29 November 2015

Scientists turn gold into foam that's nearly as light as air

gold foam

A piece of the gold foam is light enough to float atop milk froth (Credit: Gustav Nyström and Raffaele Mezzenga/ETH Zurich)

Along with its use in jewellery, gold also has numerous applications in fields such as electronics and scientific research. It's a handy material, but – of course – it's also expensive. That's why researchers at ETH Zurich have developed a new way of making a small amount of gold go a long way. They've created a gold foam that looks much like solid gold, but is actually 98 parts air to two parts solid material. As an added bonus, the aerogel-type foam can also be made in non-gold colors such as dark red.

According to lead scientist Prof. Raffaele Mezzenga, the foam is one one-thousandths the weight of a same-sized piece of a conventional gold alloy. This makes it lighter than water, and almost as light as air. It still looks shiny and metallic, but unlike solid gold, it's malleable enough that it can be shaped by hand.

The solid material within the foam consists of approximately four-fifths actual gold, and about one-fifth milk proteins. Purity-wise, the foam comes out at around 20 carats.

Mezzenga and his team made the foam by first heating the proteins to convert them into tiny fibers, known as amyloid fibrils. When these fibrils were added to a solution of gold salt, they responded by interlacing themselves into a three-dimensional lattice-like structure. As they were in the process of doing so, the gold crystallized into tiny microparticles that became embedded in the fibrils.

The resulting gel-like structure was then dried to create the finished foam, using a labor-intensive process that involved exposing it to carbon dioxide. Air-drying would have been much easier, but could also have damaged the material before it dried.

Additionally, by changing the reaction conditions in the "gold salt" step of the process, the researchers were able to make the gold crystallize into even smaller nanoparticles. Because these had different optical qualities than the larger particles, the completed gold foam took on a dark red color.

Not only could the foam be used in many of the same applications as regular, more costly gold, but it might also be utilized in highly-sensitive pressure sensors. "At normal atmospheric pressure the individual gold particles in the material do not touch, and the gold aerogel does not conduct electricity," says Mezzenga. "But when the pressure is increased, the material gets compressed and the particles begin to touch, making the material conductive."

Source: ETH Zurich, gizmag 

Scientists create stretchable, wearable, programmable keyboard

stretchable keyboard

The rubber keyboard made from a a dielectric elastomer is soft, flexible and stretchable (Credit: Daniel Xu)

Most of the keyboards we're familiar with are actually rather complicated pieces of hardware, usually invlolving springs and wiring for dozens of keys, but scientists at the University of Auckland in New Zealand have developed a streamlined, programmable keyboard using a soft, flexible and stretchable type of rubber known as a dielectric elastomer.

The prototype keyboard consists of two sensing layers within a single laminated structure. The surface is separated into nine different sensing regions, essentially creating nine programmable keys.

It's similar to a programmable on-screen keyboard that we're used to seeing on our touchscreens, but with the added bonus of being flexible and almost indestructible, at least when it comes to the simple drops that can destroy a touchscreen device.

"A key benefit of our keyboard is that essentially, it's just a thin sheet of rubber. It can be wrapped around any object which turns it into a keyboard." explained Daniel Xu, who is the author of a paper detailing the advance. "It can also be made into a sensing skin for motion capture, which is useful for athletes, clinicians, and for new interactive gesture controllers."

The paper notes that the number and layout of keys or sensing areas can be modified simply by reprogramming the rubber keyboard, rather than having to add new wires or make any other hardware modifications.

wearable keyboard

The keyboard can take its shape from other objects that it wraps around (Credit: Daniel Xu)

The capabilities of the rubber keyboard were often tested using video games and the researchers have also created a glove from the same material that can sense stretching for use with shooting games.

A company called StretchSense has been spun off from the biomimetics lab at the University of Auckland to develop wearable tech and other products that take advantage of sensors that can detect stretching.

The team's paper appears in the journal Smart Materials and Structures.

