Tag Archives: invention

Efficient Nanopillar Solar Cells….and Cheap Too…..!!

Nanopillar Solar CellResearchers at the University of California, Berkeley, have made a new kind of solar cell by growing an array of upright nanoscale pillars on aluminum foil. They make bendable solar cells by encapsulating the entire cell inside a transparent, rubbery polymer. The design, the researchers suggest, could lead to solar cells that cost less than conventional silicon photovoltaics.

The nanopillars allow the researchers to use cheaper, lower-quality materials than those used in conventional silicon and thin-film technologies.

So the cost would decrease 10 folds when it will be made on a big scale.

The solar cells are made of uniform 500-nanometer-high pillars of cadmium sulfide embedded in a thin film of cadmium telluride. Both materials are semiconductors used in thin-film solar cells.

In an online Nature Materials paper, it was shown that the cells have an efficiency of about 6 percent in transforming sunlight into electricity as compared to other nano pillars grown with expensive materials which have an efficiency of 2%.

In conventional cells, silicon absorbs light and creates free electrons, which need to get to the electrical circuit before they get trapped at defects or impurities in the material. This requires extremely pure, expensive crystalline silicon to achieve the most efficient photovoltaic devices.

The nanopillar design splits up silicon’s duties: the material surrounding the pillars absorbs light and creates electrons, and the pillars transport them to the electrical circuit. This increases efficiency in two ways. The closely packed pillars trap light between them, helping the surrounding material absorb more. The electrons also have a very short distance to travel through the pillars, so there are fewer chances of their getting trapped at defects. That means you can use low-quality, less expensive materials.

The researchers also intend to try other semiconductor materials for the pillars and surrounding material. The fabrication process is compatible with a wide range of semiconductors, and other combinations could increase the efficiency.

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Now Screen movies using your phone….!!

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A new mini projector prototype could see mobile phone users hosting impromptu movie screenings on makeshift screens such as white towels or walls… without killing the battery. Unlike conventional projectors the prototype doesn’t need an additional illumination system. Instead it relies on a lens system to project images produced by an OLED onto a wall or other flat surface.

Operating without an extra light source offers the dual benefits of reduced size and energy requirements. The prototype is 2.5 cm long, has a diameter of 1.8 cm and needs very little energy. This means the projector could be easily integrated into a mobile phone or PDA without overtaxing the devices’ battery.

Currently the prototype’s OLED display produces a monochrome image with a brightness of 10,000 candelas per square meter, and color images about half that level. By way of comparison, a computer monitor generates about 150-300 candelas per square meter.

The lenses used in the prototype are made of glass, but the development team is working on an optical system that uses plastic lenses. This is because plastic lenses can be embossed, so they can be produced in larger quantities more simply and cheaply than glass lenses.

The mini projector was developed by research scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering IOF in Jena in cooperation with their partners in the EU project HYPOLED.

Source: Fraunhofer Institute

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Pocket Cellphone Charger

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Product: Fuel-cell recharger

Cost: Initially between $100 and $200; cartridges will cost between $1 and $3.

Company: Lilliputian Systems

Solid-oxide fuel cells can generate electricity using a range of readily available fuels. But because they run very hot–often above 1,000 ºC–they typically require insulation that makes them bulky. A new version employs an insulation technique that keeps the finished device as small as a pack of playing cards. The gadget, which could help keep electronic devices humming on long flights or hikes, runs on cheap butane cartridges; one cartridge packs enough power to recharge a smart phone 20 times. Swap out the cartridge, and it’s ready for 20 more charges. The device is scheduled to go on sale next year.

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Source

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Violet RFID Mirror…..adds life to the Objects…!!

What do you think is common between these pictures: The rabbit-dolls or perhaps something that looks like a fancy kitchen ware – a dish?

I am sure you are still wondering what is it that you are looking at? But it definitely looks interesting enough to find out, doesn’t it? It is interesting, impressive and great fun!

