August 03, 2015

China plans to build a hybrid fusion fission reactor by 2030 but no real technical details

The South China Morning Post and Chinese media are reporting that China will build a new hybrid reactor that can burn nuclear waste via a combined fusion-fission method by 2030.

The proposed hybrid reactor will use nuclear fusion to burn u-238 and could in theory recycle the waste from traditional reactors into new fuel.

The project is being developed at the Chinese Academy of Engineering Physics in Sichuan, a top secret military research facility where China's nuclear weapons are developed.

The scheme was first reported by the Science and Technology Daily, a newspaper run by the official Ministry of Science and Technology.

At the core of the proposed hybrid plant is a fusion reactor which is powered by electric currents as strong as 60 trillion amps. The reactor will be blanketed by a fission shell stuffed with uranium-238.

Such a design has numerous advantages. The high-speed neutrons generated by fusion could split apart the u-238 atoms to generate fission, and the fission could generate lots of energy to help maintain the fusion, thus significantly reducing the amount of external energy input, and achieve the complete burning of nuclear fuel to avoid radioactive waste.

Professor Wang Hongwen, deputy director of the hybrid reactor project, said that the key components will be built and tested around 2020, with an experimental reactor due to be finished by 2030.

The papers seem to assume that the fusion system would some version of a Tokamak fusion reactor.

There have been dozens if not hundreds of proposed fusion fission hybrid systems.

The Fusion system would generate neutrons which would help the fissioning of all of the uranium 238.

The concept dates to the 1950s, and was strongly advocated by Hans Bethe during the 1970s. At that time the first powerful fusion reactors were being built, but it would still be many years before they could be economically competitive. Hybrids were proposed as a way of greatly accelerating their market introduction, producing energy even before the fusion systems reached break-even. However, detailed studies of the economics of the systems suggested they could not compete with existing fission reactors. The idea was abandoned and lay dormant until the 2000s, when the continued delays in reaching break-even led to a brief revival around 2009, notably as the basis of the LIFE program.

LIFE, short for Laser Inertial Fusion Energy, was a fusion energy effort run at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) between 2008 and 2013. LIFE aimed to develop the technologies necessary to convert the laser-driven inertial confinement fusion (ICF) concept being developed in the National Ignition Facility (NIF) into a practical commercial power plant, a concept known generally as inertial fusion energy (IFE). LIFE used the same basic concepts as NIF, but aimed to lower costs using mass-produced fuel elements, simplified maintenance, and diode lasers with higher electrical efficiency. The failure of NIF to achieve ignition in 2012 led to the LIFE project being cancelled in 2013.

There was a molten salt variant of the LIFE hybrid system

Molten salt with dissolved uranium is being considered for the Laser Inertial Confinement Fusion Fission Energy (LIFE) fission blanket as a backup in case a solid-fuel version cannot meet the performance objectives, for example because of radiation damage of the solid materials. Molten salt is not damaged by radiation and therefore could likely achieve the desired high burnup (over 99%) of heavy atoms of 238U. A perceived disadvantage is the possibility that the circulating molten salt could lend itself to misuse (proliferation) by making separation of fissile material easier than for the solid-fuel case.

There was a 244 page review from a 2009 hybrid fusion fission conference.

Any fusion (laser, magnetic, dense plasma focus etc...) can be made into a hybrid

Without a lot of technical details we have no idea what China is planning to do

U.S. Marines Corps declares ten F-35Bs operational after the US spent $100 billion and counting

The U.S. Marine Corps' F-35B Lightning II aircraft reached initial operational capability July 31, 2015 with a squadron of 10 F-35Bs ready for world-wide deployment.

Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121 (VMFA-121), based in Yuma, Arizona, is the first squadron in military history to become operational with an F-35 variant, following a five-day Operational Readiness Inspection, which concluded July 17.

“I am pleased to announce that VMFA-121 has achieved Initial Operational Capability in the F-35B, as defined by requirements outlined in the June 2014 Joint Report to Congressional Defense Committees,” said Gen. Joseph Dunford, Commandant of the Marine Corps. “VMFA-121 has ten aircraft in the Block 2B configuration with the requisite performance envelope and weapons clearances, to include the training, sustainment capabilities, and infrastructure to deploy to an austere site or a ship. It is capable of conducting Close Air Support, Offensive and Defensive Counter Air, Air Interdiction, Assault Support Escort and Armed Reconnaissance as part of a Marine Air Ground Task Force, or in support of the Joint Force.”

