Thursday, August 28, 2008
While not really intended for developed countries the start up M2E Power, based in Boise Idaho, announced that it will start selling a cell-phone charger next year that can convert every day movement into energy for cell phones. The micro-generator device is designed to convert regular motion, like walking the dog, grocery shopping etc into power with the charger said to be able to convert six hours of everyday movement into an hour of talk time. In the future, the company planes to embed its micro-generator with integrated battery storage system into the mobile phone itself. While not really suitable for developed nations with good electric infrastructure the motion-harvesting mobiles fill a real need in developing nations with inadequate power grids, off the grid adventurers, or most importantly the military.
More at Businessweek
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
Read more here
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
Conics.net was foolish enough to lend us a Sony Z90 US 13.1” notebook computer for several days and here is our video review. This sucker Smokes! It honestly is the fastest laptop we have played with due to its Centrino 2 CPU. It came with the works, 2.8GHz CPU, 320GB HDD, 4GB DDR3 RAM, and Blue-Ray drive. (Correction, video says 7200RPM drive but it is really a 5400RPM) Not just fast, this thing can play any HD 1080p video without working up a sweat. In fact, we played 2 HD videos simultaneously with not a stutter or hiccup. If you need a Crysis graphics crunching laptop this is the one but it will cost yah as isn’t cheap. The top of the line VAIO Z90 goes for almost $4000 but what would you expect from a notebook more powerful than most high end desktops. Available at Conics.net.
Friday, August 22, 2008
A nice relaxing claymation zombie movie from Japan called Chainsaw Maid. Now before you watch, I won’t lie to you, there is a lot of clay blood. What does this have to do with Power or gadgets? Chainsaw… Maid… Zombies… clay Blood? Need I say more?
A bit more info at the director’s website. Via Japanprobe
Developed by MIT engineers, Micorbatteris which are about half the size of a human cell and built with viruses could power a range of miniature devices. While the batteries have not yet been built yet, 2 of the 3 main components have already been tested according to an article published in the Academy of Sciences which describes the assembling and testing of the new technology. The researchers used a common technique called soft lithography to create a pattern of tiny posts on a on a clear, rubbery material. On top of these posts, they then deposited several layers of two polymers that together act as the solid electrolyte and battery separator. Next the anode was formed by the a viruses that self-assemble atop the polymer layers on the posts. Creating the batteries does not require any special expensive equipment and can be done at room temperature. No word yet on when these batteries will be available.
More at Physorg
Eco Architecture or the art of growing your own furniture, structure, or shelter out of trees is now ready to for the big time as a new company, Plantware, plans to roll out these structures worldwide. Shaping living trees into useful objects, known as tree shaping or arborsculpture has been around for years but now the company had been able to implement the trees into park benches, playground structures, streetlamps and even gates. “The approach is a new application of the well-known botanical phenomenon of aerial root development,” says Prof. Eshel of TVU. “Instead of using plant branches, this patented approach takes malleable roots and shapes them into useful objects for indoors and out.” Not happy with just single structures Plantware’s CEO Gordon Glaze betting that entire homes will be constructed with the eco-friendly technology and hopes the first home prototype will be ready in about a decade.
More at ScienceDaily
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Umit Ozkan, professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at Ohio State University, said that the new catalyst is much less expensive than others being developed around the world, because it does not contain precious metals, such as platinum or rhodium.
Read more here
Here is a Video Review and impressions of the Sharp D4 after a several days of getting our grubby mitts on it. First off the Sharp D4 comes with a full Intel ATOM chipset and 1.33GHz CPU, 1GB of RAM, and 40GB HDD and is billed as the smallest ATOM based UMPC running Vista. Shame on Sharp for not having the option to upgrade the RAM to 2GB as no Vista computer should be sold with less. With all that said, the computer did perform decently with RAM never being an issue and was a nifty little tablet to have around. We loved the way sharp integrated the mouse into the screen bezel as it was very natural to use it this way. The screen was also typical Sharp goodness enforcing Sharps reputation as the best LCD maker in the industry. However, all was not rosy with the D4. The biggest annoyance was the 1-1.5 hour battery life with the standard battery. We got to use the device with the large battery which made the device much more useful with a 4 + hour battery life. We also didn’t like the keyboard which required too much force to press the keys down in our view. We got to compare the D4 to a Sony UX92 early in the movie so have a look.
