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A New Take on Renewable Energy


Bleeding-edge scientists are already looking into ways to take your coal-sucking cluster and turn it into a model of green, but here at GT we’re even ahead of them. Can’t afford thousands of dollars every month just to power your supercomputer? Here are our favorite ideas for alternative ways to power that cluster — and keep your postdocs in shape, too.

Solar power

Here’s the latest trend in nerd self-identification: clothing and accessories with solar panels on them. Granted, these were invented to power small devices, such as your cell phone or iPod. But we’re willing to bet if you outfitted your lab staff with these backpacks and got them to spend enough time outside, you could get a compute cluster up and running.

Stomp power

A couple of students at MIT have been working to harness the energy used in every footstep, and to that end they came up with a design for a special floor that can convert the energy from footfalls, or any other kind of motion, into electrical power. James Graham and Thaddeus Jusczyk call it “crowd farming” and estimate that just over 84 million footsteps could launch a space shuttle. GT says: install the special flooring outside your institution’s cafeteria and, if possible, wherever concerts are held. If you can’t cover the entire floor, just focus on where the mosh pit usually forms.

Bike power

A company called SiCortex unveiled this concept at Wired magazine’s NextFest meeting earlier this fall. The cluster is powered by the energy generated from seven or eight bicycles (we assume this task would be relegated to postdocs, but you can make that call for yourself). No word from SiCortex on what happens when your cyclists need a bathroom break, but you sure can’t beat the price tag.

The Scan

Study Examines Insights Gained by Adjunct Trio RNA Sequencing in Complex Pediatric Disease Cases

Researchers in AJHG explore the diagnostic utility of adding parent-child RNA-seq to genome sequencing in dozens of families with complex, undiagnosed genetic disease.

Clinical Genomic Lab Survey Looks at Workforce Needs

Investigators use a survey approach in Genetics in Medicine Open to assess technologist applications, retention, and workforce gaps at molecular genetics and clinical cytogenetics labs in the US.

Study Considers Gene Regulatory Features Available by Sequence-Based Modeling

Investigators in Genome Biology set sequence-based models against observational and perturbation assay data, finding distal enhancer models lag behind promoter predictions.

Genetic Testing Approach Explores Origins of Blastocyst Aneuploidy

Investigators in AJHG distinguish between aneuploidy events related to meiotic missegregation in haploid cells and those involving post-zygotic mitotic errors and mosaicism.