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Remembering Who We Truly Are in the Face of the Digital Revolution

By Jeremy Nadler | New Dawn

In the Western wisdom tradition, there is a recurrent theme of humanity’s self-forgetfulness. We find it, for example, in Plato, in the Corpus Hermeticum, in Boethius’s The Consolation of Philosophy, and in Gnostic texts such as the Hymn of the Pearl. This self-forgetfulness is a forgetting of our spiritual origins, and of the fact that human nature has a transcendent source. The person we ordinarily identify with is not the totality of who we are. This totality includes a spiritual kernel of which we are for the most part unconscious, and yet is nevertheless the foundation of our being, and our relationship to it is the secret of true happiness.

The wisdom traditions of both West and East have perennially sought to inculcate awareness of this spiritual kernel, in order to counteract the tendency of humans of all cultural epochs to forget and to neglect our spiritual origins. But where we today differ from cultures of the past is that not only do we suffer from the forgetfulness that is part of the human condition, but we also pay scant attention to the wisdom traditions that seek to rouse us to remembrance.

Instead, the whole thrust of contemporary culture is towards distraction, fragmentation, and dispersion of consciousness. The Digital Revolution has carried this tendency to an extreme, so much so that if we had deliberately set out to design technologies to induce the distractedness and self-forgetfulness that traditional spirituality has always endeavored to save us from, then we could hardly have done better. This in turn has led to many of us fail to notice just how corrosive these developments can be to the essential human task of remembering the totality of who we are.

But as well as inducing distractedness and self-forgetfulness, our technologies are the vehicles of something else, potentially far more detrimental to our wellbeing.

The Inhuman

Towards the end of his life, the post-modernist thinker Jean-François Lyotard formulated a question that haunts the times we live in. It lurks beneath the surface of our consciousness, for most of us unarticulated and for that reason all the more menacing. Lyotard had the sensitivity to understand its profound importance, and hence the need to raise it to conscious awareness.

The question that he formulated is this: What if what is “proper” to humankind were to be inhabited by the inhuman?

By the ‘inhuman’ we should understand that which is essentially hostile to the human. Lyotard distinguished two kinds of ‘inhuman’ – one is the inhumanity of our social, political, and economic systems. The other is the ‘infinitely secret’ inhumanity that invades the soul and holds it hostage. It is this latter kind of inhumanity that is the more insidious of the two, and it is this that, as our relationship with our digital devices becomes ever more intimate, poses the greatest danger to us. For the inhuman is carried towards us by our technologies.

While we can stand back from and critique the inhumanity of the social, political, and economic systems in which we live, our personal susceptibility to the ingress of the inhuman puts us in far greater jeopardy. This susceptibility has been exploited by the direction that our digital technologies have taken, which has been unwaveringly towards accommodating themselves within the sphere of the human. As they have evolved, they have adapted themselves to the human body as well as to the human soul, becoming physically smaller and lighter and at the same time more powerful and capable.

The first computers were so large we had to stand in front of them or walk around them in order to operate them. With the invention of desktop computers, it became possible to sit in front of them and engage with them, as it were, face to face. Then it became possible to put computers in our pocket, and now it is possible, with smartwatches and smartglasses, to wear them. At each stage, the interface between them and us has become more ‘human friendly’, while at the same time humans have inwardly adjusted to relate to them on a day-to-day, hour-by-hour, and even minute-by-minute basis.

While the computer has been molding itself to the contours of the human body and soul, the inner life of human beings has slowly but surely been molded towards a greater degree of computer compatibility – affecting our language, our thought processes, and our daily habits. In this evolving symbiosis, in which we have become ever more intertwined with the computer, we have also become more dependent on it. Biological integration is not far away. It is the logical next step.

It is of utmost importance, therefore, that we open our eyes to the fact that even though human beings are the inventors, manufacturers and eager consumers of digital technologies, the driving force behind the Digital Revolution is not simply human: the ‘inhuman’ is also seeking to be realized within the human.

How are we to characterize this specter of the inhuman? Human beings have always had the tendency to fall away from their essential nature. For pre-industrial humanity, the danger was conceived in terms of our descending to the animal or bestial level, captives of our untransformed instinctual drives and passions. That, we could say, is to fall beneath the human level: to fall into the sub-human. In our industrial and post-industrial age, the primary danger to our humanity lies less in succumbing to instincts and passions than in succumbing to the cold inhumanity of the machine and the unfeeling, compassionless algorithm. That is to fall into the inhuman.

Both tendencies live within us, and both works to undermine the possibility of realizing our true human potential, but today it is the peril of the inhuman that we must especially guard against. Its aim is to totally supplant the human, and it will surely succeed, should we fail to ground ourselves in the authentically human. We must wake up to the prospect of the colonization of the human by the inhuman and, in full awareness of the gravity of the threat posed by the inhuman, consciously take on the challenge of living humanly.

To Live Humanly

What does it mean to live humanly? If the totality of who we are includes a spiritual kernel of which we are for the most part unconscious, then it follows that to live humanly must be to live in greater consciousness of it. It is incumbent on us to strengthen our sense that this spiritual kernel is our deepest and truest self, and therefore the part of us with which we should seek to identify. This requires that we engage in the arduous work of inner transformation, so that those desires, inclinations, and deep-seated habits of thought, which draw us away from that essential remembrance, are slowly changed, and become inwardly aligned with what the wisdom traditions tell us is the true center of our being.

This moral effort of turning towards, and rooting ourselves in, the spiritual kernel of who we are also involving a shift in the quality of our thinking. This shift is from reliance on result-oriented, discursive thinking that runs along from one thought to another, towards giving more value to the stillness and open receptivity of the act of contemplation. Boethius gives the beautiful image of the seekers of truth having to bend their wandering consciousness into a circle and teach their souls ‘to lodge in the treasure house’ at its center. For there they will find a light, stronger even than the light of the sun, which will illumine their minds from within.

This ‘contemplative turn’ has always been regarded as the foundation of the spiritual life, but it is of especial relevance to us today. Our technologies are based on the automation of logical analysis, calculation and problem solving, and are fundamentally discursive and result-oriented: they are hyperactive and aim always to output results. By contrast, the act of contemplation brings the mind to a standstill: it is not result-oriented, it cannot be automated, and it can only be engaged for its own sake. It enables us to gain insights into the deeper meaning of things, about which machine thinking knows nothing. These insights can well up from the imaginal world as powerful archetypal images, for contemplative thinking borders on imaginative vision. Equally, they can take the form of ideas or intuitions that, like rays of light, illumine a question or life situation from a more comprehensive standpoint.

Contemplation is often described as involving the opening of an inner eye of the soul. It is referred to as ‘the mind’s eye’ or ‘the eye of the heart’, and through it, we become aware of what is invisible to the physical eye. This more interior source of knowledge, which is unconditioned by habits of thought and opinion, could also be described as entailing an opening of the ‘inner ear’ of the soul to the voice of conscience. It can guide us towards a sense of moral certainty about what it is we should or should not do, and to the ideals that can inspire our actions.

