A team of MIT students has successfully tested a prototype solar dish by lighting a plank of wood on fire. The system is a 12 ft. wide mirrored dish made of thin, inexpensive aluminum tubing and strips of mirror. It concentrates sun rays by a factor of 1,000, enough heat to melt a steel bar. Because water in the tubing turns to steam, the team is hoping that could revolutionize energy production as we know it. We think it’s great and would certainly opt for solar panels over building more nuclear power plants, as was recently suggested by a certain presidential contender.
Read More | MIT
While we are on the subject of vending machines, the recent Vendex Japan displayed Fuji Electric’s prototype of a solar-powered machine. It is comprised of panels to supply energy to cool and heat beverages, while the mossy cover not only improves insulation, it will add a touch of green to overly grey cities. Coca-Cola is also working with Fuji to make a 100% hydro fluorocarbon-free machine that will appear this July at the G8 summit in Hokkaido.
Read More | ping mag
The HYmini is no ordinary charger/adapter. It utilizes wind and solar power as well as being able to plug into an ordinary wall plug to power up your MP3 player, PDA, digital cam or other 5V devices. The removable wind turbine literally turns green when charging at a 9mph minimal wind speed. It also features an LED night light and built in Li-Ion polymer rechargeable battery power bank. At a size of 5.4 x 3.4 x 1.3-inches, the handheld HYmini is available in black, green, or white for $49.99. Get the basic package online with solar panel and armband at a temporary sale price of $69.99.
Read More | Hymini Product Page
It looks like SOTAB 1 isn’t the only bot that will soon be attacking oil spills. Designer Ji-hoon Kim’s OSP robots may look like Roombas but love the water. Each has a computer system that plans and controls its motions, a GPS system and radio antenna to communicate with its fellow modules, boom connectors for hooking up to others, a solar panel to collect energy, and an inflatable boom that rolls out for protection. With their small size, they can be moved quickly to the site by boat or helicopter. We hope this is one prototype that becomes real before the next large oil spill.
Read More | Yanko
StrapYa doesn’t just make lovable kewpie dolls and neon balls for dangling from your cell phone. This Solar Power Charger can be attached to your clothing or phone and takes about 6 to 10 hours for a recharge during fair weather. It also comes with an AC adapter for winter (or if you have to have it now) that takes only three hours. There is an LED to let you know when it is ready. It takes about 20 minutes to fill your phone completely and is good for about 500 charges total. The device carries a MSRP of 1,900 Yen (~$18.00) if you purchase this week.
Read More | Strapya (translated)
Outback hikers and urban explorers alike are often faced with a common problem: how to grab some juice on the go for power-hungry devices. These new backpacks and soon to be briefcases offer a potential solution by pairing next generation solar cells with a battery to enable on the go charging. While the charging might be slow (all day to charge a laptop) it’s certainly a great option in the face of an otherwise completely drained cell phone or laptop.
We have been showing you Solar Totes all summer, but if you assume you can do them one better at half the cost, you would probably be right. A 2-part instructional article is available to help you achieve your goal. It only takes a basic bag, a solar panel which costs about $57.00, solder, double sided tape, vinyl tape, about 1 m two-wire cable, and textile glue. The site talk2myShirt is very explicit, yet simplified in its directions and would love some feedback if you create one with their instructions. They also give tips about using your new bag and mention that they utilized theirs to recharge a complete empty iPod G5 in approximately 6 hours.
Read More | talk2myShirt
The universal Solio can handle all your charging needs either by sun or wall plug. Use it on your MP3 player, digital cam, handheld game, cell phone, GPS, or Bluetooth headset. In an emergency, one hour of sun will provide about 25 minutes of talk time on your mobile phone or up to an hour of iPod tunes, and when it is fully charged it can handle a full charge on most phones and nanos. It comes with interchangeable power tips and offers extras for $10.00 each, while the device itself will set you back $99.95. You receive $10.00 off if you order it in pukey pink, proving once again that even girly girls don’t really prefer gadgets in that shade.
Read More | Solio
Researchers at the NJIT (New Jersey Institute of Technology) have created a polymer-based paint that can be applied to plastic sheeting to make a solar cell for what they claim will be a fraction of the price. The cell developed uses a carbon nanotubes complex which is estimated to be 50,000 times smaller than a human hair and is considered a better conductor than copper. Lead researcher Somenath Mitra says that the panels could be made on inkjet printers in the future, leading us to believe that possibilities of our house and car becoming self-sustaining solar powered machines is not so very far away.
Read More | NJIT
Yes, it looks huge, klunky, difficult to navigate and impossible to park. But hey, when’s the last time you built your own solar-powered car? Which is why we give inventor Saqr Bin Saif serious props for building his own environmentally-friendly vehicle. The DIY car utilizes four 170 watt solar panels, two batteries, and was built in only three months. Bin Saif’s baby can only reach a speed of up to 50 mph, but hey, it’s a start, and we look forward to his next car, which he promises will be more compact and faster.
Read More | Gulfnews
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