Solar Cells So Small They Don’t Even Pop Bubbles

Solar panels are hardly small things, they are so big that some places even create large fields covered in just the devices, some laws even state that you either use them on your roof or you have grass. With recent advances in the field, increasing both how much energy each solar panel can absorb but also what they look like, it was no surprise that people are more and more keen to adopt the new technology, but sometimes giant panels, even hidden ones, are just too inconvenient to be considered useful; introducing the solar cells so small that they don’t even pop bubbles.

The solar cells were created by researchers at MIT, who while they state they are years away from commercial products, the proof-of-concept means that soon your phones and even your clothes could soon be powering all your gadgets. The process involves a vacuum chamber and avoids the use of solvents, something that differs from the traditional approach of high temperature and chemicals in solar cell production.

The researchers were able to demonstrate how light and thin their solar cell was by placing it atop a soap bubble, the bubble then remained intact. The problem with the cell though is it may be too small, making it maybe a little too prone to blowing away in the wind or after a heavy breathe.

Would you like to see solar panels integrated into more things? Your house windows or your roof, why not your watch or the back of your phone? The possibilities are endless!

Toyota Reveal New Concept For Hydrogen Powered Car

We live in a wonderful age, we’ve begun to create technology that merges both the digital and the real world together in augmented reality and even where people can drive a metal car powered by sunlight. The human imagination has created and continues to create an amazing array of technologies, and Toyota have shown off some ideas they might play with in the future.

At the Tokyo Motor show, they revealed images of two design concepts, which are both futuristic and yet one is also classic in a way. First off, have a look at the present, with the S-FR. Looking similar to modern-day cars now, this model could soon be at your door steps.

Next, however, is the parent of design, with clear inspirations from the days of old we were presented with the Kikai.

Looking like a modern take on a classic hot rod the revealed engine leaves little to the car fanatics imagination. Finally, the last design is one from the future and is quite simply titled the FCV Plus.

Not only does the FCV feature a very futuristic look but it is designed to run some rather interesting technology.

For example, it would powered purely by hydrogen and that power would be diverted to four individual electric motors that are housed in each of the wheels. This means that aside from the fuel tank and cells located either at the front or back of the car, all the rest is freed up for the passengers.

Could you see yourself getting into a FCV within the next ten years? What about the S-FR and Kikai, would you like to own any of these vehicles?

Thank you Engadget for the information and images.

Solar Power At Home Now More Popular Than Commercial Solar Power

In the modern world, Solar Power is popular, with everything from solar-powered planes flying from Japan to Hawaii to advances allowing the absorption of infrared light to increase their efficiency. Either way you look at it solar power is becoming more and more popular and is constantly becoming a bigger part of the world.

In the US, the leading source of energy information has come from (no surprises here) the Energy Information Agency. This hasn’t been a very up to date system to measure energy though as it was geared towards traditional power grids, such as those fed into the system from large companies. As a result of the changing situation with commercial and home-generated energy though they analyzed the residential energy being fed into the US power grid.

Turns out that in 2014 Solar power generated by residential users accumulated at around 3.3 Gigawatts while large-scale facilities only accounted for around 2.9GW. The information gathered showed that Californians accounted for almost half of the residential energy, followed by Arizona and Hawaii.

Alongside this information, another piece of data was revealed, one that renewable energy enthusiasts will no doubt enjoy. The use of coal as a power supplier has dropped by over 10% in the last year.

More green energy, fewer greenhouse gasses and cheaper electricity for everyone? What’s not to like about this news?

Thank you ArsTechnica for the information.

Tooltime Meets Mario Cart: Jet Powerted Go-Kart Can Do 60MPH

Most boys have dreamed of a jet-powered go-kart at some point, I know I have. But where most of just dream, others have to make it a reality. YouTuber, plumber, and ex-BMX rider, Colin Furze has done just that and created something that reminds of a crossover between Tooltime (Home Improvement) and Mario Kart. Also, lets not forget some of his real-world super hero inventions from last year!

The kart has been extended to make room for the giant home built turbine on the back, and it isn’t without power. He manages to achieve a top speed of 61 MPH before he runs out of track to drive on and has to stop. That’s pretty cool and there might be even more power left in the engine.

