What will they think of next?
We have designed a simple pixel circuit, where the pixel’s photodiode can be used to not only measure the incident light level, but also to convert the incident light into electrical energy. A sensor architecture is developed where, during each image capture cycle, the pixels are used first to record and read out the image and then used to harvest energy and charge the sensor’s power supply. We have conducted several experiments using off-the-shelf discrete components to validate the practical feasibility of our approach. We first developed a single pixel based on our design and used it to physically scan images of scenes. Next, we developed a fully self-powered camera that produces 30×40 images. The camera uses a supercap rather than an external source as its power supply. For a scene that is around 300 lux in brightness, the voltage across the supercap remains well above the minimum needed for the camera to indefinitely produce an image per second. For scenarios where scene brightness may vary dramatically, we have developed an adaptive algorithm that adjusts the framerate of the camera based on the voltage of the supercap and the brightness of the scene. Finally, we have analyzed the light gathering and harvesting properties of our design and explain why we believe it could lead to a fully self-powered solid-state image sensor that produces a useful resolution and framerate. The research was funded by ONR.
The rest of this piece presents in an extremely complicated format. For further information please follow this link:self_powered_camera
Hendo is introducing the world’s first REAL hoverboard and hover developer kit. We are putting hover technology in YOUR hands.
So where does the HENDO hoverboard stand today? Well, about 1 inch off the ground. As you can see from the video above, the prototype is real and it works! But to see it hover in person, and better yet, to defy gravity by riding it, is something you need to experience as well.With the support of the Kickstarter community, we all can. We need your help to put the finishing touches on the Hendo Hoverboard, to help us produce them, and to create places to ride them.
Aug 21, 2014
Southern California-based company MotoArt designed an epic office conference table made out of a Boeing 747 Jumbo Jet engine. The company is considered to be the pioneer of recycled airplane parts furniture designs, but this innovative 12’ wide table is probably their grandest work yet.
The table looks extremely hip and modern with its high mirror polish and a custom-fabricated stationary engine core set with internal multi-coloured LED lights topped with a polished spun aluminium dome and a stylish 1/2″ round tempered glass top. The table is also complimented with phone holders and electric sockets beneath the glass to charge them.
July 10, 2014
Oceans, Renewable Energy
Sit on a beach long enough, and the sun will set, the wind will die down. But the tides will roll in and out, and the waves will crash ceaselessly. The National Renewable Energy Laboratory has estimated that in the U.S. alone, recoverable wave power resources total 1,170 terawatt-hours per year. That’s more than a quarter of the country’s electricity consumption. Add in tidal power, and you get another 300 or so TWh/year. And those big numbers come without the intermittency problems that plague wind and solar energy.
Many are trying, but so far no one has cracked the code for the best design to harness all this power. However, a new technology recently on display at a Department of Energy–backed tech showcase in Washington, D.C., is worth watching.
A wave power technology called M3 Wave dispenses with all the problems that come with buoys or other above- and below-the-surface designs by mooring a simple device to the ocean floor. The device contains two air chambers connected by a wind tunnel of sorts. As a wave passes over the top of the first chamber, the pressure inside increases—forcing air through a passageway to the second chamber. Inside the passageway is a turbine, so the passing air is actually what generates the electricity. As the wave continues on, it raises the pressure inside the second chamber, pushing the air back through the turbine and into the first chamber (the turbine is bidirectional). Another wave, another cycle. Repeat.
The primary selling point of this technology is its simple and small footprint. It doesn’t obstruct ocean views or impact shipping or fishing traffic, and rough seas above don’t endanger the system in any way. The company is selling M3 Wave as expeditionary wave power, meaning it might be brought along on a ship and deployed for things such as disaster relief. The company suggests such a deployment could produce 150 to 500 kilowatts. In August, the system will undergo open-water testing at Camp Rilea, a U.S. National Guard facility in Oregon.
An earlier version of this story appeared on IEEE Spectrum’s Energywise blog. The opinion of the blogger should not be construed as being that of the IEEE.
Image ©M3 Wave
By Ben Coxworth
July 9, 2014
You’ve probably seen TV shows in which groups of characters – usually forensic investigators – view data on large transparent touchscreen displays. Well, researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST) have taken that concept a step further. Their TransWall is not only transparent, but it can also receive input and display content on either side of its screen, plus it’s capable of haptic feedback.
The system is housed within a T-shaped frame that also incorporates two overhead-mounted projectors, which project visuals onto either side of the screen. That screen is made up of two sheets of plexiglass, with a clear holographic film sandwiched between them. Bordering those sheets are two rectangular infra-red touch sensor frames, one on either side. A surface transducer is also mounted in the plexiglass above the frames, plus microphones are integrated into each of them.
