WOW-POW = World Of Wonderful POWer: February 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Brammo Enertia electric motorcycle to be sold at Best Buy

Ready to buy a $12,000 electric motorcycle at Best Buy? That seems to be the thinking going on at Brammo HQ, where an infusion of cash from Best Buy's investment arm last year has now led to plans to sell the $11,995 Enertia at five West Coast Best Buy stores in May. Eventually Brammo wants to sell bikes at every Best Buy location around the world, but we'll see how this initial test works out.
More at AutoblogGreen

Toradex's Robin credit card-sized Atom-based computer module

Toradex has unveiled the credit card-sized Robin Z510 and Z530 computer modules, which manages to fit quite a bit in fairly small space. The two mainboards feature a 1.1GHz Intel Atom Z510 and 1.6GHz Atom Z530 (the same processor found in the Vaio P), respectively, as well as integrated GMA500 graphics card with HD capabilities, support for up to seven USB 2.0 ports, and on board microSD slot (pictured, bottom left), 512MB DDR2 RAM, and 2GB solid state flash disk. Enthusiasts can order it now for 129 € / 179€ ($164 / $227).
More at Engadget
Directly to Toradex

AirScape whole house fan is an ultra-quiet cheaper, greener alternative to A/C

AirScape whole house fan is an ultra-quiet cheaper, greener alternative to A/C. While traditional whole house fans are noisy and power-hungry, the AirScape fans are ultra-quiet and energy-efficient. The Airscape can quietly move up to 1,700 cubic feet per minute by using fans designed for computer rooms. The main function of a whole house fan is not simply to replace hot air with cooler air - it is to cool down the entire structure by drawing off the heat. The fans are designed to run all night, steadily drawing cool fresh air in through open windows while exhausting hot stale air out through attic roof vents. What makes the AirScape truly effective is its slower flow over a longer period with quiet operation.
More at Crunch Gear

PV EXPO - Mitsubishi Develops Solar Cell Using TFT Material (organic thin-film solar cell)

Mitsubishi Chemical Corp exhibited an organic thin-film solar cell at the 2nd International Photovoltaic Power Generation Expo. In order to develop the new solar cell, Mitsubishi Chemical utilized an organic semiconductor material that the company developed for TFTs in 2006. At present, the solar cell has an energy conversion efficiency of 4.9% in the case of a 2mm-square cell. "We are aiming to achieve a cell conversion efficiency of 10% by 2010, and 15% by 2015," the company said. Mitsubishi Chemical's organic thin-film solar cell currently uses a fullerene derivative as the n-type material and the company's proprietary material called "benzoporphyrin (BP)" as the p-type. At present, the cell is a single-junction cell with one p-n junction.
More at Tech-On

CBC video of Japan's robot research.

A Canadian Broadcasting Corporation report about how Japanese researchers are creating worker robots that could help overcome the problems created by an aging workforce and low birthrate.

FC EXPO - Sony Doubles Output Density of Bio Battery with Coke battery

Sony Corp presented a bio battery that generates electricity by decomposing glucose using an enzyme at the International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo. When supplied with Coke, it generated power and rotated a fan attached to a motor. (Can see it now, ordering a Coke on the airplane to charge my laptop.) The bio battery decomposes glucose using an enzyme at the negative electrode and generates power by extracting electrons and hydrogen ions from it. Absorbing oxygen in the air at the positive electrode, the battery generates water through a reductive reaction of electrons and hydrogen ions. Sony doubled the battery's output density per unit volume achieved by the previous model, which was announced in August 2007, to 2.5mW/ccl.
More at Nikkei Microdevices

Carbon Dioxide Drop And Global Cooling Caused Antarctic Glacier To Form

Global climate rapidly shifted from a relatively ice-free world to one with massive ice sheets on Antarctica about 34 million years ago. What happened? What changed? A team of scientists led by Yale geologists offers a new perspective on the nature of changing climatic conditions across this greenhouse-to-icehouse transition — one that refutes earlier theories and has important implications for predicting future climate changes. Detailed in the February 27 issue of Science, their data disproves a long-held idea that massive ice growth in the Antarctic was accompanied by little to no global temperature change. This report shows that before the Southern Hemisphere ice expansion, high-latitude temperatures were at least 10°C (about 18˚F) warmer than previously estimated and that there was a 5˚C - 10˚C drop in surface-water temperature during the climate transition.
More at Science Daily

Air-breathing planes: the spaceships of the future?

New Scientist has a good detailed article on the practicality of air breathing plane acting as space ships. They talk about the recently announced Skylon rocket plane as well as scram-jet technology. The conclude that there may be multiple ways to get to orbit but picking the best design requires a better understanding of how cost effective and reliable the vehicles will be. "I think all approaches are on the table," Lewis told New Scientist. Reaction Engines is "looking at one possible combination of engine system, and there's really a much broader range of options we need to explore before we know what to fly up to orbit,". Because scramjets might operate over the widest range of speeds, possibly up to Mach 20, they might be the most effective choice: "The farther you can go in the atmosphere, the greater the advantage will be."
Much more Here

Friday, February 27, 2009

ZTE Announces EV-DO Rev B on CDMA2000 System with upto 73.5Mbps download rate!