The kart starts with gasoline and transitions to diesel with a leaf blower motor providing enough moving air to ease the transition between the two fuels. Two pressurized tanks, one with air and one with fuel all cleverly controlled by a foot lever, fuel rail and butterfly valve controls the fuel flow through the jet engine.

This isn’t the first time Colin Furze attached a jet to something, he has previously built the jet bike but also other contraptions such as a flame thrower scooter or a bicycle with tires made from ice.

Your guess is as good as mine on what he will strap a jet on next. Whatever it might be, I can’t wait to see it.

Thank you Art of Gears for providing us with this information

Off Grid Solar Charging Implemented in San Francisco

With electric vehicles (EVs) starting to gain traction in the automotive world, ways of charging them when ‘out and about’ has been a small concern for some motorists. This has now been tackled head on by the company Envision Solar, with the introduction of three separate solar powered charging stations; I like the sound of car docks myself.

So what does this mean? Basically, there are three completely off the grid charging stations dotted throughout San Francisco. These are transportable stations only taking up the space of a normal sized parking spot and are completely free for users to utilise. They are Level 2 charging stations, capable of generating 3.3 kilowatts of energy; that’s not much, but it’s better than plugging in at home or at any other on-grid charging station. The charging station is also equipped with a lithium-ion battery pack that stores 22.5 kilowatt-hours of electricity; saving it for a rainy day.

These charging stations are on a fixed term basis, staying at their locations within San Francisco for a few months at a time. All of which, they will be gathering information such as charge frequency and duration. After 12 months, the company will analyse the data and choose which spot will be best to store all three of these stations to then be made a permanent feature.

All green energy for all green cars, sounds like the right way forward and would make excellent use of open car parks that are directly in sun, keeping the car cool on a hot day and also giving you some charge.

Image courtesy of EnvisionSolar

Inateck HB3001G OTG 3-Port USB Hub and Card Reader Review

Introduction


Modern smart devices can perform all sort of things and we’ve reached a time where the term smart might actually apply, that is at least until we get to the issue of connectivity. And this is where the On-The-Go (OTG) feature comes into play, it allows us to expand the connectivity to our Android and other OTG devices by turning the micro USB connector into a USB host adapter. We’ve recently tested some flash drives that support this feature, but OTG is so much more.

Inateck have taken a serious look at what smart device users could lack on features and created the HB3001G All in one Card reader and 3-port USB hub for smart devices. While the packaging highlights Samsung S4, S5, Note 3, Note 4, Tab 4 and Tab S devices, this hub will work fine with any OTG enabled device. One of the great features that USB has, the plug and play nature, makes this a possibility.

You could run into the trouble that your internal SD card slot simply can’t read the card size you have available, so plugging it directly into the smart device isn’t an option. The Inateck card reader doesn’t have this issue and should load any capacity card you can provide or that is supported by the operating system. It supports SD(HC), MS, TF and M2 memory cards just as good as any ordinary USB storage.

Many people aren’t aware that Android has native support for mouse and keyboard input, and as such you can just connect your normal mouse and keyboard and use your smart device as an all-in-one computer instead. Any true plug and play device should work like a charm, but getting printers or similar things to work isn’t a thing you should count on, although it is possible.

When you connect USB devices to your tablet or smartphone, you’ll use the battery to power these devices. There is also a natural limitation on how much power your device can provide for the hub and that is why Inateck also added a power connection that can be connected to any USB port or charger to supply those additional power requirements without putting extra drain on your devices battery.

AOC Reveals 17″ USB Monitor

AOC has just released their new 17″ USB-powered monitor. Utilizing DisplayLink Technology, the E1759FWU is designed to be utilized as a secondary option for desktop PCs and laptops alike.

This monitor will be compatible with both MAC and PC, drawing its power and video signal through a single USB 3.0 cable. If you’re wondering why people would care about such a small screen in this day and age, the monitor will certainly be a handy second screen addition to people who are that way inclined. It also enables the user to have a further clutter-free work space, removing the need for external monitor power.