Dunford stated that he has his full confidence in the F-35B’s ability to support Marines in combat, predicated on years of concurrent developmental testing and operational flying.

The 2022 Winter Olympics will be near China's Gobi Desert where there is no snow

2022 the Winter Olympics will be held in the Gobi desert which is a place with no snow. On July 31st the International Olympic Committee awarded the games to Beijing, to be held in the city of Zhangjiakou, 250km (150 miles) north of the capital. The resort beat Almaty in Kazakhstan, the only other remaining city left in the bid. China has many tasks to complete in the next seven years to ready itself. Among them is to make some snow.

When any city is awarded the Olympics, questions quickly follow about the country’s ability to build the appropriate infrastructure in time—and how much it will cost. These cause less anxiety in China. In its bid the country highlighted its prowess at building fancy stadia, zippy high-speed rail and other transport links on time. Beijing has already hosted a successful summer Olympics—making it the first city ever to host both.

China now plans to spend nearly $90m on water-diversion schemes to satisfy Olympic demand

August 02, 2015

Magnesium diboride superconductors can lower the cost of wind turbine generator coils by over fifteen times

In January 2001, it was announced that MgB2 (magnesium diboride), a compound that was well known to chemists, was superconducting up to 39 Kelvin. Building on this discovery, Hyper Tech was formed in 2001 to use the compound to create a high-performing, low cost superconducting wire. Hyper Tech developed and patented a continuous tube forming and filling (CTFF) process for the manufacturing of a powder metallurgy-based MgB2 superconductor wire.

Hyper Tech is the world leader in manufacturing and R and D of magnesium diboride and niobium tin superconducting wire and integrated products. Hyper Tech’s innovative, patented wire drawing process enabled the company to be the first to manufacture viable long-length MgB2 wire. Hyper Tech has consistently integrated this technology into transforming products benefiting from superconducting materials. Superconductors carry high current with near zero ohmic loss. In coil form, such as in an electromagnet, a charged and closed loop can carry current, and hence magnetic field, for long periods of time (of the order of months to years depending on the detail design). This makes a superconductor ideal for high field magnets. It is commonly used in MRI and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) systems throughout the world. Hyper Tech is well equipped to produce two wire formed superconductors: MgB2 and Nb3Sn.

Hyper Tech's 41,000-square-foot facility contains the equipment necessary to manufacture MgB2 superconducting wire of varying diameters and lengths. A team of engineers, scientists and technicians has been assembled to develop and produce the superconducting wires and related products including superconducting coils for various applications. Hyper Tech is marketing MgB2 superconductor wires for MRI applications and has cooperative relationships with several companies to apply MgB2 superconductor wire to MRI devices. This commercial market has allowed Hyper Tech to lower the wire production cost to be economical for power systems applications as well (e.g., FCLs and wind turbines).

A solenoid coil fabricated in 2012 was wound with 590 meters of MgB2 multifilamentary wire. This coil achieved a peak bore field of 4.6 Tesla at 4 Kelvin and 2.2 Tesla at 20 Kelvin.

The advantage of MgB2 magnets when compared with permanent magnets is the possibility of achieving magnetic field strengths of considerably more than 0.4 Tesla (to 1.5-2.0 Tesla) with a lower initial capital equipment cost and lower life-cycle cost. Also, higher field strengths and larger zones of homogeneous magnetic field can be achieved with MgB2 superconductor than with permanent magnets. Compared with superconductors that operate at lower temperatures, such as NbTi and Nb3Sn, the life-cycle costs of MgB2 coils are lower because of their higher operating temperature and lower associated refrigeration costs during operation. In the on-going effort to eliminate liquid cryogen from equipment, the temperature tolerance of MgB2 better suits it for dry operation using only a cryocooler and conduction cooling.MgB2 conductors have many distinct advantages when compared with high temperature ceramic conductors. Since the wire can be configured in either round or rectangular cross sections, MgB2 adds flexibility in coil design and fabrication. MgB2 is lighter weight and can be produced at a lower cost than the high temperature ceramic BSCCO or YBCO-coated superconducting tape conductors when operated in the 20 Kelvin range. MgB2 wire is versatile in that it can be sized (e.g., to custom amperage and engineering current density) for targeted coil dimensions and performance. MgB2 wire behaves more like a metal superconductor with regard to persistent current type coils unlike high temperature superconducting tapes.