ZTE Corp has achieved what it says is the world's first EV-DO Revision B (Rev B) VoIP call on its CDMA2000 system, marking the first time in the industry that a CDMA vendor has achieved a 9.3Mbps download rate and 5.4Mbps upload rate.
The company has completed the first stage of achieving EV-DO Rev B and adopted 3-carrier bundling technology, with each carrier having a bandwidth of 1.25MHz. Compared with mature commercial EV-DO Rev A, what ZTE's EV-DO Rev B does is upgrade EV-DO Rev A's software, with no additional hardware equipment required. Both ZTE's EV-DO Rev A and Rev B adopt an identical baseband chipset. The company plans to commercialize its EV-DO Rev B system in Q3 2009. In future, EV-DO Rev B can bundle up to a maximum of 15 carriers, with a download (forward) rate of 73.5Mbps and an upload (reverse) rate of 27Mbps. EV-DO Rev B allocates flexible bandwidth and offers better Quality of Service (QoS), and hence enhances user experience.
More at Nikkei Electronics Asia

From FC EXPO - Sony Showcases Fuel Cell-powered Speaker, Chargers

From FC EXPO - Sony Showcases Fuel Cell-powered Speaker, Chargers. Sony Corp exhibited a cordless speaker system and mobile phone chargers powered by its direct methanol fuel cells (DMFC) at the International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo (FC Expo 2009) taking place from Feb 25 to 27. They all employed unique designs, containing fuel methanol in a see-through tank. Sony used a Li-ion secondary battery to compensate for the low outputs of small DMFCs, allowing mobile devices to cope with steep current peaks.
The mobile device chargers, on the other hand, are charged via USB connection. Sony presented two chargers this time. One is equipped with a 10cc methanol tank, (Looks like an AM radio from the 50's) which is equivalent to a power capacity of 13.7Wh when combined with a 3.7Wh Li-ion battery. It can charge a 3.4 to 4Wh mobile phone a few times a week. The other comes with a 100cc methanol tank and allows 25 power charges through each of its two USB ports for about a month.
More at Tech-On

From PV EXPO - Konarka to Release Transparent Solar Cell in 2009

From PV EXPO - Konarka Technologies Inc of the US exhibited a variety of organic thin-film solar cell modules manufactured by roll-to-roll process at the 2nd International Photovoltaic Power Generation Expo (PV EXPO 2009). Taking advantage of their flexibility, some prototypes are attached to a bag and used as a power source of an electronic paper in the exhibition. Konarka's organic thin-film solar cells feature an energy conversion efficiency of 4% in a building and 3 to 4% outside a building, according to the company. The outdoor efficiency is slightly lower because "their high circuit resistance impacts more as current increases," said a spokesperson of Toppan Forms Co Ltd, which shares the booth with Konarka.
More at the Nikkei

International Photovoltaic Power Generation & Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo Starts in Japan

The 2nd International Photovoltaic Power Generation Trade Show and the International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo started in Japan on the 25th of Feb, 2009. The PV Expo is being held at Tokyo Big Sight, Tokyo, Japan. The show which is sponsored by the Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA) promises to bring the latest in high tech Photovoltaic Generation technology. Held in conjugation with the 5th International Hydrogen & Fuel Cell Expo the Expo is the ground zero for the Alternative Energy Industry. So far this year has proven to be exceptionally popular. Please check here the latest info from the show.
Link to PV Expo Website
Link to FC Expo Website

Yah! Obama backs Moon return in NASA budget

NASA will stay on track to return humans to the Moon by 2020, according to an overview of President Obama's 2010 budget request released on Thursday. Recently, various groups - including Apollo astronaut Buzz Aldrin and the space advocacy group the Planetary Society - have called for NASA to send astronauts to new destinations, such as asteroids. But the budget request backs a plan developed under the Bush administration to retire the space shuttle by 2010 and develop a system to return humans to the Moon by 2020. NASA is planning to stay the course - at least for now. "The direction we have at the current time is, 'Proceed as you were,'" says agency spokesperson Stephanie Schierholz. Under the proposed budget, the agency would receive $18.7 billion in 2010. Combined with $1 billion in funding provided in an economic stimulus package signed into law last week, NASA would get $2.4 billion more than it did in 2008.
Much More Here

Video of Jet-mounted defensive laser which is almost reality.