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
More pictures at Ubergizmo
More pictures at Jkkmobile
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
Over the course of the Earth's history, there have been at least five major extinction events -- the End Ordovician, Late Devonian, End Permian, End Triassic, and End Cretaceous. But are we facing a sixth major extinction?
Listen to Paul Ehrlichon on Science Friday
Read more here
Monday, August 18, 2008
More at Inhabitat
Feel like cooking up you own batch of biodiesel? Make Magazine has just posted a great Youtube video “How To” on making your own batch of Bio- "White Lighting" diesel at home. It does require a diesel car, a lot of vegetable oil, and some caustic chemicals but all in the name of saving the planet.
More at Make
Worldwide Mini-Notebook Shipments to Exceed 5 Mn Units in 2008 but what about the rise of the Androids (smart phones)
However, Gartner has not taken into account the rise of truly smart phones like the iphone and soon to be released Google’s Android hand sets. Most teenagers can tell you, people are looking for a “tricorder” type devise that can do it all, phone, camera, organizer, net browser, document processing, and email all while fitting in a pocket. A device that you can put in a cradle with external monitor and keyboard / mouse at your home or office but carry with you and use on the run. With Android’s open architecture, truly productive applications for handsets should be available by next year that we believe (WoW-PoW) will overtake the rise of the mini-note category. Sadly the Apple iphone, while selling exceptionally well, has missed the boat so far with their awful selection of software available at their App Store and their short sited policy controlling third party application development. Let’s hope Steve Jobs sees the light when Android turns up the competition.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
There is a great video with Alex Roy, famous for his 31 hour cost to cost run, interviewing the owner of an Audi R8 named Blackbird that has got more stealth features than an A117 Stealth Fighter. It looks to be outfitted for Cannonball Run type cost to cost races as every gadget is designed to either evade police or go fast. They even have a device called a liquid-cooled infrasonic wave pulse generator, which besides possibly making you sterile if you stand in front of it has no other use that I can think of.
Pocketables is reporting that the Raon Digital Everun Note will be hitting the USA and Korea next month. The tiny 7” inch 1024x 600 notebook will be running AMD’s Turion Dual Core CPU at 1.2GHz and have ATI’s RS690E Graphic chipset hopefully giving this tiny notebook some cycle crunching balls over the avalanche of other sub-notes being offered of late. It comes with 1GB of RAM, 1.8” 80GB HDD or 12GB SSD, and will have all the usually radio connections likes WiFi b/g and Bluetooth. A few short comings are notably apparent, like possible lack of a 3G WWAN interface, short battery life, and web camera located in the hinge so people can look up your nose whenever your teleconferencing. The mouse is the usual Raon Digital affair, their semi optical / mouse pad solutions that I found very usable.
More at Pocketables
Ultra Motor, known in India for their Electric Scooters, will be offering their new A2B Electric bike in the USA. Ultra Motor USA claims that their A2B can serve up unassisted power rides of 20 miles cruising at a speed of 20mph. Plus, the A2B can be upgraded to double its range with the addition of a secondary battery pack. Bike specs are 73lb / 33kg weight with its aluminum frame, 36V Lithium Ion batteries, and a BLDC hub 500W motor. The best feature of this bike besides the dual suspensions, disk brakes, and wide enduro tires, is that is looks like a fairly normal compact bike cleanly integrating the battery packs into the frame unlike most other e-bikes that have huge boxy protrusion hanging off of them. No word yet on pricing.
The A2B has also been designed to fit in with Ultra Motor’s urban bike recharging stations, called LEV City Initiative, their solutions for greener and cleaner city transportation. Find out more at Ultra Motor
By combining gasification with high-tech nanoscale porous catalysts, they hope to create ethanol from a wide range of biomass, including distiller’s grain left over from ethanol production, corn stover from the field, grass, wood pulp, animal waste, and garbage.