When users on either side touch the plexiglass, the location and movements of their fingertip are detected by the frame on that side. That information is sent to a computer, which accordingly alters the images being projected onto that face of the holographic film. This means that users can draw lines, flip pages, select objects, and perform all the usual touchscreen functions.
Both users see the same two-projector display, so content viewed on one side of the screen is also visible on the other.
Additionally, the transducer can cause the screen to vibrate on command. Among other things, this can be used to make users feel like they’re touching fingers through the screen. In scenarios where the TransWall might be built into the wall between two rooms, the microphones would also let the users talk to one another.
Some of the possible applications of the technology are demonstrated in the following video.
Whatever you do, DO NOT try this at home…
By Bridget Borgobello
June 15, 2014
Back in 2011, French jet ski champion Franky Zapata launched the Flyboard, which sent swimmers skyward propelled by a jet of water. Three years on he’s put a new spin on the idea, revealing the Hoverboard by ZR. This new extreme-sport lives up to its futuristic namesake and offers riders an experience that sits somewhere between surfing and flyboarding.
The Hoverboard by ZR features a board resembling a wakeboard that is attached to a personal watercraft (PWC), such as a jet ski, via an 18 m (59 ft)-long hose. This supplies a flow of water that is expelled through a single nozzle with enough energy to propel the rider through the air at adrenalin-pumping speeds and heights. The 18 m of hose allows the companion jet ski rider to travel safely behind the Hoverboard user, giving them enough space to safely glide through the air and perform some fancy tricks.
Depending on the horsepower of the PWC, the Hoverboard can travel at speeds of up to 25 km/h (15.5 mph), while soaring up to 5 m (16.5 ft) above the water. Riders also have the option of upgrading to an Electronic Management Kit (EMK), which features a hand held throttle that connects to the jet ski engine and gives the user 100 percent control of the speed and thrust of the Hoverboard.
The Hoverboard can be used in the ocean, lakes or a large enough pond with a minimum depth of 4 m (13 ft), and is prohibited to be used in small bodies of water such as swimming pools. Zapata Racing suggests that Hoverboard users should be at least 16 years of age before testing out the sport and it is also mandatory for all new riders to undertake a one hour lesson at an approved training center.
Thrill-seekers looking to get their hands on a Hoverboard by ZR will have to fork out close to US$6,000 for the unit, and that doesn’t include the cost of your own jet ski. The good news is that Zapata Racing also has plans to distribute the boards within its global network of rental operators.
You can check out the Hoverboard in action in the promotional video below.
Source: Zapata Racing
By Heidi Hoopes
June 12, 2014
Using wastewater to clean itself is the premise of new Australian technology that relies on the formation of compounds called hydrotalicites, and which results in less sludge than traditional water treatment with lime. In one test, the equivalent of 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools of wastewater were treated, with final sludge reductions of up to 90 percent.
Hydrotalicites are layered crystal structures of carbonates, magnesium, and aluminum, and importantly, they can trap impurities within themselves.
By chemically manipulating these elements “naturally” present in wastewater in high concentrations, researchers at CSIRO, Australia’s science agency, caused the formation of these hydrotalicites. This process occurs as the concentration of magnesium and aluminum is altered and the pH of the water raised. As the crystals form, trapped within them are numerous other waste substances – in the test case, those included radium, rare earth elements, anions and transition metals.
The resulting mixture can be easily centrifuged to separate out the sludge, which there is less of due to its higher concentration and smaller volume of water mixed in. The now-concentrated sludge can be theoretically “mined” again to recover some of the metals and minerals from the mixture. The water can be more efficiently purified further, if needed, and reused by the facility.
With the reduction in volume of sludge comes greater ease and lower costs in transporting and disposing of it.
The process is being developed for licensing by Virtual Curtain Limited.
In the video below, Dr. Grant Douglas, a senior researcher at CSIRO, presents the process and benefits of using wastewater as a template to clean itself.
By Angus MacKenzie
June 12, 2014
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.
Professor Paolo Di Trapani of Italy’s University of Insubria spent over 10 years working on a sunlight emulation device called the CoeLux system. The concept aims to recreate artificial light as it exists beyond the walls and ceilings of enclosed spaces, and bring realistic illumination into spaces like subway stations, museums, or spaces where people are removed from the feeling of well-being that natural sunlight delivers.
