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Power

It took Deep Thought (the supercomputer from The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy) seven and a half million years to calculate that the answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything was 42. South Dakota's Peppermint Energy is hoping that it won't take quite that long to bring its personal, portable solar energy device named The Forty2 into production. The company has turned to crowd-funding portal Kickstarter to help it take the all-in-one power unit from working prototype to its first limited production run and beyond. Read More
When installing micro-electronic devices in locations that are expensive or hard to reach, or just downright dangerous, you don't want to have to keep returning to swap out a battery cell. City Labs has announced the commercial launch of its NanoTritium betavoltaic power source, a thumb-sized battery that draws on the energy released from its radioactive element to provide continuous nanoWatt power for over 20 years. Read More
If the idea of your mobile gadget running out of juice leaving you incommunicado (or, heaven forbid, bored) fills you with fear, then a battery pack is the obvious solution. But what if your power needs vary from day to day? Exogear has developed a battery pack that it touts as the world’s first stackable battery pack that is designed to adapt to suit your battery needs, no matter how small or how great. Read More
Smart meters have become an important tool not only for households looking to save energy and keep the electricity bill down, but also for utility companies striving to match electricity generation with demand. But while smart meters can provide an overall picture of a household’s electricity usage over time, a team from the University of Sydney’s Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies is developing a system that aims to monitor the energy usage of individual appliances. Read More
Designers and scientists at the University of Cambridge have been collaborating on a project that demonstrates a potential future application of Biophotovoltaic (BPV) technology. Dubbed the Moss Table, the concept furniture piece was exhibited at this year’s Salone Satellite – a parallel exhibition of young designers that took place during the Milan Design Week last month. The idea behind the table is that energy generated from the moss during the day could be stored in a battery and later used to power the adjoining lamp in the evening. Read More

Scientists have discovered that lignin, a plentiful byproduct of the pulp and paper industry, can be used to store an electrical charge. They've used the material to create a prototype lignin-based rechargeable battery, and suggest that it could one day be used as a less expensive, safer alternative to the precious metals currently utilized in battery cathodes. Read More

Design By Many, a challenge-based design community, recently announced the winners of its Electric Vehicle Charging Station competition. First prize was awarded to the HMMY team for its Plug + Play concept. The smart-looking electric vehicle charging station attempts to stimulate awareness of the gap between production and consumption of energy. The design "generates a renewed consciousness of energy use in our modern lives," according to HMMY. Read More

When you want to isolate communications between two devices or locations, a fiber optic link is one of the best ways to go. Under some circumstances, however, you might also want to isolate the transmission of power – in situations where traditional copper wire might prove unsafe or impractical, for instance. That’s why researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are developing a power-over-fiber (PoF) communications cable. It carries not only data, but also optical power. Read More
K-TOR has added a new portable charging device to its lineup. The new Power Box puts your legs to work toward converting kinetic energy to electricity. Use it enough and you might just get your weekly workout. It is quite simply a pedal-powered generator equipped with a dual-pronged outlet so that you can plug in an AC adapter and charge your device directly from your leg power. The box works for devices rated 20W and below, including low-power netbooks, tablets, smartphones, video devices and portable game systems. Read More
People who are worried about their mobile devices running out of juice at inopportune moments now have another portable power supply at their disposal – and it’s tiny. The 2.8-ounce (79-gram) Innergie PocketCell is a little larger than a car key, and allows for hours of extra use of Apple and Android devices, MP3 players, and a variety of other mobile gizmos. It was unveiled this week at CES. Read More
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