• Category Archives: Gadgets and Tech

    Sharp unveils new semi-transparent solar panels with 6.8% conversion efficiency

    See-through solar panels have been a long standing dream of many, and Sharp has just given the world its first taste of the revolutionary technology. Designed specifically for use as balcony railings and skyscraper windows, these solar panels have a semi-transparent black finish with a solar power conversion efficiency of about 6.8%. These panels pack a maximum output of 95 watts and measure in at 4.5-feet wide by 3.2-feet tall. Now the efficiency of these panels might not match up to those conventionally used, but replacing windows with these is bound to turn just about any building greener! Also, Sharp has not revealed the pricing details and we hope as technology progresses, these transparent panels will turn a little more efficient!


    Akarie LED lighting solution powers up with solar energy in two hours

    Solar energy is one of the most promising sources of energy in a world quickly realizing the dangers of depleting fossil-fuel reserves. The Nissha Printing Co Ltd has just pulled the veil off a one-of-a-kind solar-powered lighting solution that could soon find itself embedded in pavements just about everywhere. Using dye-sensitized solar cells (DSSCs), the Akarie light stores solar energy during the daytime to light up at night. The apparatus has been put to use by the Ohsho Food Service Corp in Japan and has been embedded in pavements in Yokohama, Kanagawa Prefecture. Measuring 200 x 200 x 85mm and weighing in at 3.7kg each with a rechargeable battery and LED lights, the Akarie is priced at ¥200,000 (about $2,576) and takes just two hours to juice up, staying lit for nearly 15 hours!


    DualWash Bipartite Dishwasher does the dishes without water and works as a storage cabinet too

    Given the fact that fresh-water sources aren’t readily everywhere and a substantial part of the human race has no access to potable water, conservation of fresh water today is the need of the hour. This amazing concept we came across is an answer to eco-friendly home appliances and makes no use of water to wash utensils! Called the DualWash Bipartite Dishwasher, this waterless dishwasher also doubles up as a dish-cabinet and cleans and stores your tableware. Using a carbon-dioxide based cleaning solution that uses supercritical carbon dioxide, or simply put, liquid carbon dioxide with an extremely low surface tension, the DualWash Bipartite Dishwasher sits snug above your kitchen counter and meticulously cleans all your dishes. Space-saving, environment friendly and a time-saving approach to doing the dishes, the DualWash Bipartite Dishwasher is a fabulously green concept indeed.

    SolBot robot adjusts solar panels towards the sun, increasing energy generation by 40%

    Tired of adjusting your solar panels to make the most of the sunlight outside? Well, you could now have a robot do the job for you! By California-based startup Qbotix, this robot called the SolBot uses a track positioned alongside the solar-panel array and using a magnate, locates each station. The robot then attaches itself to the unit and suitably tilts and adjusts the panel towards the sun, helping increase energy generation by nearly 40%! Measuring 1.5 meters long and a meter high, these robots use lithium batteries to power up and manage nearly 200 panels at a time, taking 40 minutes to adjust these all suitably. Available in 300-kW units with a back-up robot and steel tracks included, the SolBot robot also packs GPS connectivity for data collection.

    Hama unveils new bamboo-made wireless keyboards and mice

    Tired of those conventional tacky plastic keyboards you’ve been subjected to all along? Show off your green self and pick out one of these beautifully crafted keyboards and mice by Hama, part of the EcoLine range. Available as wired or wireless peripherals, these green hardware pieces are made from bamboo, a quickly growing renewable resource that has in the past proven to be a fantastic material to build every-day consumer products. Complete with height adjustment, a battery status indicator and soft-touch keys, the keyboard and mouse hook up to the computer using an included USB nano receiver. While the wireless keyboard and mouse cost $86 and $37 respectively, the wired version costs just $74 and $25 for the keyboard and mouse.


    Mola robot, inspired by the ocean sunfish, powers up with solar energy

    The Mola (ocean sunfish) is one of the best engineered creations of nature and is known for its sun-basking tendency. Inspired by this gigantic fish, at times known to weigh up to 5,000 pounds, the engineers at AeroVironment have come up with a new solar-powered robot with underwater capabilities. Capable of gathering its own solar energy which in turn is used to power up this robot, this creation by AeroVironment called the Mola robot packs no batteries and energy harvested is directed to the two fins in real time, which in turn propel the robot. Sporting an on-board data logger, also powered by the sun, the Mola robot sports a 2 knot cruising speed and uses gallium indium phosphide solar cells, capable of generating energy from the sun underwater.

    Energy-efficient Mitsubishi air-conditioners power down when no-one’s around!

    Air conditioners are known energy suckers and given the fact that the globe as a whole is slightly turning warmer by the day, the most of us resort to one of these to keep our living spaces cool and comfortable. Mitsubishi Electric Corp’s newest air-conditioning line, the ZW Series crafted specifically for home use are an eco-friendly way to cooling your home. Using a power-saving system called the Smart Stop System; these air-conditioners detect human presence and turn to low-power consumption modes when a room’s empty. To be made available in 11 models with cooling powers ranging from 2.2kW to 8.0kW, these energy-efficient air-conditioners will hit store shelves by November 2012 and will be priced at around $2,651 onwards.


    Designers use LED-integrated costumes at the Olympic Closing Ceremony

    Carnival costumes are known to be flashy and eye-catching, packed with extravagance. So when designers Moritz Waldemeyer and Japanese fashion designer Jum Nakao set about design costumes for the Olympic Closing Ceremony, they decided to go the eco-friendly way. Using LED lights to their advantage, Waldemeyer and Nakao came up with 140 costumes used for four different performances, an eighty-piece drum parade, brazilian samba girls, amazonian folk dancers, and the maracatu. And as expected, the LED-packed costumes did create quite a spectacle, showcasing the blend of fashion, technology and a hint of eco-consciousness with the use of low-energy-consuming lighting, inspiring designers world over with this eye-pleasing carnival-esque experience.

    Wave Glider robots use solar energy to track tagged sharks

    Following a shark around isn’t one of the wisest things a human being would want to do, which is why we use robots these days to track down sharks and better understand their patterns of behavior and life. Researchers studying the aquatic life, particularly sharks, can now resort to a more eco-friendly way of tracking down these feared blood curdlers. Called the Wave Gliders, these solar powered underwater robots could be put to use by the likes of the Stanford University and Hopkins Marine Station and are in essence self-propelling automatons that use the energy of the sun to power up. with body designs replicating surf boards, these Wave Gliders track tagged sharks and help nearby laboratories collect information in regards to these deadly fishes, helping us better understand just what keeps our finned friends going.

    Electricity generated from prisoners pedaling lights up city at night

    The fast depleting non-renewable energy resources like coal and nuclear power, has reduced concerns among many legislatures and board room meets around the world. Besides natural gas, wind, solar and geothermal energy, there happens to be yet another zero-emission source that hasn’t seen the light of day until now. It’s called prisoner power and it is sourced at a security prison near Santa Rita do Sapucai in the mountains north of Sao Paolo. In this enterprise, inmates at the facility in Brazil have been given an option to reduce their sentences with an at-par count of 24 hours pedaling for a reduction of their stay in the prison by a day.