Through asphalt, the researchers are developing a solar collector that could turn roads and parking lots into ubiquitous—and inexpensive–sources of electricity and hot water.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Although we reported on the Museum of Modern Art in NYC’s prefab housing exhibit over a month ago, Scribe Media has put together an excellent video of MOMA’s Home Delivery exhibition, held this month. While the video is long, it is full of interviews and images of the exhibition as well as interviews with architects who displayed their prefab designs and the curator of the exhibit. As Inhabitat put it “it’s a must-see for anyone interested in a current survey of the potential of prefabricated housing”.
As a gadget lover I really love Japan since it is a Nerd's Paradise. Not only do nerds flourish here but they even have their own heaven, Akihabara with girls dressed in maids uniforms. If that is not heaven on earth I don't know what is. That said here is a video of a nerd love fest this weekend: The 9th International Model Railroad Convention held at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center. Over 10,000 nerds attended and Fuji TV was on hand to record some video of the trains. So if your ever have a chance to head to Japan don’t forget your pocket protector and polyester pants.
Thanks to Japanprobe for the heads up.
More at Physorg
More at the Nikkei
Order yours at suntable.net
EngineeringTV has got a pretty extensive video about an ASUV or Autonomous Unmanned Surface Vehicle called the Harbor Wing. Basically like UAV of the sea, the ASUV has a unique winged sail that rotates 360 degrees for great maneuverability with no reefing or stowing of sails and wings work even better up wind than down. Designed for civilian work the Harbor Wing sail allows it to do long range surveillance, sampling, and monitor missions like monitoring of sea life with almost no maintenance. The catamaran also has a battery powered propulsion system that is charged by onboard solar cells and kicks in when the winds are below 5 knots. Crap this thing would be great just to have a personal sail boat. Where can I get mine?!
More details info at Harborwingtech.com and more videos at EngineeringTV.com
We have been steering clear of the iphone news here. However, Business Week has a pretty good Video demo of the games available for the iphone and the gaming experience.
As they put it “wireless devices need not always be about getting things done”. They cover BeJeweled, PacMan, MonkeyBall, CrashBandicoot, and Tap Tap. If you are thinking of buying any of these games the video will give you good idea of what they are about before taking the plung.
More videos at BusinessWeek
Monday, August 11, 2008
Girasole Elettrica 100% Electric Car Video Review Teaser. We at WoW-PoW.CoM got our hands on a Girasole Electric Car to review. Here is a quick 1 minute teaser video. We should have a full video review by mid August 2008. The car was a lot of fun to drive. Kind of like a glorified Golf Card but with much better speed, power, and range due to its Lithium Ion Batteries. It is not really suitable for highways but works great as an in town run-about. Rang is reported to be 120km (about 75 miles). The small 2 seater is sold in Japan and we got to drive ours around the surf and beach town of Kamakura (famous for the Daibutsu) We will let you know more about it and our reactions later this week.
Friday, August 8, 2008
As promised we got our full video overview of the Kohjinsah SX3 (SX3KP06MA). After getting over the Wow factor of having a built in DVD-RW drive in such a small thing what really stood out on this computer was its beautiful screen. It is not just that it has great 1280x768 resolution but also its glossy liquid smooth look which probably comes from the high gloss screen. It makes everything seem very clear. We also appreciated the daylight readable brightness which is pretty standard for Kohjinsha’s. So far the glare didn’t bother us but we have only had it for a few days. The SX3s performance was better than the SC3 which is strange as they use the same CPU and ATOM chipset. The SX did not have any problems playing videos or DVDs but we have not tried any HD 1080P videos yet. Battery life was also good but not great at about 3.5 hours. I would recommend the double sized battery for overseas business trips. The price is higher than we would have liked (about $1100-1200) but it in a real PC and not a netbook.
