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Video Solar Energy in Space is not Necessarily Easy to Harvest (Video) 85

The ARTEMIS Innovation web site says, "John C. Mankins, President of Artemis Innovation Management Solutions LLC, is an internationally recognized leader in space systems and technology innovation...." And one of John's biggest recent projects is coming up with a practical way to collect solar energy beyond our atmosphere and use it not only in space, but how to beam it down to the Earth's surface where we can use it to power our plug-in cars, household appliances, and other electrical devices.

Video Getting Charged Up Over Chargers at CES (Video) 33

First we look at Skiva Technology and their Octofire 8-port USB charger that pulled in nearly five times the requested amount from a Kickstarter campaign. (The 'pulled in X times the requested Kickstarter amount' is becoming a common product boast, isn't it?) Then, for MacBook owners who are tired of having their chargers or charger cords break, we take a brief look at the Juiceboxx Charger Case. These two power-oriented products and WakaWaka, which we posted about on January 9, are just a tiny, random sample of the many items in this category that were on display at CES 2015. Timothy was the only Slashdot person working CES, so it's shocking that he managed to cover as many (hopefully interesting) products as he did, considering that even the biggest IT journo mills don't come close to total coverage of the overwhelming muddle CES has become in recent years. (Alternate Video Link)

CES 2015: WakaWaka Sheds Light On Technology, Profit, and Philanthropy (Video) 17

Camille van Gestel and co-founder Maurits Groen started solar-centric manufacturer WakaWaka with an explicit aim other than making money, though he's certainly not opposed to making some along the way. So it's not a non-profit, but van Gestel calls WakaWaka, which was named in a roundabout way after the Shakira song, a "purpose-driven company," with that purpose being -- no exaggeration needed -- to cast light on the world. They're doing just that, with the aid of recycled materials, low-power LEDs, and efficient solar cells. As a result, one of the portable light products that the group has created has become one of the most valued possessions among people displaced by the war in Syria, and more are lighting up villages in Haiti and elsewhere. I talked with Van Gestel at this year's CES, where the company's picked up a pair of CES Innovation Awards, and he has some advice for people who'd like to turn their technical skills to philanthropic endeavors, especially ones that involve hardware or technical infrastructure. Some of it can be summed up as "Spread the wealth, but don't do it for free." Between ongoing feedback gathered from users, a buy-one-give-one style distribution system, and requiring participation by recipients, he says WakaWaka has been able to reach people with their solar lighting products in a way that's much more valuable than just dumping hardware on them, and along the way has gotten a lot of feedback from the buyers whose purchases subsidize the company's non-profit activities. (Alternate Video Link.)

Video CES: Tiny Fuel Cell is Supposed to Charge a Cell Phone for Two Weeks (Video) 204

Many of us have plug-in external batteries of one sort to recharge our smart phones when we're away from power outlets. Or we have gigantic aftermarket batteries that make our phones so fat they barely fit in our pockets. So there is this company, Lilliputian Power Systems, that is just starting to market a tiny, butane-powered fuel cell they call the Nectar that plugs into your cell phone (or whatever) through a USB port and supposedly charges it for up to two weeks. That's a lot better than an add-on battery. It looks expensive, although the power "pods" aren't too pricey at $19.99 for two. But wait a minute: Why aren't fuel cells, not internal combustion engines, the "range extenders" in plug-in hybrid cars? A decade back, fuel cells were going to revolutionize our power delivery and consumption systems. A cell phone charger is cute, but is that really all we can get fuel cells to do?

Using Flywheels to Meet Peak Power Grid Demands 325

hackertourist writes "A novel type of electricity storage was recently added to the New York power grid. The unit, supplied by Beacon Power, uses flywheels to store energy. This system is intended to replace gas turbines in supplying short-term peaks in power demand (also known as frequency regulation). It can supply up to 20 MW, using 200 flywheels." If you can't afford a 200-flywheel system, you can always get a racetrack-ready Porsche 911 GT3 R Hybrid, which has a single energy-storage flywheel that can give you a 160 HP burst of power when you need a little extra oomph.

Large Scale 24/7 Solar Power Plant To Be Built in Nevada 475

RayTomes writes "The Obama administration has provided a loan guarantee of $737 million to construct the first large-scale solar power plant that stores energy and provides electricity 24 hours a day, 7 days a week." This solar power project, a heliostat rather than a photovoltaic system, with a molten salt system to store power as heat for times when the sun isn't shining, will be constructed in Nevada and, says the article, is expected to create "600 construction jobs and 45 permanent positions."

"Sometimes insanity is the only alternative" -- button at a Science Fiction convention.