Up to 200 kilometers of coil is needed to generate electricity in wind turbines and with current technologies, that coil would cost between AUS$3-5 million to manufacture. The same length of magnesium diboride superconducting coil costs AUS$180,000 and that figure could reduce dramatically as magnesium diboride becomes less and less expensive.

Hyper Tech Research magnesium diboride coil is about AUS$1 per meter to manufacture.

A magnesium diboride superconducting coil can replace the gear box. This will capture the wind energy and convert it into electricity without any power loss, and will reduce manufacturing and maintenance costs by two thirds. When an electric current is sent into a conduction loop made of conventional copper wire, about 7-10 per cent of this energy is lost due to resistance. The wire heats up and decays quickly. However, if a superconducting material is used, the current will circulate indefinitely even after the power is turned off..

An MgB2 superconducting direct drive generator will minimize tower size and weight by substituting heavy iron with lightweight composites and will increase the power density of the wind turbine. Equipment reliability increases because of a more simplistic generator rotor design. Another advantage of using MgB2 generators for offshore projects is that the unit could be repaired onsite without being removed from the structure.

MgB2 wires

EMdrive paper and what original inventor Roger Shawyer believes is happening

The keys to EMDrive experiments are prove the propulsion is real and will work in space. Find a way with theory or experiment to scale up the effect.

If it is real and the effect can be scaled up then at the very least space travel is transformed.

Here is information from a Shawyer paper, his website FAQ and his videos. Roger Shawyer is the original inventor of the EMdrive.

* Not Reactionless, but propellentless
* Shawyer background was with UK Army research and then in the space industry
* Main players in UK, China and the USA are pursuing EMDrive research
* At least three other countries (that Shawyer knows about) have serious programs running and university departments and private individuals

Chinese Northwestern Polytechnical University

In 2008 a team of Chinese researchers led by Juan Yang, professor of propulsion theory and engineering of aeronautics and astronautics at NWPU, claimed to have developed a valid electro-magnetic theory behind a microwave resonant cavity thruster. A demonstration version of the drive was built and tested under different cavity shapes and at higher power levels in 2010. A maximum thrust of 720 mN was reported at 2,500 W of input power on an aerospace engine test stand usually used to precisely test spacecraft engines like ion drives. As of 2015, this is by far the most significant test of such a device to date - no other group has even announced plans to run tests at similar power levels.

Propulsion forces from NASA Eagleworks and the the German researchers are in the tens of micronewton range.

In an IAC13 paper the dynamic operation of a second generation superconducting EmDrive thruster was described. A mathematical model was developed and, in this paper, that model is used to extend the performance envelope of the technology. Three engine designs are evaluated. One is used as a lift engine for a launch vehicle, another as an orbital engine for the launcher and a third as the main engine for an interstellar probe.

The engines are based on YBCO superconducting cavities, and performance is predicted on the basis of the test data obtained in earlier experimental programmes. The Q values range from 80 million to 200 million and provide high values of specific force over a range of accelerations from 0.4 m/s/s to 6 m/s/s.

The launch vehicle is an “all-electric” single stage to orbit (SSTO) spaceplane, using a 900 MHz, eight cavities, fully gimballed lift engine. A 1.5 GHz fixed orbital engine provides the horizontal velocity component. Both engines use total loss liquid hydrogen cooling. Electrical power is provided by fuel cells, fed with gaseous hydrogen from the cooling system and liquid oxygen. A 2 ton payload, externally mounted, can be flown to Low Earth Orbit in a time of 27 min. The total launch mass is 10 ton, with an airframe styled on the X37B, which allows aerobraking and a glide approach and landing.

The full potential of EmDrive propulsion for deep space missions is illustrated by the performance of the interstellar probe. A multi-cavity, fixed 500 MHz engine is cooled by a closed cycle liquid nitrogen system. The refrigeration is carried out in a two stage reverse Brayton Cycle. Electrical power is provided by a 200 kWe nuclear generator. The 9 ton spacecraft, which includes a 1 ton science payload, will achieve a terminal velocity of 0.67c, (where c is the speed of light), and cover a distance of 4 light years, over the 10 year propulsion period.