The Pentagon may soon have a new anti-missile weapon - a high-powered laser fired from the nose of a large jet plane to destroy missiles soon after they leave the ground.
The latest video footage from the project reveals the results from a round of testing that ended in December 2008 (see our story on the tests). A prototype mounted in a plane on the ground fired infrared laser beams at a target in 1 second bursts.
More at New Scientist

Thursday, February 26, 2009

MIT Study Says Cellulosic Ethanol Could Have Unintended Environmental Consequences

MIT Study Says Cellulosic Ethanol Could Have “Unintended” Environmental Consequences. The aggressive, worldwide production of cellulosic ethanol could both “contribute substantially to future global-scale energy needs” and have “significant unintended environmental consequences” says a study from MIT’s Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. Producing cellulosic ethanol from non-food feedstocks has been studied extensively at a local scale, but it’s difficult to estimate the environmental impacts on larger, heterogeneous regions. In this study, researchers evaluated two potential consequences of diverting usable land to biofuel production: either existing agricultural operations are intensified, or large areas of natural forest are cleared to increase cropland.
More at Gas 2.0

LG's Versa with keyboard available on March 1 via Varizon

The long-rumored LG Versa lets you have your cake and eat it too by starting life as a full touchscreen slate, and when the time comes for some serious emailing, texting, or note-taking, you just snap on the included cover that includes a full QWERTY keyboard. The cover also features its own OLED display -- handy, since the Versa's 480 x 240 main display is concealed while the cover's closed -- while the phone itself rocks EV-DO Rev. A with tethering capability, a 2 megapixel cam with face detection and video recording, microSD expansion, and GPS. It'll be available starting March 1 for $249.99 on contract.
More at Engadget

Toyota looking to build next hybrid from seaweed

Trying to improve on their existing hybrid tech, Toyota is looking at what materials actually go into that hybrid you’ve been looking at. One of the more esoteric materials that they are considering is bioplastics. Now, bioplastics aren’t exactly new: they are currently used in biodegradable products, but can also be produced in such a way that they don’t break down. One would assume that Toyota would use the type that doesn’t break down, for obvious reasons. The biggest improvement would be that it uses less oil products, and would be considerably more eco-friendly.
More at CrunchGear

Self-aligning carbon nanotubes could be key to next generation of devices

Scientists and engineers the world over have thought for years that the next generation of smaller, more-efficient electronic and photonic devices could be based on the use of carbon nanotubes, structures 10,000 times thinner than a human hair but with tremendous potential.Laboratories are able to create millions of the structures using a process called chemical vapor deposition. The problem has always been finding a way to manipulate something that small so they'll line up in a way that might be useful. Now, however, a discovery by a team of researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, led by professor Yongfeng Lu and postdoctoral researcher Yunshen Zhou, may provide a pathway to a solution, and with little or no manipulation necessary.
More at Psyorg

GreenWheel - a self-contained electric wheel turns any bike into a fully-electric bicycle!

Researchers at MIT recently revealed an elegant solution for anyone looking to get a little more power out of their bicycle. Developed by MIT’s Smart Cities programs, the GreenWheel is a self-contained electric wheel that can turn any pedal-powered bike into a fully-electric bicycle! The GreenWheel is essentially a bicycle wheel that has an electric motor and batteries embedded within it. The full casing is quite small and is able to be retrofitted to any bike. Simply twist the handle mounted throttle and a bluetooth connection tells the electric motor to provide thrust. The wheel can be charged by plugging to the grid or by pedaling, and a full charge will give the motor a range of roughly 25 miles.
More Here

The Coral-200: A $40 Solar Powered Phone

Chinese mobile manufacturer ZTE recently revealed the Coral-200, a solar-powered handset with one very unique characteristic that sets it apart from its competitor: it will only cost 40 dollars! Using technology from Dutch-based innovation, ZTE have created a relatively basic solar phone that promises to bring mobile phones to all those that do not have access to regular power. The slick solar phone provides about 15 minutes of talk time for every hour of sunlight, and will be available at a pretty incredible price point. ZTE is hoping to leverage the Coral-200’s low cost to distribute this phone to the 2 billion people that do not have regular access to the grid. To do so, they have partnered with Digicel, a network provider that works in emerging markets and already provides solar powered chargers in some countries. The phone officially launches in June.
More at Inhabitat

Ice Declining Faster Than Expected In Both Arctic And Antarctic Glaciers

Multidisciplinary research from the International Polar Year (IPY) 2007-2008 provides new evidence of the widespread effects of global warming in the polar regions. Snow and ice are declining in both polar regions, affecting human livelihoods as well as local plant and animal life in the Arctic, as well as global ocean and atmospheric circulation and sea level. It now appears clear that the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are losing mass contributing to sea level rise. Warming in the Antarctic is much more widespread than it was thought prior to the IPY, and it now appears that the rate of ice loss from Greenland is increasing. Researchers also found that in the Arctic, during the summers of 2007 and 2008, the minimum extent of year-round sea ice decreased to its lowest level since satellite records began 30 years ago. IPY expeditions recorded an unprecedented rate of sea-ice drift in the Arctic as well. Due to global warming, the types and extent of vegetation in the Arctic shifted, affecting grazing animals and hunting.
Much more depressing news at Science Daily