Enjoy the video. Available at Conis.net and Kabatek.com
A quick video of the SX3 unboxing. We got out hands on the Kohjinsha SX3 from Conics.net and Kabatek.com. The Kohjinsha SX3KP06MA is a UMPC with a built in DVD-RW drive. The cool think about the SX3 is that it is the same size as the Asus EEE PC but has the DVD-RW built in. We compare the 2 computers at the end of the Video. It has a 1.33GHz ATOM CPU with full ATOM chipset, 1GB of RAM with 2GB MAX, and 60GB HDD. So far we are very impressed with the screen which is beautiful and very bright. It has a 1280x768 resolution. The computer also seems very fast and video playback with the nice screen should be good. We will have a full Video Overview by the end of the day. Enjoy.
update: new photos under the hood here
Read More here:
Read more here:
Thursday, August 7, 2008
The Swiss company Cree has created a three-wheeled electric vehicle that is full of sustainable features. The award-winning SAM car seats two in an agile body that is 90% recyclable, has a maximum speed of 85 kilometers per hour, and touts an emission-free 15 kilowatt electric motor that charges fully in just 6 hours. The design was recently re-tooled by Impact Automotive Technologies in preparation for a limited release of 500 cars in September, with 5000 units targeted for 2009. The car’s highly efficient engine consumes about 5kwh per 100km, and it converts kinetic energy from breaking, rolling to a stop, and driving downhill into electrical energy. With production ramping up later this year the projected price point is about 6,600 Euros. It is great to see all of the electric cars coming out however tandem seating is fine for motorcycles but sucks in a car.
More at Inhabitat
By combining stretchable optoelectronics and biologically inspired design, scientists have created a remarkable imaging device, with a layout based on the human eye. Researchers at the University of Illinois and Northwestern University have developed a high-performance, hemispherical "eye" camera using an array of single-crystalline silicon detectors and electronics, configured in a stretchable, interconnected mesh. The work opens new possibilities for advanced camera design. It also foreshadows artificial retinas for bionic eyes similar in concept to those in the movie "Terminator" and other popular science fiction. The camera's design is based on that of the human eye, which has a simple, single-element lens and a hemispherical detector. The camera integrates such a detector with a hemispherical cap and imaging lens, to yield a system with the overall size, shape and layout of the human eye.
More at Physorg
The NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope has identified thousands of globular clusters -- more than 5 billion years old -- in the Virgo cluster of galaxies. One of the results of these discoveries led astronomers to understand more about the life and evolution of cannibal galaxies. Evidence of Messier 87’s galactic cannibalism comes from an analysis of the globular clusters’ composition. “In Messier 87 there are three times as many globulars deficient in heavy elements, such as iron, than globulars rich in those elements”, Peng said. “This suggests that many of these ‘metal-poor’ star clusters may have been stolen from nearby dwarf galaxies, which also contain globulars deficient in heavy elements”. Studying globular star clusters is critical to understanding the early, intense star-forming episodes that mark galaxy formation. They are known to reside in all but the faintest of galaxies.
More at Science Daily
Looks like Sanyo has followed Sharp’s lead and is getting serious about solar cell productions. Sanyo has just opened a new production base for solar cell modules with an annual production capacity expected to reach 40MW by the end of fiscal 2008. Sanyo's annual production capacity of solar cell modules will become 340MW globally and Sanyo plans to increase its production capacity to 600MW by the end of fiscal 2010, and then to 4GW at the end of fiscal 2020. Sanyo estimates global production of solar cells will reach 40 to 45GW in fiscal 2020. Hopefully this will being prices of solar cells down to a competitive level in the next 2-5 years.
More at the Nikkei
Seiko Epson Corp developed a 3D display that is targeted at mobile phones and can show high-resolution 3D images visible to the naked eye with no special glasses. Despite its small size (2.57 inch), the 3D display features a pixel count of 1024 × 768 (XGA). Seiko Epson plans to commercialize the display in two years, the company said. "The resolution of the display is about 500ppi," said Goro Hamagishi, general manager of the Display Development Center "It is one of the world's highest resolutions of the direct-view-type displays that do not use projectors." To display 3D images, a special lens called "lenticular lens" is placed on pixels so that different images can be seen from different angles. A lenticular lens is composed of an array of many hog-backed convex lenses, each of which is as large as a few pixels.