The work reported in this paper has resulted in design studies for two Demonstrator spacecrafts. The launcher will demonstrate the long-sought-for, low cost access to space, and also meet the mission requirements of the proposed DARPA XS-1 Spaceplane. The probe will enable the dream of an interstellar mission to be achieved within the next 20 years.

Shawyer has notes from his dynamic tests He claims to have achieved a thrust of 96 milli Newtons was produced for an input microwave power of 334 Watts.

Q. Is the thrust produced by the EmDrive a reactionless force?
A. No, the thrust is the result of the reaction between the end plates of the waveguide and the Electromagnetic wave propagated within it.

Q. How can a net force be produced by a closed waveguide?
A. At the propagation velocities (greater than one tenth the speed of light) the effects of special relativity must be considered. Different reference planes have to be used for the EM wave and the waveguide itself. The thruster is therefore an open system and a net force can be produced.

Q. Why does the net force not get balanced out by the axial component of the sidewall force?
A. The net force is not balanced out by the axial component of the sidewall force because there is a highly non linear relationship between waveguide diameter and group velocity. (e.g. at cut off diameter, the group velocity is zero, the guide wavelength is infinity, but the diameter is clearly not zero.) The design of the cavity is such that the ratio of end wall forces is maximised, whilst the axial component of the sidewall force is reduced to a negligible value.

Q. Does the theory of the EmDrive contravene the accepted laws of physics or electromagnetic theory?
A. The EmDrive does not violate any known law of physics. The basic laws that are applied in the theory of the EmDrive operation are as follows:

Newton’s laws are applied in the derivation of the basic static thrust equation (Equation 11 in the theory paper) and have also been demonstrated to apply to the EmDrive experimentally.

The law of conservation of momentum is the basis of Newtons laws and therefore applies to the EmDrive. It is satisfied both theoretically and experimentally.

The law of conservation of energy is the basis of the dynamic thrust equation which applies to the EmDrive under acceleration,(see Equation 16 in the theory paper).

The principles of electromagnetic theory are used to derive the basic design equations.

Q. Why does the EmDrive not contravene the conservation of momentum when it operates in free space?
A. The EmDrive cannot violate the conservation of momentum. The electromagnetic wave momentum is built up in the resonating cavity, and is transferred to the end walls upon reflection. The momentum gained by the EmDrive plus the momentum lost by the electromagnetic wave equals zero. The direction and acceleration that is measured, when the EmDrive is tested on a dynamic test rig, comply with Newtons laws and confirm that the law of conservation of momentum is satisfied.

Q. Is the EmDrive a form of perpetual motion machine?
A. The EmDrive obeys the law of conservation of energy and is therefore not a perpetual motion machine. Energy must be expended to accelerate the EmDrive (see Equation 16 of the theory paper). Once the EmDrive is switched off, Newton’s laws ensure that motion is constant unless it is acted upon by another force.

Q. Why does the thrust decrease as the spacecraft velocity along the thrust vector increases?
A. As the spacecraft accelerates along the thrust vector, energy is lost by the engine and gained as additional kinetic energy by the spacecraft. This energy can be defined as the thrust multiplied by the distance through which the thrust acts. For a given acceleration period, the higher the mean velocity, the longer the distance travelled, hence the higher the energy lost by the engine.
This loss of stored energy from the resonant cavity leads to a reduction in Q and hence a reduction of thrust.

Roger Shawyer is the creator of EmDrive (Electromagnetic Thrust) technology. This interview was conducted in May 2015 by Nick Breeze.

Elon Musk Tesla Model almost ready for next step toward driverless cars

Elon Musk has tweeted that the Tesla Model S is almost ready to have highway autosteering and automatic parking.

Musk also said that one of the challenges of going driverless had been making the car’s software recognize roadway markings that are faded, and the need to recognize the difference between proper markings and skid marks or other blemishes on the roadway. Tesla for months has been testing its driverless software prototypes on highways between San Francisco and the Pacific Northwest.

The Model S cars have built-in driver-assistance systems that include, among other things, forward radar, a camera mounted by the rear-view mirror, and 12 sensors that can sense objects within 16 feet of the car. Tesla is able to release over-the-air software updates so owners don’t have to bring their cars in for service.

The road to autopilot driving has been incremental. Last year, Tesla launched features such as lane-departure warnings, and earlier this year it released adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning, and a forward-collision warning system.

