2015 Detroit NAIAS Auto Show

Solar Powered

The Mars helicopter is solar powered (Image; NASA)

The next big discovery is always beyond the next hill, but what if you can't see over it? That's the problem facing NASA with its Mars rovers, so the space agency is looking into how robotic helicopters could help scout the land ahead and give engineers back on Earth data to help plot the best route.  Read More

The UPC/Eolgreen streetlights incorporate both solar panels and a wind turbine (Photo: Eol...

If you're trying to save power, you generally don't leave your lights on all night. With a few exceptions, however, that's what cities do with their streetlights. That's why some groups have developed streetlights with built-in solar panels. A Spanish team is now taking things a step farther, with a stand-alone streetlight that runs off of both solar and wind power.  Read More

The Custom 30 Foot Tiny House (Photo: Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses)

For those who like the thought of living in a compact space but don't want to get too cramped, the Custom 30 Foot House by Colorado-based Rocky Mountain Tiny Houses may be of interest. Built for a family of three, it boasts more space and home comforts than one might expect from a towable tiny dwelling, including a bath and shower, a dishwasher, and enough seating for up to six people.  Read More

The Wakati increases the length of time that fruit and veg can be stored without refrigera...

For farmers in developing countries without refrigerators, a great deal of produce - and therefore profit - can be lost through spoilage. A new device seeks to tackle this problem by increasing the short-term storage time for fruit and veg. The Wakati stores produce in a sterilized microclimate.  Read More

The Taoshouse in New Mexico, US, is expected to run entirely on electricity generated by i...

A home built in New Mexico, US, is expected to run entirely from the electricity generated from energy harvested by its nine 230 W solar panels. The Taoshouse also has a number of design features to help keep power usage to a minimum.  Read More

The Helios Bluetooth solar-powered headphones use a photovoltaic panel to draw on power fr...

We first came across the idea of solar-powered Bluetooth headphones back in 2009. Five years later, the proliferation of Bluetooth LE and the capability of today's solar cells has given London-based startup Exod the tools needed to turn the concept into reality. With its Helios headphones, the company is dangling the prospect of a dangle-free listening experience in front of mobile music lovers.  Read More

The Sunstar solar-powered UAV concept from Solar Flight

Raymond's California-based company Solar Flight has released details of its fourth solar-powered aircraft, the Sunstar. The airplane has been designed for unmanned flight, though a human pilot version is also an option, and is reported to have more performance potential than any other projects currently under development, with greater flight speeds in a turbulence-tolerant design.  Read More

The Zephyr has become the first High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) system to complete a...

The solar-powered, high-altitude long endurance (HALE) UAV previously known as the Qinetiq Zephyr, which is now part of the Airbus High Altitude Pseudo-Satellite (HAPS) programme and called the Airbus Zephyr, has continued its record-breaking ways in its first civil flight in the skies over Dubai earlier this month.  Read More

Scrobby is an autonomous robot prototype designed to keep domestic solar panels clean and ...

Solar panels need regular cleaning to ensure they are working at their optimum efficiency, and spraying them with the hose from the ground or relying on a heavy downpour won't necessarily get the job done. Like the windows on your house, they need to be scrubbed and polished for maximum effect. Enter Scrobby, a solar-powered, autonomous robot prototype designed to keep domestic solar panels clean and clear.  Read More

The new Digital Drum 2.0 from UNICEF and partners

For the past couple of years, UNICEF Uganda and partners have been designing, developing, prototyping and rolling out youth-focused community computers that can operate on mains power where available, or solar-power in remote rural areas. Work has just finished on the design of the second generation Digital Kiosk, and the UK's fanless computer specialist Aleutia is now working on a new open source, low power computer system to squeeze into the table-topped repurposed oil drum that will become the Digital Drum.  Read More

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