Heat-powered battery from KAIST wins award

2015_01_heat powered battery
Provided by Netexplo

A Korean developed battery that can be recharged using body heat has won a Netexplo Award, Unesco’s list of the top 10 digital innovations of the year, the organization said Thursday. A research team from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (Kaist) led by electrical engineering Prof. Cho Byung-jin demonstrated the technology in April.

Netexplo Awards are given annually to tech inventions worldwide that have had a major influence on human lives in areas such as energy, environment and education. About 200 IT experts vote to pick 10 winners.

The battery, which Kaist said can be installed in a wearable device, is the first of its kind that recharges automatically when worn. The battery is made of fiberglass with a thin piece of thermoelectric film and must be attached to the part of the wearable that comes in contact with skin. It can be used in pedometers or smartwatches. After the battery is removed from the heat source, on a simple activity tracker, the Kaist battery will last twice as long as batteries that are currently used. But in a smartwatch, which has a larger display and more functions, the Kaist battery will last up to 30 percent longer once it is not being worn.

For full article, see Joongang Daily.

In 2015 low-cost wirelessly charged electric buses will come

2015_01_OLEV2KAIST announced on January 5 that it recently embarked on the ‘low-cost wireless charging electric bus commercialization project’ as part of the national project of the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement under the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport. It is planning to put them on bus routes as commercial vehicles by the end of this year. Daewoo Bus, LS Cable & System, Korea Electric Vehicle Service as well as Dongwon OLEV, which has the online charging technology, will participate in this project.

Electric wires will be buried underneath the road to create a magnetic field, and receive magnetic force from this vehicle wirelessly and convert it into electricity, and this electric bus will use this electricity as a power source. Unlike ordinary electric vehicles that must stop by charging stations, it is capable of real-time charging while it is stopped for transfer, etc. For this reason, it can use only 20% of the existing electric bus battery capacity to run the same distance. As the battery gets smaller, the cost can be reduced and it weighs less, thereby greatly improving operating efficiency. KAIST recently decided to raise the charging efficiency from 70% to 85% for the project by enhancing the technology.

For full article, see Korea IT News.

Robot scientist pushes limits of virtual reality

2014_01_mahruEight years ago, You developed the world’s first network-based humanoid called Mahru, whose latest version, unveiled in 2010, can recognize items and tasks such as house cleaning, operating a microwave and performing other household chores. You, 50, has been leading the research to push the boundaries of virtual reality, focusing on technologies that enable people to interact without space or time constraints.

More than 200 researchers from KIST, the Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute, KAIST, GIST, Hanyang University and Sangmyung University are taking part in the nine-year project. “The purpose of our research is to enable people to experience virtual and remote worlds as if they were the real world,” the director of the Center of Human-Centered Interaction for Coexistence told The Korea Herald in a recent interview.

You and his colleagues are now working on a three-dimensional teleconferencing system. Part of the research is to create a “coexistence space” where people can not only see and talk to each other, but also touch and feel, he explained.

For full article, see Korea Herald.

PET-MRI made in Korea

Domestic PET-MRI clinical trial
Domestic PET-MRI clinical trial

The joint research team (KAIST, Sogang University and Seoul National University) with KAIST Department of Nuclear and Quantum Engineering Professor Kyu-Sung Cho in charge, together with National Nanofab Institution (NNFC; Director Jae-Young Lee), has developed PET-MRI simultaneous imaging system with domestic technology only. The team successfully acquired brain images of 3 volunteers with the newly developed system.

PET-MRI is integrated state-of-the-art medical imaging equipment that combines the advantages of Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) that shows anatomical images of the body and Position Emission Tomography (PET) that analyses cell activity and metabolism. Since the anatomical information and functional information can be seen simultaneously, the device can be used to diagnose early onset Alzheimer’s disease and is essential in biological science research, such as new medicine development.

The existing equipment used to take MRI and PET images separately due to the strong magnetic field generated by MRI and combine the images. Hence, it was time consuming and error-prone due to patient’s movement. There was a need to develop PET that functions within a magnetic field to create a simultaneous imaging system.

For full article, see KAIST.

KAIST developed ultra-low power 100 Gbps ethernet IC

2013_11_terasquareData centers can consume up to 100 times more energy than a standard office building. Data center energy consumption doubled from 2000 to 2006, reaching more than 60 billion kilowatt hours per year. If the current usage and technology trends continue, the energy consumption of data centers in the US will reach 8% of the country’s total electric power consumption by 2020.

A research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) and Terasquare, Inc. (http://www.terasquare.co.kr), a spin-off company of the university, developed an extremely low-powered integrated circuit for Ethernet that consumes less than 0.75W of electricity but is able to send and receive data at the high speed of 100 gigabits per second (Gbps). The research team, headed by Hyeon-Min Bae, assistant professor of electrical engineering at KAIST, claims that the new microchip uses only one-third of the electricity consumed by the currently installed chips at data centers, thereby helping the centers to save energy.