Aristotle maintained that an action is only fully our own when we have ‘carried back the origin of the action’ to this contemplative part of ourselves, referred to as the nous, or ‘the center of spiritual intelligence’ within a person. Once it has been carried back to this source, then the action is entirely free because it has been chosen from the center, rather than from the periphery, of ourselves.

In the Western wisdom tradition, the defining characteristic of any action that is truly human is that it is free, precisely because it stems from this originating source. In AristotleThomas Aquinas, and Rudolf Steiner, we find this vital tenet reiterated: that we cannot adequately conceive of what it means to live humanly if we exclude freedom. Freedom belongs to the essence of human nature. That is not to say we necessarily live from the essence of ourselves every moment of the day. Far from it! But the trouble is that our digital technologies, because of their tendency to scatter the soul, don’t help us to do this. Rather they introduce a dark undertow with which we must constantly contend if we are to carry back the origin of our actions to the center of ourselves.

This movement back to the center is the premise of true freedom. It is not given to us on a plate: it has to be won. To become free, we must engage in the work of inner transformation previously referred to, which involves permeating the everyday self and its fantasies, obsessions, and desires with the clearly conceived aims that spring from the inmost source of who we are. In Christian mysticism, this inner work is called theosis, or ‘making divine’. Another word used to describe it was coined by the Italian poet Dante, who called this inner work ‘to transhumanise’ (trasumanare). The verb ‘to transhumanise’ well expresses the fact that our core human striving must be to overcome ourselves so that we go beyond the ‘merely human’ life lived at the periphery of who we are. It is a sign of our times that today ‘Transhumanism’ is a materialistic ideology that seeks to technologically ‘enhance’ the human being. Contemporary Transhumanists fail to grasp that to go beyond the merely human can only be achieved by grounding ourselves in the transcendent, and this requires dedicated soul-work, sustained by the spiritual discipline of coming back to the still point at the center of the circle.

As one of the most influential ideologies steering the Digital Revolution, the contemporary Transhumanist movement shows us the price that the Digital Revolution threatens to exact from us. The price is that we lose our ability to know the meaning and purpose of the spiritual life, we lose even our ability to understand the language that the wisdom traditions use. And ultimately we lose our humanity as overcome by the collective amnesia regarding what it means to realize our deeper human potential, we succumb to the inhuman.

The Interiority of Nature

From nature, too, a price is exacted by the Digital Revolution, which has swamped the natural environment with a complex mix of artificially generated electromagnetic fields. As a result, not just human beings but all living organisms are exposed to levels of electromagnetic radiation far in excess of natural background levels. It would be unwise to assume that this does not have any adverse effect on the wellbeing of living organisms and the ecosystems to which they belong. A growing number of studies show that many organisms are highly sensitive to electromagnetic fields and that increasing their exposure to them can indeed have demonstrable negative effects. It seems appropriate, at the very least, to extend the remit of the question originally posed by Lyotard to nature and ask:

“What if what is ‘proper’ to nature were to be inhabited by that which is hostile to nature? What if the living world were to be infiltrated by a force inimical to life?”

The rollout of 5G is premised on a further significant increase in the overall amount of radiofrequency radiation to which the planet will be subjected. 5G will help to establish a global ‘electronic ecosystem’ that, in addition to servicing the technological desires and aspirations of city-dwellers living in their ‘smart homes, will also enable greater monitoring and control of natural ecosystems and living creatures. It involves the insertion of the electronic ecosystem into these natural ecosystems, in order to create a ‘smart planet’.

The Western wisdom tradition has long acknowledged two aspects of nature: visible and invisible, or manifest and unmanifest. The physical forms that we perceive in the world around us arise from non-perceptible creative and formative forces, which must be taken into account if we are to grasp things in their wholeness. It is these forces that carry the energies of life, just as surely as electromagnetic radiation opposes them. One of the challenges we face today is to overcome our collective desensitization to these subtle life forces.

One step towards doing so is to free ourselves from the dominant utilitarian stance towards nature, which prioritizes data-collection and analysis and ever seeks practical results but is closed to nature’s interiority just as it is closed to the interior of our soul-life. A different kind of consciousness is needed – more receptive, open, and empathetic. Regarding this different kind of consciousness, Goethe advised:

Our full attention must be focused on the task of listening to nature, to overhear the secret of her process.

All of creation speaks of a transcendent spiritual intelligence at its source, if only we are able to hear it. The mystical path to union with God has long been understood to lead from the loving contemplation of creatures to the contemplation of this greater spiritual intelligence from which they issue, and on which they, like we, ultimately depend. For human beings to forget or neglect this relationship of nature to the divine is as serious a failure as it is for us to forget our relationship to the spiritual intelligence that dwells within us. To put it in Christian terms, the same Cosmic Logos lives at the very heart of both nature and the human soul.

Contemporary conditions make it very difficult for such perspectives to be taken with the seriousness they deserve. The incursion of the inhuman has allowed the utilitarian mind to break free of the moral and spiritual constraints that once kept it in bounds. But with the burgeoning electronics industry and the drive to forge a ‘smart planet’, a force hostile to nature insinuates itself into nature’s heart. These developments make nature vulnerable to increasing technologisation, one example of which is the fabrication of completely new synthetic organisms using computer programs. Another example is the design of remotely controlled robot bees to replace the dwindling number of living bees. Such interventions are only the beginning of a vastly ambitious project to redesign the world to satisfy the requirements of a ruthlessly technological consciousness that has lost all connection with its spiritual roots. This consciousness has no sense of the sacredness of life, nor of the spiritual responsibilities of human beings towards nature.

Foremost amongst these responsibilities is the obligation to know things in the truth of their being. Of all creatures on Earth, it is human beings alone who have the possibility of selflessly entering into the inner nature of another creature, without seeking to use or exploit it for our own ends. We alone can place ourselves imaginatively and empathetically into the being of another and, through opening the inner eye of the mind, or heart, we have the possibility of beholding the other in their truth. If we can regularly practice this, then we can help to build up a ‘spiritual ecosystem’ that can counterbalance the deathly ‘electronic ecosystem’ currently being established, for our mode of knowing can contribute something positive and life-affirming to the world. It can be a deed of illumination, which gives to nature the gift of our conscious recognition of its sacred ground.

Human beings and nature belong together. The struggle for a human future is at the same time a struggle for nature’s future. Just as we depend on nature for our survival, so too does nature depend on the quality of our knowing and relating, through which we may bring spiritual light to the world.

About the Author

Jeremy Naydler is the author of two articles on related subject matter that were recently published in New Dawn: ‘Machine Intelligence & Human Intelligence: What is the Difference?’ (New Dawn 170) & ‘5G: The Final Assault’ (New Dawn 173).

The above is slightly abridged and reprinted with permission of the publisher from the Introduction of Jeremy Naydler’s book Struggle for a Human Future: 5G, Augmented Reality and the Internet of Things (Temple Lodge Publishing, 2020). Available from all good bookstores and in Australia from www.rudolfsteinerbookcentre.com.au.