Sources: IOP Publishing, StretchSense, Smart Materials and Structures, gizmag

18 November 2015

Row-bot cleans dirty water and powers itself by eating microbes


Row-bot with mouth open to take in water – inset shows mouth closed (Credit: University of Bristol)

Inspired by the water boatman bug, a team at the University of Bristol has created the Row-bot, a robot prototype that is designed to punt itself across the top of the water in dirty ponds or lakes, and "eat" the microbes it scoops up. It then breaks these down in its artificial stomach to create energy to power itself. In this way, it generates enough power to continuously impel itself about to seek out more bacteria to feed upon.

The Row-bot consists of two main elements a propulsion mechanism to move the Row-bot around using a paddle operated by a minuscule 0.75 Watt, brushed DC motor, and its "stomach," where a microbial fuel cell (MFC) supplies the electric current to the motor powering the paddle.
Row-bot cleans dirty water and powers itself by eating microbes
Constructed from a 3D-printed composite structure with a rigid frame supporting an elastic membrane, each paddle on Row-bot is stretched out to increase the paddle surface area during the power stroke (Credit: University of Bristol)

The whole system works when the robot ingests some water, with the MFC creating electricity from the bacteria contained within it, which allows it to make a few strokes of its paddle. This movement then lets Row-bot take in more dirty water, and the process starts all over again. This is what sets the Row-bot apart from other similar miniature swimming robots (such as Harvard Microrobotics' Robobee); it is completely powered from the medium in which it swims.

The water boatman insect that Row-bot emulates has legs covered by hairs to maximize surface area during the power stroke and which collapse to minimize drag during the recovery stroke. So, too, the design of the Row-bot's paddles alter to maximize efficiency.

bot cleans dirty water
Row-bot has a microbial fuel cell that ingests microbes and provides power for an electric motor to drive paddles for propulsion through the water (Credit: University of Bristol)

Constructed from a 3D-printed composite structure with a rigid frame supporting an elastic membrane, each paddle is stretched out to increase the paddle surface area during the power stroke. The membrane has a hinge that changes the angle of attack on the part of the paddle that remains underwater during the recovery stroke to reduce its frontal area and, therefore, its drag.

The MFC – like the one developed by UWE Bristol to generate electric current from urine used in the Row-bot is similar to a normal fuel cell, except that in place of more common fuels to power the process, it uses bacteria to create an electrical current by mimicking bacterial interactions found in nature.

When micro-organisms are fed sugar in aerobic conditions (that is, in the presence of oxygen), they produce carbon dioxide and water. However, in anaerobic states (when oxygen is not present) in a MFC, they produce carbon dioxide, protons, and electrons. In this way, an electric current can be created between two electrodes to produce electricity.

Row-bot cleans dirty water
An autonomous, water-cleaning robot prototype that sucks in dirty water, Row-bot is designed to "eat" the microbes it scoops up, then breaks them down in its artificial stomach to generate energy to power itself (Credit: University of Bristol)

The researchers believe that the device has the potential for many uses as an energetically autonomous robot, including in remote sensing and environmental monitoring and clean-up. In this vein, the next stage planned for Row-bot is the integration of monitoring and control subsystems, along with some additional switching circuitry all powered by the MFC.

The results of this research were recently presented in a paper at the 2015 IEEE/RSJ International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems (IROS) in Hamburg, Germany.

Source: gizmag

18 October 2015

Scientists create a pumping artificial heart using foam

poroelastic silicone foam heart
The poroelastic silicone foam model heart (Credit: Cornell University)

Perhaps you sleep on a memory foam mattress. Well, in the future, a similar material could be used to create artificial body parts. Researchers at Cornell University recently used their new "elastomer foam" to build a functioning fluid pump that looks and works like a human heart.

The poroelastic silicone foam can be formed to any shape desired, by being cast in a 3D-printed mold while still in its liquid state.