August 01, 2015

Star Trek Renegades a continuation of the Prime Universe with Walter Koenig and others premiered today

Star Trek: Renegades, is a professionally produced pilot intended for presentation to CBS as a possible online series.

This film was funded by the generous donations of fans from around the world. All monies went directly to the costs of making this high quality broadcast pilot. It is our hope that CBS finds "Star Trek: Renegades" to be a worthy endeavor and will continue the Star Trek franchise and legacy as an online episodic series (or on their own broadcast or cable network).

The official premier took place today at the Crest Theater (Saturday August 1, 2015 at 4:30 pm)
Renegades is also to be screened in Las Vegas on Friday, August 7th. The screening will be at 9:00pm at the AMC TOWN SQUARE 18, 6587 Las Vegas Blvd South.

You can still support the production. A $50 donation will get you a DVD or $60 for a Bluray copy of the pilot. This will be delivered in a month or so. There are other donation levels to get phaser and tricorder props.

The team behind Renegades had previously produced Star Trek: Of Gods and Men. The production of Star Trek: Renegades was funded through crowdsourcing web site Kickstarter in 2012. They requested $200,000 in funds, and beat that goal by $42,000. Additional funding was required because the script was more ambitious than previously proposed during the Kickstarter funding. Another fund raising campaign was started on Indiegogo, which raised US$132,555, much more than the targeted US$20,000.

Star Trek Renegades Synopsis

It is ten years after the starship Voyager‍ '​s return from the Delta Quadrant, and the Federation is in a crisis. The Federation's main suppliers of dilithium crystals (the primary catalyst for the fuel used in faster-than-light travel) are disappearing. Space and time have folded around several planets, effectively isolating them from any contact with outside worlds. The phenomenon is not natural – someone or something is causing it to happen. This necessitates drastic measures; some of which are outside the Federation’s normal jurisdiction. For this, Admiral Pavel Chekov, head of Starfleet Intelligence, turns to Commander Tuvok, Voyager‍ '​s former security officer and current head of the newly reorganized Section 31, Starfleet's autonomous intelligence and defense organization. Tuvok must put together a new covert, renegade crew – mostly outcasts and rogues – and even criminals. This new crew is tasked with finding out what is causing the folding of time and space, and stopping it at all costs. But will they be able to put aside their differences and stop trying to kill one another in time to accomplish their mission?

Russia Yu-71, US Prompt Global Strike and China's Wu-14 Hypersonic missile programs

Adm. Cecil D. Haney, Strategic Command’s (Stratcom) senior leader, said during remarks at a nuclear deterrence conference that despite arms control efforts, hypersonic weapons are among several threatening strategic trends emerging in the world.

China has conducted four flight tests of a 7,000 mile-per-hour maneuvering strike vehicle, and Russia is developing high-speed weapons and reportedly tested a hypersonic weapon in February.

Haney said the Pentagon is developing capabilities that can be used to counter hypersonic arms.

Stratcom is in charge of U.S. nuclear weapons and warfighting, and is tasked with protecting and countering threats to strategic space systems and cyberspace, which is used for command and control of both conventional and nuclear weapons.

China was testing extreme maneuvers of the mach 10 (7860 mph) prototype.

Unlike ballistic rockets that re-enter in a predictable path, a hypersonic weapon would be able to constantly change direction.

Russia has been working on the Yu-71 hypersonic vehicle for the last several years. Russia conducted the latest test of its hypersonic missile on February 26, but it was unsuccessful.

Pavel Podvig, a co-author of the Jane's report, said that the flight test was released atop an SS-19 missile into near space. The missile was launched from the Dombarovsky missile base. The hypersonic vehicle is part of the secret program Project 4022. Over the past five years, Russia has stepped up efforts on its hypersonic missile program to penetrate the U.S. missile defenses.

Russia could produce up to 24 nuclear-capable Yu-71 between 2020 and 2025. Russia is planning to deploy both nuclear as well as conventional configuration. The United States is also developing a hypersonic missile for its Prompt Global Strike program.

Even though both Wu-14 and Yu-71 are nuclear capable, the Chinese program has been more successful.