The CoeLux skylight system utilizes three key elements to emulate natural lighting. Using proprietary technology, Di Trapani has incorporated select LED lighting to closely resemble natural light and the sun in the sky. The team then developed a complex optical system which mimics the sun and its rays using nano-structured materials to recreate in just a few millimeters theRayleigh scattering process that occurs in the atmosphere. But making a ceiling blue with a false sun does not a realistic artificial light source make.
According to Di Trapani, in order to achieve a 3D effect and emulate natural sunlight, the team had to meet a number of design specific challenges. First his team had to develop a photorealistic rendering engine that was capable of accurately simulating sky and sunlight when working with select materials.
“The objective included further developments of the existing Maxwell Render software functionality to include light scattering properties, light polarization effects, custom spectrum data (through spectrum curves or raw data) and light spectrum measurements, by including a virtual spectrophotometer,” explains the inventor.
In the new rendering engine, new user interfaces were developed to allow easier interaction. From lighting experts to designers to physicists, the new engine and interface are designed to assist the user in configuring the spectrum profile for their individual purposes.
But the CoeLux not only delivers faux daylight to enclosed spaces, it can also be programmed to emulate three different geographic lighting scenarios, such as northern Europe for example, where the light runs at a lower angle relative to the horizon than at the equator.
The CoeLux 30 system offers a wall mounted “window” that produces a warm, grazing light typically found in northern regions like Scandinavia. By contrast, the CoeLux 60 delivers an equatorial, vertical type light that projects cooler tones and more dramatic shadows. And in the middle is the CoeLux 45 skylight which presents a 45 degree light designed to offer a balance of light and shadow for those Mediterranean residents residing around the 45th parallel.
Because of the psychological healing properties and well being benefits associated with natural lighting, the designer foresees the CoeLux system having applications in healthcare, senior’s facilities, hospitality spaces, retail, residential and even transport. The entire system is incorporated into an elaborate false ceiling is only a few millimeters thick but still manages to very closely resemble an actual skylight. CoeLux is able to recreate the experience of sun and sky and bring the outside world inside.
Funded by the European Union and featured by the European Commission at the 2014 Innovation Convention in Brussels, the CoeLux system was selected as one of twelve upcoming innovative technologies in the EU. A CoeLux installation can be seen in Venice, Italy, at the 2014 Biennale Architettura.
A more detailed project summary of the CoeLux system can be viewed at the European Commission’s CORDIS portal.
By Stu Robarts
May 23, 2014
Scientists at Southwest Jiaotong University in China have reportedly built a maglev train that could reach 1,800 mph (2,900 km/h). According to The Daily Mail, a vacuum is used to minimize air resistance. Project lead Dr Deng Zigang claims it could be used for military or space launch systems.
Maglev trains use electromagnetism to lift the train off a track and to provide propulsion. By removing the need for contact with a surface via wheels, friction is substantially reduced and speed can be increased. They are also smoother to ride than surface-supported alternatives and are less affected by the weather.
The current fastest passenger-carrying maglev train can travel at up to 268 mph (431 km/h) and once reached 311 mph (501 km/h) in pre-launch tests. The Shanghai Maglev Train opened in April 2004 and runs 18.95 miles (30.5 km) from the center of the Pudong district of Shanghai to Shanghai Pudong International Airport.
At those sort of speeds, air resistance becomes a serious issue. The Mail article cites a paper by Zigang in which he writes, “If the running speed exceeds 400 kilometers (250 miles) per hour, more than 83 percent of traction energy will wastefully dissipate in air resistance.”
The idea of running a maglev train in a vacuum, therefore, seems a logical one. It would increase its potential top speed and improve its energy efficiency. This principle is the same as the one that the Evacuated Tube Transport is based, which could theoretically transport people between new York and Beijing in 2 hours.
Elon Musk’s proposed Hyperloop, meanwhile, isn’t thought to use a vacuum to reduce air resistance, but will still potentially max out at 760 mph (1,220 km/h). Zigang’s concept would leave even that in its dust.
In developing the train, Zigang first had to create a small, remote-controlled ring-line version of the system on which the maglev vehicle could accelerate to 15 mph (25 km/h). That was achieved in February last year, after which an evacuation tube was added to create an internal vacuum.
With the vacuum created, the vehicle was reportedly able to accelerate to a maximum speed of 30 mph (50 km/h). The prototype was, of course, run without passenger and was limited by the small 6 m (20 ft) radius of the ring guideway.
“The meaning of the project is that it will be the first one to realize the prototype of the future evacuation tube transportation,” The Daily Mail reports Zigang as saying. “At this moment, we are conducting evacuation tests on the new system. We will release our achievements after the successful running in the near future.”
Source: Daily Mail