Photovoltaic technology is still rather pricey,
are finding new applications. As a result, the original energy source is finding its way into our daily lives.
Photovoltaic systems have long been out of reach for most homeowners
but Stellaris' ClearPower
changes all that. ClearPower
Solar uses passive concentrating optics technology,
decreasing the amount of expensive silicon-based photovoltaic material required
while boosting efficiency. Since direct sunlight is not needed no moving parts
or maintenance are required. Low-energy light passes through the units allowing
for architectural integration in the form of skylights or curtain walls.
Integrating solar in the household can also be achieved using
the Energy Curtain, a window shade woven
from a combination of textile, solar-collectors and light-emitting materials.
Designed by the Swedish Interactive Institute, as part of
a study on how everyday products might be designed to better express patterns
of long-term energy use, it collects light during
the day then during the evening, the collected energy is expressed as a glowing
pattern on the inside of the shade.
Another bright idea for integrating renewable energy into
our daily lives is the patent pending Suntrap Handbag.
A Solar-charged battery powers the electroluminescent lining making it easier
to find things inside. The lighting shuts its self off after 15 seconds to
conserve energy. Portable devices such as cell phone, PDA, or MP3 player can
also be charged via USB port.
The Power of One Solar Car Project, or Xof1 for short, was
initially developed with the intention to compete in the prestigious World
Solar Challenge. Instead their car set off to break
the world distance record for a solar car. The space age looking car weighs
roughly 660 lbs (300kg) with driver and the entire top body of the car is covered
by solar cells and tops out at 75mph (120 km/hr). The website features
instructions on how you can make your own mini solar car.
Sunlight is the standard for lighting. It's what our eyes are adapted to, it's absolutely free, and
is the light we are most comfortable with. Inside buildings, we've gotten
used to having artificial lighting, but spaces with daylight are always nicer.
A range of companies are now producing systems for capturing sunlight and
transmitting it into the interior of a building with fiber optic cables, where
it is used to illuminate spaces that cannot benefit from direct daylighting
through windows. Today we feature three companies with fundamentally similar systems.
Each uses a rooftop collector (though each has its own approach for this) to
gather sunlight and a fiber optic cable bundle to carry the light into the
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Organic LEDs take electricity and convert it directly into light, a
wonderful and useful purpose that we have great hopes for. But what if
the process could run both ways. Sometimes the OLED turns electricity
into light, and other times it turns light into electricity. It's
basically the same thing, just backwards, right?
Well, apparently, it is possible, as scientists and engineers at
Cornell have done it! These have all the wonderful properties of
OLED's, they're flexible, they produce a lot of light per watt, and
they can be mass produced inexpensively. But also, when exposed to
bright light, the reaction is reversed, and a current flows out of the
OLED instead of into it.
So now, OLEDs can be both an energy collector and a light emitter,
depending on the needs of the consumer. Imagine your cell phone's
backlight collecting energy from ambient light when not in use. Or
your windows collecting energy during the day and then producing light
Soon, OLEDs may offer both low-cost lighting and low-cost energy
production. A paper on this subject was just published in the journal
Science, in which the Cornell researchers recognized that they needed
to discover ways to make the photovoltaic reaction more efficient
before it can be mass produced.
We're don't generally promote the mass slaughter of tens of thousands
of animals. But under very specific conditions, we'd say it's OK. For
example, if the animals are exotic, invasive, poisonous, dangerous, and
live in mounds of earth that likely bubbled up from the seventh circle
Kill Fire Ants...do everything you can do it. But if you can do it with
a solar ant charmer and absolutely no pesticides, do that first. This
converts the suns rays into low energy electric signals
that attract ants to the device. Once in the cone, the ants can't
escape, and simply pile up in a mass of teaming ant flesh that is
probably the most dangerous thing you will ever have in your back
yard. Frankly, I'm surprised that the government didn't develop these,
seal them, and then write up a classified plan on how to use them as
bio-terror weapons. I am so afraid of the picture on the bottom...I can't tell
you. I'll just say I've had bad experiences, bad experiences that
ended with me pantsless
After you've collected a good number of ants (there's a gauge on the
side that tells you roughly how many you've caught, topping out at
50,000,) close the device and lift it out of the ground (preferably
while wearing a bio-hazard suit.) And then add soapy water to the ants
to kill them. Wash out the device, and do it all over again.
Technically it's a very eco
-friendly way to kill the bastards, but it seems extremely frightening to me.
OK, we don't usually think of our portable music as having emissions
but, in this age, almost everything that uses electricity has some CO2
byproduct. Well, not these headphones. Just put them on your head
and, as long as it's not night time, or dreary, they'll pick up local
radio and thump it into your eardrums using the power of the sun.
And, the battery even charges while you're listening. One hour of
sunlight can provide enough juice for up to 3 hours of music. No
wires, no charging, it's all built in and you can get it all for $38
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