These are magical Violet Mirrors based on the RFID technology. RFID – stands for Radio-frequency identification. RFID can be applied to any object to use it as a tag, to be incorporated into any products to make them come alive. The RFID tag enables tracking the product through radio waves. In case you are wondering where this technology can be applied, then you should think of tracking and managing inventories at supermarkets, or any application of supply chain management in several enterprises.

If you understand the identification part of it, you would also immediately relate it to tracking, timing, scoring and implantation kind of usage. For example, an electronic toll collection booth would have an RFID tag put to its best use to improve efficiency in logging and tracking.

Other amusing uses that have been referred to is to use it as a learning package for youngsters, who can wave things in front of these RFID mirrors and understand the relation or usage of the same. For example, if you wave an umbrella in front of this magic mirror it would give you a weather forecast, or let you know when you took your last medication if you place your pills on it. It has to be connected to a computer to perform all these functions though.

The colorful RFID tags and stamps are slowly making place for their applications in our surroundings to make life more convenient, if it isn’t enough already. For now, inventory systems and identification are probably the best usage of this technology.

Main functions and features

Diameter 10 cm (4″). Height 1.4 cm (.55″)
Weight: 90g (3.2 oz)
USB 2.0 plug
ISO14443 Types A&B compliant RFID tag reader
Three dynamic color LEDs for feedback and information display
Speaker (buzzer)
Sleep mode sensor
Latest version of computer software downloaded from the website
Region free: works anywhere in the world, regardless of place of purchase
Requires permanent broadband Internet connection
Compatible with Mac OS X, Windows XP or Vista computer with USB port
Mirror can interact with other Violet objects such as Nabaztag:tag
Detects objects from a few centimeters
Detects up to four objects at the same time
Flipping Mir:ror puts it in sleep mode
When sitting idle on the desk Mir:ror displays light coded information for weather, stock quotes etc.
Works with Ztamps – the first consumer-oriented blank RFID tags that individuals can purchase and program to suit their own needs
Ztamps can be affixed to all kinds of everyday objects (mugs, keys, books, toys)
Ztamps can be re-used and reprogrammed by the user
Ztamps are not washable
Comes with: 1 Mir:ror (USB cable included), 3 blank user-programmable RFID Ztamps, 2 Nano:ztags programmable micro Rabbits, 1 Mirror:skin, 1 Quick start guide
  • Diameter 10 cm (4″). Height 1.4 cm (.55″)
  • Weight: 90g (3.2 oz)
  • USB 2.0 plug
  • ISO14443 Types A&B compliant RFID tag reader
  • Three dynamic color LEDs for feedback and information display
  • Speaker (buzzer)
  • Sleep mode sensor
  • Latest version of computer software downloaded from the website
  • Region free: works anywhere in the world, regardless of place of purchase
  • Requires permanent broadband Internet connection
  • Compatible with Mac OS X, Windows XP or Vista computer with USB port
  • Mirror can interact with other Violet objects such as Nabaztag:tag
  • Detects objects from a few centimeters
  • Detects up to four objects at the same time
  • Flipping Mir:ror puts it in sleep mode
  • When sitting idle on the desk Mir:ror displays light coded information for weather, stock quotes etc.
  • Works with Ztamps – the first consumer-oriented blank RFID tags that individuals can purchase and program to suit their own needs
  • Ztamps can be affixed to all kinds of everyday objects (mugs, keys, books, toys)
  • Ztamps can be re-used and reprogrammed by the user
  • Ztamps are not washable
  • Comes with: 1 Mir:ror (USB cable included), 3 blank user-programmable RFID Ztamps, 2 Nano:ztags programmable micro Rabbits, 1 Mirror:skin, 1 Quick start guide

Source

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Quantum-Dot Lighting – A New age of LED lamps

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Product: Array lamp with Quantum Light optic

Company: Nexxus Lighting, QD Vision

Light-emitting diodes (LEDs) are highly efficient, but they can’t directly produce white light. Though a blue LED can be coated with a phosphor that alters some wavelengths to yield a whitish mix, the resulting light has a bluish cast, and some energy is wasted as heat in the process. A new LED lamp avoids this problem by using an optic coated with quantum dots–bits of semiconductor material a few nanometers in diameter. When excited by a light source, the dots radiate light in wavelengths that vary according to their sizes. The optic–coated with dots in specific sizes and ratios–appears orange when the light is off (left) but radiates white light when the underlying blue LED is on (right). The result: LED lamps that are 50 percent more efficient and produce better-quality white light.