More at the Nikkei
Following are 2 videos of the Icon A5 Amphibious Sport Plane. The first video is of the wings folding. The second is more details explanation about the ICON A5. Starting at just under $140,000 it is in the high range of Sport Aircraft with delivery set for 2010, but it does work on land or water. Equipped with a 100-hp Rotax 912 ULS, folding wings and a cockpit that looks more like a cars, the Useful Load is between 430 - 530 lbs and maximum speed is 105 kts putting in squarely in the Sport Pilot rules category. While the aircraft looks great, Icon’s splashy PR campaign, car inspired dashboard (not suitable for serious pilots as it limits the type of Avionics) and sophisticated sales pitch are clearly aimed at investors and non-pilots. Hopefully they are just looking to expand their base by bringing in new pilots. I worry that they may end up like so many other start up aircraft companies that litter the aircraft industry scrap heap. I think I will hold off on my deposit for a while.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
A new material characterized at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory could open a pathway toward more efficient fuel cells. The material, a super-lattice developed by researchers in Spain, improves ionic conductivity near room temperature by a factor of almost 100 million, representing "a colossal increase in ionic conduction properties". Other fuel cell materials force ions to travel through tight pathways with few spaces for the ions to occupy, slowing their progress. Rather than forcing the ions to jump from hole to hole, the new material has "lots of vacant spaces to be occupied, so the ions can travel much more quickly” and does so at room temperatures.
High temperatures have been a major roadblock for developers of fuel cell technology.
Scientists at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands recently tested a free-flying, 10 square meter kite to a generator to produce 10 kilowatts of power (enough energy for 10 homes). They are currently planning to scale the experiment with a 50 kilowatt kite and a 100 megawatt array called the Laddermill that could potentially power 100,000 homes. The promise of kite power lies in its inexpensive materials and its potential to harness enormous amounts of power, since high altitude winds can carry hundreds of times more energy than those on the ground. Airborne kites produce power by pulling on a ground-bound generator, which reels the kites back once they reach their maximum height. Also, unlike a field-full of wind turbines, kite power requires a minimal amount of land use.
More at Inhabitat
Described as "mobile adventure gear", the Go includes a lot of functions. The lightweight vehicle/camper/trailer has the silhouette of a turtle's shell or an igloo. It can serve as a wheeled tent that sleeps two, or it can be converted to haul nearly its own weight in equipment, such as mountain bikes and kayaks. It has numerous other functions and configurations, and it folds neatly for storage, like a Swiss Army knife. The designer, who kayaks and bikes himself, Dempsey wanted a more comfortable, versatile alternative to all the equipment customary for a sojourn outdoors: a tent, roof racks for bikes, trailers for kayaks. Priced at $7,995, it isn’t cheap but it falls close to the midrange of traditional pop-up campers and is much cheaper and more economical than an SUV.
More at Business Week
Researchers at UC Santa Barbara have recently reached what they are calling a milestone in experimental quantum mechanics. Using a superconducting electronic circuit the researchers were able to controllably pump microwave photons, one at a time, into a superconducting microwave resonator. Up to six photons were pumped into and stored in the resonator, and their presence was then detected therefor creating and detecting their photon number states. The breakthrough is that the researchers where able to create and detect the photon number states (Fock states) which has never been done before. What does this mean? Quantum computers are one step closer to reality. "Harmonic oscillators might allow us to get a quantum computer built more quickly," researcher Cleland said.
Samsungs SPF-83M digital photo frame also doubles as a USB based SVGA extend computer monitor. The included USB hardware and software allow PC users to extend their computer displays and choose between landscape or portrait layouts. The 800x600 photo frame is priced from $200-$250 in Japan. Besides acting as a monitor and digital photo frame the SPF-83M can do video playback (MPEG-4 SP, ASP/L3, L5 720x480, 2Mbp, 30fps) as well as MP3 Audio playback. No need to hook it up to your computer though as the frame includes 4 types of memory card slot, SD, MMC, Memory stick, and Compact Flash.