For full article, see KAIST.

KAIST developed technology for flexible, foldable & rechargeable battery


Flexible, foldable & rechargeable battery. Source: KAIST.

The research group of professors Jang-Wook Choi & Jung-Yong Lee from the Graduate School of EEWS and Taek-Soo Kim from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at KAIST has developed technology for flexible and foldable batteries which are rechargeable using solar energy. The research result was published in the online issue of Nano Letters on November 5.

Trial versions of flexible and wearable electronics are being developed and introduced in the market such as Galaxy Gear, Apple’s i-Watch, and Google Glass. Research is being conducted to make the batteries softer and more wearable and to compete in the fast-growing market for flexible electronics.

This new technology is expected to be applied to the development of wearable computers as well as winter outdoor clothing since it is flexible and light. The research group expects that the new technology can be applied to current battery production lines without additional investment. Professor Choi said, “It can be used as a core-source technology in the rechargeable battery industry in the future. Various wearable mobile electronic products can be developed through cooperation and collaboration within the industry.”

Source: KAIST.


Core technology for lithium air secondary battery developed

Will the day come to travel Seoul-Busan with an electronic vehicle? The core technology for lithium air secondary battery, the next generation high capacity battery, has been finally developed.
A research team formed by KAIST Department of Materials Science’s Professors Il-Doo Kim and Seokwoo Jeon, and Kyonggi University Department of Materials Science’s Professor Yong Joon Park has created a ‘lithium air secondary battery,’ with five times greater storage than the lithium-ion secondary battery, by developing a nano fiber-graphene composite catalyst. The research results are published in Aug. 8th online edition of Nano Letters, an academic journal of authority in the nano fields.
A cathode of a lithium-ion battery consists of graphite and an anode of the battery consists of a lithium transition metal oxide. Lithium-ion batteries are widely used in mobile phones and laptops. However, lithium-ion batteries cannot support electric vehicles, providing energy for only 160 kilometers on one full charge. The lithium air secondary battery just developed by the research team uses lithium on the cathode and oxygen on the anode. It is earning the popular acknowledgement among the next generation secondary battery research community for having lightweight mass and high energy density.
For full article, see KAIST.

KAIST team produces gasoline using E. coli

2013_10_ecoliA group of scientists from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology has discovered a way to produce gasoline using bacteria for the first time, the school announced. The finding, published online in the journal Nature on Sunday, could mark a step toward developing new renewable energy.
The research team led by Lee Sang-yup, a professor at the chemical and biomolecular engineering department, used Escherichia coli bacteria that naturally turn sugars into fat to convert fatty acid into oil.
There are a few examples of research succeeding in producing diesel fuel through modified bacteria, but this is the first time a possible substitute for gasoline has been created, the research team said.
For full article, see Korea Herald.

KAIST team employs DNA engineering: Gasoline made from biomass

A fermentation system developed at KAIST is used to produce short-chain alkane for gasoline from genetically engineered microorganisms.
/ Courtesy of KAIST

A team of researchers has developed a technology to extract gasoline from microorganisms fed with sugar through DNA modification, the science ministry announced Monday. It is the world’s first such feat.

The research team at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) engineered the gene in E.coli responsible for fatty acid metabolism so as to enable them to produce short-chain alkanes, saturated hydrocarbons that are a component of gasoline.

The technology of producing short-chain alkanes is considered a meaningful breakthrough because it serves as a platform for alternatives to various petrochemical products including surfactants and lubricants. The discovery was published by Nature magazine early morning Monday in Korean time.

The KAIST team has so far succeeded in producing 580 milligrams of gasoline from one liter of glucose culture solution per hour. However, this is too small for the technology to draw commercial interest from the petrochemical industry.

For full article, see Korea Times.

High speed nanomanufacturing process developed using laser

A nanomaterial synthesized after illuminated by lasers. Source: KAIST.

Dr. Yeo Jun Yeop from KAIST’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, in a joint research project with Prof. Seung Hwan Ko, has developed a technology that speeds up the nanomanufacturing process by using lasers. Their research is published in the frontispiece of Advanced Functional Materials (July 9th issue).

The research group put a nanomaterial precursor on the board, illuminated it with a continuous-wave laser in the green wavelength range, and succeeded in synthesizing a nanowire at the point they wanted for the first time in the world. Currently nanomaterials are difficult to  mass produce and commercialize due to their complex and costly manufacturing processes which also use toxic gases.  However, their new technology simplified the process and so reduced the manufacturing time from some hours to five minutes (1/10th times reduced).

For full article, see KAIST.