Archive for the ‘Graphene’ Category

Snap Sci-Fi – “A Close Shave”   Leave a comment


A Close Shave

Damn them, thought Ranger Radsusky. Didn’t I tell them to go away?

It all started innocently enough. After tinkering around with an old electric shaver she found in the bathroom cabinet, inspiration struck fierce, sizzling her brain with concepts and plans.

“Hmm, let’s see,” she said as she held up the graphene synthesizer in her sunny, garden-girded laboratory. “I’ll put this shaver here on the 3D model conceptualizer, plug in an aerodynamics structure, maybe even a thruster or two. Then I’ll hit the send and blend button.”

Radsusky heard a tinny, unamplified series of musical notes in the distance. “Who’s calling me now?” she said, and turned to leave the room.

Big eyed cat

Mr. Widdles, Radsusky’s inquisitive cat, slunk into the lab through a slightly ajar French window. His feeding implementor Stood in the next room, talking into a small, flat slab of glass and metal. He sniffed around in the meantime.  A flat tray under some kind of big box held a few items of interest. Say, what’s this? Food? Inching closer, he pressed his paws against a tab. Quicker than a flash, the box lit up and weird, strange buzzing noises rattled his eardrums. He ran off, seeking a quieter spot on top of the kitchen counter.

Without warning, the entire laboratory building shook, its foundations cracking. Radsusky threw down her phone and ran into her lab, only to notice four ginormous robotish razors rose from the 3D model conceptualizer. While their bodies resembled electric razors, the cord morphed into some kind of segmented legs. The on-off-clean now lights turned into eyeballs. The bits and pieces of an aerodynamic structure wound up as a kind of wing. Thrusters became fire-shooting appendages. She let out a sigh.

Rough Woman

“Jeez, I can’t even leave for five to talk to my mother? By the look of things, it’s going to be rough from now on,” she said. “These guys aren’t going to play fair. Sheesh, I didn’t have a chance to insert the morals chip. Who’d even believe this? Can’t even think who to call to stop ’em. I’d better get out of here. This roof’s about to crash.”

Sure enough, as soon as Radsusky left the lab, immense bodies rose up from the tray and continued to grow in size and strength. As they did, the lab collapsed around them.

“Go away! Shoo! Beat it!” she yelled, “Go pick on someone your own size!”

One eyed her, raised its arm, set fire to the bushes, and headed towards her. Razor-Bot meant business, and she was its first order of destruction.

“KNOCK IT OFF,” she yelled back, and grabbed a piece of rubble. She flung it hard and fast, sending it directly into Razor-Bot’s eye.

“I’m fed up! Do you hear me–FED UP! I created you! How dare you treat me with such disrespect! Get out of here – NOW!”

Fed Up Woman

One more fling of her lab’s foundation smacked into Razor-Bot’s face. It sent a stream of fire in response. Fortunately, its siblings took off for the field next door, seeing newer venues to destruct. And they were heading right for her friend’s anti-battalion defenses!

“Oh, god…I better’d tell Susie! She’s going to be really pissed if they mess with her nuclear rockets. She just finished putting a new hood on the silo, too.”

She picked through the rubble of her lab and managed to locate her phone. Thank goodness it remained close to the surface. Pressing the speed dial number, Radsusky reached Susie quickly and explained the situation.

“When are you gonna learn?” Susie said, sounding as if she’d had enough of her shenanigans. “I’m really sick of having to chase after your experiments.”

“This’ll be the last time,” Radsusky promised.”

“Liar,” said Susie, and hung up the phone. In her living room stood her munitions cabinet. She glanced at the most suitable tactical anti-bot devices and selected the perfect destroyer.

Not a moment too soon.

Her floor rumbled and wavered. China clinked in the closets. The swag light swayed. “Guess that’s my signal to clean up this mess,” she said, and headed out the door.

Razor-Bots lumbered at a quick clip across her field, heading directly for her nuclear armaments.

“Not today,” Susie said as aimed right for the intruders. She gave the Bot Blaster’s trigger a tight squeeze and shot four times.

Shooting woman

The earth shook as their bot-bodies tumbled and fell, leaving welts in the field where they lay. For a moment, whirring noises could be heard from their insides, until a tall column of steam spewed forth.

“Guess it’s over with,” Susie mumbled as she headed towards them. She kicked the sides of each one of them, hearing only the echo of an empty body of graphene and the ruined promise of an ill-conceived accident gone awry.

Copyright Gretchen Weerheim June 15, 2016



Faster, Stronger, Better – Now!   Leave a comment


Credit: Nanotech Magazine, December 2 2014 issue

How can one humble carbon atom change the world?  This mighty element, the giver of life of all that inhabits the universe, never ceases to wonder those who study it, apply it and make good use of its properties.  It’s responsible for planets, stars, people, steel, lighting, pencils – if there’s something to use, then it’s a safe bet carbon might have had a hand in it.

But you don’t need a whole truckload of the stuff to create something wonderful.  All you need is the tiniest of dabs, smaller than a dot.  Graphene, a carbon-based material only one atom in thickness and arranged in a honeycomb lattice, is what Superman is to humans – nearly indestructible.  Yet, in its simplest of forms, it’s not visible.  Stack it, however, and you have a mighty material even the most powerful of action heroes would have a tough time dismantling.

Haydale, a Welsh firm that specializes in the use of graphene, entered the limitless future of working with this one-atom thick miracle of carbon.  One of their projects is partnering with four other European firms to create biosensors for use in the medical field.  These biosensors will be used to detect the presence of pesticides, airborne pathogens, drug residues and more.

Graphene isn’t new news to the nanotech world.  Neither are metamaterials.

Metamaterials are constructed with subcomponents that are smaller than the wavelength of the radiation they are designed to manipulate.  Additionally, they contain properties that bend light, radio, sound and seismic waves in ways that don’t naturally occur.  There’s also testing to see if their properties can enhance magnification, dampen earthquake tremors, block the sun from damaging skin, among other applications.

What’s trending, though, is the combination of the two tiny technologies to produce giant wonders.  Now, when the two are combined, near-miraculous innovations occur. Coatings that deflect lasers is one application. The imagination is limitless when it comes to others.

Imagine a sheet of paper electronically charged, composed entirely of graphene and metamaterials.  There’s something like that already in the works.  Cars become safer, MRIs, X-Rays, most medical equipment completely rethought and repurposed.  Even cloaking capabilities, a necessary requirement of every single mode of off-world transportation in science fiction can theoretically become fact.

Look at it this way: carbon is the giver of life, in all its useful purposes and applications.  It’s an immortal being, utterly without prejudice.  Give it a task, it’ll handle it with pride.

If only the other carbon construction – humans – were so flexible, imagine the kind of place our world would be today.



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