Once it sets, the material is very soft and pliable, can be stretched by up to 600 percent, and is made up of interconnected pores that allow liquid to pass through. The connectivity of those pores can be tweaked, however, in order to fine-tune how easily liquid can move through the foam.

In order to keep the liquid within the confines of the artificial heart (except at the hoses, where it enters and exits), the scientists coated the outside of it with a flexible silicone/carbon fiber shell. By varying the amount and type of materials used for such shells, it would be possible for different parts of objects made with the foam to expand at different rates. This means that a spherical object, for example, could take on an elongated egg shape when inflated with air or liquid.

The researchers have already begun work on a prosthetic foam hand, and are also working on both making the material more biocompatible, and obtaining FDA approval. They say that creating the heart was a quick and easy process, and that it would be possible to custom-design hearts (or other body parts) to match the requirements of individual people.

Cornell University, gizamg 

What is quantum in quantum thermodynamics?

What is quantum in quantum thermodynamics

Physicists have shown that the three main types of engines (four-stroke, two-stroke, and continuous) are thermodynamically equivalent in a certain quantum regime, but not at the classical level. Credit: Uzdin, et al. Published by the American Physical Society under CC-BY-3.0

A lot of attention has been given to the differences between the quantum and classical worlds. For example, quantum entanglement, superposition, and teleportation are purely quantum phenomena with no classical counterparts. However, when it comes to certain areas of thermodynamics specifically, thermal engines and refrigerators quantum and classical systems so far appear to be nearly identical. It seems that the same thermodynamic laws that govern the engines in our vehicles may also accurately describe the tiniest quantum engines consisting of just a single particle.

In a new study, physicists Raam Uzdin, Amikam Levy, and Ronnie Kosloff at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have investigated whether there is anything distinctly quantum about thermodynamics at the quantum level, or if "quantum" thermodynamics is really the same as classical thermodynamics.

For the first time, they have shown a difference in the thermodynamics of heat machines on the quantum scale: in part of the quantum regime, the three main engine types (two-stroke, four-stroke, and continuous) are thermodynamically equivalent. This means that, despite operating in different ways, all three types of engines exhibit all of the same thermodynamic properties, including generating the same amounts of power and heat, and doing so at the same efficiency. This new "thermodynamical equivalence principle" is purely quantum, as it depends on quantum effects, and does not occur at the classical level.

The scientists also showed that, in this quantum regime where all engines are thermodynamically equivalent, it's possible to extract a quantum-thermodynamic signature that further confirms the presence of quantum effects. They did this by calculating an upper limit on the work output of a classical engine, so that any engine that surpasses this bound must be using a quantum effect namely, quantum coherence to generate the additional work. In this study, quantum coherence, which accounts for the wave-like properties of quantum particles, is shown to be critical for power generation at very fast engine cycles.

"To the best of my knowledge, this is the first time [that a difference between quantum and classical thermodynamics has been shown] in heat machines," Uzdin told Phys.org. "What has been surprising [in the past] is that the classical description has still held at the quantum level, as many authors have shown. The reasons are now understood, and in the face of this classicality, people have started to stray to other types of research, as it was believed that nothing quantum can pop up. Thus, it was very difficult to isolate a generic effect, not just a numerical simulation of a specific case, with a complementing theory that manages to avoid the classicality and demonstrate quantum effects in thermodynamic quantities, such as work and heat."

What is quantum in quantum thermodynamics

(Left) (a) In the quantum regime where the engine action is relatively small, all three engines generate the same amount of work after the completion of each cycle (the vertical lines indicate a complete cycle). (b) When the engine action is increased, the engines perform differently and the equivalence no longer holds. (Right) Quantum heat engines exhibit a quantum-thermodynamic signature, which occurs in the shaded region above the upper bounds on the power of two-stroke (dashed blue line) and four-stroke (dashed red line) engines. Credit: Uzdin, et al. Published by the American Physical Society under CC-BY-3.0

One important implication of the new results is that quantum effects may significantly increase the performance of engines at the quantum level. While the current work deals with single-particle engines, the researchers expect that quantum effects may also emerge in multi-particle engines, where quantum entanglement between particles may play a role similar to that of coherence.

