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Electricity

Environment

Buddhist singing bowls could inspire highly efficient solar cells

While the unique shape of Buddhist singing bowls is vital to the creation of their signature sound, a researcher from Australia National University (ANU) has used their design as the inspiration for a new breed of solar cells. In completing his PhD at the University of Cambridge, Dr Niraj Lal found that just as the bowls cause sound to resonate, miniaturized versions can be made to interact with light in much the same way, inspiring solar cells better able to capture sunlight. Read More

Electronics

Buckyballs and diamondoids combined to create molecule-sized diode

Scientists working at the Stanford Institute for Materials and Energy Sciences (SIMES) claim to have created a molecule-sized electronic component just a few nanometers long that conducts electricity in only the one direction. In essence, a rectifier diode, but one so small that it may one day help replace much bulkier diodes and other semiconductors found on today's integrated circuits to produce incredibly compact, super-fast electronic devices.Read More

Environment

Air HES system to collect water and generate electricity from the clouds

Using a tethered airship floating high up amongst the clouds, the Air HES concept claims to yield both clean water and electricity by harvesting and condensing water vapor which it uses to spin up an electric turbine generator to create power. According to the creators, they have built a prototype to test their theory and have also conducted feasibility studies into upping the scale of their device to produce economically viable levels of water and power.Read More

3D Printing

3D-printed AirEnergy3D takes open source approach to wind turbines

The AirEnergy3D is an open source, 3D-printed, portable wind turbine prototype whose creators claim will be able to generate up to 300 W of power. Designed to be easily assembled and disassembled without tools, the device is intended to be compact enough to be transported in a backpack, allowing it to be taken camping or anywhere else that there is a breeze and no access to the electricity grid.Read More

Electronics

Mobile phones could be charged using sound

Four years ago, we first heard about how Korean scientists had proposed using sound to charge mobile phones. They explained that it could be done via a piezoelectric effect, in which zinc oxide nanowires converted sound-caused vibrations into electricity. At the time, the researchers couldn't generate enough of a current to actually charge a phone. Now, however, scientists from Nokia and Queen Mary University of London (QMUL) have succeeded in doing so. Read More

Electronics

oneTesla shrinks its singing Tesla coil kit to palm-friendly proportions

The folks who successfully crowdfunded a DIY singing Tesla coil kit last year have taken to Kickstarter again to bring a smaller version into production. Like its older and bigger brother, the tinyTesla shoots out bolts of artificial lightning while playing MIDI music using the electricity itself. It looks like that polyphonic MIDI version of Danger High Voltage by Electric Six might just come in handy after all.Read More

Environment

All-in-one system uses plant oils to power, heat, and cool the home

A team of researchers led by Newcastle University has produced an all-in-one Biofuel Micro Trigeneration (BMT) prototype system fueled entirely by unprocessed plant oils that provides combined cooling, heating, and electrical power. This first-generation system is designed for use in homes, with the potential for up-scaling for larger commercial and industrial applications. Read More

Electronics

Google offers up US$1 million prize to shrink size of power inverters

The old saying says good things come in small packages. Google and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) seem to agree having launched the Little Box Challenge, an open competition with a US$1 million first prize to find innovative electronic designs to shrink power inverters down from their current bigger-than-a-bread-box size to something less than the size of a small laptop. Read More

Science

Stanford researchers develop self-cooling solar cells

Photovoltaic cells are one of the more promising alternative energy sources. Mechanically they are very simple, with no moving parts, and are clean and emission-free. Unfortunately they are also inefficient. One of the reasons for this is that they overheat, a problem that a Stanford University team under electrical engineering professor Shanhui Fan is addressing with the development of a thin glass layer that makes solar cells self-cooling. Read More

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