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Solar Powered

Robotics

Scrobby the autonomous solar panel-scrubbing robot

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

Computers

UNICEF updating Uganda's Digital Kiosk computing platform

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

Environment

Solar-powered smart benches to appear in Boston parks

A number of parks in the Boston area will soon receive solar-powered smart benches, courtesy of Changing Environments, an MIT Media Lab spin-off company. Dubbed Soofa, the benches sport a solar panel, a pair of charging points for smartphones (or similar devices), and they monitor environmental data such as local air quality and noise pollution. Read More

Bicycles

The Beast: A solar-powered e-bike built for off-road adventure

Since the release of its groundbreaking wireless Shadow Ebike in 2011, Canadian electric vehicle company Daymak has been toiling away looking to take its eco-friendly bike tech beyond the asphalt. The Beast is a product of around two years of development and, fitted with 8-inch thick tires and solar power battery pack, is equipped to power sun-fueled expeditions over the roughest of terrain. Read More

Space

Could a space-based solar farm become a reality by 2040?

Space-based solar power seems like an idea from a Star Trek script, but given the uncertain future of its power generation industry, Japan stands to gain as much as anyone by exploring this potential source of renewable energy. The disaster at Fukushima, limited access to fossil fuels and advances in technology has, at least in the eyes of the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), added further weight to the notion of a space-based solar power system. The agency is developing a complex roadmap involving a 1 GW extraterrestrial solar farm, a microwave beam and a man-made island in the Tokyo harbor which could be used collect solar energy in space and supply power to Earth by 2040.Read More
Aircraft

Solar-powered Sunseeker Duo takes flight

For all the advancements made in solar power technology, developing an airplane that could harvest enough of the sun's energy to not only be flown for extended periods, but take another person along for the ride has proven a difficult task. The team at Solar Flight recently took on this challenge, unveiling its plans for what would be the world's first two-seater solar aircraft, the Sunseeker Duo. Today, the company announced that it has spent the last few months testing the plane's flight performance and the results hold some promise for helping achieve its lofty ambitions. Read More

Aircraft

Solar Impulse 2 spreads its wings for the public

What has a wider wingspan than a 747, weighs the same as a car, and can fly almost forever without a drop of fuel? If you were in Payerne, Switzerland on Wednesday, you would have seen the answer as psychiatrist and explorer Bertrand Piccard and engineer and entrepreneur André Borschberg unveiled the Solar Impulse 2. The result of 12 years work, the ultra-light, solar-powered airplane will attempt to fly around the world next year relying exclusively on solar power to keep it aloft for days at a time. Read More

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