Raam Uzdin, et al. "Equivalence of Quantum Heat Machines, and Quantum-Thermodynamic Signatures." Physical Review X. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevX.5.031044

Source: Phys

16 October 2015

Engineers create artificial skin that can send pressure sensation to brain cell

Human finger touches robotic finger. The transparent plastic and black device on the golden "fingertip" is the skin-like sensor developed by Stanford engineers. This sensor can detect pressure and transmit that touch sensation to a nerve cell. The goal is to create artificial skin, studded with many such miniaturized sensors, to give prosthetic appendages some of the sensory capabilities of human skin. Credit: Bao Lab

Stanford engineers have created a plastic "skin" that can detect how hard it is being pressed and generate an electric signal to deliver this sensory input directly to a living brain cell.

Zhenan Bao, a professor of chemical engineering at Stanford, has spent a decade trying to develop a material that mimics skin's ability to flex and heal, while also serving as the sensor net that sends touch, temperature and pain signals to the brain. Ultimately she wants to create a flexible electronic fabric embedded with sensors that could cover a prosthetic limb and replicate some of skin's sensory functions.

Bao's work, reported today in Science, takes another step toward her goal by replicating one aspect of touch, the sensory mechanism that enables us to distinguish the pressure difference between a limp handshake and a firm grip.

"This is the first time a flexible, skin-like material has been able to detect pressure and also transmit a signal to a component of the nervous system," said Bao, who led the 17-person research team responsible for the achievement.

Benjamin Tee, a recent doctoral graduate in electrical engineering; Alex Chortos, a doctoral candidate in materials science and engineering; and Andre Berndt, a postdoctoral scholar in bioengineering, were the lead authors on the Science paper.

Digitizing touch

The heart of the technique is a two-ply plastic construct: the top layer creates a sensing mechanism and the bottom layer acts as the circuit to transport electrical signals and translate them into biochemical stimuli compatible with nerve cells. The top layer in the new work featured a sensor that can detect pressure over the same range as human skin, from a light finger tap to a firm handshake.

Model robotic hand with artificial mechanoreceptors. Credit: Bao Research Group, Stanford University

Five years ago, Bao's team members first described how to use plastics and rubbers as pressure sensors by measuring the natural springiness of their molecular structures. They then increased this natural pressure sensitivity by indenting a waffle pattern into the thin plastic, which further compresses the plastic's molecular springs.

To exploit this pressure-sensing capability electronically, the team scattered billions of carbon nanotubes through the waffled plastic. Putting pressure on the plastic squeezes the nanotubes closer together and enables them to conduct electricity.

Laid atop a human palm is the plastic-and-black sensor developed by Stanford engineers. This sensor can detect pressure and transmit that touch sensation to nerve cells. Engineers plan to greatly miniaturize this sensor, and embed a network of such devices onto artificial skin-like coverings for prosthetic limbs, creating mechanical appendages with some of the sensory capabilities of human skin. Credit: Bao Lab

This allowed the plastic sensor to mimic human skin, which transmits pressure information as short pulses of electricity, similar to Morse code, to the brain. Increasing pressure on the waffled nanotubes squeezes them even closer together, allowing more electricity to flow through the sensor, and those varied impulses are sent as short pulses to the sensing mechanism. Remove pressure, and the flow of pulses relaxes, indicating light touch. Remove all pressure and the pulses cease entirely.

The team then hooked this pressure-sensing mechanism to the second ply of their artificial skin, a flexible electronic circuit that could carry pulses of electricity to nerve cells.

Importing the signal

Bao's team has been developing flexible electronics that can bend without breaking. For this project, team members worked with researchers from PARC, a Xerox company, which has a technology that uses an inkjet printer to deposit flexible circuits onto plastic. Covering a large surface is important to making artificial skin practical, and the PARC collaboration offered that prospect.

