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Power

— Computers

The Amazing Jellybean takes the guesswork out of power cycling

By - March 27, 2013 3 Pictures
When the internet goes down, the first thing anyone should do is power cycle their modem and router – it seems like almost every internet problem can be fixed by simply turning everything on and off in the right order (as long as the problem is not on the ISP's end, of course). The process takes a good five minutes, between waiting and timing everything right. The Amazing Jellybean aims to make it simpler by allowing users to simply push one button, and have everything power cycled for them in the correct order. Read More
— Electronics

New capacitor developed for brighter camera flashes on mobile devices

By - February 20, 2013 2 Pictures
While stand-alone compact cameras are increasingly at risk of being made obsolete by smartphone cameras, they do still have their advantages. One of those advantages is the fact that, in most cases, their flashes are considerably more powerful. Smartphones may soon be catching up in that area, however, thanks to a new small-but-mighty capacitor paired with a dedicated xenon flash. Read More
— Science

NASA's basement nuclear reactor

By - February 20, 2013 4 Pictures
If Joseph Zawodny, a senior scientist at NASA’s Langley Research Center, is correct, the future of energy may lie in a nuclear reactor small enough and safe enough to be installed where the home water heater once sat. Using weak nuclear forces that turn nickel and hydrogen into a new source of atomic energy, the process offers a light, portable means of producing tremendous amounts of energy for the amount of fuel used. It could conceivably power homes, revolutionize transportation and even clean the environment. Read More
— Space

Royal Academy of Engineering says UK better prepared for solar superstorm

By - February 12, 2013 5 Pictures
Britain is better prepared for a solar superstorm than many countries, including the United States. The Royal Academy of Engineering has released a multi-disciplinary report on space weather’s impact on Britain, as part of the UK National Risk Assessment. The declassified portion of the assessment shows the level of UK preparedness in the face of severe solar storms, and outlines the dangers Earth faces from superstorms and how to avoid or mitigate damage. Read More
— Science

Acrobatic polymer film developed at MIT harvests energy from water vapor

By - January 14, 2013 1 Picture
A team of researchers at MIT’s David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research has developed a new polymer film that generates power from water vapor. Consisting of two polymer films, the material makes remarkably acrobatic somersaults in the presence of even tiny traces of evaporated water, opening the way for new types of artificial muscles for controlling robotic limbs or powering micro and nanoscopic devices. Read More
— Environment

Renewable energy is reliable, new study claims

By - December 13, 2012 1 Picture
Although critics of renewable energy may claim that it isn't reliable enough to power a grid, a new study gives proponents of clean power – such as wind and solar – fresh ammunition to respond. A thorough analysis carried out by the University of Delaware and Delaware Technical Community College concluded that renewable energy could reliably power a large electrical grid 99.9 per cent of the time by 2030, at a cost that matches today’s electricity prices. Read More
— Space

New small fission reactor for deep-space missions demonstrated

By - November 28, 2012 8 Pictures
Exploring the regions of deep space beyond Mars means sending probes where solar power isn’t practical. Since the 1960s, NASA has equipped its Apollo missions and unmanned explorers with Radioisotope Thermal Generators (RTGs). These have worked very well, but they run on plutonium 238, which is currently in short supply. Therefore, the Los Alamos National Laboratory is developing a new small nuclear reactor for spacecraft that uses uranium instead of plutonium to power Stirling engines and generate electricity. Read More
— Environment

Air + water = gasoline? Not quite...

By - October 30, 2012 3 Pictures
Air Fuel Synthesis, Ltd. (AFS), a small company in the northern English county of Durham, has recently made headlines for a chemical process that claims to synthesize gasoline from air and water. In essence, AFS is using energy to unburn fuel so that it can be burned as fuel again – a great deal of energy. Sixty kWh of electric energy are used up to store 9 kWh of that energy in a liter of gasoline. When you take into consideration that gasoline vehicles are about 15 percent efficient, a car fueled with synthetic gasoline would use roughly 35 times more energy on a given trip than would an electric vehicle. Not, it would seem, a prescription for a commercially valuable green product. Read More
— Environment

Portable Power Center wind turbine fits into a shipping container

By - October 20, 2012 16 Pictures
Wind turbines have the potential to be very useful in providing renewable power to remote communities which have little or no infrastructure. Unfortunately, larger turbines tend to require a relatively involved set-up, with specialist gear needed to construct and maintain the turbines. The Portable Power Center (PPC) by Uprise Energy innovates in this regard by providing a self-contained unit which folds within a shipping container, and can be transported by truck. Read More
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