Full review at PCWatch but grab your translator as it is in Japanese.
A Dutch volunteer in the Galaxy Zoo project, Hanny van Arkel, discovered a mysterious and unique celestial object now being dubbed the “Cosmic Ghost”. The Galaxy Zoo project (http://www.galaxyzoo.org) allows members of the public to take part in astronomy research online by allowing them to scan archived images. van Arkel came across the image of a strange, gaseous object with a hole in the center while using the website to classify images of galaxies. "The strange 'Hanny's Voorwerp' (as it is also known) looks like it could be the nearest example of a luminous quasar," said C. Megan Urry, Israel Munson Professor of Physics & Astronomy. Talk about Armchair astronomy.
More at ScienceDaily
Sharp will enter the LED lighting market for business, factories, commercial spaces this September. The DL-N001N's efficiency is the "industry's highest" at 74lm/W, Sharp said. Its luminance is valued at that of two FLR40 fluorescent lumps, yet it can cut power consumption by 25%, according to Sharp. The translucent white and semi-transparent panels use a polycarbonate material to prevent light absorption while boosting reflective efficiency of the surface where LEDs are embedded. As a result, "The models can efficiently use 80 to 90% of light emitted from LEDs," Sharp said.
More at the Nikkei
Gizmodo’s Mark Wilson with the Martin Jetpack. The lucky bastard was able to score a ride and live to tell us about it. Mark says “The sensation is not as I’d expected. I don't feel pulled up, but it isn't weightlessness either. I simply rise.” “Chopping the throttle ended the flight. The landing was softer than I’d have thought, with none of the pack’s weight burdening my spine or legs.”
Lots more and video at Gizmodo
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
In the cockpit video of Patty Wagstaff’s acrobatic flight routine. What does this have to do with Power or Gadgets? Who cares, it is just cool to watch and she performs amazing, lunch loosing acrobatics!
More video of the ElectraFlyer C with pricing and explanation. Flying times with the largest battery pack are 1 hour 30 minutes and with soaring times a bladder busting 5 hours! Prices for the largest Lithium Ion battery pack is $8500, the propulsion kit (18 HP engine & electronic speed control) is $4200, and the charger is $895. For those who do not know airplanes these prices are bargains compared to 20-50k it costs for certified reciprocating engines. The most amazing part is the TBO on the Electric motor is 100,000 hours or 50-100 x longer than any standard gas powered engine. Links to the maker’s website
Instructables has directions for making a drill powered skateboard in 5 minutes. By attaching a battery-powered electric drill to the front of your skateboard you can have endless hours of life deifying fun. The 3 factors that will enhance your drill powered death ride: More Volts, Higher voltage battery-powered drills work best. Greater Torque, Drills that can generate more torque move fatter loads. And last but not least, Big, Bad Rubber Wheel as the more rubber that meets the highway, the higher the performance. Video of drill powered bicycles gives and idea of how much power these things pump out
More at Instructables
Much more at ScienceDaily
An alarm clock that wakes you up with the smell and sizzle of cooking bacon.
"No one likes to wake up, especially by an alarm. This clock gently wakes you up with the mouthwatering aroma of bacon, just like waking up on a Sunday morning to the smell of Mom cooking breakfast. Unless you're Jewish."
read more here
More at Inhabitat.
Great Video of the ElectraFlyer C flying at Air Venture 2008 in Oshkosh. Really just a converted Moni Motor Glider the ElectraFlyer C flew around the patch and showed its stuff with respectable takeoff angles of attach and flybys. More data about the coming electric aircraft revolution here
Monday, August 4, 2008
A Youtube video making the rounds is of the prototype Asus R710 GPS with Heads Up Display. Don’t expect F16 type views here, but the simple display projects distance and turn indicators. In the video the projection seems to be coming from the left side of the device but my hope is that it will adjustable. No word on price or release date but such a handy feature will surely be copied by other GPS makers and should only get better with completion. A bit more info at CrunchGear
Lots more data at Laptopmag.com