This article was published in New Dawn Special Issue Vol 14 No 4.



Fuel For the Future: Chemist Develops Ammonia Fuel Cells that “Bottle” Sunshine and Wind

Ammonia may become the foundation of the future of sustainable energy. But until recently, the production of ammonia has been extremely energy-intensive. At the core of each ammonia, the factory is steel reactors that still use a century-old recipe for making ammonia: the Haber-Bosch process.

The recipe entails generating up to 250 atmospheres of pressure to split the chemical bond that holds together the molecules of nitrogen and then combining the atoms with hydrogen to make ammonia.

In 2018, Douglas MacFarlane, a professor of chemistry at Monash University in Australia, developed fuel cells that can transform renewable electricity into ammonia. Fuel cells normally use the energy stored in chemical bonds to make electricity. MacFarlane’s fuel cells operate in reverse, making carbon-free fuel from electricity.

“This is breathing nitrogen in and breathing ammonia out,” said MacFarlane, showing his fuel cell. It is almost the size of a hockey puck and clad in stainless steel. Two plastic tubes on the cell’s backside feed it nitrogen gas and water. It has a power cord for electricity and a third tube on the front that silently exhales ammonia.

Tapping into the potential of ammonia as a carbon-free fuel

Ammonia is a colorless, pungent, and irritating gas. The human body produces ammonia, which is essential for creating proteins and other complex molecules. In nature, soil also produces ammonia through bacterial processes. The decomposition of organic matter like plants and animals also produces ammonia.

Most of the ammonia produced worldwide is used as fertilizer. Plants need nitrogen to grow and bear fruit and ammonia delivers that nitrogen in a more biologically available form.

Companies around the world produce $60 billion worth of ammonia annually, primarily as fertilizer. However, the current method used to produce ammonia, the Haber-Bosch process, has changed very little since its development in the early 1900s. It consumes vast amounts of fossil fuels and causes air pollution.

MacFarlane’s reverse fuel cells might allow ammonia manufacturers to do away with this energy-intensive and environmentally damaging technique altogether and produce ammonia more efficiently in the process.

But MacFarlane’s fuel cells may do more than just help farmers grow food. By converting renewable electricity from the sun and wind into an energy-rich gas that can be easily cooled and squeezed into liquid fuel, the cells effectively “bottle” sunshine and wind, turning them into commodities that can be shipped worldwide.

The bottled carbon-free fuel can then be converted back into electricity or hydrogen gas to power cars. And the best part about the fuel is that it is environmentally friendly. “Liquid ammonia is liquid energy,” said MacFarlane. “It’s the sustainable technology we need.”

Research also indicates that the energy density by volume of ammonia is nearly double that of liquid hydrogen, its primary competitor as a green alternative fuel. Ammonia is also much easier to ship and distribute. “You can store it, ship it, burn it and convert it back into hydrogen and nitrogen,” said Tim Hughes, an energy storage researcher at Siemen, a manufacturing company based in England. “In many ways, it’s ideal.”

Given the potential of ammonia as a clean, sustainable, and carbon-free fuel, experts are now working toward a vision of an “ammonia economy.” And Australia is positioning itself at the helm of those efforts.

For starters, the ancient, arid landscapes of Australia are fertile ground for new growth. Additionally, Australia receives more sunlight per square meter than just about any other country. Its south and west coasts are also buffeted by powerful winds. Overall, the country boasts a renewable energy potential of 25,000 gigawatts.

And if scientists harness this renewable bounty, ammonia could become the most dominant form of renewable and transportable energy in the future.

Go to Power.news to learn more about how scientists are using ammonia to create fuel.

Sources include:

ScienceMag.org

Lens.Monash.edu

By Divina Ramirez | Science.News




Portal to the New Earth! ~ With Harlan Emil & Xi Earthstar | Interviewed by Laura Eisenhower

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU4qNxipZjY

Source: Laura Eisenhower

Watch this inspirational video with visionaries Harlan Emil & Xi Earthstar whose mission is to create a higher-dimensional, new earth reality. – interviewed by Laura Eisenhower. Be sure to watch until the end to experience Xi’s angelic voice.

Harlan Emil received a BFA in environmental design from Parsons School of Design after studying physics at Emory University and electrical engineering at Georgia Tech and University of Miami. He has combined these interests into a lifelong art and design profession that has been exhibited internationally. Harlan Emil worked for the design firm SITE Projects of New York before launching his independent career in 1987. He has been attending the Burning Man festival in Nevada since 1999, creating large-scale Portal sculptures, both on his own and in collaboration with other artists since 2004. He is currently focused on developing ecologically sustainable human habitations. https://portaltothenewearth.com/

Xi EarthStar is the Andromedan Visionary of the EarthStar Sanctuary. Xi is an angelic geneticist upstairs, for these skills and knowledge she was called forth to support the Starseed Mission, weaving divine strands of DNA for the wanderers to arrive on Earth with. Xi’s work now is in Landing the Galactic Administration presence On Earth, through sound, community, galactic wisdom, and architecture! https://www.earthstar.tk www.youtube.com/earthstarhealer

Laura Eisenhower is a Global Alchemist, Researcher and Medical and Intuitive Astrologist.. She is an internationally acclaimed speaker who has presented her work world wide. Laura is the great-granddaughter of President Dwight David Eisenhower and she reveals Exopolitical information about his administration, that has been largely held in secrecy. She is considered by many to be one of North Americas leading researchers on: Health, Exopolitics, Alchemy, Metaphysics, and Galactic History. Laura works to free us from the 3-D holographic time-loop, False Archonic systems and Military Industrial Complex and exposes hidden agendas so we can take our power back. Feeling a calling regarding her mission since she was a child, she has gained incredible insight through her wilderness adventures, psychic development and has been connecting major dots about how to guide us into higher Earth energies. She has a deep understanding of Gaia-Sophia and our Divine Blueprint and how they connect to the Venus transits, Earth grids, Global Alchemy, DNA & ET races. Her passion is to inspire unity consciousness and bring us back to the Zero point/Unified field, the totality of our divine powers.




Musk Unveils Creepy Futuristic Dashboard That Shows What Neural Network Inside Tesla Self-Driving Car Sees

Tesla motors self-driving cars
Photo by Roberto Nickson from Pexels

By Jake Anderson |  The Mind Unleashed 

Elon Musk, easily one of the most audacious business entrepreneurs and tech mavens in modern times, has promised self-driving, autonomous cars for years now. Earlier this year he even went so far as to predict the commercial release of a beta fleet of autonomous vehicles by the end of 2020.

It turns out that prediction may have had a substantial foundation behind it because last week Musk stunned Tesla enthusiasts with a demo of the company’s forthcoming “Full Self-Driving” (FSD) beta. The presentation confirmed a major upgrade to Tesla’s self-driving suite and shocked viewers with a video demo of the beta car’s futuristic dashboard in action.

The test demo featured a specially selected trained driver but the most jaw-dropping aspect undoubtedly involves the dashboard that represents what the car’s neural network is “seeing” as it drives. Multiple glowing modules and real-time data monitors depict a full spectrum of the road ahead, highlighting pedestrian movements, parked cars, and unmarked lane dividers.