Ballastic missile flight profile compared to hypersonic x-51 release from B52

The US Air Force and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) are developing a hypersonic glide delivery vehicle that could deploy on a modified Peacekeeper land-based ballistic missile—a system known as the conventional strike missile (CSM). In FY2008, Congress created a single, combined fund to support research and development for the CPGS mission. Congress appropriated $65.4 million for this program in FY2014 and $95.6 million in FY2015; the Obama Administration has requested $78.8 million for FY2016.

The US Army is also developing a hypersonic glide vehicle, known as the advanced hypersonic weapon (AHW). Like the HTV-2, the AHW would use a hypersonic glider to deliver a conventional payload, but could be deployed on a booster with a shorter range than HTV-2 and, therefore, may need to be deployed forward, on land or at sea.

DOD plans to spend a total of $887.5 million over the next five years. The increase supports planned flight tests in 2017 and 2020.

Thinfilm has deal for 1.3 billion units of printed smart memory tags per year and can roll to roll print one kilometer of memory

At the 8-11 minute portion of this video, there is discussion that Thinfilm Norway has had printed memory for a while. The memory only has 20 bits of memory in the square centimeter or so of space. This is enough to count to one million or so. Now they have a deal with Xerox to apply these counters to Xerox ink cartridges so that you will know exactly when to replace the cartridge. Each one costs less than one dollar. The volume licensing deal from Xerox likekly will be a penny or a few pennies per cartridge.

High end electronics still require silicon electronics. Low end electronics that you want cheap, large area and everywhere then you want to use printed electronics.

Two important trends are coming together—the advent of low-cost, disposable electronics and the proliferation of near field communication (NFC) protocols, particularly in smart devices.

Thinfilm is producing electronics in a fundamentally new way, using roll-to-roll printing. This allows electronic labels that offer a cost-per-function untouchable by any other technology. Rather than $15+ for integrated systems, Thinfilm will be able to produce electronic labels with memory, sensing, display, and/or wireless communications for tens of cents. We are currently producing memory labels on a high-volume, roll-to-roll process, producing electronics by the kilometer. We have also shown our proof-of-concept for the first integrated systems, Thinfilm’s temperature-sensing label, combining sensing, data storage, and display. With over a decade and a half of R&D behind us, printed electronics has come of age.

Though many of Thinfilm’s initial electronic labels will be stand-alone (such as a temperature indicator on a package), an even greater number will be readable via close-proximity wireless communications. One example is reading by NFC-enabled devices such as smart phones. Other systems, though, will use proprietary protocols to establish product differentiation.

The Internet of Things is accelerating, and with cheap, disposable electronics, the applications are numerous. Temperature-sensing devices able to electronically record and communicate min/max temperatures at 1/10th the price of silicon alternatives. Sensors that can record exposure to light, humidity, and even toxic gases. Dynamic pricing displays that automatically discount a product after a certain period of time, or electronic shelf labels that are lightweight, flexible, and disposable. One-time-use medical devices such as a blood oxygen sensor for use in home care. Memory devices that allow authentication of a branded refill in consumer packaged goods.

Smart memory on a plastic card

Sheet of NFC barcode chips

“Smart Wine Bottle” using Printed Electronics to stop counterfeiting of millions of bottles wine and leading to internet of everything

Thin Film Electronics ASA (Thinfilm), a global leader in the development of printed electronics and smart systems, today announced a partnership with the G World Group (G World), a global authentication company specializing in transparency and accountability solutions. The partnership will unveil the industry’s first “smart wine bottle” built using printed electronics technology at GSMA’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) Shanghai 2015

This “smart wine bottle” will feature Thinfilm’s patent-pending NFC OpenSense™ tags and G World’s globally patented SAMSCAN process, providing a compelling choice to global consumers for the purchase of authentic produce and consumables while delivering significant anti-counterfeit protocols for the agricultural and beverage industries. The G World system will also deliver on the new Free Trade Agreement initiatives between Australia and China, facilitating trade between the two countries by providing a transparent and accountable system for producers, governments and consumers.

Following MWC, G World and Thinfilm will execute a live field trial in collaboration with Ferngrove Wine Group, a Chinese-owned, Western Australia premium wine company. Ferngrove is a major supplier of five-star red wine to the APAC region and exports more than 600,000 bottles annually to China alone. With more than 50 designated retail outlets throughout China, Ferngrove provides a direct line of sight from the vineyard to the Chinese consumer.

G World has placed a 7-figure unit order for NFC OpenSense™ tags as part of the agreement with Thinfilm and in conjunction with the planned Ferngrove field trial.

