Let’s take a little time for a discovery that may make the world a little better: a thermoelectric cooler that’s so small, the naked eye can’t see it.
It’s a project out of UCLA, which called it the world’s smallest “refrigerator,” though they put the word “refrigerator” in quotes because it’s not quite what you’d install in your kitchen. Yet.
Thermoelectric devices have been around for decades, because they’re pretty useful.
They have semiconductors in between metal plates, and when you add heat, they create electricity.
That’s the process that’s powering the Voyagers 1 and 2, out beyond the solar system.
Or, you can add heat to the device and it will work in reverse, making one side hot and the other cold.
Many computers and other devices stay cool this way.
The UCLA project made the smallest thermoelectric coolers ever, only 100 nanometers thick.
But they didn’t do it to power really tiny laptops.
The hope is that by starting small, they can eventually find a way to make the cooling process super-efficient.
If that happens, they can scale up, maybe even making super-efficient thermoelectric refrigerators that would have fewer parts than the ones we use now with all those fluids and compressors and everything.
That’s still a ways off in the future.
For now, though, if you have little bags of grapes or tiny soda bottles you need to keep cool, they can probably hook you up.
Today is the International Day of Sign Languages, and I’d like to celebrate one of the best ever uses of sign language, or any language: sign language interpreters at heavy metal concerts.
In sign language you use facial expressions and other gestures to not only make words but to convey emotions, and when the metal is coming at you, the interpreters are completely into it, as shown in this YouTube video called “10 Epic Sign Language Interpreters at Metal Shows.”
International Day of Sign Languages (United Nations)