Musk himself calls the upgrade a “quantum leap” in the autonomous vehicles race and his Tesla ‘bros’ seem to be just as sold.

One driver featured in the video commented on the car’s first turn, “It paused to look, dude!”

Later in the demo, that driver expanded on the almost creepy, human-like impulses demonstrated by the vehicle: “I almost felt like I was still driving, because I still looked [before making a turn], and the car felt like it was looking, so that was amazing and truly mind-blowing how it was working.”

The neural net used in the new software allows drivers to engage the Autopilot advanced driver-assist mode on local and non-highway streets. The company released terse warnings about the use of the beta car, saying that it still requires constant human oversight because “it may do the wrong thing at the worse time.”

Experts note the risk of a haphazard release, which could result in drivers performing experimental stunts for YouTube videos. In this vein, The Verge described the whole spectacle with succinct criticism:

“Frankly, this looks terrifying — not because it seems erratic or malfunctioning, but because of the way it will inevitably be misused.”

Ed Niedermeyer, communications director for Partners for Automated Vehicle Education, issued the following statement:

“Public road testing is a serious responsibility and using untrained consumers to validate beta-level software on public roads is dangerous and inconsistent with existing guidance and industry norms. Moreover, it is extremely important to clarify the line between driver assistance and autonomy. Systems requiring human driver oversight are not self-driving and should not be called self-driving.”

In its publicly released warning, Tesla acknowledges these risks and the probability that dangerous rule-breaking and stunts are inevitable. There have already been fatal crashes involving autonomous vehicles and there will likely be more. As a result, the company says the Autopilot feature should only be engaged by attentive drivers who have both hands on the wheel.

Despite these dangers, Musk continues to aim for a 2020 wide release.

“Full Self-Driving is in early limited access Beta and must be used with additional caution,” the company writes“It may do the wrong thing at the worst time, so you must always keep your hands on the wheel and pay extra attention to the road. Do not become complacent.

Although many critics are expressing an abundance of caution with regard to Tesla’s beta rollout, it is widely believed by automotive and industry experts that autonomous vehicles will one day dramatically improve traffic, reduce car accident injuries, and could save millions of lives. The industrial automation and robot revolution will also shake up the job market and society as a whole.

So, what’s the verdict from The Mind Unleashed readers? Will you buy a self-driving beta car in the first year of its release or will you wait to see the fatality statistics?

 




Scientist Create Paint So Ultra-White and Reflective It Can Cool Entire Buildings Down

ultra-white paint
New ultra-white paint is able to cool surfaces and reduce heat | Image by KaboomPics from Pixabay

By Justin Maclachlan | The Mind Unleashed

Scientists have invented a new ultra-white paint that is said to be able to reflect 95.5 percent of the sunlight that reaches its surface. This unimaginable characteristic allows an object coated in this paint, like a building, to cool underneath the temperatures of its surroundings even under intense sunlight. An unbelievable scientific achievement that could go towards combating environmental changes.

The scientific research discovered by a team at Purdue University was published in the Cell Reports Physical Science journal. The team of scientists experimented with the paint over the course of two days. They found that when the Sun was at its highest point in the sky, the surface covered in the new paint was at least 1.7°C (3.06°F) below that of objects surrounding it. They also noted that at night it remained 10°C (18°F) below the temperatures.

“It is a persistent task to develop a below-ambient radiative cooling solution that offers a convenient single-layer particle-matrix paint form and high reliability,” senior author Professor Xiulin Ruan, from Purdue University, said in a statement“This is critical to the wide application of radiative cooling and to alleviate the global warming effect.”

The ability to cool down objects and buildings is definitely exciting and advantageous to combat the ongoing effects of global warming. It’s worth noting that this wouldn’t only affect a building’s outside. A building covered in this paint would also alter the temperature indoors, reducing the amount of air conditioning needed, which would lead to cheaper bills.

This is positive not just for residential and commercial buildings to keep their temperatures colder but it could help warehouses where perishable products are kept and conserve their goods as well.

The paint is made out of acrylic with a calcium carbonate component. While it lacks a metallic component which allows the paint to also be used on telecommunication devices that are kept outdoors, which would help to keep the equipment cool without interfering with any signals.

“Our paint is compatible with the manufacturing process of commercial paint, and the cost may be comparable or even lower,” said Ruan. “The key is to ensure the reliability of the paint so that it is viable in long-term outdoor applications.”

The work was supported by the Cooling Technologies Research Center at Purdue University and the Air Force Office of Scientific Research through the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program.




New Virtual Reality Software Allows Scientists to ‘Walk’ Inside Cells

By University of Cambridge | Science Daily

Virtual reality software which allows researchers to ‘walk’ inside and analyze individual cells could be used to understand fundamental problems in biology and develop new treatments for disease.

The software, called vLUME, was created by scientists at the University of Cambridge and 3D image analysis software company Lume VR Ltd. It allows super-resolution microscopy data to be visualized and analyzed in virtual reality and can be used to study everything from individual proteins to entire cells. Details are published in the journal Nature Methods.

Super-resolution microscopy, which was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 2014, makes it possible to obtain images at the nanoscale by using clever tricks of physics to get around the limits imposed by light diffraction. This has allowed researchers to observe molecular processes as they happen. However, a problem has been the lack of ways to visualize and analyze this data in three dimensions.

“Biology occurs in 3D, but up until now it has been difficult to interact with the data on a 2D computer screen in an intuitive and immersive way,” said Dr. Steven F. Lee from Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry, who led the research. “It wasn’t until we started seeing our data in virtual reality that everything clicked into place.”

The vLUME project started when Lee and his group met with the Lume VR founders at a public engagement event at the Science Museum in London. While Lee’s group had expertise in super-resolution microscopy, the team from Lume specialized in spatial computing and data analysis, and together they were able to develop vLUME into a powerful new tool for exploring complex datasets in virtual reality.

“vLUME is revolutionary imaging software that brings humans into the nanoscale,” said Alexandre Kitching, CEO of Lume. “It allows scientists to visualize, question, and interact with 3D biological data, in real-time all within a virtual reality environment, to find answers to biological questions faster. It’s a new tool for new discoveries.”

Viewing data in this way can stimulate new initiatives and ideas. For example, Anoushka Handa — a Ph.D. student from Lee’s group — used the software to image an immune cell taken from her own blood and then stood inside her own cell in virtual reality. “It’s incredible — it gives you an entirely different perspective on your work,” she said.

The software allows multiple datasets with millions of data points to be loaded in and finds patterns in the complex data using in-built clustering algorithms. These findings can then be shared with collaborators worldwide using the image and video features in the software.

“Data generated from super-resolution microscopy is extremely complex,” said Kitching. “For scientists, running analysis of this data can be very time-consuming. With vLUME, we have managed to vastly reduce that wait time allowing for more rapid testing and analysis.”