Smart label talks to your smartphone and provide information. If the bottle was opened. It can direct you to marketing information. It can authenticate the bottle

Thinfilm specializes in printing electronics. They produce the only commercial printed rewritable memory, and are now adding additional functionality to our product line, including logic, sensing, display, and wireless communication.

Their smart devices with temperature sensing and other features sell for $1-2 each depending upon volume. You can pack one into a shipping container to know if the product was exposed to temperatures outside of the acceptable range. They sell a lot of devices for anti-theft security (ie fashion and clothes retail).

Printed electronics technology, real-time sensing capability, and near-field communication (NFC) functionality.

Thinfilm is a Norway-based company focused on expanding the traditional Internet of Things into a much broader Internet of Everything using the benefits of printed electronics. Thinfilm’s NFC Barcode and Smart Label product platforms use 13.56MHz Near Field Communication (NFC) technology to communicate from Thinfilm labels (placed on everyday things, at the item level rather than the box/palette/case level) to NFC capable devices, including smartphones and industrial readers. The 128-bit NFC Barcode is manufactured on Thinfilm’s printed-dopant polysilicon (PDPS) manufacturing platform, which enables high-performance transistors capable of handling wireless communication and NFC frequencies and data rates. The payload consists of a mix of fixed ID ROM bits, which cannot be electrically modified for security purposes, and dynamic bits that can the assigned to sensors. Thinfilm recently announced OpenSense technology, which transmits information about the state of a seal (factory sealed or previously opened) to a smartphone. This is being demonstrated in Barcelona in the form of a Johnnie Walker whisky Smart Bottle, which can communicate a unique identification number and dynamic sensing data to a smartphone. The OpenSense technology can lead to improved consumer engagement and can be used to verify authenticity of the underlying product while the seal is still intact. Next, Thinfilm’s temperature sensing Smart Labels integrate batteries, sensing circuitry, optional visual printed electrochromic displays, and NFC wireless transmission function into a single self-contained smart sensing system. These systems use NFC to tell a smartphone or other compatible device whether a food or pharmaceutical shipment stayed within specified temperature limits or whether it became too hot or too cold during transport. That simple data can help caretakers, retailers, and supply chain partners to make smart decisions by providing a real time indication of the temperature behavior (within limits vs. exceeded limits), and the big data pushed to the cloud with every interaction will help brand owners and others to make smarter business decisions based on trends captured by thousands or even millions of units active at any point in time

Argentina buying 18 Israeli Kfir Fighter Planes

Argentina is negotiating the purchase of a batch of Israel Aerospace Industries Kfir Block 60 fighters.

The Block 60 is the latest upgraded version of the Kfir, which was used by the Israeli air force between 1975 and 1994. Some aircraft are being offered with General Electric J79 engines with zero hours following a complete overhaul, while other examples would need to have this work performed after their powerplant reaches 1,600 flight hours.

The upgraded fighter will carry an Elta Systems EL/M-2032 active electronically scanned array radar, which can operate in simultaneous air-to-air and air-to-surface modes and is capable of tracking up to 64 targets. Its open architecture design will also allow the customer to integrate other systems, industry sources say. Argentina could pursue a deal to acquire 18 of the combat aircraft from Israel.

There are currently a combined 36 Kfirs in operational use with the air forces of Colombia (pictured), Ecuador and Sri Lanka.

China's FC-1 Xiaolong, a multirole fighter jointly developed by China and Pakistan also known as the JF-17 Thunder, had a lower price but China would not provide anti-ship missiles because of pressure from the UK.

The UK imported $26 billion of goods from China in 2014 Argentina imported $10.4 billion from China in 2014.

Facebook getting close to 10 gigabit per second internet delivered from solar powered drones with 737 wingspan

Facebook successfully tested a new laser that can transmit data at 10 gigabits per second. That's ten times faster than any previous system, and it can accurately connect with a point the size of a dime from more than 10 miles away. Facebook's Aquila is a solar powered unmanned plane that beams down Internet connectivity from the sky. It has the wingspan of a Boeing 737, but weighs less than a car and can stay in the air for months at a time.

Aquila is "a very lightweight, very large wingspan aircraft capable of flying above normal airliners, above 60,000 feet, for up to three months at a time," Andy Cox, engineering lead for the Facebook aviation team

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