Wednesday, March 31, 2010

New charging method could greatly reduce battery recharge time

Here's an example of technology that I'm guessing will be more clear in time as our 20/20 hindsight improves.

"Researchers Ibrahim Abou Hamad from Mississippi State University and coauthors have developed the new charging method thanks to revolutionary developments in molecular dynamics simulations."

New charging method could greatly reduce battery recharge time

via: PhysOrg.com

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

NoMix toilets make a splash in European study

Sorry, but there is a lot of technology stories about toilets. They cover water, renewables, green, solar, etc. I have more articles on toilets in the queue, so let me know if you want more.

But if anyone has traveled to Europe they've likely seen what I came to know as the "Turkish" toilet.
These are not as bad as they look. Well, as always it depends on the locale.

At my in-laws country house outside of Strasbourg, France, they recently replaced their old toilet. It, like many in Switzerland, use a small bit of water on a shelf, that would overflow toward the exit downpipe in the back of the john. Problem was N°2 would just sit beneath you until you flushed. Stinky. Strange. And the flush was just a valve. You could argue the advantages: No dwelling reading magazines as you wanted to escape your own fumes. And with the valve you only used enough water to move things along.

So this article is about a toilet that separates the pee in a urinal type design, while allowing #2 to go under water (fully) as we all know - and love.

NoMix toilets make a splash in European study

Monday, March 29, 2010

Water Bomb Factory - just don't let it fall into enemy hands

Technology we wish we had when we were kids.

Water Bomb Factory - just don't let it fall into enemy hands

Great idea from a balloon manufacturer to move product. See also They Might Be Giants, Balloons

Via: GizMag

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Igniting nanoparticles with weak laser has wide variety of applications

Went to an informal forum on nanotechnology yesterday. It was sponsored by Ask a Scientist and the SF Exploratorium. The speaker was Dr. Michael Gallagher. I was struck by the community aspect of it. I know the Ask a Scientist lecture series has been in place for 7 years, but it was interesting to discuss the implication of nanotechnology with what started as a group of strangers.

There is a group behind the whole thing called the National Informal Science Education. From their site:
The NISE Net is a national community of researchers and informal science educators dedicated to fostering public awareness, engagement, and understanding of nanoscale science, engineering, and technology.

No one at the event was from NISE. A presenter did mention that they wanted to go out and educate the public on nanotech, and garner feedback. She intimated that it was a way to bring something to market with support of the public. Cynically, I smelled a brilliant PR campaign behind it. I'll follow for a while and let you know if they gain my trust.

An element at the nano scale takes on different physical properties from its larger version. The FDA does not distinguish. For example, aluminum. We all use it, it's safe, but it behaves very differently at nano scale. Story is a pile of it burst into flames on a humid day. Un-extinguishable, it burned through a table, the floor, and left a divot int he concrete sub-floor.

We use nanoparticles in our sunscreens. Th same ingredient as in the old, white zinc oxide creams of yesteryear have been replaced with smaller nano versions. They are transparent at this scale, thus disappearing on your skin. But we're not sure if the properties of the smaller version is safe. Testing is not required. Caveat emptor.

Igniting nanoparticles with weak laser has wide variety of applications

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Lazer SuperSkin helmet might just save your skin

Technology is often imitating life, as in this helmet that includes a skin-like covering, much the same way your skull is covered with a scalp. Lazer SuperSkin helmet might just save your skin
Via: GizMag.com
 
In fact, there is a whole segment of science and technology called Biomimicry. Check out this site that is a library of solutions (IP) based on natural technologies.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Know it All programmable felted bag: Knitty Spring Summer 2010

My wife called this a perfect combination of our interests - technology and knitting. Uses an arduino board, called Lilly Pad Arduino made specially for wearable tech.

Know it All programmable felted bag: Knitty Spring Summer 2010

Monday, March 22, 2010

Camelpunch: The Brushduino

Getting your kid to brush their teeth is difficult. Getting them to brush them right is harder. My son and I thought up a iPhone app that guides you around your mouth. Here's a DSi FlipNote of it.




Then lo and behold, Steve of the blog, CamelPunch, comes along and invents the thing. It's a beaut of a project. Based on Arduino. Can't wait to build one myself.



Camelpunch: The Brushduino

Study: Daylight saving time a waste of energy

This article makes me wonder if the extension of daylight savings by the Bush administration was just a gift to the energy companies.

Study: Daylight saving time a waste of energy

I think if we're going to do daylight savings at all, let's adjust the clock continuously throughout the year. Does switching times affect you?

via PhysOrg.com

Friday, March 19, 2010

Plastic Houses: Interesting New Invention

Instead of letting plastic pollute our environment, this idea turns plastic into part of our environment. A useful part - housing materials.

Interesting New Products and Inventions: Plastic Houses

Via IdeaConnection

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Innovators get Linux to boot in 1 second - 3/4/2010 - EDN

Great article on speeding up boot time. Sure it's for a specific Automotive dashboard application, but these types of embedded systems are soon to surround us - from our thermostats to our refrigerators.

Here's how they buried the lead. "For those who wonder why a processor doing billions of instructions per second needs to take minutes to boot up, wonder no more; MontaVista has shown that you can boot up a complete modern operating system in less than a second."


Innovators get Linux to boot in 1 second - 3/4/2010 - via EDN

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Spiral Eye makes easy work of threading a sewing needle

Ah, no more squinting or cursing to thread a needle. Another hindsight moment. How many years has the needle been around? 40,000 year according to Wikipedia.

