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‘Starbound’ will be ready for everyone on July 22nd

When Chucklefish said that Starbound was nearly ready after about 5 years of sitting in Steam’s Early Access program, it wasn’t joking around. The developer has revealed that the finished game will launch on July 22nd for Linux, Mac and Windows. Besides opening access to those people who aren’t willing to try pre-release code, this is really about fleshing out Starbound beyond its sandbox roots — the long-awaited version 1.0 will give you honest-to-goodness missions, characters and stories. There are promises of more features in the pipeline, too, so think of this more as a milestone in the title’s development than an endpoint.

If you’re not familiar, Starbound is best described as a 2D, sci-fi take on Minecraft that shares some strong parallels with Terraria. Outside of the story, your main goals are to explore and survive a procedurally-generated world thanks to making and upgrading your gear. It’s hard to say if this formula will impress newcomers who weren’t willing to try an Early Access game, but there’s no shortage of players when Chucklefish racked up over 1 million sales as of the start of 2014.

Via: Polygon

Source: Chucklefish

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Existing EV batteries could be recharged five times faster

Lithium-ion batteries have massively improved in the last half-decade, but there are still issues. The biggest, especially for EVs, is that charging takes too long to make them as useful as regular cars for highway driving. Researchers from the University of Warwick (WMG) have discovered that we may not need to be so patient, though. They developed a new type of sensor that measures internal battery temperatures and discovered that we can probably recharge them up to five times quicker without overheating problems.

Overcharging a lithium-ion battery anode can lead to lithium buildup, which can break through a battery's separator, create a short-circuit and cause catastrophic failure. That can cause the electrolyte to emit gases and literally blow up the battery, so manufacturers impose strict charging power limits to prevent it.

Those limits are based on hard-to-measure internal temperatures, however, which is where the WMG probe comes in. It's a fiber optic sensor, protected by a chemical layer that can be directly inserted into a lithium-ion cell to give highly precise thermal measurements without affecting its performance.

The team tested the sensor on standard 18650 li-ion cells, used in Tesla's Model S and X, among other EVs. They discovered that they can be charged five times faster than previously thought without damage. Such speeds would reduce battery life, but if used judiciously, the impact would be minimized, said lead researcher Dr. Tazdin Amietszajew.

Faster charging as always comes at the expense of overall battery life but many consumers would welcome the ability to charge a vehicle battery quickly when short journey times are required and then to switch to standard charge periods at other times.

There's still some work to do. While the research showed the li-ion cells can support higher temperatures, EVs and charging systems would have to have "precisely tuned profiles/limits" to prevent problems. It's also not clear how battery makers would install the sensors in the cells.

Nevertheless, it shows a lot of promise for much faster charging speeds in the near future. Even if battery capacities stayed the same, charging in 5 minutes instead of 25 could flip a lot of drivers over to the green side.

Via: Clean Technica

Source: University of Warwick

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