Battery Efficiency Improved 400 Times by Accident!

Everything these days uses batteries of some kind or another, from the smartphone you use to text your friends to the tablets and electronic tools you use at work or school every day. In a surprising twist, researchers at UC Irvine may have discovered a way to increase the time a battery holds the charge by complete accident.

The discovery comes as the researchers were looking at creating a solid-state battery using an electrolyte gel, similar to the ones developed by Cockrell School of Engineering in Texas. The idea was to use the gel to replace the lithium inside a battery, a component that corrodes and creates the nasty smelling ooze you get on batteries you find at the back of your kitchen draws when you go looking for just one more battery.

Using gold nanowires to store the electricity within the battery, the new design lasted through 200,000 recharges without any significant decline in battery life or corrosion, something which they can’t explain. Reginald Penner, the lead author of the paper, stated that they “don’t understand the mechanism of that yet”.

Lasting more than 400 times longer than a traditional battery, Penner explained their experiment was like pouring water between two cups, the end results was the new batteries losing only 5% of their charge over 200,000 times.

While a great start to making effective batteries, introducing gold to any electrical component increases its cost and raises the question, could this new style of battery, combining a gel with thin wires of metal, use something other than gold to achieve similar results?

EV Wireless Charging Almost as Good as Plugging In

Wireless charging for electric vehicles has been an option to their owners for some time now, but the existing solutions are hardly efficient, with charging times far longer than the typical wired charger and there was no assurance of compatibility especially for larger vehicles. At Oak Ridge National Laboratory, scientists are close to solving the wireless charging issue for good. Their latest wireless charger is a 20-kilowatt unit that touts up to 90 percent efficiency, which should be close to matching many plug-in chargers, while charging just by proximity, such as when you pull into your garage. This new charger is just as safe as ever, despite the massive increase in power output, as the magnetic fields that transfer the energy fall of quickly.

This charger won’t be available for consumers anytime soon, unfortunately, and would not render plugging in completely obsolete for those needing a charge in a hurry. The laboratory is not stopping here either, with the next aim being to develop a 50 kW wireless charger with similar efficiency, which would be able to match many of the “quick charge” systems that are currently on the market. Should they succeed, it will be a milestone achievement for electric vehicles, as plugging in would no longer have any benefit as well as making electric vehicles far more convenient to charge up and use. An on-the-move version of the technology is also in the pipelines, which would allow EVs to charge while travelling down specific routes without needing to stop and replenish their supply, which would really change the game for electric vehicles. Powered roads for electric cars could be real sooner than we think!

AMD Radeon Software: Crimson Edition First Look and Testing

Introduction


The day has finally come where AMD’s Catalyst Control Center has taken its last installation breath and the brand new AMD Radeon Software package is released. We initially had teasers of this software a few weeks ago on November 2nd and now we are pleased to announce that it is finally here for public download. We have been using Catalyst Control Center for around 13 years with very few graphical design changes in that time, it worked for the most part and that was about it. Personally I found it too information heavy and it needed either a re-designed interface or a simpler navigation menu.

Dubbed Radeon Software: Crimson Edition, it doesn’t really flow off the tongue like CCC or Catalyst 15.## did, but we are likely to see a similar numbered structure once Crimson hits full stride in January. The Radeon Software name is pretty self-explanatory, but Crimson takes a little more explaining to fully understand. Yes the ‘AMD’ colour is Red and that has been passed onto Radeon Technologies as a signature colour, but Red is only one word for a whole host of different shades such as Current, Jam and Sangria. Yes these are typical shades of red, though likely less known compared to Scarlet, Blood and Rose. It’s not fully clear whether we will be seeing software colour changes with every annual release to match the name or if the same brushed metal background will be consistent for the upcoming releases.

Here is a quick overview of the key points of Crimson Edition which focus on a key base of stability with four pillars of User Experience, Features, Performance and Efficiency. All of these together aim to produce the best overall consumer experience, whether you are gaming or just a general day-to-day user. A full explanation into these will be on the Third Page.

Without going into too much detail here, let’s get into what is aimed to make Radeon Software: Crimson Edition a new era in graphical software drivers.

AMD’s Carrizo APU Reduces Carbon Footprint by 46%

Earlier this year, AMD launched the A-series APUs under the “Carrizo” codename which strive for energy efficiency and lower wattage demands. In 2014, AMD outlined the 25×20 energy strategy to produce chips 25 times more efficient than current products by 2020. According to AMD’s research team, the extremely efficient Carrizo architecture has put the company on course to reach its 2020 target. More specifically, Carrizo chips alter the core voltage to gauge power demands and ensures the maximum frequency is only used when required.

In the enthusiast market, AMD has struggled to compete with Intel especially in single-threaded performance. However, this is a fairly niche sector and it’s sensible for AMD to work hard to manufacture low-cost, high-yield APUs which provide an excellent wattage to performance ratio. In the future, discrete graphics cards might become obsolete and replaced by APUs as computational demands are offset to a server. Whatever the case, AMD needs to make their products more energy efficient and that also applies to the Radeon brand. Thankfully, the Fiji architecture is a step in the right direction and illustrates AMD’s policy towards modern CPUs and GPUs.

Despite this, the majority of press coverage will surround AMD’s future high-end desktop CPUs and I hope they can produce something to shake up the market and make Intel feel less comfortable.

Thank you Venturebeat for providing us with this information.

Searching The Internet? Try These Useful Hints and Tips

Every day we use the internet to search for things. Be it for a website or news article or even a new set of clothes, yet few people know of these little tips and tricks that can help speed up your search online.