The team is mostly using vLUME with biological datasets, such as neurons, immune cells, or cancer cells. For example, Lee’s group has been studying how antigen cells trigger an immune response in the body. “Through segmenting and viewing the data in vLUME, we’ve quickly been able to rule out certain hypotheses and propose new ones,” said Lee. This software allows researchers to explore, analyze, segment, and share their data in new ways. All you need is a VR headset.”

Journal Reference:

  1. Alexander Spark, Alexandre Kitching, Daniel Esteban-Ferrer, Anoushka Handa, Alexander R. Carr, Lisa-Maria Needham, Aleks Ponjavic, Ana Mafalda Santos, James Mccoll, Christophe Leterrier, Simon J. Davis, Ricardo Henriques & Steven F. Lee. vLUME: 3D virtual reality for single-molecule localization microscopy. Nature Methods, 2020 DOI: 10.1038/s41592-020-0962-1



The LAFD Has Hired The First Ever Firefighting Robot In The USA

LAFD-Robot-Firefighter
Image Credit: Screenshot LAFD 

By Mayukh Saha | Truth Theory

The Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD) has secured the assistance of a firefighting robot to quell fires in the city. LAFD is the first fire department to use Robotics Systems 3, with an armored yellow exterior and water canon, to march into fires where human firefighters cannot. 

LAFD Chief, Ralph Terrazas, stated that he could afford to lose one of these wondrous firefighting robots but not a firefighter. The RS3 is a suitable alternative to enter blazing buildings and ignition sites. They can pacify massive explosions without human casualties as acknowledged by L.A. City Councilwoman, Monica Rodriguez. 

 

RS3 IN ACTION

RS3, the firefighting robot,  proved to be a game-changer when firefighters were withdrawn from the building with a raging fire on Tuesday. The robot is a smart car-sized and can easily enter through double doors. With the plow front, it drove into the burning structure with ease and brought the situation under control. RS3 made it possible to quell such a destructive fire by spraying water from within. 

The firefighting robot acts as a human substitute and strides straight into the center of the fire site. Several high-definition and infrared video cameras act as the eyes and ears of the fire department and locate targets and source of the flames. 

It was a RoboCop moment when the RS3 stomped past the firefighters, into the ravenous fire. Experienced firefighters were hypnotized. 

This firefighting robot has a huge capacity of discharging 2,500 gallons of water or foam per minute. During a demonstration, Terrazas admiringly said that the force of the spray can blast off walls and roofs.  Water can be sprayed vertically from the cannon and function as a sprinkler system. Such multi-function systems can greatly improve the ways of tackling fires. 

It released thousands of gallons of water, during a demonstration and shoved a Chevy Celebrity like a USC lineman with the help of its plow. Though it is designed to function in urban areas, it can easily mount a 70-degree slope. 

A firefighter can remotely operate the RS3 firefighting robot or be tied to it. It can operate for 10 hours with the help of the heat-shielding equipment. It can haul up to 1,750 pounds on the 5,000-pound crane. 

FIREFIGHTING ROBOTS ACROSS THE GLOBE

The technology of the RS3 is also applied in Iraq, Afghanistan, and many other nations around the globe. Many oil companies have registered to acquire such fire extinguishing robots. 

Howe and Howe Technologies is the creator of the RS3 and the chassis, which is used to detonate improvised explosives devices. The chassis has already been tested and approved as a durable robot to disarm IEDs. 

Read:

The Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad also possesses a BatCat, a 39,000-pound remote control vehicle, with gigantic telescopic arms and looks like a forklift truck on steroids. 

The firefighting robot has been allocated to one of Los Angeles’ busiest part, Fire Station 3. It is a part of the Urban Search and Rescue team.  RS3 was acquired by non-profit fundraising that raised $272,000. With the help of the major donor, Elon Musk, the RS3 was added with a plow, bells, and whistles. Terrazas confirmed that RS3 can reach any part of L.A. in a short time and eagerly wait to see how it functions.

 




Engineer Creates Fully Functional ‘Star Wars’ Lightsaber That Cuts Through Steel

By | TheMindUnleashed.com 

An engineer and YouTuber based in Canada has created a fully functional – and likely very deadly – lightsaber, turning the concept introduced over four decades ago by the first Star Wars film into a reality.

While numerous Star Wars fanatics have tried their hand at creating an actual working version of the Jedi weapon, these “weapons” have largely been combinations of non-retractable metal tubing and light or glorified versions of the retractable plastic toy lightsabers.

However, for James Hobson – known to his YouTube fans as “The Hacksmith” – such prop-like devices ignore the essential nature of the lightsaber as a fixed-length laser that both glows and can melt through metal.

And because Hobson understands the basic principles of laser engineering, he was able to create his own version of the glowing blade wielded by the Jedi and described in the 1977 film as “An elegant weapon – for a more civilized age.”

In a new video for Hacksmith Industries’ “Make It Real” series, Hobson demonstrates how he managed to transform a concept previously depicted through Hollywood special effects and CGI into a working device.

The video, which dropped on Thursday, has since gone viral and racked up over 12 million views.

The replica lightsaber relies on a portable backpack connected to a hilt designed to appear similar to those in the films.

The hilt pumps out a constant stream of propane gas which, when mixed with oxygen, creates a beam-like blast of plasma flame that looks similar to the light from the sabers and burns at over 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit – meaning that it can make short work of thick pieces of metal and can even slice through steel.

Hobson also showed how a range of different salts can be placed into the plasma stream to alter the color of the beam. For example, boric acid can make the beaming green, while sodium chloride (table salt) can turn it yellow. Calcium chloride will produce an amber color, while strontium chloride will turn the beam red.

“Even with all of our new equipment and capabilities, we’re still bound by the laws of thermodynamics,” the Hacksmith explains in the video.

“Well, theories say that plasma is best held in a beam by a magnetic field, which, scientifically, checks out,” he continues. “The issue is producing a strong enough electromagnetic field to contain a blade, well the lightsaber would have to be quite literally built inside a box coated in electromagnets, which turns it into a kind of useless science project.”

The outcome of Hobson’s project is a retractable lightsaber replica that glows “so bright … this actually hurts to look at,” Hobson said.

If you can’t resist owning the epic armament of Jedi knights and Sith lords who engaged in bitter struggles “a long time ago in a galaxy far, far away,” the price tag also matches its intense heat: The laminar nozzle alone cost about $4,000.

“What we’ve made so far are some of the closest representations of lightsabers using real-life technologies,” Hobson said.

“They look like a lightsaber, they sound like a lightsaber, and at temperatures of over 3000F, they actually cut stuff like a lightsaber.”




Amazon’s Ring Developed A $250 Security Camera Drone To Fly Around Your House

By John Vibes | TheMindUnleashed.com

(TMU) – Ring, the controversial door camera and home security service developed by Amazon, has announced its most disturbing product yet, a security camera attached to a drone that will fly around the customer’s home, watching for potential intruders. The autonomous drone is called the Always Home Cam, and it is expected to cost about $249.99 when it goes on sale next year.