Spiral Eye makes easy work of threading a sewing needle

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

IdeaConnection: Innovation in Business story: Fabric Batteries for Clothes that Can Conduct Electricity

At the SF Exploratorium a couple of week ago I attended a Make Event on Wearable Technology. The three folks on the panel explained the challenges of designing electronics into fashion and showed off their wares. Later, there were workshops for youngsters to make fabric switches and LED bracelets.

 Here's a related article on how the fabric itself can generate power in a more sophisticated way than these wearable windmills.

IdeaConnection: Innovation in Business story: Fabric Batteries for Clothes that Can Conduct Electricity

Living on Earth: Hollywood’s Unrequited Scientist

"Frank Capra is best known for the movies 'It's a Wonderful Life' and “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” but he also made films about global warming and solar energy more than 50 years ago."

Here is the link to the NPR story I heard on Saturday:
Living on Earth: Hollywood’s Unrequited Scientist

In the biography talked about on the show, Capra notes that he thinks he would have done more good for humanity in science than in film, and regretted his decision. He's also a staunch republican.

Also, check out the YouTube link to the "Unchained Goddess"

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Tracking MPG in cars

UPDATE: 3/16/10: From Physorg, an injector that delivers 64MPG.


Ever since I started to drive, I kept a record of my car's gas mileage. Here's a link to the chart of my MPG data for our 2001 Volvo V70 2.5l Wagon. The data very closely reflects what the car's onboard computer tracks.

117,000+ miles on her. I think the transmission is going to go out soon.

Do you keep track of your car's MPG?

Friday, March 12, 2010

YouTube - BARTable's Channel

Here's an example of augmented reality in a purposeful use.

YouTube - BARTable's Channel

Thanks to @jowyang for Tweeting the article.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Can hand sanitizers like Purell really stop people from getting the flu? - By Darshak Sanghavi - Slate Magazine

This is for the fools who still believe in hand sanitizers.

"In 1847, Hungarian doctor Ignaz Semmelweis discovered that washing one's hands with chlorine between deliveries practically eliminated fatal infections among laboring women. (His colleagues ignored him and later committed him to a mental hospital, where he was beaten to death by guards.)"

Can hand sanitizers like Purell really stop people from getting the flu? - By Darshak Sanghavi - Slate Magazine

See also: mysophobia

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

California 'Green Law' Seen As Threat To Historic Buildings : NPR

There is a scene in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner, with Sidney Poitier, where he and girlfriend, played by Katherine Hepburn take a drive through downtown Oakland, CA to look at the architecture. Somehow hard to imagine based on our collective mindset of what Oakland is like. But I used to work in its bustling downtown, and often looked up to enjoy the cake-like pieces of work full of "embodied energy."

Most are worth saving. But this NPR segment explains how the green laws might be working against them.

California 'Green Law' Seen As Threat To Historic Buildings : NPR

Monday, March 8, 2010

The Big Brother of Europe?: France Moves Closer to Unprecedented Internet Regulation - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

I once lived on the San Mateo County coastside. A place known for its anti-growth stance. They were afraid of the "Carmel-izaion" of Half Moon Bay - meaning it would become like Carmel CA - a tourist haven. (and a fun place to visit and dispense cash.)

Someone wanted to build a strip mall on some prime property. They submitted designs with an outlandish, garish tower. Protests ensued. The builders gave in and removed the tower from the plans. Permits issued.

I think the French will follow the Germans and not enact the full law, but they'll get a lot of it, just no tower.

The Big Brother of Europe?: France Moves Closer to Unprecedented Internet Regulation - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News - International

Friday, March 5, 2010

Printing body parts: Making a bit of me | The Economist

Looking forward to walking into a Kinkos, renting a computer, using CAD, and printing myself a new ear. Really, this is a great application offshoot of 3D printing. What else could we print? Besides candy?

Printing body parts: Making a bit of me | The Economist

Thursday, March 4, 2010

IBM develops promising contender for cheaper solar cells

Getting to affordable, efficient solar technology -  one innovative step at a time.

contribute under 0.1 per cent of the Earth’s electricity supply at the moment, largely due to their expense and the rarity of their key elements. The IBM solar cell could change all of that.

IBM develops promising contender for cheaper solar cells

via PhysOrg

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Nubrella - the hands-free space helmet-like umbrella

Would you wear this?


Reminds me of the Umbrella Hat I first saw Cal Worthington (Dodge) wear it on 1970's TV commercials in Orange County.


Nubrella - the hands-free space helmet-like umbrella

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Information is power for cheaper electricity

Although the concept of smart meters is gaining notoriety among the public, it's still a pretty new concept. This article provides a solid explanation of the concept. And show a pretty cool mobile phone app.

Intel is also pushing the use of smart meters for Home Energy Management (HEM in a typical Intel acronym) and has a cool proof-of concept video and flash demo here.

Information is power for cheaper electricity
Via Gizmag

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Materials Driving Product Innovation in 2010 | Design & Innovation | Fast Company

A fine example of how, not just brainstorming, but considering how your product fits into the world can make a big difference.

This article outlines several materials that individually might not have had much marketing punch. Together, they form a movement. A design movement. Nice PR angle. Nice marketing angle. Co-marketing, events...


The Materials Driving Product Innovation in 2010 | Design & Innovation | Fast Company

Mammoth iceberg could alter ocean circulation: study

I wonder what it feels like to stand - or live - on an iceberg as big as Luxembourg. Does it feel solid, or does it rock like a giant ship on the sea?

Mammoth iceberg could alter ocean circulation: study

via PhysOrg.com