AIST Develops Newtype of Li-air Battery

A large-capacity Li-air battery with a novel structure was developed by Zhou Haoshen of AIST. Li-air batteries which ,in theory, should have a larger capacity than Li-ion batteries and are being touted as the next-generation large-capacity battery. The newly developed battery uses organic electrolyte for the negative electrode (metallic lithium) side and water-based electrolyte for the positive electrode (air) side. And the two electrodes are separated by a solid electrolyte to prevent mixing of the electrolytes. This technology is very promising for automotive batteries. If aqueous cathode electrolytes can be replaced at automobile service stations and anode metallic lithium is supplied in the form of a cassette, cars can be driven continuously without the need to wait for them to be charged.
More at Tech-On

Taro Aso gave Barack Obama chopsticks crafted in the town of Obama

Taro Aso gave Barack Obama chopsticks crafted in the town of Obama, Japan. The chopsticks were some of the gifts that Aso and Obama exchanged on the occasion of their first meeting at the White House. Aso also presented the U.S. president, who plays basketball well, a uniform with “OBAMA” on the back and the number 44 as he is the 44th president of the United States.
More at Japan Probe

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Aero-TV At The US Sport Aviation Expo: LSA Conversations 2009

Video from Aero-TV At The US Sport Aviation Expo: LSA Conversations 2009

Monday, February 23, 2009

UMID M1 mbook MID Video Hands On

UMID just announced the tiniest netbook yet, dubbed the M1 mbook. The mbook uses an Atom Intel CPU just like its big brothers running at 1.1GHz. The mbook. Battery life up to 6 hours. It has WiFi and a form factor the company promises full Internet experience “while walking.”
Specs of the M1 mbook:

* 4.8-inch 1024 X 600 screen
* Intel Atom Silverthorne 1.1Ghz
* up to 1GB of RAM
* WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0 (optional 3G)
* up to 32GB of storage
* price between 600k to 700k Korean Won or between $400 to $466
* optional webcam and Digital (DMB) TV

More at PMPToday

High temperature superconductors give up secrets.

High temperature superconductors give up secrets. "Writing in the journal Nature Materials, Dr Alan Drew from Queen Mary's Department of Physics and his colleagues at the University of Fribourg report on the investigation of a new high temperature superconductor, the so-called oxypnictides. They found that these exhibit some striking similarities with the previously known copper-oxide high temperature superconductors - in both cases superconductivity emerges from a magnetic state. Their results go some way to explaining the mechanisms behind high temperature superconductors. Superconductors are materials that can conduct electricity with no resistance, but only at low temperatures. High temperature superconductors were first discovered in 1986 in copper-oxides, which increased the operational temperature of superconductors by more than 100°C, to -130°C and opened up a wealth of applications. The complex fundamental physics behind these high temperature superconductors has, however, remained a mystery to scientists.
Dr Drew said "Last year, a new class of high-temperature superconductor was discovered that has a completely different make-up to the ones previously known - containing layers of Arsenic and Iron instead of layers of Copper and Oxygen. Our hope is that by studying them both together, we may be able to resolve the underlying physics behind both types of superconductor and design new superconducting materials, which may eventually lead to even higher temperature superconductors."
More at Physorg

BP Becomes World Leader in Cellulosic Ethanol Investment

BP Becomes Leader in Cellulosic Ethanol Investment, Adds $22.5M to Verenium. On Wednesday, BP anounced a joint venture with Verenium to build the world’s largest cellulosic ethanol facility. BP’s total investment—now $112.5 million—will be the largest by an oil company in advanced, non-food-based biofuels.
The Florida-based plant would be 25 times larger than Verenium’s existing (and operational) cellulosic ethanol facility in Louisiana, which began operation earlier this month and is expected to produce 60+ million gallons of cellulosic ethanol per year when at full capacity. This new, larger facility is schedule to break ground in 2010 and commece operations in 2012.
Much More at Gas 2.0

Lambada Powered Sailplane Video

Great Video from AVweb and Kitplanes magazine introducing the Lambada powered sailplane. "Dave Martin from "Kitplanes" magazine introduces you to the Lambada powered sailplane, following his test flight in one."