Jamie Siminoff, Ring’s founder and “chief inventor,” said that the company has spent the past two years developing the device and called it an “obvious product that is very hard to build.”

Although the device is autonomous, customers will be able to set pre-planned paths that the drone will follow. The drone also makes a noise when it is in flight, so its presence will be obvious to anyone in the room.

A statement from the company also said that obstacle avoidance technology is built into the drone’s operating system, so it will know to avoid people, pets, and other possessions. There will also be guards over the propellers to add additional protection in case the device does happen to collide with someone. The device will only be recording when it is active and flying, so it will likely be docked while customers are home, and the company promises that the device won’t be recording when it is docked.

“Always Home Cam only records when in flight; when it’s not in use it sits in a dock and the camera is physically blocked. And, it’s loud enough so you hear when it’s in motion,” a statement from the company said.

In a short video advertisement for the product, there was a caption that read “Functionality simulated for illustrative purposes only,” so many specifics of how the device will work are still unclear.

The product was revealed along with many other new devices at Amazon’s annual hardware event, which took place on Thursday, September 24th.

As The Mind Unleashed reported last year, Ring is planning to build a database of neighborhood watchlists using facial recognition technology.

Leaked documents revealed that the company is working with law enforcement on a system that will identify people who are considered “suspicious,” and let Ring owners know when these individuals are near their home, using the facial recognition software built into the security system’s cameras.

The software will also give the Ring owner the ability to notify police or call in suspicious activity on their own.

According to the documents, the watchlists would be connected to Ring’s Neighbors app, where owners of the system communicate with their neighbors about packages being stolen from doorsteps and other potential security breaches. While this may sound innocent—or even helpful—critics worry that this technology may empower the kind of neighborhood snitches that call the cops on anyone who they find “suspicious,” typically based on their own prejudices.

These features are not unprecedented for Ring or Amazon. Earlier this year, Motherboard reported that Ring was encouraging its users to snitch on their neighbors in exchange for discounts and free products.




The Real Star Trek Technology of Today… (from Science Fiction to Fact)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=guLrnP276ZM

By UAMN TV | Nexus Newsfeed

Many of us would have grown up watching science fiction TV shows like Star Trek, or even the Star Wars movies. Often dreaming about the incredible technology and what it would be like to live in a time of such creation. Well… look no further.. As we go about our daily lives, scientists from around the world are building, manufacturing and creating things that we would consider science fiction. The reality of Star Trek and Star Wars is now upon us as found in super technology.

Robert O’Leary, JD BARA, has had an abiding interest in alternative health products & modalities since the early 1970’s & he has seen how they have made people go from lacking health to vibrant health. He became an attorney, singer-songwriter, martial artist & father along the way and brings that experience to his practice as a BioAcoustic Soundhealth Practitioner, under the tutelage of the award-winning founder of BioAcoustic Biology, Sharry Edwards, whose Institute of BioAcoustic Biology has now been serving clients for 30 years with a non-invasive & safe integrative modality that supports the body’s ability to self-heal using the power of the human voice. Robert brings this modality to serve clients in Greater Springfield, Massachusetts and New England (USA) & “virtually” the world. He can also be reached at romayasoundhealthandbeauty@gmail.




Live Longer by Future-Proofing Your Home

Is your home future-proof? In other words, is it ready for all the technological innovations that are just around the corner? Further, is it adapted to the lifestyle changes that are in store for you as you become older? If you said no to either of those questions, then it’s probably time to do some future-proofing. But unlike many other household tasks, there’s a big payoff here.

Not only will your home be safer and look better, but you’ll have the peace of mind knowing that your entire living space is efficiently arranged, accident-proof, and comfortable, while adding to the property value. With each passing year, leading into and past retirement, it’s essential to know that your residence is a place where you’ll enjoy living for years to come. Here are the top five ways homeowners are transforming their houses into places where it’s possible to live for decades into the future.

GFCI Outlets

You probably already have GFCI outlets in your bathrooms and/or kitchens, near sinks. They are ingenious devices that prevent electrical shock. The best part is you can install them in every room as an added safety precaution. GFCI stands for ground-fault circuit interrupter, and they perform a major safety task for a very low price. If you’re not handy with electrical devices, consider hiring an electrician to put GFCIs in for you. The minor expense is worth the big payoff in safety and accident prevention.

Panic/Emergency Zones

Whether you worry about tornadoes, hurricanes, or break-ins, it’s a good idea to have a panic room in your home where you can take cover in times of crisis. Most people add these areas on the interior of the structure by simply converting a bedroom or utility room into a safety zone. Consider adding a cooler, comfortable seating, ration-type foods, and bathroom access. Don’t let a major storm or tornado threaten your survival. Prepare now and be secure when the time comes.

Smart Door Locks and Video Bells

Here’s another low-cost solution to a major security issue. Today’s smart door locks are wonders to behold. They can’t be picked by burglars, are virtually impervious to hammers and crow bars, and add a layer of life-saving safety to any house. Consider adding them, along with video bells to front and back doors of your residence.

Elevators

Residential elevators are one of the most cost-efficient ways to upgrade a home’s safety profile. That’s because not only do private elevators add a powerful dose of security, but they instantly raise the potential dollar value of the property. The future proofing home elevator concept is based on several factors. First, lots of newer homes are coming equipped with private elevators, and owners of older structures are adding them as commonsense upgrades. The main appear for seniors is the fact that stairs are inherently dangerous, so having the option to ride in comfort from floor to floor is an idea that makes perfect sense.

Tub and Toilet Rails

For a small price, you can add hand-grip rails to tub and shower areas. Don’t forget to install portable metal arms on toilets for easy sitting and standing. Younger people with balance issues use these low-cost devices and they are ideal for older folks as well.




US Army Researchers Creating Robot Tech Directly Inspired by T-1000 Villain from Terminator 2

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

Researchers for the U.S. Army are hoping to formulate a new shape-shifting material that can heal itself on its own in hopes to achieve the kind of futuristic killing technology famously depicted in the 1991 science-fiction film, Terminator 2.

In fact, the film’s villain, the T-1000, directly provided the inspiration to one of the Army engineers working on a project to develop “soft robotic” drones and unmanned aircraft based on flexible, self-repairing and self-reconfiguring materials, reports Military.com.

“We want a system of materials to simultaneously provide structure, sensing, and response,” said Frank Gardea, an aerospace engineer at the Army Combat Capabilities Development Command’s (CCDC) Army Research Laboratory.

Gardea hopes that the U.S. Military will soon have future platforms for air and ground combat that possesses the “reconfiguration characteristics of the T-1000 character in the Hollywood film, ‘Terminator 2,’” he said in an Army statement.

In the blockbuster film, the T-1000 created by Skynet is described as being an “advanced prototype” made of a “mimetic poly-alloy” or “liquid metal.” The villainous cyborg portrayed by actor Robert Patrick was able to transform its arms into sword-like stabbing weapons and self-heal after sustaining various types of wounds ranging from pistol shots to 12-gauge shotgun blasts and even a direct hit from a 40mm grenade launcher.

