Solar cells from Semprius are a bit different. Each module contains hundreds of solar cells, arranged under lenses that concentrate sunlight 1,100 times. Each gallium arsenide cell is about the width of a line drawn by a ballpoint pen. These cells absorb light from several parts of the spectrum and dissipate heat well, making them around 33.9% efficient. That's a new high in efficiency for solar cells.


SENSITIVE SKATING: The ZBoard is an electric skateboard that uses weight-sensors to control movement, speed and braking. Lean forward to go and lean back to stop. Front and rear footpads determine how much force the rider is applying to control speed. The 400 W electric motor can take a rider up to 16 Km at up to 27 Kph, while off-road wheels let you choose where to skate. The Classic model uses a Sealed Lead Acid battery, while the Pro has a Lithium Ion Phosphate battery. Travelling at that speed on a skateboard - watch for pedestrians. ZBoard has more info. Check out the video.


SPACE BY WIRE: Japan's Obayashi Corp has a project to build an elevator in 2050. Not just any elevator though — this one would stretch into space. Carbon nanotubes would be used to create cables 20 times stronger than steel. Their project would stretch cables 96,000 Km, with one end anchored to the ground and the other to a counterweight in space. A terminal at 36,000 Km would house living quarters and laboratories. The trip, at 200 Kph would take around 7 days. After you. The Daily Yomiuri elaborates.

REAL BUILDINGS: Students from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology created inreal to help people actually see how architectural plans will translate into actual offices and homes, rather than just having to use their imagination. A head-mounted display includes 3D video glasses with integrated high-resolution motion sensors. A controller, 3D display, and tablet allow the architect to change any aspect of the plans and allow the client to see the changes as they're made. It'd be interesting to turn that round and use it for clients to provide better descriptions of what they actually want. Check out Karlsruhe Institute of Technology for more.

THE LITTLE THINGS: Maybe you're out hiking when you spot something unusual, and wish you had your microscope with you to examine it more closely. With the microscope module for smartphones from VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland you'll soon be sorted. The thin plastic macro lens includes LED lights for illumination and is accurate to one hundredth of a millimetre. The microscope also has more serious uses, such as in health care or in industries such as printing where a close visual check is important for quality control. If it's cheap enough, why not carry one? VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland explains.

- Miraz Jordan knowit.co.nz