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The Mushroom charger from Bracktron eliminates vampire power when charging mobile devices

The spring-loaded PumPing Tap concept that would eject electrical plugs from an outlet when not actively drawing electricity attracted a fair share of criticism from readers when we looked at it earlier this week. Bracktron has come up with a more practical solution with its line of GreenZero chargers that detect when the device being charged is unplugged or fully charged and automatically shut off to eliminate stand-by – also known as vampire power – consumption.  Read More

If a  device uses no energy for ten minutes, the PumPing Tap's spring-loaded mechanism pop...

For years, environmentalists have warned that keeping electronics plugged in all the time wastes energy, even when a device is switched off. Even for less green-conscious consumers this lost energy can add up on the electric bill each month, so disconnecting unused devices is really a good habit for anyone to get into. But let's be honest, it's hard to remember to unplug each gadget every single time it's used. To help with this, designers have created the PumPing Tap, a concept electrical socket that can detect an unused power cord and physically eject it from the wall.  Read More

The Radiator Booster is a temperature-activated fan, that draws warm air out from behind a...

The basic idea with radiators is that they should, well, radiate heat out into the room. Given that they're almost always located against walls, however, much of the heat coming off the back of them is just absorbed by those walls. What someone should make is a gizmo that draws the heated air out from behind a radiator, and blows it over to where it will be appreciated. Well, that's what the Radiator Booster is.  Read More

The Nest Learning Thermostat is capable of self-programming itself via its user's habits, ...

While programmable thermostats are nothing uncommon these days, many users adjust the temperature manually utilizing the thermostat's basic feature only. On the other hand, it's certainly difficult to develop an appropriate program corresponding to the volatility of daily life. Designed by a team led by ex-Apple engineer Tony Fadell, the Nest Learning Thermostat offers a new take on automatic temperature adjustment. Featuring a simple knob-based design, the unit is capable of self-programming itself via a combination of its user's habits, activity sensors and Internet-gathered weather information, thus increasing energy savings without much effort on the user's part.  Read More

The Levytator uses curved modules to allow it to follow freeform curves

For over a century, escalators have followed a fairly straight path – with the exception of a few spiral and curved escalators found in cities including Reno and Osaka. Now a researcher at City University London has developed a new type of escalator called the Levytator that is capable of following freeform curves. This is achieved by replacing the traditional rectangular steps with curved modules that also allows the modules to be placed in a continuous loop. Not only does this open up the design possibilities for architects, it could also cut energy usage in half compared to conventional escalators.  Read More

Researchers have created an efficient new thermoelectric nanomaterial, that could be used ...

Virtually all electrical devices and industrial processes create heat as they operate, which is typically wasted. In the past several years, various thermoelectric technologies have been developed to address that situation, by converting such heat into electricity. The ideal material for the purpose would be one that has a high electrical conductivity, but a low thermal conductivity – that way, it could carry plenty of electricity without losing efficiency through overheating. Unfortunately, electrical and thermal conductivity usually seem to go hand in hand. With some help from an ordinary microwave oven, however, researchers from New York’s Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute have created a nanomaterial that appears to fit the bill.  Read More

Buildings such as this office tower could benefit from windows that can be darkened or lig...

Dimmable windows, in one form or another, have been with us for several years now. We’ve seen examples such as the manually-adjustable SPD-Smart motorcoach windows, the energy-harvesting Smart Energy Glass product, and the RavenWindow, which darkens or lightens according to the outside temperature. According to researchers from Korea’s Soongsil University and Korea Electronics Technology Institute, however, such windows can be expensive, don’t work properly for long enough, and require toxic substances in their manufacturing process. The team claims to have developed a system of their own, that has none of these drawbacks.  Read More

A new system that puts smartphones into 'subconscious mode' could boost battery run times ...

University of Michigan researchers have proposed a new power management system for smartphones that could dramatically improve battery life. Working with doctoral student Xinyu Zhang, computer science and engineering professor Kang Shin has created a proof-of-concept system known as E-MiLi, or Energy-Minimizing Idle Listening, that addresses the energy waste that occurs when "sleeping" phones are looking for incoming messages and clear communication channels. For users on the busiest networks, it could extend battery life by up to 54 percent.  Read More

An experimental energy-saving streetlight system automatically dims the lights when no peo...

Of all the energy-saving tips out there, probably the one we hear most often is to not leave lights on when we leave a room. It’s good advice, yet cities around the world are not following it in one key way – their streetlights stay on all night long, even when no one is on the street. The Netherlands’ Delft University of Technology is experimenting with a new streetlight system on its campus, however, in which motion sensor-equipped streetlights dim to 20 percent power when no people or moving vehicles are near them. The system is said to reduce energy consumption and CO2 emissions by up to 80 percent, plus it lowers maintenance costs and reduces light pollution.  Read More

EnerJ is a power-saving system that allocates less voltage to regions of computer chips th...

As computers, data centers and mobile devices become more powerful, their energy requirements are likewise generally increasing. Possible solutions to the problem include power-saving sleep modes, devices that keep computers from drawing a current when supposedly turned off, and water-cooled processors. EnerJ, a new solution created at the University of Washington, takes a different approach – it supplies less power to regions of the chip that are performing processes that don’t require absolute precision. In lab simulations, it has already cut power consumption by up to 50 percent, although that amount could potentially reach as high as 90 percent.  Read More

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