Gardea’s team, which worked alongside scientists at Texas A&M University, is hoping to develop a new epoxy material capable of “massive reconfigurability,” the ability to heal autonomously in the air or underwater, and embedded intelligence that would grant it the ability to adapt to its environment free of any direct external control.

Fortunately, the team working out of the U.S. Army’s Aberdeen Proving Ground facility in Maryland hasn’t yet devised the sort of unstoppable killing machine depicted in the Terminator series – however, they have developed a 3D-printed, flexible polymer with a “unique shape memory behavior” that can be programmed to remember and snap back to certain shapes, and can even be repeatedly melted down and reused.

“Most cross-linked materials, especially those that are 3D printed, tend to have a fixed form, meaning that, once you manufacture your part, the material cannot be reprocessed or melted,” Gardea explained, adding that the material has a “dynamic bond that allows it to go from liquid to solid multiple times, which allows it to be 3D printed and recycled.”

Gardea says that the development provides “the first step along a very long path toward realizing the scientific possibility for deep future platforms.”

This isn’t the first time that U.S. military technologists have compared their developments to the artificial intelligence-equipped cyborgs depicted in James Cameron’s Terminator series starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, which revolved around time-traveling military robots that “can’t be reasoned with [and] doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear,” as one character in the original film says.

The U.S. Navy has worked on developing a 135-ton autonomous unmanned surface vehicle (USV) named the Sea Hunter, which would provide an autonomous platform for anti-submarine and electronic warfare as well as serving as a decoy in any live-fire clash involving human forces.

The prospect of AI-guided warfare has alarmed critics, who believe that an overreliance on computerized and autonomous weapons on the battlefield poses the risk of leaving complex ethical choices about who lives or dies in the hands of algorithms, rather than humans.

The Campaign to Stop Killer Robots has been at the forefront of these concerns, raising concerns over how autonomous weapon systems “would decide who lives and dies, without further human intervention, which crosses a moral threshold,” according to its website.

Last year, former top Google engineer Laura Nolan told the Guardian that she had joined the Campaign to Stop Killer Robots because the robot systems envisioned by Big Tech firms and militaries could potentially do “calamitous things that they were not originally programmed for.”




Elon Musk: We Are One Year Away From Fully Autonomous, Self-Driving Cars

By Jake Anderson | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

(TMU) – Would you entrust your life to a car’s algorithmic intelligence? Would you curl up in the backseat and take a nap while your vehicle navigates hectic freeway traffic or busy intersections? Would you let your car be the designated driver while you have a night out on the town?

According to Tesla CEO Elon Musk, we are essentially within a year of such technology existing, though he adds the caveat that it will likely take longer before the system is fully deployed and adopted.

Earlier this month, Musk announced the advance at the World Artificial Intelligence Conference in Shanghai. He has since elaborated during several podcast interviews.

To Cathie Wood and Tasha Keeney of ARK Invest in a podcast, he stated

“I think we will be feature complete — full self-driving — this year. Meaning the car will be able to find you in a parking lot, pick you up and take you all the way to your destination without intervention, this year.”

Musk added that you can expect to be able to take a nap behind the wheel if you want.

“My guess as to when we would think it is safe for somebody to essentially fall asleep and wake up at their destination? Probably towards the end of next year.”

Such technology would be a first-of-its-kind level 5 autonomous vehicle in which the car capable of handling all driver functions without human assistance or supervision.

Musk acknowledges that it is a difficult task. Currently, Tesla offers an Enhanced Autopilot feature that “guides a car from a highway’s on-ramp to off-ramp, including suggesting and making lane changes, navigating highway interchanges, and taking exits.”

“On a development level, [there is] no problem recognizing stop signs and traffic lights,” Musk has said. “But you do get ambiguity in some complex intersections with traffic lights. Like, which one’s the right light to focus on? Even if you’re a person, it’s not always clear. So that’s what we’re working on there.”

Technology experts and economists, citing multiple studies, suggest self-driving cars, or automated vehicles (AVs), will have massive beneficial effects on cities and human society.

AVs will free up an additional 50 minutes a day for human users, accumulating to an extra billion hours of productivity around the world. Perhaps even more importantly, AVs will dramatically reduce car accident fatalities (by up to 90% of the annual 1.2 million worldwide deaths), which will also save $190 billion in the U.S. alone.

AVs will also transform cities, leading to an 80% reduction in the overall number of vehicles, which will drastically reduce traffic congestion, free up new land, and lead to an overall reduction of pollution.

Tesla is currently in an AV race with other companies developing self-driving cars, including Waymo, Uber, Lyft, and traditional automakers. In 2018, Alphabet’s Waymo launched its Robo-taxi service, though it was not fully autonomous.

AVs are expected to simultaneously usher in a new gold rush of consumer robotics and machine learning, including remote advanced sensing, hyper-precise positioning/GPS, image recognition, and advanced artificial intelligence (AI) development.




New Socially Distanced Movie Theater in Paris Looks Like Star Wars Prequels’ Galactic Senate

By Elias Marat | Creative Commons | TheMindUnleashed.com

(TMU) – A cinema company in France has released concept images of its theaters, and many internet users are saying that the science-fiction-like design looks like something from “a long time ago and a galaxy far, far away.”

Oma Cinema is the latest company that is trying to revolutionize cinema and attract audiences to the most exciting and technologically advanced film-watching venues.

For years, companies have been seeking to outdo one another in rolling out new advancements – ranging from IMAX, D-Box, 4DX, and Luxe screens – in a bid to lure audiences away from their large 4K screens and streaming services and get them to plunk out cash to experience new films in luxurious, comfortable, and exciting ways.

Oma Cinema, however, is hoping to outdo its competition by basically seating you in the Galactic Senate.

“Whereas all the cinemas built for more than 50 years now are similar and reproduce the same seating arrangement of the audience, this concept of a movie theatre creates a cinematographic experience at the same time intimate,” cinema architect and Oma founder and CEO Pierre Chican wrote on the company’s website.

“[It will be] spectacular and immersive, where every seat in the house is the best seat in the house,” he added.

In concept art released by the company, Oma Cinema has done away with traditional aisles and replaced them with circular pods filled with small clusters of seats.

As social media users have been quick to point out, the resemblance between the new theaters and the pre-Imperial legislative chamber from George Lucas’ Star Wars prequels is uncanny.

“I would very much like to watch the next Fast & Furious movie at the Galactic Senate,” one Twitter user wrote.

“The future of movie-going is sitting in a theater that looks like the Galactic Senate from Star Wars,” another user observed.

While a third user tweeted: “We are living a prequel to the Star Wars prequels. The pandemic will lead to the creation of the galactic senate apparently?”

However, Oma Cinema’s concept is likely to be far more interesting than the stodgy and staid affairs of the unicameral Galactic Senate. When it finally opens up next year, it will offer “VIP-Corporate hospitality boxes, table service on all or selected platforms and exclusive VIP access to lounge and bar.”

The company explains: “Much more than just the spectacular nature of the architecture, the original configuration of the room has been designed to offer viewers exceptional audio and visual experience, projecting an image free of any distortion. Oma is an experience that you will never forget.”

