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Power

Back in 2011, Festo created a natural-flight mimicking bionic seagull with flapping wings dubbed SmartBird. The company is now looking to apply similar principles in order to convert wind power into electricity with its DualWingGenerator system. Read More
Mobile phones have proven invaluable for connecting communities in developing countries where there is no wired telecoms infrastructure. Often, however, there is no electricity infrastructure either, making device charging problematic. BuffaloGrid solves this by providing solar charging hubs to communities, and sharing its profits. Read More
Many organizations around the world are looking at ways to harness the power of waves as a renewable energy source, but none are covering quite the same ground as a team of engineers from the University of California (UC), Berkeley. The seafloor carpet, a system inspired by the wave absorbing abilities of a muddy seabed, has taken exploring the potential of wave power to some intriguing new depths. Read More
Researchers at Harvard have developed an inexpensive, high capacity, organic battery that uses carbon-based materials as electrolytes rather than metals. The researchers say the technology stands to be a game-changer in renewable energy storage by solving the intermittent generation problems faced by renewable sources, such as wind and solar. The battery offers large volume electricity storage not possible with solid-state batteries and at a fraction of the cost of existing flow battery technology. Read More
Professor J.C. Chiao and his postdoc Dr. Smitha Rao of the University of Texas at Arlington have developed a MEMS-based nickel alloy windmill so small that 10 could be mounted on a single grain of rice. Aimed at very-small-scale energy harvesting applications, these windmills could recharge batteries for smartphones, and directly power ultra-low-power electronic devices. Read More
Among the concepts put forth for decreasing the range anxiety associated with electric cars, one is to embed electrical coils within the asphalt. This would allow vehicles to wirelessly draw power from the road as they traveled, although it would also involve having to tear up existing roads to install those coils. An alternative could be on its way, however. Scientists at North Carolina State University are developing a system in which power could be transmitted from stationary roadside stations to mobile receiver coils in cars passing by. Read More
A group of researchers at NIST working with engineers from Colorado-based Scientech has developed a new approach to measuring laser power using a mirror and a scale. This method, which measures the force on the mirror driven by the radiation pressure of the laser light, presents a more rugged and more portable solution than current meters. Read More
A team of researchers at the Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee has designed a supercapacitor made primarily of silicon that has shown much improved power density over its commercially available alternatives. The advance could allow for interesting integration of battery technology in everyday electronics, from solar cells to smartphones. Read More
Conscious that injudiciously inserting one's USB charger into just any old public port might expose one's handheld device to any manner of nasty malware (or data theft, for that matter), experimental security outfit int3.cc has come up with the USBCondom, a go-between device that creates a break between the data pins of your USB connector and those of the public USB port you're plugging into. The power connection is maintained, however, allowing you to charge your smartphone or what-have-you in a state of graceful equanimity. Read More
Usain Bolt is often described as the world's fastest man. The reigning Olympic champion in the 100-meter and 200-meter sprints as well as a member of the Olympic champion 4x100 meter relay team, Bolt is the first man to win six Olympic gold medals in sprinting, and is a five-time world champion. Long and lanky at 6 ft 5 in tall, he towers above the (mostly) much shorter sprinters. How has he managed to come out on top for the past five years? A team of physicists from the Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico (UNAM) has analyzed Bolt's past performances in the 100-meter sprint to understand what makes a record-breaker. Read More
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