Life Forms May Have Evolved In Ancient Hot Springs On Mars

Data from the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) suggest the discovery of ancient springs in the Vernal Crater, sites where life forms may have evolved on Mars, according to a new report. If life forms have ever been present on Mars, hot spring deposits would be ideal locations to search for physical or chemical evidence of these organisms and could be target areas for future exploratory missions. New image data from the High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment (HiRISE) on MRO depict structures in Vernal Crater that appear to have arisen as part of a major area of ancient spring activity. The data suggest that the southern part of Vernal Crater has experienced episodes of water flow from underground to the surface and may be a site where martian life could have developed.
More at Science Daily

Gizmodo's guide to making a Dell Mini into a Hackentosh

Gizmodo's guide to making a Dell Mini into a Hackentosh. "I am typing this on a 9-inch, 3G-equipped, almost-pocketable computer, running the best consumer OS money can currently buy. It costs around $400. Do you want one too? Here's how to get yours.
There are a lot of netbooks on which you can install and run OS X, but if you're mindful of the handy comparison chart those lads at Boing Boing Gadgets have compiled, you'll know that the Mini 9 is about as ideal a platform as you'll find for a Hackintosh ultraportable: Everything from wi-fi, sound and the function keys down to the optional integrated mobile broadband card and the SD card reader are supported and work as they should. No hardware compromises at all. It's awesome."
Full guide at Gizmodo

UMID M1 mbook MID launched in Korea

UMID held a press conference yesterday to officially launch its Atom-based M1 mbook MID, which is now available to order in Korea. In conjunction with the release, the clamshell MID also got a dedicated website made up of a downloads area (manual, wallpaper, and firmware), an order page with lots of photos (see below), and a handful of accessories that doesn't include the oversized VGA adapter shown at CES.
More at Pocketables

Gintech to Ship 'World's Most Efficient' Polycrystalline Si Solar Cell

Gintech to Ship 'World's Most Efficient' Polycrystalline Si Solar Cell.Gintech Energy Corp, a Taiwan-based solar cell manufacturer, will start shipping the "Douro," a polycrystalline silicon solar cell with a conversion efficiency of 16.6%, in March 2009. It is the world's highest efficiency for polycrystalline silicon solar cells manufactured with existing structures, materials and processes, according to the company. However, the current conversion efficiency of the cell is "16.4% or more" on average. "We will realize an average conversion efficiency of 16.6% or more by the time we start shipping the product," said Harry H.H. Kuo, product manager and technical manager of Gintech. The company will aim for an average conversion efficiency of 17.5% for the future.
Much More at Tech-On

Friday, February 20, 2009

Chinese auto maker plans to take on giants with electric cars

"From its headquarters in south China, BYD Auto is pursuing a project of staggering ambition: To be in the lead as the world's cars free themselves from their century-old dependence on petrol. The company, which was founded just 14 years ago and found success making batteries, has unveiled a series of slick electric and plug-in hybrids as it prepares to enter the US and European markets in 2011. The vision at BYD, or Build Your Dreams, is that of a future where electric cars fill the roads and quick-charge stations are as readily available as petrol stations today. Only next month will it start delivering the F3DM -- DM stands for "dual mode" -- which can go 100 kilometers (63 miles) on its battery, or 580 kilometres (360 miles) in hybrid mode with gasoline."
More Here

A truly reusable spaceplane less than a decade away?

A truly reusable spaceplane less than a decade away? "A reusable spaceplane that can take off from a conventional aircraft runway, carry over twelve tonnes to orbit and then return to land on the same runway could be less than a decade away thanks to a one million euro award by the European Space Agency (ESA). The contract awarded to Reaction Engines Limited (REL), is part of a joint public and private multi-million pound development programme, that will demonstrate the core technologies for the SABRE air-breathing rocket engine, which will power the SKYLON spaceplane.
The SABRE is a unique hybrid engine that can "breathe" air when in the atmosphere, like a jet engine, and become a rocket engine when in space. In air-breathing mode air is first cooled by a revolutionary heat exchanger pre-cooler before being compressed and fed to the rocket engine to be burnt with hydrogen fuel. When in rocket mode the hydrogen is burnt with liquid oxygen."
Much More at Physorg

The tape that beat Japan’s fingerprint scanning machines

TBS News gives us a look at the tape that several South Koreans supposedly used to fool the fingerprint scanning machines at Japanese immigration checkpoints. Brokers sold them for high prices, but it only cost about 68 yen and a day of work to create the silicon fingerprint tape. South Korean police are in the process of investigating the scheme and finding out who was behind it.
Via JapanProbe

Mitsubishi improves PV cell conversion rate by 0.3 points, from 18.6% to 18.9%

Mitsubishi Electric Corp claims it has improved its conversion efficiency rate for a 150 x 150mm practical-size multi-crystalline silicon photovoltaic (PV) cell by 0.3 points, from 18.6% to 18.9%. Combined with the technology previously announced to improve the photoelectric conversion efficiency rate in multi-crystalline silicon PV cells, and a new method that efficiently absorbs infrared rays in sunlight, the company claims it is able to achieve a new world record of 18.9%.
The company said it has improved efficiency in utilizing infrared rays by 26% compared to its previous PV cells. The new PV cell has a rear-surface reflection structure, which reflects infrared rays that reach its rear surface to allow the cell to absorb more light.
More at Nikkei Electronics Asia