Finally the team had to prove that the electronic signal could be recognized by a biological neuron. It did this by adapting a technique developed by Karl Deisseroth, a fellow professor of bioengineering at Stanford who pioneered a field that combines genetics and optics, called optogenetics. Researchers bioengineer cells to make them sensitive to specific frequencies of light, then use light pulses to switch cells, or the processes being carried on inside them, on and off.

For this experiment the team members engineered a line of neurons to simulate a portion of the human nervous system. They translated the electronic pressure signals from the artificial skin into light pulses, which activated the neurons, proving that the artificial skin could generate a sensory output compatible with nerve cells.

Optogenetics was only used as an experimental proof of concept, Bao said, and other methods of stimulating nerves are likely to be used in real prosthetic devices. Bao's team has already worked with Bianxiao Cui, an associate professor of chemistry at Stanford, to show that direct stimulation of neurons with electrical pulses is possible.

Bao's team envisions developing different sensors to replicate, for instance, the ability to distinguish corduroy versus silk, or a cold glass of water from a hot cup of coffee. This will take time. There are six types of biological sensing mechanisms in the human hand, and the experiment described in Science reports success in just one of them.

But the current two-ply approach means the team can add sensations as it develops new mechanisms. And the inkjet printing fabrication process suggests how a network of sensors could be deposited over a flexible layer and folded over a prosthetic hand.

"We have a lot of work to take this from experimental to practical applications," Bao said. "But after spending many years in this work, I now see a clear path where we can take our artificial skin."

 "A skin-inspired organic digital mechanoreceptor," by B.C.K. Tee et al. www.sciencemag.org/lookup/doi/10.1126/science.aaa9306

Source: phys

15 October 2015

Honda designing new ASIMO-style robot for disaster response

Many of us have the unfounded notion that Japan is swarming with robots. Okay, well it might not be completely unfounded, but most of them aren’t designed to take the lead in an unpredictable disaster situation. For all its expertise with robotics, Japan was unable to deploy robots during the Fukushima meltdown that could have saved lives or even made it possible to stop the meltdown in the first place. Now, Honda is designing a new version of ASIMO that could be useful in a dangerous setting to keep humans out of harm’s way.

ASIMO is arguably the most advanced humanoid robot in the world, so why didn’t Honda put its multi-million dollar investment on the line during Fukushima? It’s not the cost, it’s that ASIMO would have been essentially useless. Despite being able to walk, carry objects, and even break into a short sprint, it’s not capable of navigating the chaotic environment of a damaged nuclear reactor. Just one bit of rubble in the way and suddenly your multi-million dollar robot has fallen over and broken after accomplishing nothing of value.

This obvious shortcoming has led Honda engineers to begin work on prototype disaster response robots. With all the work that has been done on ASIMO over the years, Honda already has a working robot that’s able to negotiate obstacles and climb ladders. The robot’s design is described in two papers that were presented to the International Conference on Intelligent Robots and Systems. One explains the way the robot can shift from bipedal to quadrupedal when necessary to squeeze under something, and the other covered the make use of ladders and narrow walkways.

The thing that has always made ASIMO impressive is that it walks like a human, which is exceedingly difficult for robots. So why go to all the trouble of making the still-unnamed disaster response robot humanoid in the first place? A wheeled or treaded robot might be more stable and faster, but the world (and especially industrial sites like Fukushima) are designed for humans. There are ladders, stairs, doors, and walkways that a rolling robot would be unable to use. A humanoid robot is vastly more useful. Above is what Honda is shooting for.

Honda hasn’t provided full details on how the disaster response robot works, but it appears to have a sensor cluster on the head and a large battery package on the back. The sensors make continuous real-time measurements of the robot’s position and velocity, allowing the software to compensate for any errors when walking or climbing. The same sensors help it move to quadruped mode without maintaining a static center of gravity. The transformation only takes about two seconds, thanks to a pair of flywheels in the torso.

