Imagine if the windows in your home or automobile weren't just windows, but transparent solar panels collecting light energy and converting it into electricity? Such a concept could have a monumental impact on future hybrid cars, and could potentially shave your monthly electricity bill. If transparent solar cells existed, of course. Well guess what? Not only do they exist, but researchers at UCLA say they've developed a new kind of transparent solar cell that's better than anything out there.
We've seen solar powered watches, keyboards, and a whole assortment of gadgets that draw power from sunlight. You can even deck out your home with solar panels as a way of cutting down on your energy bill, though the upfront cost is significantly higher than picking up a piece of electronics equipment already designed to swipe energy from the sun. One area where Fujitsu thinks solar power makes a lot of sense is in laptops, hence the company's new Luce concept.
Recent solar and wind price cuts could speed up the adoption rate and bring the technologies closer to the masses within the next decade, Reuters reports. Falling prices in both sectors are the result of increased production in China and subsequent over supply. Natural gas and fossil fuels still lead the charge in the U.S., but prices of turbines have dropped 20 percent and solar panels by 50 percent since 2007, making them ever more attractive alternatives.
Ever wondered how you could harness the power of 5,000 suns? You can't, but you can create one heck of a death ray in your spare time. It's frighteningly easier than you think, as 19-year-old Eric Jacqmain shows in the YouTube video below.
"The R5800 is my latest and greatest solar creation," Jacqmain explains. "Made from an ordinary fiberglass satellite dish, it is covered in about 5800 3/8-inch (~1cm) mirror tiles. When properly aligned, it can generate a spot the size of a dime with an intensity of 5,000 suns! This amount of power is more than enough to melt steel, vaporize aluminum, boil concrete, turn dirt into lava, and obliterate any organic material in an instant. It stands 5 feet 9 inches and is 42 inches across."
Jacqmain's claim of 5,000 suns is very likely exaggerated, but it's a cool creation nonetheless. For reasons unknown, the awesome R5800 was permanently retired (destroyed) in a burning shed.
Need a gift idea for that musician in your life who already has everything? Try a solar powered guitar tuner, which up until this week didn't exist.
Tascam's new TC-1S measures just 3.77 x 0.71 x 1.57 inches and charges its battery from a bank of solar cells on the front panel. When the weather isn't cooperating, you can also charge the device via USB.
Other features include a built-in microphone, custom LCD display with note, sharp/flat indicators, and a bar graph for pitch deviation, a shock resistant silicon case, and four display modes (Bar, Fine, Strobe Animation, Needle).
The TC-1S is available now for $40 and comes in six different colors.