Nissan Prototypes Fuel Cell for Automobiles unveiled at Nano Tech 2009

Nissan Prototypes Fuel Cell for Automobiles unveiled at Nano Tech 2009. Nissan Motor Co Ltd prototyped an SOFC (solid oxide fuel cell) and exhibited it at the International Nanotechnology Exhibition and Conference (nano tech 2009), which is taking place at Tokyo Big Site from Feb 18 to 20, 2009. The company plans to mount the SOFC on an electric vehicle and use it to charge the battery of the vehicle in the future. SOFCs are highly efficient but have problems starting up. Therefore, they have been believed to be appropriate for cogeneration but not so much so for automobiles. And PEFCs (polymer electrolyte fuel cell) have been the leading candidates for automotive fuel cells.
More at Tech On

San Francisco mayor blogs about city’s new EV chargers

Today, San Francisco took an important first step toward creating the electric vehicle infrastructure of the future. This morning I unveiled the installation of electric vehicle charging stations in front of San Francisco City Hall. These stations — called Smartlets — are on loan to the city from Coulomb Technologies.
Car-sharing companies Zipcar and City CarShare will use two of the charging stations — giving the public the opportunity to drive plug-in vehicles before they are mass produced. The third charging station will be used by a plug-in car in the City of San Francisco municipal fleet.
Much More at Gas 2.0

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Samsung SWD-M100 WiMAX MID runs Windows Mobile

A Samsung MID has long been rumored to be in the works, so a simple statement like that would've been enough for many to begin speculating about what else besides WiMAX the handheld device would have. Fortunately, the team at Ubergizmo saved us from all the googling, feeding the rumor mill, and searching the FCC site to unearth more details by snapping a great set of hands-on photos of what has been identified at MWC as the Samsung SWD-M100, a Windows Mobile 6.1 connected slider device with a 4.3-inch touchscreen and Opera browser.
More at Pocketables

SunCat: Solar Batteries Powered by Sunshine

SunCat: Solar Batteries Powered by Sunshine. Designer and inventor Knut Karlsen recently unveiled slick set of SunCat C-cells that are wrapped in flexible photovoltaic panels and will slowly recharge when left to bask in the sun. The SunCat batteries circumvent chargers completely by integrating solar cells within the batteries themselves. To make these prototypes he attached 1.8V flexible photovoltaic cells onto 1.5V NiMH rechargeable batteries and connected them with a conductive silver pen and a few flat wires. The effect is similar to a trickle charger, which slowly charges a battery and can be left attached indefinitely without overcharging.
More info Here

Engadet Video of the Samsung Show Cell Phone & Projector

Engadet Video of the Samsung Show Cell Phone & Projector. The Samsung's Show Mobile phone projector is powered by Texas Instruments' DLP pico technology, and though the fact that it packs a projector does increase the bulkiness of the phone as far as looks are concerned, the phone is still rather small and light. The Show can project an image of anywhere from five to fifty inches, with a 480 x 320 resolution. It's got a 3.2-inch WQVGA touchscreen, the TouchWiz UI and also boasts a 5 megapixel camera. There are plans for this bad dude to hit Asia and Europe (but no word on if it'll ever make its way to North America)
More at Engadget

NEC Makes CNT Transistor Using Only Printing Process

NEC Corp announced that it developed a technology to manufacture all the components of a carbon nanotube (CNT) transistor through a printing process. The company made an announcement on a CNT transistor manufacturing technology in February 2008, but a printing process was used only for the channel layer at that time. The latest technology will be exhibited at the International Nanotechnology Exhibition & Conference (nano tech 2009), which takes place from Feb 18 to 20, 2009, at Tokyo Big Site. With the new technology, it is possible to form all the components of a transistor, including electrodes, insulation films and CNT channels, only by using a printing process, according to NEC. Corrosion resistance of the areas between transistor layers, as well as lithographic properties, were enhanced by reviewing insulation ink and ink for metals, according to the company.
Moreover, because the temperature during production is less than 200°C, it is possible to use resin substrates, which are usually affected by high temperature.
A CNT transistor made by using the new technology showed p-type conductivity and an on/off ratio of approximately 1,000, according to NEC.
More at the Nikkei

The nano tech 2009 International Nanotechnology Exhibition & Conference Has started in Tokyo

The nano tech 2009 International Nanotechnology Exhibition & Conference Has started in Tokyo. Billed as covering the entire nano marketplace and creating a place for business encounters at Tokyo Big Sight, Nano Tech 2009 is the world's largest nanotechnology exhibition. Divided into 5 parts, the show includes Nano Bio Expo 2009: Exhibition uniting biotechnology, nanotechnology and business. ASTEC 2009 & METEC 09: Specialist exhibition for surface technology, treatment and processing. Neo functional material 2009: exhibition for electronics and printing materials. Convertech JAPAN 2009: for converting industry. The all new exhibition named Printable Electronics 2009: which is the exhibition of printing-technology contribute materially to the development of electronics.
Find out more at the official website.

