Advertisement

Energy-saving

Its idea may be simple, but that did not stop Radiator Labs winning the MIT Clean Energy Prize with its controllable box that can be retrofitted to radiators to boost the efficiency of hot water and steam heating systems. The heavily insulated housings physically cover the radiator, trapping heat in the system, and strictly controlling the amount that is let into the room. This prevents homes becoming over-heated, and wasteful heat loss as people open windows to compensate. Read More
Anyone who regularly uses a computer for long periods of time can likely attest to the importance of proper computer-use posture. Sitting in the wrong position, or having your keyboard or screen improperly located, can result in strain to the eyes, hands, wrists, neck or back. While we may try to establish a good pose when first sitting down at our machine, it’s all too easy to get wrapped up in what we’re doing, and gradually slip into our old ergonomically-unfriendly hunches or slouches. That’s where Philips’ new ErgoSensor display steps in – it actually monitors the user, and lets them know when they need to correct their posture. Read More
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
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 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
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
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
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
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
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
Advertisement