There’s no target for when the disaster robot will be ready for prime time, but I imagine that’ll happen some time after they give it a name. “Experimental humanoid robot” doesn’t have the same ring as ASIMO.

Source: Extremetech

09 October 2015

Biofuels from coffee grounds could help power a City

Used coffee grounds are diverted from landfills and turned into biofuels by London company Bio-bean

That morning cup of joe ahead of your daily commute may end up providing more than just the refreshing boost needed to tackle the day ahead. London-based company, Bio-bean, hopes to turn left-over coffee grounds into biodiesel for vehicles and biomass pellets to heat buildings.

While using recycled coffee grounds to power a car is nothing new, the difference with Bio-bean is its grand ambitions to massively scale up a system of recycling, processing and fueling for a large city, in this case London. Basically, it wants the city’s coffee dispensaries to contribute their leftovers, and then to process the grounds into pellets which can be used to heat homes. And because coffee waste is around 20 percent oil, it can also be processed into ethanol or biodiesel and used in cars and buses capable of burning the fuel.

The company collects coffee waste from industrial coffee factories, coffee shops, offices and transport hubs, including London’s seven largest rail stations. And while their current take amounts to just several hundred tons each week, they plan to scale up to 50,000 tons in 2016, about a quarter of London’s annual coffee waste. Coffee shops and other producers give their grounds to Bio-bean for free, which saves them from otherwise hefty landfill fees.

Coffee pellets are said to produce 150 percent more energy than wood pellets

The coffee remains are dried at Bio-bean's 20,000 square foot (1,860 sq m) facility, then the oil is separated through the biochemical process of hexane extraction. The remaining fiber, some 80 percent, is pressed into pellets which can be burned in boilers for heat, which are said to produce 150 percent more energy than wood pellets, due to a higher calorie content. The solvent used in the extraction process is 99.9 percent recyclable.

Coffee waste as a biofuel feed stock has several advantages. It doesn’t compete with food crops in the same way as first-generation biofuels made from corn or palm oil. And unlike cooking oil, which can also be used to power vehicles, coffee grounds don’t require an expensive filtering process. It’s also in constant and readily available supply, as long as cities throughout the modern world maintain their caffeine habits.

The inspiration for Bio-bean came from founder Arthur Kay, who was tasked in his university architecture program with devising a sustainable closed-loop waste-to-energy system to power buildings. And like any successful startup looking to scale up, Bio-bean has been able to gain top end support, including from Virgin's Richard Branson and London mayor Boris Johnson.

"Bio-bean saves money for customers and creates environmental advantages compared to other forms of waste disposal," says Daniel Crockett, head of communications at the company. "The local government and business community have been extremely supportive in the early stages of our growth."

The goal is to make enough pellets to heat upward of 15,000 homes. The fuel would eventually be used to help power the city’s transport system, which currently makes use of buses that run on biodiesel.

Source: Bio-bean, gizmag

Microfluidic cooling yields huge performance benefits in FPGA processors

FPGAs Microfluidic cooling

As microprocessors have grown in size and complexity, it’s become increasingly difficult to increase performance without skyrocketing power consumption and heat. Intel’s CPU clock speeds have remained mostly flat for years, while AMD’s FX-9590 and its R9 Nano GPU both illustrate dramatic power consumption differences as clock speeds change. One of the principle barriers to increasing CPU clocks is that it’s extremely difficult to move heat out of the chip. New research into microfluidic cooling could help solve this problem, at least in some cases.

Microfluidic cooling has existed for years; we covered IBM’s Aquasar cooling system back in 2012, which uses microfluidic channels tiny microchannels etched into a metal block to cool the SuperMUC supercomputer. Now, a new research paper on the topic has described a method of cooling modern FPGAs by etching cooling channels directly into the silicon itself. Previous systems, like Aquasar, still relied on a metal transfer plate between the coolant flow and the CPU itself.

