Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Sunlight

The Stanford material cools buildings by both reflecting sunlight and radiating interior h...

Keeping buildings cool isn't easy. In fact, conventional air conditioning methods are very energy intensive and account for up to 15 percent of the energy used in buildings in the United States alone. However, engineers at Stanford University have come up with a new ultrathin, multilayered, nanophotonic material that not only reflects heat away from buildings, but also directs heat from inside out into space, cooling both the building and the planet as well.  Read More

The Lowline is an underground park planned for New York (Image: Raad Studio)

Squeezing public spaces into cities that are increasingly built-up gets ever more difficult. One unusual solution is to build such spaces underground. That's the plan for New York's planned Lowline park, which will see an old trolley terminal renovated and illuminated with sunlight via fiberoptics.  Read More

Artist's impression of the Rosetta spacecraft (Image: ESA - J. Huart)

As Philae begins its long sleep, bedded down on the surface of comet 67P/Churymov–Gerasimenko (67P), mankind's attention shifts back to the Rosetta spacecraft as she begins the next phase of her audacious mission. Over the course of the next year, Rosetta will become the first spacecraft to orbit and observe a comet as it approaches the Sun, allowing the already phenomenally successful mission to detail the evolving characteristics of 67P as the heat from our star causes a dramatic rise in activity.  Read More

Jupiter's Great Red Spot may be caused by the sun and not some internal phenomenon as prev...

The Great Red Spot is the distinguishing feature that makes Jupiter one of the most easily recognizable planets in our solar system. Until recently, it was widely believed that this blemish was formed as a result of reddish-colored chemicals rising up from within the planet itself. However, using information obtained by analysis of data from the Cassini fly-by mission of Jupiter, researchers working at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have discerned that the planet's Great Red Spot may have more to do with the external action of the sun than some internal mechanism.  Read More

A look across the Hangar-7 museum (Photo: C.C. Weiss/Gizmag)

Gizmag recently took the opportunity to tour the Hangar-7 Museum in Red Bull's hometown of Salzburg, Austria. With an underlying theme of speed and adrenaline, the stylish, hangar-inspired gallery serves up an ever-changing collection of air and land race hardware. Step inside for a virtual tour of intriguing architecture and high-performance machinery.  Read More

NBBJ reckons Sunbreak could prove smarter than your average shade

NBBJ has previously designed buildings for Amazon, Google, and Samsung, but the company says that one of the most frequent complaints it received was that the workers felt they didn't have enough fine control over their working environment. With this in mind, the firm's boffins have created the Sunbreak, an intelligent automated sunshade prototype that's operated using a smartphone.  Read More

A composite of graphite flakes and carbon foam is claimed to convert 85 percent of solar e...

Researchers working at MIT’s Department of Mechanical Engineering claim to have produced a sponge-like substance that helps convert water to steam using sunlight one-hundredth as bright as that required by conventional steam-producing solar generators. A composite of graphite flakes layered on a bed of carbon foam, the new material is reported to convert as much as 85 percent of received solar energy into steam.  Read More

A complex optical system creates an almost 3D sensation of distance and space between the ...

For residents living in the north, where sunlight can be a rare commodity during the winter, a psychological condition known as Seasonal Affective Disorder is a very real problem. Light therapy is one way to shake off the winter blues, and although artificial lighting solutions do exist, they are generally available as simple variations on traditional desk lamps. An Italian designer has developed CoeLux, a unique system that delivers artificial light through an intelligent false skylight.  Read More

A diagram illustrating the principle behind the new hybrid energy transfer system (Image: ...

Artificially replicating the biological process of photosynthesis is a goal being sought on many fronts, and it promises to one day improve light-to-energy efficiencies of solar collection well beyond what's possible with photovoltaic cells. One of the first steps is to imitate the mechanisms at work in the transfer of energy from reception through to output. To this end, Scientists have recently experimented with a combination of biological and photonic quantum mechanical states to form new half-light half-matter particle, called the “polariton.” It could help realize fully synthetic systems by mimicking the energy transport systems of biological photosynthesis.  Read More

Scientists are trying to boost the amount of sunlight that gets down to urban alleys (Phot...

Everyone knows that downtown alleyways are dark at night, but even in the daytime, shadows cast by the tall buildings on either side can make them quite gloomy. While that might not matter much for little-used alleys, it's certainly a factor in cities where people live and work in them. That's why researchers from Egypt's Ain Shams University are developing a new type of panel that diverts sunlight from buildings' roofs down into the alleyways beside them.  Read More

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