Providing a 1600 x 900 resolution at 60Hz and a total screen surface size of 17.3″, AOC’s new piece of tech can be used in either portrait or landscape modes in a 10ms response time. Given the features on offer, it’s obvious that this new model doesn’t offer anything ground breaking when compared to IPS and 120Hz monitors – but it will certainly be a nifty addition to those who work on a laptop and are looking for a little extra screen space.

The screen is now available at a price tag of $199, meaning it sits slightly higher than high-end 24″ ‘consumer’ panels currently on the market like ASUS’ VS248H-P.

Image courtesy of AOC

Solar-Powered, Smartphone Charging Benches to be put in Boston

Soofa is a smart urban furniture company developed by Changing Environments, (an MIT Media Lab spin-off) and they’re bringing the Silicon Valley feel to Boston. As we’ve learned, this companies trendy name is derived from the acronym SUFA (Smart Urban Furniture Appliance) with the ‘double o’ added for a modern feel.

Being described as an ‘urban watercooler’, Soofa hopes to bring strangers together in a commonplace whilst providing an almost-essential service in todays technology age.

Soofa Co-Founder Sandra Richer explained her companies intentions to Mashable:

“There isn’t too much knowledge or perception around renewable energy these days because people are removed from it — it’s either on the roof or set aside somewhere that you don’t see it. We wanted to change the way people see its immediate benefits by putting something out into public spaces.”

Boston already has six benches in full operation with a further four set to be placed in the next few weeks. As it stands, Soofa currently has 100 of these benches ready to roll out with plans for further production.

Richer also commented on the ever-growing demand for such technology:

“It’s hard to get investors to back something that is a new market, but we’re already gotten so many requests from corporate campuses, education organizations, retailers and cities, from Tel Aviv to places in Italy, Germany and Hong Kong, so now we’re focused on how to scale quickly” Mashable

Interested in looking at your own bench for your workplace, common hangout spot or company? A cast iron bench will set you back around $10,000 USD, but others are said to be significantly cheaper. Obviously this price is nothing to scoff at, especially if you’re looking to implement quite a few of these in one venue. When this issue was raised, Richer commented:

“The smart benches will be on the pricier side because of the electronics, but we want it also to be affordable enough to encourage adoption.” Mashable

Being adopted as a full business around one year ago, the company was formed as current thanks to a partnership with Verizon and Cisco to help get it off the ground.

Soofa are said to be developing other style products to be suited to further environments. It’s highly likely you’ll be seeing more of these around in America and globally in the near future.

Image courtesy of Slashgear

Scamming Site Offering ‘Free’ Origin Game Keys Discovered

A site offering free game keys for Origin users has been discovered, where users have the freedom to browse through all the games available on Origin and request a ‘free’ key which will be delivered to them 24 hours after they have entered their login credentials in a basic looking form. Now obviously I will stress at this time that if you ever come across a site that appears to be ‘offering’ free keys and there is no hard evidence available to support it, turn around and walk away; these rogue sites are there simply to acquire your Origin login credentials. You can imagine what happens from there.

This new scamming site that has been uncovered runs under a number of URLs – the main one of these being ea-free-origin-keys.weebly.com , although a bit of rooting around has discovered that the site owner, who has built the very basic looking site through Weebly.com, has the domain names ea-origin-keys-4-free.tk and eaoriginkeys4free.tk also registered, pointing to the Weebly domain.  Further investigation shows that the site is hosted on a server in an Amsterdam datacentre in the Netherlands and is registered under BV Dot TK (masking the true owners identity), whilst the name servers suggest the site was registered through the Free Dom domain registration service.

Further more, the YouTube video that ‘shows’ how the keys can be obtained is shown on a page titled ‘BBC’ although the fact that there is only one video on this channel rings alarm bells in itself and the 480p quality is used to try to mask the creators personal details as they ‘demonstrate’ how the keys are requested. Whilst watching the video we see that the users system’s language is French, narrowing down the true source of the scam and in the comment section one watcher asks if this process is illegal – the response from the creator: ‘of corse watch the video ‘.

Whatever way you look at this scam, it is a cheap way of obtaining users Origin identities and considering how simple the site looks and the information behind it that can be found, I doubt it will be long before this site is taken down. I’ll once again re-iterate my word that if it looks too good to be true, it probably is – especially if it looks like a rookie attempt as well.

Source: eTeknix Reader