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— Environment

Spirit Solar Powered Lighting Column integrates panels into the post

Street lights are one of things people in heavily populated areas tend to take for granted. They make walking and driving a safer, more pleasant experience, but they also account for a significant chunk of a city's energy usage. Solar powered street lights offer a solution for places where electricity is at a premium, or locations that are off the grid completely and the Spirit Solar Powered Lighting Column is the first example we've seen which rolls the post and the panels together in a standalone design. Read More
— Good Thinking

Wired merry-go-rounds provide energy to remote schools in Ghana

At first glance, a merry-go-round that generates electricity appears to be a charming idea. But Empower Playgrounds President, Ben Markham, came up with the idea in 2006 during an 18-month stint volunteering in Ghana. There he was struck by the lack of lighting in rural schools and dwellings, as well as the paucity of playground equipment. A charming idea it remains, but it's a serious one, too. Read More
— Around The Home

USS Enterprise-like flat LED light bulb could end up selling for $3

Not long ago, we took a look at Cree’s new LED light bulbs. At US$12.97 a pop, the 60-watt-equivalent model sounded like a pretty good deal. If NliteN’s disk-shaped 2D-Lite reaches production, however, it could make the Cree product look downright expensive. Initially slated to sell for $10, the dimmable 60-watt-equivalent "800 lumen-class" bulb is planned to drop to $6 by 2015, and to $3 by 2017. Read More
— Science

Smart Glass controls both lighting and heat levels

Researchers at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory have produced a "smart" glass coating that can be selectively controlled to block visible light, heat-producing near-infrared (NIR) light, or both, by applying a small electrical charge to it. The ability to do this dynamically has the potential to deliver improved lighting, heating, and cooling efficiency in buildings, thereby maximizing energy savings and still providing bright and well lit environments in different weather conditions. Read More
— Electronics

StyleShoots automatically gives product shots transparent backgrounds

When incorporating photographs of products into catalogs or websites, it’s always helpful if those photos have a digitally-transparent background. This means that a computer working with the photo will allow the user to add in whatever background they wish behind the product – or give it no background at all – instead of being stuck with the background against which it was originally shot. In the past, creating such an image has often required graphic artists to manually cut the product out of the shot, using a program such as Photoshop. Now, however, the StyleShoots system is able to create product shots with transparent backgrounds within seconds, as the photos are being taken. Read More

WigWag takes home-automation mobile

Life automation is a concept that is really growing lately. All kinds of products designed to connect our homes and businesses and make mundane tasks automatic are hitting the market, and many of them are seeing fast adoption from users. WigWag is another device with that goal, and it has some distinct features that its creators hope will help it stand tall above others on the market. Read More