Sanyo Lagging Behind in Solar Cell Production

"It might be difficult to rank in the top ten," said Tetsuhiro Maeda, vice president of Sanyo Electric Co Ltd and general manager of its Solar Division. In the 2007 solar cell production volume ranking released by research firms, etc, Sharp Corp ceded the top position to Q-cells AG of Germany while Mitsubishi Electric Corp fell out of the top 10. And it is highly likely that Sanyo will disappear from the top 10 list in 2008.
According to the numbers published by Japanese solar cell manufacturers, the production volumes of Kyocera Corp and Sanyo are 290MW and 200MW, respectively, in 2008. Sharp and Mitsubishi have yet to announce their figures.
More at Tech-On

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Video of 365 days of food in Japan. Yummmmm!!!

Otaku blogger Danny Choo has created this cool video showing food he ate at restaurants in Tokyo over the past year. Man this guy can eat!
More at

Duck Hunter game comes to life in real live-action laser tag toy

Duck Hunter game comes to life in real live-action laser tag toy! Take a pair of flying robotic ducks, sprinkle in a little laser tag, and you’ve got the makings of a wonderful evening. Boing Boing Gadgets happened upon “Duck Hunter” by Interactive Toy Concepts, a game that looks a lot like a live-action version of everyone’s favorite NES Zapper game, minus the stupid laughing dog. In Duck Hunter, however, there’s no dog. Just you, an infrared laser tag-like gun, and one or two flying ducks. Hit a duck once, it’ll slow him down for a moment. Hit it again, and it’ll do the same. The third shot’s the charm, bringing that flying robot to the ground. The game will be available “within the next month or two,” according to BBG, and it’ll cost $30 for one bird or $40 for two birds. A two player version is expected shortly thereafter, with one player playing the part of hunter and the other controlling the duck(s) remotely.
More Here

LG’s solar powered Mobile Phone Cover

LG has announced its own green products and initiatives under its a new slogan: “Life’s Good When It’s Green.” The first is a mobile phone featuring a solar panel on the battery cover. The cell isn’t going to be able to provide much juice, but LG claims that a ten minute charge will power the phone for 3 minutes. Not bad. Especially during an emergency when your battery runs out. It can also sustain the cellphone on standby without needing to be plugged in.
The second product is a Bluetooth solar car kit that they unveiled at CES this year. It is a hands-free unit that runs on a solar cell. Should be easy to charge since it sits on your dash.
LG is also introducing eco-friendly packaging and product manuals that are made with recycled cardboard and soy inks. They’ve promised to remove all halogenated substances from their handsets by 2010 and antimony by 2012. Good stuff, LG.
More at Crunch Gear

TI's OMAP 4 bringing 1080p support to smartphones and MIDs

OMAP 4 aims to bring 1080p support, 20 megapixel imaging and "approximately a week of audio play time" to mobiles and MIDs that house it. Granted, TI also calls this stuff "future-proof," so don't believe it's totally incapable of uttering some pretty outlandish stuff. At the heart of the platform is a dual-core ARM Cortex A9 chip, a programmable multimedia engine based on TI's C64x DSP and a POWERVR SGX540 graphics engine. We're told that it'll play nice with Linux variants such as Android and LiMo, Symbian and Windows Mobile, though it'll have to be mighty impressive to outgun NVIDIA's Tegra.
More at Engadget

Gizmodo Video Hands on with Androids G2 HTC Handset

Android G2: HTC Magic Hands ON from Gizmodo on Vimeo.
Gizmodo Video Hands on with Androids G2 HTC Handset. HTC and Google are getting closer to perfection with the new Android G2, the HTC Magic. Nice finish, great form factor. While Gizmodo liked the G2 they were less than happy with soft-keyboard which, without improvement, could be a deal killer. Other than this, the rest is great. There's a new Google Mail feature to delete or classify mail in bulk, as well as a faster camera, which now can take video—which obviously means you can play back video as well. The rest of the interface and features is what you already have in the Android G1. However, what really steals the show here is the hardware itself.
HTC has got a very smooth phone, which feels great on your hands and in your pants' pockets. While it's sightly thicker than the iPhone, the narrower, rounded body, and weight makes it feel the same size. For sure, a lot less bulky than the G1, which looks like a brick next to this. And as you have seen in the shots, the final HTC Magic is quite pretty.
More pics at Gizmodo

Elecom (MR-SMC03) & Buffalo (RMUM) release ultra tiny 3g USB Micro SD card Readers

Elecom (MR-SMC03) & Buffalo (RMUM) release ultra tiny 3g USB Micro SD card readers in Japan. Both Elecom and Buffalo have both announced the availability of supper tiny USB Micro SD card readers. Both units are essentially identical, weight 3 grams, and are unique in that the micro SD card slides into the inside of the USB jack. The card reader is small enough to be carried on a cell phone strap and can read Micro SDHC cards as large as 8GB. Priced at about $20

Available outside of Japan at

Buffalo's website

Elecoms website

Plugging In Molecular Wires big advance in photosynthesis based Solar Cells?

