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MM: Nanocrystal Night Vision; John Deere's Electric Tractor Concept

In this Manufacturing Minute episode, achieving night vision with nanocrystals and a look at John Deere’s electric tractor concept.

Nanocrystal Night Vision

Humans are horrible at being able to see in the dark, which is why we invented night vision goggles, but goggles can be bulky, requiring layers of lenses and power. But researchers from the Australian National could give a standard pair of glasses night visions powers, without adding any weight.

To accomplish this, the nanocrystal converts incoming photons from infrared light into other photons on the visible spectrum, allowing the human eye to see in the dark, without added electricity. In other words, the nanocrystals directly covert light to light, changing the color and frequency so the human eye can see. The nanocrystals could also find applications in imaging cells, anti-counterfeiting measures or holograms.

The prototype contains just a single nanoparticle, 300 nanometers wide, but an array of thousands or millions of them would create a metamaterial surface that can be applied to glasses as an ultra-thin film, enabling night vision. Additionally, individual nanocrystals, or segments of them, could be tuned to different frequencies to capture as much light as possible. 

Currently, the technology requires intense light to make the conversion, but researchers hope that further work will improve its efficiency. 


Could these nanocrystals be a breakthrough in vision? What other vision applications could these particles be used for? Tell us what you think by leaving your comments below. 

John Deere’s Electric Tractor Concept

This week agriculture and construction equipment manufacturer John Deere unveiled a product it believes embodies the future of the industry: an all-electric concept tractor. 

Dubbed the SESAM (Sustainable Energy Supply for Agricultural Machinery) tractor, John Deere says this concept is an initial step toward a zero local-emissions tractor. Essentially, the concept (as it exists now) is a gutted version of its JD 6R model. It features a massive battery bank in the front, as well as dual electric motors capable of up to 130 kilowatts of continuous power.
Plus, an advantage of the dual motors is that it can be set to three modes: all drive can go to the wheels, to the power take-off shaft or split up between both. 

Right now, the tractor battery can only last for about four hours, which isn’t ideal. But the tractor is just a concept after all. Plus, and perhaps more importantly, it signals that more products designed for zero-emissions farming could be on the horizon.


What do you think about John Deere’s all-electric tractor concept? Can you see this technology playing a larger role within farming in general? Tweet me your thoughts @MnetNews or comment in the section below.

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