Somebody had the good idea to put a camera into a cellphone. This was a good idea. It was a great idea. What made it even better was including a slot for a Micro-SD card. I have a 32-gigabyte chip in my phone and I haven’t run out of storage yet. I can shoot photos or movies wherever I go—and email them immediately. I can read e-books or listen to music or watch videos. (The Samsung Galaxy phone has a great screen.)
The smartphone is a combination of many good ideas and its overall usefulness should be a guide for all manufacturers of portable electronics. So why doesn’t the iPad have a memory card slot? Why doesn’t Amazon’s Kindle Fire have a slot for an SD card? Who knows, but here are some other good tech ideas that need to be implemented ASAP.
Now, stick with us here. We know that as readers of technology blogs, the sun is your natural enemy. But the new Samsung NC215S Solar Netbook can use those sun rays to powers your computer. The downside? You’ll have to go to Russia to buy one.
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.
Think you've gone green because you put your PC to sleep during coffee breaks? Try building a solar airplane capable of staying in flight for 24-hours, including night time.
Impossible? Pshaw! The Solar Impulse HB-SIA proved otherwise, which took off from a base in Switzerland at precisely 6:51 a.m. Wednesday and stayed in the air for 24 hours powered only by the solar energy it managed to corral during the daytime hours.
"24 hours and a successful flight through the night!," the Solar Impulse team posted on their Twitter account. "This is a milestone in putting fossil fuels behind us."
This particular milestone was seven years in the making, starting when a team of 70 designers, engineers, and other incredibly smart folk collaborated to create the first prototype of what would later become the Solar Impulse HB-SIA. And had it not been for a glitch with the telemetry transmitter, the feat would have been achieved a week ago.
"Goal achieved for SI. Historic moment. Jubilation here in Payeme, Switzerland!," read another tweet.
The toughest part about going green (as in, environmentally friendly) is that energy saving devices and technologies often cost a a lot of green (as in greenbacks, dinero, cash, money, ducats, pieces of eight, and for you old school adventure gamers, buckazoids). So what's our point? Well, Schosche's lower priced solBAT II solar backup device is a pretty big deal.
Owners of the original solBAT had to cough up a C-note for the luxury of toting around a backup battery capable of being charged through an integrated solar panel. The soBAT II is essentially the same thing, only it charges faster, and at $30, it also costs far less the same.
Battery capacity consists of 1500mA. The device comes with a windshield cradle and suction cup, as well as a USB charging cable. You can use your existing USB cable to charge a variety of devices, such as your iPod, iPhone, Blackberry, most cellphones, and more.
It appears we were mistaken about the price drop, but not in a bad way. The solBAT still runs $30, but we goofed in saying it originally carried a $100 price tag. The truth is, the solBAT was always priced at $30. It was the solCHAT Bluetooth speaker phone that debuted at $100 (and still costs as much). Oops!
Intel this week said it plans to build on its existing portfolio of renewable energy site installations by putting into place new contracts in eight U.S. locations in Arizona, California, New Mexico, and Oregon. All told, the venture will incorporate 2.5 megawatts worth of solar power.
"Intel is committed to renewable energy to reduce our own carbon footprint as well as to spur the market and make renewables more economically feasible for individuals and businesses to deploy," said Brian Krzanich, vice president and general manager of Manufacturing and Supply Chain for Intel. "These announcements represent our broader commitment which includes diversifying our energy portfolio through solar and other clean energy investments, and this will continue to be a priority for us around the globe."
It will take 7 months to complete the new solar installations, and when finished, each project would rank as one of the 10 largest solar installations in its respective region, Intel said.
Intel has admittedly been mighty progressive when it comes to their energy conservation efforts. In the past few years, they’ve devoted a few million dollars from their annual budget to research the energy efficiency, and they’ve been making some pretty significant strides. Their latest look into renewable energy comes from the top of their datacenters in New Mexico, where they’ve put 10-kilowatt photovoltaic installations in an experiment aimed at finding out more about the possibilities of solar power.
This isn’t their first dive into the energy conservation pool, either. Just last year the California based chip-maker opened an installation in Oregon that produced 100 kilowatts of power. And Intel wasn’t even using this juice; instead they integrated it with Portland’s General Electric grid.
While there are some clear issues as to why solar might not work well with running servers (that have to be on 24 hours a day), it is commendable that Intel is looking to take a big step forward in this arena.
Considering that the use of fossil fuels isn’t getting any more efficient, it’s refreshing to see that solar power has been making some very noticeable advances as of late. Currently it runs about 15-20 cents per kWh, but coal power only costing 1.5-2.5 cents per kWh and nuclear being in the similar range, it’s clear that it still has a ways to go.
Thanks to a milestone announced by UNSW’s ARC Photovoltaic Centre of Excellence this week, it looks like that’s on its way down. They revealed the world’s first 25 percent efficient unconcentrated solar silicon cells, only shortly after they were given the previous record with 24.7 percent efficient silicon cells. Unfortunately, they missed out on the other three tenths due to misunderstandings of sunlight’s effect on silicon.
The Centre’s silicon cell is well on its way to the 29 percent mark, which is the theoretical maximum efficiency for a first generation photovoltaic solar cell. The new research is a huge boost “because our cells push the boundaries of response into the extremities of the spectrum,” according to Dr. Anita Ho-Baillie, head of the Centre’s high efficiency cell research group, “Blue light is absorbed strongly, very close to the cell surface where we go to great pains to make sure it is not wasted. Just the opposite, the red light is only weakly absorbed and we have to use special design features to trap it into the cell.”