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Because the Nexxus Lighting Array lamps with Quantum Light™ are compatible with a standard, screw-in Edison base, they can easily replace incandescent and halogen lamps in existing downlight fixtures. Just in the US, the DoE estimates, the number of down lights and track heads with Edison base lamp installations equal over 139 million in commercial applications and over 262 million in residential lighting applications. Both companies expect that commercial availability of their high efficiency lamps with high color quality will overcome a major barrier to LEDs and will accelerate the penetration of LEDs in the $4 billion U.S. lamp market. The potential impact on the environment could be significant, a full conversion to LEDs of existing downlights and trackheads in the US (approximately 10% of US fixtures) represents an annual savings of more than 35 billion KW hours (nearly $4 billion), which is the equivalent of nearly 6 power plants or more than 60 million barrels of oil per year.

Sources: Nexxus Lighting, QD Vision

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Touch Sight

Touch Sight is a digital camera for visually impaired people. Easy to use, it includes a unique feature which records sound for three seconds after pressing the shutter button. The user can then use the sound as reference when reviewing and managing the photos. Touch Sight does not have an LCD but instead has a lightweight, flexible Braille display sheet which displays a 3D image by embossing the surface, allowing the user to touch the image. The sound file and picture document combine to become a touchable photo that is saved in the device and can be uploaded to share with others–and downloaded to other Touch Sight cameras.

Design: Samsung Design (China)

Touch Sight

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The SoundBulb

There are various lighting and/or sound products available in the market, but most of them are very direct and serves a particular task efficiently. SoundBulb is an outcome of a competitive product market research across a wide range of exciting lighting/sound products. This concept utilizes both lighting and sound into one product and the final design features a bulb like shaped speakers that can be enhance the décor of your household as well as increase the functionality. The combination brings together the sophistication, ambient and elegance of lighting and sound in order to form a product that tickles our sense more than a single way.

The SoundBulb acts as a wireless speaker and a lighting device simultaneously. The bulb utilizes LED lights for illumination and Bluetooth to stream audio from a compatible computer or gadget wirelessly. The volume is controlled by twisting the bulb’s outer ring, while the on/off switch for the wireless receiver is located on the other side. The wireless speakers are powered from the electric socket it’s plugged to.

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soundbulb

soundbulb

soundbulb

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Dyson Human Energy Harvesting Bracelet

Dyson Energy Bracelet is a gadget that uses Seebeck effect to harness energy and power your mobile phones for a few precious minutes more, when you desperately need it. Lemme explain a bit: The thermoelectric effect is the direct conversion of temperature differences to electric voltage and vice versa. This typically includes three separately identified effects, the Seebeck effect, the Peltier effect, and the Thomson effect. This is coz three different guys discovered it around the same time, however Peltier–Seebeck and Thomson effects are reversible and Joule heating is not.

The designers explain:

Thanks to the Seebeck effect, the temperature difference between the surface which touch the skin and the other which is in the ambient air allows to produce electricity that is stocked in a battery. When the user needs to recharge a mobile device, he plugs it into the Dyson Energy through a micro-USB port (universal connector imposed to constructors in 2012) and can have some additional minutes in use.

Firstly, we have tested the Peltier element in its most common use: i.e. the creation of heat and coldness on the same component (Seebeck effect), and we have noticed that there was electricity production. We have met an engineer who allowed us to evolve on our project while explaining us that there was not possible to plug the elements serially. Therefore, we chose to work with only one element. As a result of many calculations, we have validated this technology payoff regarding our concept. For instance, some hours are sufficient to power its cellphone for a dozen minutes of communication.

Designers: Mathieu Servais, Camille Lefer, Clément Faydi & Mickaël Denié

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