Converting Cigarette Butts into Batteries

cigarette_butts_batteries

Trillions of cigarettes are smoked every year, leaving behind discarded filters containing non-biodegradable materials that can be recycled into carbon-based products for electrochemical components. This was discovered by a team of South Korean scientists who presented their unique energy storage solution in IOP Publishing’s journal of Nanotechnology.

The materials inside the cigarette filters offered up better performance than commercially bought carbon, graphene and carbon nanotubes at the time. They hoped to coat electrodes of supercapacitors with the material to be inserted into computers, handheld devices, and electric vehicles. A simple one-step burning process called pyrolysis reduced the filters down into a carbon-based byproduct with tiny pores. The leftover porous substance ensured higher power densities for supercapacitors. This was then tested out to see how well the material absorbed electrolyte ions and discharged them. It did better than expected and stored higher amounts of electrical energy than other commercially available options.

The full paper is linked at the bottom of their article but it’s behind a paywall. If you have a subscription and the time to look it over, please let us know if you think there’s potential for this unorthodox material source or if they’re just blowing smoke.

[Thanks for the tip Ryoku!]

Velociraptor Robot Ready to Run with The Big Dogs

velociraptor-robot

[Jongwon Park] and his team of students at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology have created a fast biped robot based upon the Velociraptor. Raptor weighs in at just 3Kg, and stands only 470mm tall, yet it is capable of running at 46 km/h. That’s almost as fast as Boston Dynamic’s Cheetah.

Raptor uses carbon fiber composite legs to absorb and release energy while running. The system is similar to that used in high performance prosthetic legs. A rotating tail assembly further helps to balance Raptor on rough terrain. We have to admit, the tail system does look a bit dangerous for any humans who might need to interact with the robot. It does work though, as evidenced by Raptor bounding over Styrofoam blocks.

The Raptor robot is quite impressive when running at full speed. Considering this project’s budget was nowhere near the resources of Boston Dynamics, it’s an amazing accomplishment. The video reminds us of  Boston Dynamics founder [Marc Raibert's] early robots at the MIT Leg Lab. We can’t wait to see what this team produces in the future.

[Read more...]

[Ian] shops Seoul, South Korea

We don’t get a chance to shop some of the cooler electronic component shops here in the States, much less hop on a plane and experience the Hacker’s Disneyland that are the Asian markets. So we’re glad to live vicariously through Hackaday alum [Ian Lesnet's] adventures. This time around he’s combed through Seoul, South Korea’s electronics markets. That link will take you to the roundup of about a dozen posts he published during his recent trip.

The image above is a screenshot from one of the videos he made of the experience. After the break you can watch him put on the tour-guide hat. We think he did a great job of explaining the experience and showing off what the market is like without letting the video drag on. The shops mostly offer a window display with all of the components they sell. To make a purchase you just window shop, then go inside and they will pull out an order for you from bulk bags stored on floor-to-ceiling shelves. [Ian] also makes a stop at the local Hackerspace where they show off some of their 3D printer builds.

This is not the first time he’s given us a tour like this, go check out his Akihabara trip if you missed it before. He’s also planning to meet up with the Seeed Studio folks to tour the shops in Shenzhen next month. [Read more...]

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