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New Research Results

Thermoelectric module 05/20/2016

Development of an 11 % Conversion Efficiency Thermoelectric Module
–Achieved with thermoelectric materials having controlled nano-sized structures, a big step toward the realization of power generation using waste heat –

AIST has developed a thermoelectric module with conversion efficiency of 11%. Until now, it has been difficult to exceed a thermoelectric figure of merit ZT = 1.0 in thermoelectric materials, or 7 % conversion efficiency in thermoelectric modules. In the present research, the researchers have achieved ZT = 1.8 by forming magnesium telluride (MgTe) nanostructures in a sintered compact of lead telluride (PbTe)-based thermoelectric material. Furthermore, they have developed an electrode material that contacts relatively well electrically and thermally with the PbTe sintered compact containing the MgTe nanostructures, achieving a conversion efficiency of 11 % in the thermoelectric module.

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Symbiosis with stinkbugs 11/21/2016

Symbiotic bacteria evolving from environmental bacteria
– Ongoing evolution of symbiosis observed in natural insect populations across the Japanese archipelago –

AIST have discovered that gut symbiotic bacteria of the brown-winged green stinkbug Plautia stali, an agricultural pest requires gut symbiotic bacteria for its survival, and that populations of P. stali, in mainland Japan and the southwestern islands have different gut symbiotic bacteria. All populations in mainland Japan have a specific symbiont species, whereas the populations in the southwestern islands are associated with cultivable symbiotic bacteria and potentially symbiotic environmental bacteria. These results indicate that gut bacterial symbiosis of P. stali in the southwestern islands is not so established as in the mainland Japan, still being in a dynamic evolutionary course. The findings may contribute to understanding of the origin and evolution of symbiosis, and understanding and control of the adaptation mechanisms of insect pests to the environment.

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Remote control for robot 09/20/2016

Layer 2-based Wireless Relay Network for Robot Control under Non Line-of-Sight Environments
–Successfully Demonstrated a Remote Control for Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle beyond the Line-of-Sight via a Hovering Drone–

AIST and NICT have demonstrated remote operation and monitoring of a small unmanned ground vehicle beyond the line-of-sight from the operator via a hovering drone up in the sky. The control communication link is continuously maintained with the layer 2-based fast access control technique, even when the relay route frequently changes due to the movement of the robots. The conventional techniques have problems in continuity every time the relay route changes and the communication link is disconnected, which results in momentarily losing control of the robot. This technology will help to achieve tough robot systems operational in poor radio propagation environments caused by obstacles.

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High-pressure hydrogen 11/17/2016

Development of Continuous High-Pressure Hydrogen Supply Method without any Compressor
– Towards the building of a compact hydrogen fueling station using formic acid –

AIST has developed a technology that can easily and continuously produce high-pressure hydrogen of 40 MPa without any compressor through the decomposition of formic acid, which is a hydrogen carrier, into hydrogen and carbon dioxide, in the presence of iridium complex as a catalyst. Since generated carbon dioxide and hydrogen are under high pressure, carbon dioxide can be liquefied and separated easily from the generated gases, producing high-pressure hydrogen solely. Furthermore, theoretical yield of high-pressure hydrogen was 200 MPa or higher, therefore the developed technology possesses sufficient capability of supplying high-pressure hydrogen (70 MPa) to fuel cell vehicles.

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Electro-conductive wrap 11/25/2016

Development of an Electro-conductive Transparent Plastic Wrap
– Will lead to sensors on fresh food packaging –

AIST has developed electro-conductive transparent plastic wrap in collaboration with Tokusen Kogyo Co., Ltd. Using the high-strength, high-elasticity metal wire with the world’s smallest diameter developed by Tokusen Kogyo, AIST has developed a process for incorporating the wire in the shape of wave between two sheets of flexible film. This process makes it possible to fabricate electro-conductive plastic wrap that is simultaneously highly elastic, transparent, electrically stable, and strong. This transparent plastic wrap has applications including sensor-equipped packaging for perishable food and sensors mounted on curved surfaces, and is expected to contribute to the popularization of free-form sensors.

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Geological Survey of Japan 04/01/2015

Understanding and living with the Earth

Geological information is essential for a country like Japan, located at a tectonically active area, to ensure a safe and secure society. The Geological Survey of Japan gathers, compiles, and provides geological information and promotes its wider use. We also develop technologies to overcome various difficulties related to global environment protection, exploration of minerals and energy resources, and natural disaster mitigation, and coordinate international cooperation as a national representative.

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Remote control for robot 09/20/2016

Layer 2-based Wireless Relay Network for Robot Control under Non Line-of-Sight Environments
–Successfully Demonstrated a Remote Control for Small Unmanned Ground Vehicle beyond the Line-of-Sight via a Hovering Drone–

AIST and NICT have demonstrated remote operation and monitoring of a small unmanned ground vehicle beyond the line-of-sight from the operator via a hovering drone up in the sky. The control communication link is continuously maintained with the layer 2-based fast access control technique, even when the relay route frequently changes due to the movement of the robots. The conventional techniques have problems in continuity every time the relay route changes and the communication link is disconnected, which results in momentarily losing control of the robot. This technology will help to achieve tough robot systems operational in poor radio propagation environments caused by obstacles.

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