Specifics

This one is more of a pet peeve than anything else, but it does help speed up searches. When searching an online retailer people will often search terms like “red sleeveless hoodie“, but when it comes to something like “how do I change my screen brightness?” they will search for that exact sentence. The human language is complex, and to make matter’s worse, English is terrible (grammatically speaking). This means that computers struggle with understanding sentences or even a basic question, where key terms it understands. Simply removing a few words “change screen brightness” is enough to improve your search, and it means less typing for you

“Quote me”

Quote marks normally indicate speech in the English language, but to computers it means something completely different. “joystick USB” would in a search engine bring up all the pages that hold those ‘key terms’, joystick and USB. But that includes pages which include both terms or even just one, if I put the joystick in quotation marks like this, ““joystick” USB”, the search engine focuses on those speech marks. Sometimes this can make a big difference, sometimes only a little one. What this means is that the search results I want back HAVE to include joystick. Go on give it a try with something you’ve been looking for, just put one word in quotes and see if it helps

Don’t be so Negative

We’ve all done it, gone looking for something online and found that no matter what we look for there is something else popping up because it’s got part of what we are searching for in its name. Most recently I’ve been looking at purchasing a joystick and have been regularly keeping an eye on several sites to see if there are any good deals available. But if you go onto online auction sites and type in “joystick USB”, you will find that among the classic joysticks will be modern-day controllers and spare joysticks for them. By simply adding a “-” alongside something you don’t want to appear in your search most search engines will remove those items for you. “joystick USB -controller ” instantly removes anything listed under controller, ranging from XBOX and PS3 to old-fashioned arcade controllers. Be warned though, if the item you’re looking for has the term in it, it will also be removed and not appear. Who said it was all easy?

AND more?

Anyone else getting a flash back of maths and those Venn Diagrams? Don’t include A but it must contain B, where should it be? The reason for that is search engines use the same kind of logic when dealing with your searches, and adding AND is the section where two areas overlap. So meaning that if I searched “”joystick AND USB”” and results would contain both the USB and Joystick results (you can also achieve this with putting both terms in quote marks, but it is up to you how you do it).

So there you have it, several hints to help you speed up and improve your searches be they on Google, Ebay or any site with a search function. Hope these help!

Thank you to Entireweb for the image.

New 3D Display Scraps Glasses, Uses Tiny Spherical Lenses Instead

The most common method of creating a 3D illusion is said to be based on autostereoscopic display, which uses parallax. The method involves presenting each eye with a slightly different angle of a scene with the help of microlenses that project a small amount of light.

While this method has a lot of pros and is used in commercial products such as the Nintendo 3DS, the narrow viewing angle it produces presents a challenge to larger displays.

However, researchers at the Chengdu Technological University and Sichuan University are said to have corrected the issue by replacing the microlenses with microsphere lenses. A prototype based on this technology has been built, which demonstrates that the large curvature of spherical lenses increases the viewing angle from 20-30º to 32º and a theoretical viewing angle of up to 90º.

“The greatest significance is that we propose a cheap and simple way to fabricate a lens array which can bring a wider viewing angle,” said lead author Guo-Jiao Lv at Chengdu Technological University.

Another disadvantage in microsphere lenses is crosstalk, meaning when light from the right and left channels leak into each other. The problem has been resolved by concentrating light from each lens into a small area, but at the expense brightness and overall optical efficiency which the scientists claim to be able to solve in the near future.

Thank you Phys.org for providing us with this information

Super Flower Leadex Gold 650W Modular Power Supply Review

Introduction & Packaging


Super Flower have turned a lot of heads since they have started selling their power supplies branded under their own name. Previously Super Flower had been an OEM producer for brands like EVGA but they made the decision this year to go all-in for establishing themselves as a retail power supply brand. The first power supply we took a look at from them was the beastly Leadex Platinum 1000W power supply which offered class-leading performance for a ground-breaking price. We followed that by looking at their passive Golden Silent 500W power supply which offered incredible performance in a totally silent package – a very innovative product. Today we are looking at something which sits just below the Leadex Platinum series; a Leadex Gold power supply. Super Flower provided us their 650W model which is a sweet spot wattage for anyone building a fairly high-end system.

The Leadex Gold brings with it all the high-end features we saw on the Leadex Platinum series but with a slightly lower efficiency. This means buyers will find a fully modular design, a silent semi-passive fan mode, universal modular connectors and high quality internal components.

Packaging and Contents

The packaging reiterates the gold theme: that’s the main selling point from Super Flower’s perspective.

Moving around the back and we find the other already mentioned key features are detailed.

The accessories are simple: four thumbscrews for securing the PSU into your case, a user’s manual and a power cable.

Lepa Unveil Their Latest Range Of PSU’s At CES 2014

At CES 2014 in Las Vegas, we stopped by the Enermax/LEPA suite to see if they had any new products and they certainly did with a new range of power supplies from many different ranges. First up was the MX F1 series offering a near silent fan, white and black design and affordable price tag to boot.

Also in the mix was the B series range of power supplies

Within this range was a whole stack of units including 450W, 550W, 650W, 700W, 800W and 1000W all with 80 plus Bronze certification, modular design and powerful single 12V rail design.

Next up was the GM series, which as you can guess as the name suggests are their Max Gold range of units. These offer a unique red bumper design and large black fan.

With 5 different flavours including 500W, 600W, 700W, 800W and 1000W, every system user should be catered off and they all come with an 80 plus gold efficiency rating, modular cable design and again that single 12V rail.

Lastly on show, we have the PM series, which as the name suggests, is the Platinum range of power supplies from LEPA.

This range of units is not for the faint-hearted as they start with the lowest being a 1050W, working up to 1375W and finally a 1700W which is only available in the EU due to our higher voltages at the wall. These units claim to surpass platinum status and include modular cables with a flat cable design.