Here’s why that’s so significant. Modern microprocessors generate tremendous amounts of heat, but they don’t generate it evenly across the entire die. If you’re performing floating-point calculations using AVX2, it’ll be the FPU that heats up. If you’re performing integer calculations, or thrashing the cache subsystems, it generates more heat in the ALUs and L2/L3 caches, respectively. This creates localized hot spots on the die, and CPUs aren’t very good at spreading that heat out across the entire surface area of the chip. This is why Intel specifies lower turbo clocks if you’re performing AVX2-heavy calculations.
FPGAs by etching cooling channels

By etching channels directly on top of a 28nm Altera FPGA, the research team was able to bring cooling much closer to the CPU cores and eliminate the intervening gap that makes water-cooling less effective then it would otherwise be. According to the Georgia Institute of Technology, the research team focused on 28nm Altera FPGAs. After removing their existing heatsink and thermal paste, the group etched 100 micron silicon cylinders into the die, creating cooling passages. The entire system was then sealed using silicon and connected to water tubes.

“We believe we have eliminated one of the major barriers to building high-performance systems that are more compact and energy efficient,” said Muhannad Bakir, an associate professor and ON Semiconductor Junior Professor in the Georgia Tech School of Electrical and Computer Engineering. “We have eliminated the heat sink atop the silicon die by moving liquid cooling just a few hundred microns away from the transistors. We believe that reliably integrating microfluidic cooling directly on the silicon will be a disruptive technology for a new generation of electronics.”
Could such a system work for PCs?

The team claims that using these microfluidic channels with water at 20C cut the on-die temperature of their FPGA to just 24C, compared with 60C for an air-cooled design. That’s a significant achievement, particularly given the flow rate (147 milliliters per minute). Clearly this approach can yield huge dividends but whether or not it could ever scale to consumer hardware is a very different question.

As the feature image shows, the connect points for the hardware look decidedly fragile and easily dislodged or broken. The amount of effort required to etch a design like this into an Intel or AMD CPU would be non-trivial, and the companies would have to completely change their approach to CPU heat shields and cooling technology. Still, technologies like this could find application in HPC clusters or any market where computing power is at an absolute premium. Removing that much additional heat from a CPU die would allow for substantially higher clocks, even with modern power consumption scaling.

Source: extremetech

25 September 2015

BlackBerry Priv is the company’s first Android smartphone, CEO John Chen confirms

BlackBerry Venice

BlackBerry Venice, the Android-based slider smartphone has been subjected to plenty of leaks. Right from photos to hands-on videos, we’ve seen them all. Now, CEO John Chen has confirmed that BlackBerry is indeed planning on launching the smartphone and it will be called ‘BlackBerry Priv’.

Announced along with company’s financial results for the second quarter, the handset is expected to become available sometime, later this year.

“Today, I am confirming our plans to launch Priv, an Android device named after BlackBerry’s heritage and core mission of protecting our customers’ privacy. Priv combines the best of BlackBerry security and productivity with the expansive mobile application ecosystem available on the Android platform, Chen said.

He further added that Priv could be one of the many handsets that would provide BlackBerry with “modest sequential revenue growth,” in the coming quarters of the financial year. While Priv is a flagship slider smartphone, the company isn’t abandoning its BlackBerry 10 OS. It will be updated to version 10.3.3 around March, next year.

From what we saw in the hands-on video, the BlackBerry Priv runs on stock Android Lollipop with some handy features in tow.

It is expected to flaunt a 5.4-inch QHD display, and will be powered by a Snapdragon 808 hexa-core SoC paired with 3GB of RAM. The smartphone is also expected to sport an 18-megapixel rear camera with dual LED flash and a 5-megapixel front facing selfie unit.

As mentioned above, the smartphone also features a sliding QWERTY keypad. Just like the BlackBerry Passport, the QWERTY keyboard on the Venice also supports capacitive touch to scroll through the page. This feature can come handy while surfing the web.

Source: Blackberry, bgr
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