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Power

Good Thinking

"Living furniture" could power laptops and desk lamps

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

Pulp and paper mill waste could be used in cheaper batteries

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

Plug + Play is a winning formula for an electric vehicle charging station

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

Electronics

Hybrid fiber optic cable carries data and power

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

Electronics

Charge your phone using pedal power with the K-TOR Power Box

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

Mobile Technology

Innergie PocketCell packs a powerful punch

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

Holiday Destinations

Old nuclear power plant transformed into a theme park and hotel

The Wunderland Kalkar amusement park in Germany has been converted from a disused nuclear power station, following the government's decision to abandon all nuclear energy plants. The site was sold in 1991 to a Dutch investor who, leaving the reactor building in place, created Wunderland Kalkar. The proportions of the park are enormous, positioned on over 55 hectares (80 football fields) and features over 40 amusement attractions.Read More

Mobile Technology

IDAPT releases eco-conscious i1 Eco dual charger

IDAPT has been providing charging solutions for power hungry mobile device users for a few years now with its range of multi-purpose chargers, such as the IDAPT i3. The company has now extended its range with the IDAPT i1 Eco dual charger that has been designed as a more environmentally friendly way to keep the juice flowing in your electronic devices. Read More

Environment

OnPlug eliminates standby power drain

Call it standby power, phantom power or vampire power, but the current drawn by various household electrical devices when they are supposedly “off” can account for up to ten percent of a home’s energy use. Fortunately, there are gizmos available that act as “middle men” between wall outlets and devices, completely shutting off the power supply when the devices are not in use. One of the newest is the OnPlug, which manages to come in at quite a low price point by avoiding the bells and whistles of similar products. Read More

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