The coronavirus pandemic has forced many industries across the world to either reinvent themselves or simply make bold moves to adapt to the drastically changing world of 2020.

And for movie theater chains across the globe, the changes wrought by the public health emergency have created shockwaves. Countless theaters have been forced to shut down, leading to the revival of socially-distanced alternatives like drive-in theaters.

Studios have also been forced to indefinitely delay or reevaluate the theatrical release of such highly-anticipated films as MulanTenet, Wonder Woman 1984, and James Bond’s No Time to Die. Some studios are simply choosing to release films through streaming platforms rather than on the silver screen.

However, Oma Cinema’s new concept could be a brilliant way to reopen theaters while still upholding physical distancing guidelines meant to keep the COVID-19 pandemic in check.




New Technique to Capture Carbon Dioxide Could Greatly Reduce Power Plant Greenhouse Gases

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

By | Phys.org

A big advance in carbon capture technology could provide an efficient and inexpensive way for natural gas power plants to remove carbon dioxide from their flue emissions, a necessary step in reducing greenhouse gas emissions to slow global warming and climate change.

Developed by researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and ExxonMobil, the new technique uses a highly  called a metal-organic framework, or MOF, modified with nitrogen-containing amine molecules to capture the CO2 and low-temperature steam to flush out the CO2 for other uses or to sequester it underground.

In experiments, the technique showed six times the greater capacity for removing CO2 from  than current amine-based technology, and it was highly selective, capturing more than 90% of the CO2 emitted. The process uses low-temperature steam to regenerate the MOF for repeated use, meaning less energy is required for .

“For CO2 capture, steam stripping—where you use direct contact with steam to take off the CO2—has been a sort of holy grail for the field. It is rightly seen as the cheapest way to do it,” said senior researcher Jeffrey Long, UC Berkeley professor of chemistry and of chemical and biomolecular engineering and senior faculty scientist at Berkeley Lab. “These materials, at least from the experiments we have done so far, look very promising.”

Because there’s little market for most captured CO2, power plants would likely pump most of it back into the ground, or sequester it, where it would ideally turn into rock. The cost of scrubbing the emissions would have to be facilitated by government policies, such as carbon trading or a carbon tax, to incentivize CO2 capture and sequestration, something many countries have already implemented.

The work was funded by ExxonMobil, which is working with both the Berkeley group and Long’s start-up, Mosaic Materials Inc., to develop, scale-up, and test processes for stripping CO2 from emissions.

Long is the senior author of a paper describing the new technique that will appear in the July 24 issue of the journal Science.

“We were able to take the initial discovery and, through research and testing, derive a material that in lab experiments has shown the potential to not only capture CO2 under the extreme conditions present in flue gas emissions from natural gas power plants but to do so with no loss in selectivity,” said co-author Simon Weston, senior research associate and the project lead at ExxonMobil Research and Engineering Co. “We have shown that these new materials can then be regenerated with low-grade steam for repeated use, providing a pathway for a viable solution for carbon capture at scale.”

Carbon dioxide emissions by fossil fuel-burning vehicles, electricity generating plants, and industry account for an estimated 65% of the greenhouse gases driving climate change, which has already increased Earth’s average temperature by 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit (1 degree Celsius) since the 19th century. Without a decrease in these emissions, climate scientists predict ever hotter temperatures, more erratic and violent storms, several feet of sea-level rise and resulting droughts, floods, fires, famine, and conflict.

“In reality, of the kinds of things that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says we need to do to control global warming, CO2 capture is a huge part,” Long said. “We don’t have a use for most of the CO2 that we need to stop emitting, but we have to do it.”

Stripping

Power plants strip CO2 from flue emissions today by bubbling flue gases through organic amines in water, which bind and extract the carbon dioxide. The liquid is then heated to 120-150 C (250-300 F) to release the CO2 gas, after which the liquids are reused. The entire process consumes about 30% of the power generated. Sequestering the captured CO2 underground costs an additional, though small, a fraction of that.

Six years ago, Long and his group in UC Berkeley’s Center for Gas Separations, which is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, discovered a chemically modified MOF that readily captures CO2 from concentrated power plant flue emissions, potentially reducing the capture cost by half. They added diamine molecules to a magnesium-based MOF to catalyze the formation of polymer chains of CO2 that could then be purged by flushing with a humid stream of .

Because MOFs are very porous, in this case like a honeycomb, an amount the weight of a paper clip has an internal surface area equal to that of a football field, all available for adsorbing gases.

A major advantage of the amine-appended MOFs is that the amines can be tweaked to capture CO2 at different concentrations, ranging from 12% to 15% typical of coal plant emissions to the 4% typical of natural gas plants, or even the much lower concentrations in ambient air. Mosaic Materials, which Long co-founded and directs, was created to make this technique available widely to power and industrial plants.

But the 180 C stream of water and CO2 needed to flush the captured CO2 eventually drives off the diamine molecules, shortening the life of the material. The new version uses four amine molecules—a tetraamine—that is much more stable at high temperatures and in the presence of steam.

“The tetraamines are so strongly bound within the MOF that we can use a very concentrated stream of water vapor with zero CO2, and if you tried that with the previous adsorbents, the steam would start destroying the material,” Long said.

They showed that direct contact with steam at 110-120 C—a bit above the boiling point of water—works well to flush out the CO2. Steam at that temperature is readily available in natural gas power plants, whereas the 180 C CO2-water mix required to regenerate the earlier modified MOF necessitated heating, which wastes energy.

When Long, Weston and their colleagues first thought about replacing diamines with tougher tetraamines, it seemed like a long shot. But crystal structures of the diamine-containing MOFs suggested that there could be ways of connecting two diamines to form a tetraamine while preserving the ability of the material to polymerize CO2. When UC Berkeley graduate student Eugene Kim, the paper’s first author, chemically created the tetraamine-appended MOF, it outperformed the diamine-appended MOF on the first try.

The researchers subsequently studied the structure of the modified MOF using Berkeley Lab’s Advanced Light Source, revealing that the CO2 polymers that line the pores of the MOF are actually linked by the tetraamines, like a ladder with tetraamines as the rungs. First-principles density functional theory calculations using the Cori supercomputer in Berkeley Lab’s National Energy Research Scientific Computing Center (NERSC), computing resources at the Molecular Foundry and resources provided by the campus’s Berkeley Research Computing program confirmed this remarkable structure that Long’s team had initially envisioned.

“I have been doing research at Cal for 23 years now, and this is one of those times where you have what seemed like a crazy idea, and it just worked right away,” Long said.

Co-authors with Long, Kim, and Weston are Joseph Falkowski from ExxonMobil; Rebecca Siegelman, Henry Jiang, Alexander Forse, Jeffrey Martell, Phillip Milner, Jeffrey Reimer and Jeffrey Neaton from UC Berkeley; and Jung-Hoon Lee from Berkeley Lab. Neaton and Reimer also are faculty senior scientists at Berkeley Lab.