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Heating

 Principle of the microscopic engine (Diagram: University of Stuttgart)

It sounds implausible, yet scientists have managed to create a functioning engine, analogous to a Stirling engine, just three micrometers wide and made of a single particle. The minuscule engine was created by Clemens Bechinger and Valentin Blickle at the University of Stuttgart, and though it has its quirks, the pair have apparently demonstrated the engine's ability to do work.  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

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

Dyson has unveiled a room-heating version of its Air Multiplier bladeless fan, named the D...

Introduced in 2009, Dyson’s Air Multiplier bladeless fan is still probably the trendiest, most unique device one can buy for moving cooling air around a room. Today, the British company announced that consumers will now be able to use that same bladeless technology for heating a room, in the form of the Dyson Hot fan heater.  Read More

A'ME's Clamp-On MTB Heated Tri Grips are designed to warm the hands of winter cyclists

While heated handlebar grips may be nothing new for snowmobilers or motorcyclists, they’re something that mountain bikers have never been offered before – or have they? The comments board is open, if you know of a previous product. In any case, A’ME’s Clamp-On MTB Heated Tri Grips are just such an animal. If you’re a cold-weather cyclist who doesn’t like wearing thick gloves that cause your hands to get sweaty, they may be just what you’re looking for.  Read More

Diamond-Power skylight panels are designed to harness solar energy, while reducing the sol...

There’s no doubt that skylights make for psychologically-nicer buildings, while also reducing the amount of electricity required for daytime artificial lighting. If they let in too much sunlight, however, they can actually increase the amount of electricity needed for air conditioning. California-based EnFocus is attacking the situation from two ends – its Diamond-Power panels diffuse sunlight to keep interior heat down, while also harnessing it to create electricity.  Read More

Data center servers could be used to heat homes and offices suggests a new Microsoft Resea...

The U.S. EPA estimated that servers and data centers were responsible for up to 1.5 percent of the total U.S. electricity consumption, or roughly 0.5 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, in 2007. With companies such as Apple and Google strongly pushing the move to cloud computing, that figure is likely to increase significantly in the coming decade. Since a lot of energy is consumed keeping the computer systems cool, colder climates are seen as more favorable sites for data centers. But a new paper from Microsoft Research proposes a different approach that would see servers, dubbed Data Furnaces, distributed to office buildings and homes where they would act as a primary heat source.  Read More

Some Japanese city-dwellers are cooling down with the use of spray-on foam and gel this su...

While some inventions originating in Japan can seem a little quirky by Western standards, many of those are at the same time rather innovative. This is certainly the case with the cooling foams and gels in spray-cans, which are cooling down Japanese city-dwellers this summer.  Read More

A newly-created alloy (center disc) is able to convert heat directly into electricity (Ima...

The heat given off by electronics, automobile engines, factories and other sources is a potentially huge source of energy, and various technologies are being developed in order to capture that heat, and then convert it into electricity. Thanks to an alloy that was recently developed at the University of Minnesota, however, a step in that process could be saved – the new material is able to convert heat directly into electricity.  Read More

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