist at Caltech and NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "The simplest explanation, which best explains the measurements, is that many stars have been ripped from their galactic birthplace, and that the stripped stars emit on average about as much light as the galaxies themselves."

CIBER was able to determine this by using infrared cameras launched into space that snap photos for 7 minutes before transmitting the data back to Earth.

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Are Hacked Email Account Checking Tools Genuine Or A Scam?

Christian Cawley
On 5th November, 2014 Security Matters

By Christian Cawley on 5 th November, 2014 | Security Matters | No Comments

Following the news of a vast breach of Google’s servers that resulted in an alleged 5 million email addresses being hacked, various websites were suggesting that readers should check whether they had been victims by entering their email addresses into “checking tools” – websites that can determine whether an email address is in a list of hacked credentials.

The problem is, some of these checking tools weren’t as legitimate as the websites linking to them might have hoped…

5 Million Email Addresses: The Truth

Reported at the time as a massive leak of 5 million Gmail account usernames and passwords, it soon transpired that the story was, well, just that: a story.

Explaining it a little later, Google revealed that less than 2% of the username/password combinations were accurate, and that their own login security tools would have caught the majority of those.

They also clarified that the credentials weren’t hacked from their own servers, but from other websites:

It’s important to note that in this case and in others, the leaked usernames and passwords were not the result of a breach of Google systems. Often, these credentials are obtained through a combination of other sources.

For instance, if you reuse the same username and password across websites, and one of those websites gets hacked, your credentials could be used to log into the others.

So, a Gmail account picked up in a previous breach – high profile or otherwise – could have been one of those in the data dump of credentials in the hands of the “hackers”. Essentially, information that might have already been online in one form or another, Gmail accounts cribbed from several sources.

But how did this story go mainstream so quickly? Probably with the help of a big, round number like 5 million, and the clever string pulling of the hackers who posted the account passwords on a Russian Bitcoin forum. Throw in an online checking tool that confirms whether your own email account is in the dump, and you’ve got a big news story.

Of course, it seems likely that isleaked.com is not the website people thought it was.

How A Fake Hacked Email Account Checker Works

Checking an email address against a database (which might be SQL, Access or even a text file) of hacked email accounts is relatively straightforward. Combined with an easily downloaded script, such a website could be setup in 30 minutes or so.

Troy Hunt, meanwhile, has a much better approach, which is why you should be using his site to check for the leaking of your credentials whenever you read or hear of an account hack.

As explained on his blog, Hunt has built Have I Been Pwned?, a legitimate website (Hunt is a Microsoft MVP for Developer Security) designed for average users to type in their email address and find out whether or not they have been hacked. Using data submitted to sites like Pastebin.com, it even tells you which breach is responsible for your email account’s presence in its database.

Looking For A Legitimate Hacked Email Account Check?

When the results are displayed, the site displays the name of the website that your account details were leaked from. Hopefully, that site would have emailed you privately or made an announcement.

(Of course, should you be concerned that your email account has been hacked, you should change your password anyway. Remember to make it secure and memorable.)

As you can see from the image above, my email account was one of the many retrieved in the massive Adobe breach of 2013. You should use the information Hunt’s site provides to act immediately, although be aware that even when your password has been changed, your email address will remain on the site.

If practical, changing the email address you use with your online accounts might also be worth considering.

Due Diligence Should Not Be A Thing Of The Past

A vital element of journalism is due diligence; the checking of facts. Simply regurgitating press releases is not enough. Any writer, whether churning out content for $1 per 1000 words or salaried to a top name in publishing can do that.

Unfortunately on the World Wide Web, it doesn’t happen enough.

A few minutes of fact checking would have shown that the 5 million addresses claim was a fabrication. As we reported at the time, the addresses had been cribbed from a collection of previous leaks. The Russian hackers were able to collate a list rather than breach Google’s security.

Of particular suspicion, meanwhile, was the site recommended by many websites to check emails, isleaked.com. Curiously registered just two days before the leak, in Russia, its sudden existence was either hugely fortuitous, or planned.

As I always say, there are no coincidences in online security.

After all, what better way to confirm the list of addresses you’re claiming to have hacked than to get the account owners to verify whether they’re still using them or not? It’s the modus operandi of spammers – dead addresses are worthless, which is why many spam emails ask you to respond. Your response is logged and the address retained.

The leak email checker isleaked.com could easily be a more sophisticated approach. While they claim:

We don’t collect your emails, URLs/IP addresses, access logs nor check results. Either we don’t do anything harmful with your device during the test!

…there is little reason to trust the site. Troy Hunt, who has a reputation to uphold, explains how his site works, so it makes sense to use it.

The Verdict: Don’t React Without The Facts

What we can learn from this is that no one should act upon claims of data breaches and hacks without possessing the full facts. There are simply too many variables to take into account.

With the Gmail hack claims, it seems a safe assumption that the alleged hackers were simply verifying their collection of addresses, presumably used in various spam campaigns.

Some were genuine, others long expired.

The best website for checking whether your email has been hacked and found its way onto a site like Pastebin.com is haveibeenpwned.com.

Ironically, as far as the 5 million Gmail addresses that were supposedly hacked from Google are concerned, it was the technology press that was truly pwned.

Rob Hyrons via Shutterstock

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