Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Heating

A prototype water heater system that uses cold water to make hot water pictured with Slate...

Apart from heating and cooling the house, water heating is one of the biggest energy drains in the average home. But what if you could literally use cold water to create hot water? That’s just what San Diego inventor Hal Slater claims to have done with the creation of a water heater system that promises to improve water heating efficiency by as much as 50 to 100 percent.  Read More

Some of Fraunhofer's printed thermoelectric generators, wrapped around a sample component

Thermoelectric materials, putting it simply, are able to generate electricity via differences in temperature. If thermoelectric felt were used to make a jacket, for instance, it could generate a current using the temperature gradient between the warm interior and cold exterior of the garment. Like many such promising technologies, however, the cost of thermoelectrics is something of an issue ... although thanks to a new process developed at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material and Beam Technology, that might not be the case for much longer.  Read More

Kengo Kuma & Associates has designed an experimental house in Hokkaido, Japan called 'Même...

Japanese architectural firm Kengo Kuma & Associates recently demonstrated its ethos of design inspired by light and nature with an experimental house in Hokkaido called "Même." The structure is designed for cold climates and whilst based upon the local Ainu people's “Chise” (House of the Earth), it uses modern materials for an insulated double skin membrane that promotes convection and maintains a comfortable internal environment due to heat circulation from its continually lit fire.  Read More

Both soups and drinks are available in the Hot Can

Last February, the world welcomed its first self-chilling beverage. Of course, a self-chilling beverage was only of so much interest during a time when much of the world's population could just step outside its door and chill its own beverages in the open air – June might have been a better time for that one. What folks could use during the cold season is a beverage container that automatically warms its contents. That container is called the Hot Can.  Read More

A new thermochromic table and bench set changes color wherever it's exposed to the user's ...

Remember those Hypercolor T-shirts, that changed color according to your body temperature? Or how about mood rings? Well, now you can get a solid oak table and two-bench set that works along the same lines.  Read More

The second generation of Tony Fadell's Nest Learning Thermostat will be shipping soon

Apple fans with vivid imaginations love to dream up all kinds of fictional Apple products. iCars, iFridges, and iBoats may never see the light of day, but there is one home appliance that requires a bit less imagination. Former Apple exec Tony Fadell, who was instrumental in creating the iPod, brought his Cupertino schooling to the world of thermostats. The resulting original Nest thermostat was a hit, and – much like with an iPhone or iPad – its sequel is here, nearly a year later.  Read More

Chaval's Response XRT heated gloves

Like the ill-fated internet meme says, "Winter is coming" ... or at least, it is for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere. Chaval's Response XRT heated gloves are designed to help outdoorsmen battle the cold that comes with the season, using some innovative new technology – and for US$389.97, they'd better.  Read More

Thermoelectrics can be used to convert energy currently lost as heat wasted from industry ...

Approximately 90 percent of the world’s electricity is generated by heat energy. Unfortunately, electricity generation systems operate at around 30 to 40 percent efficiency, meaning around two thirds of the energy input is lost as waste heat. Despite this, the inefficiency of current thermoelectric materials that can convert waste heat to electricity has meant their commercial use has been limited. Now researchers have developed a thermoelectric material they claim is the best in the world at converting waste heat into electricity, potentially providing a practical way to capture some of the energy that is currently lost.  Read More

Violent bubbling in boiling water may just be a thing of the past (Image: Northwestern Uni...

You know that thing that water does when it boils? The thing with the bubbles? Turns out, it doesn't really need to do that at all, with scientists finding a way to make boiling water a completely bubble-free zone. Researchers from Northwestern University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Melbourne University in Australia teamed up to prevent water from bubbling when it boils by using tiny spheres coated with a hydrophobic material.  Read More

Scientists have created face paint that protects soldiers against the heat of explosions (...

For millennia, face paint has helped soldiers avoid being seen by enemy forces. This Wednesday, however, a team of scientists from the University of Southern Mississippi announced that a new type of face paint may soon also be able to protect against the heat of bomb blasts and other explosions. Additionally, a clear version of the paint could be used by civilian firefighters.  Read More

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