Plugging In Molecular Wires big advance in photosynthesis based Solar Cells? Japanese researchers have now developed a new process to capture light energy with nearly equal efficiency as photosynthesis, aprocess with almost a 100% efficiency. As they report in the journal Angewandte Chemie, they “plug” a molecular “wire” directly into a biological photosynthetic system to efficiently conduct the free electrons to a gold electrode. The new approach taken by the Japanese researchers cleverly connects photosystem I (PSI) from the blue-green algae Thermosynechococcus elongatus with a synthetic apparatus. Electrons released by irradiation of PSI and transmitted along the wire are very efficiently transmitted to the gold electrode by the viologen group.
It may be possible to use this new strategy to integrate other biocomponents into synthetic systems.
More Details at Science Daily

Play Powered toys for today's green kinds

Play Powered toys for today's green kinds. "One of fifty inspired entries in this year’s Greener Gadgets Design Competition, Fastronauts was one of our favorite entries. Fastronauts are a dynamic trio of power-packing superheroes that aim to make renewable energy accessible to eager young minds. Each eco-friendly action figure is powered by play: the more you charge your little fastronaut (through motion), the more it will talk, light up, and zoom around in its little vehicle. Each fastronaut uses a dynamo to generate energy for lights, sounds, a bicycle speedometer and more. These versatile action figures are a great way to introduce kids to energy conservation while encouraging them get outside and play."
More at InhabiTOTs

Chinese mistress contest takes tragic turn

What do having 5 mistresses have to do with Power? Everything!!! "A married Chinese businessman who could no longer afford five mistresses held a competition to decide which one to keep. But the contest took a fatal turn when one of the women, eliminated for her looks, drove the man and the four other competitors off a cliff, Chinese media reported. The spurned mistress died and the other passengers were injured, the reports said. Police initially thought the car had plummeted off a mountain road in eastern China on December 6 by accident. Then they learned of the contest through a letter the dead woman had left behind, the Shanghai Daily newspaper said. The 29-year-old woman, identified only as Yu, was a waitress when she met the businessman at a restaurant in the coastal city of Qingdao in 2000. At the time, the businessman, identified only by his last name -- Fan -- was married and had four other mistresses, according to the Peninsula Metropolis Daily newspaper in Qingdao."
More at CNN

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

NEC Claims Organic Radical Battery Advance

NEC Corp enabled an organic radical battery to be repeatedly charged/discharged 10,000 times or more with one second or shorter pulse discharge while enhancing its power density. By utilizing a printing technology and a technique to evenly disperse electrode ink, the company increased the uniformities of the organic radical material and the carbon fiber, thereby reducing the internal resistance of the positive electrode of the organic radical battery. As a result, the power density of the battery was increased to 5,000W/L, which is three times as high as that of the company's existing organic radical battery. In addition, by reviewing the structure of the battery and improving the compatibility between the organic radical material and the electrolytic solution, NEC confirmed that the battery can be repeatedly charged/discharged 10,000 times or more.
More at Tech-On

Engadget strikes again with video of HTC Touch Pro 2

Engadget strikes again with video of HTC Touch Pro 2. "The Touch Pro2 is exquisitely manufactured, feels rock-solid, and the WVGA is absolutely awesome. The gestures and animations are totally smooth and responsive, proving that WinMo is perfectly capable of handling this kind of UI dazzle. The Straight Talk functionality for seamlessly moving between different types of communication will be appreciated by anyone who spends half their business day on the phone and seems to work (and look) positively lovely.
More video at Engadet

Engadget video of HTC Touch Diamond 2

The new Touch Diamond 2 is a stunner, build quality and feel in your hand is really a quality affair. The material choices in both metal and plastics used here are really first rate. The screen is bright, easy to read and the UI overhaul is much appreciated. One standout in the new improved UI has to be the start menu which, when clicked, pops you into a full screen shortcut list which is miles better to surf through with a finger. All in all? We're impressed with the Touch Diamond2 and though it's not a wildly new device, it is worth peeking at if you're lost in the decision making process for a new Windows Mobile phone.
More Pictures at Engadet

Michelin's e-wheel eliminates gearboxes, drive shaft, and suspension.

In the newest collaboration between Valeo and Michelin the companies have agreed to cooperate on "electric and rechargeable hybrid vehicle systems such as the drive train, engine and battery cooling management, climate control, lighting, energy management and tires," beginning with the e-wheel. Using Michelin's Active Wheel Technology, this new device puts two electric wheels inside the hub -- one for motive power, one for active suspension -- a design that negates the need for gearboxes, drive shafts, and conventional suspension assemblies. The design has previously been tested in the Venturi Volage concept car, and the companies are currently looking to get involved with a mass-market auto maker to take this project to the next level.
More Here