How to Harden Puerto Rico’s Grid Against Hurricanes

Community microgrids, rooftop solar, and battery storage would help Puerto Rico weather the next big storm

12 min read
Installation of rooftop solar.
Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/AP

Rooftop solar installation.Resilience: The yearlong blackout following Hurricane Maria underscored the fragility of Puerto Rico’s power grid. Since then, installations of rooftop solar combined with battery storage have soared.Photo: Dennis M. Rivera Pichardo/AP

Another devastating hurricane season winds down in the Caribbean. As in previous years, we are left with haunting images of entire neighborhoods flattened, flooded streets, and ruined communities. This time it was the Bahamas, where damage was estimated at US $7 billion and at least 50 people were confirmed dead, with the possibility of many more fatalities yet to be discovered.

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Emmy Award Winner’s Algorithms Bring High-Quality Video to Your TV

He is working on making high-res images for the metaverse

5 min read
portrait of Alan Bovik
Alan Bovik

Alan Conrad Bovik’s passion for science fiction inspired him to pursue a career in engineering. His favorite sci-fi authors when he was young were Arthur C. Clarke, who penned 2001: A Space Odyssey, and Isaac Asimov, author of the Foundation series. Bovik says they wrote from a “very scientific point of view”—which made him want to help develop aerospace technology that would send humans “to other worlds.”

But he decided to study nuclear engineering in school—which then seemed like the future of energy. He discovered, however, that he didn't like the subject because it “required too much chemistry and memorization,” he says with a laugh. When he took a course in computer programming, he fell in love with it and ended up changing his major to computer engineering.

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Stretchable Artificial Nerves Help Restore Motion in Mice

New neuroprosthetic approach is more flexible and less power hungry than other designs

2 min read
illustration of a paralyzed mouse and a moving mouse

A paralyzed mouse with a spinal cord injury or motor-neuron disease [left] and a mouse that has recovered voluntary motor function by using stretchable artificial nerves [right].

Stanford University

Conventional neuroprosthetic devices that aim to help patients bypass nerve damage are often rigid and power hungry. Now scientists have developed stretchable artificial nerves that helped paralyzed mice run on a treadmill and kick a ball while consuming less than one-hundredth of the power of a typical microprocessor. The scientists suggest these artificial nerves may one day be used in the human body.

To help restore movement to patients who have suffered nerve damage from injuries or diseases, scientists are researching neuroprosthetic devices that can help relay signals from the brain to muscles or nerves. However, these systems often face a number of critical limitations, says study co–senior author Tae-Woo Lee, a materials scientist at Seoul National University.

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A Multiphysics Approach to Designing Fuel Cells for Electric Vehicles

White paper on fuel cell modeling and simulation

1 min read
Comsol Logo
Comsol

Fuel cell electric vehicles (FCEVs) often reach higher energy density and exhibit greater efficiency than battery EVs; however, they also have high manufacturing costs, limited service life, and relatively low power density.

Modeling and simulation can improve fuel cell design and optimize EV performance. Learn more in this white paper.