In 2015, American consumers will finally be able to purchase fuel cell cars from Toyota and other manufacturers. Although touted as zero-emissions vehicles, most of the cars will run on hydrogen made from natural gas, a fossil fuel that contributes to global warming.
Now, scientists at Stanford Univ. have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis. The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive and abundant nickel and iron.
Founded in 1997 with the ambitious goal to develop a robotic humanoid soccer-playing robot by 2050, the RoboCup is an annual robotics competition that sees robots play soccer against each other in an exercise of AI and applied robotics.
Each year of the competition also features a robot-on-human soccer game. And every once in a while, the robots will score a goal on the humans, just as they did this year in the above GIF.
They've happened in the past, but robot-on-human soccer goals at RoboCup are becoming a bigger deal. It's simply a function of goal quality being so dramatically improved over years before — robot AI is increasingly capable of masterminding some soccer strategy on our flesh-and-blood would-be Beckhams, and then putting that strategy to work effectively.
When Chip Yates started working on his electric airplane in 2012, he wasn't trying to make conventional, gas-powered aircraft look slow. That hasn't changed, he says. "That was not the design goal."
But he's happy to point out his plane is as fast or faster than its competitors that run on single piston gas engines. The five world records Yates set last year for electric planes were finally officially verified by the Fédération Aéronautique International (FAI) last week, and now he can officially claim bragging rights.