Archive for: energy

Gargantuan solar farm to power 20% of Europe by 2050, rest of the continent sometime thereafter.

  • June 23, 2010 7:09 am

Talk of massive solar farms powering anything larger than a small city has until now, been left to science fiction. From what we’ve seen so far, there just hasn’t been enough space to build a solar farm big enough to consume all the energy of a given city or town. But that could all change, thanks to a gargantuan 6,500sq. mile solar farm being built in the Sahara desert…

Google Power Meter software and Current Cost hardware tag team the UK.

  • May 27, 2010 12:00 pm

I’m far from what you’d call your typical “tree hugger”. Though I certainly to care about my energy bill and how the army of gadgets I have lays siege to my outlets while I’m away. I currently don’t use any type of monitoring hardware or software. But after seeing the Current Cost + Google Power Meter duo, I’m seriously re-thinking my decision of going it alone. With the Current Cost energy meter in place, I could track my energy usage and post it — In real time! — online with Google Power Meter.

If I lived in the UK that is…

The “smart” power strip that tells you how much energy your suckin’ down…

  • April 9, 2010 1:50 pm

As we move more and more into energy awareness and actually caring about all the wattage we’re suckin’ down, sometimes we have to step back and think where to actually start. I mean, how can the average person quickly and easily tell how much energy they are consuming, gadget lovers in particular? Essentially you can’t. It’s more or less a crap shoot.

A new power strip concept by Fujitsu aims to change that. The unique aspect of this power strip is that it will actively (in real-time) measure each outlet/gadget’s power usage and send the information to software on your computer, detailing the dirty deeds. Connecting the power strip to the computer is done via USB.

If/when this “smart strip” comes to market, I don’t necessarily think it will garner a huge following right away. Rather, it will likely take years of other manufacturers implementing similar technology into their products in a sort of “global movement”.

But hey, every little bit counts, right? I’d even wager to say that a strip such as this smart strip is actually pretty sweet, especially for a gadget nerd like me. I’d certainly pick up a couple. Would you?


How much does that graphics card of yours really suck down?

  • March 23, 2010 5:49 am

I’ve always wondered exactly how much my custom rig pulls down in heavy sessions. With a dual 5850 setup and oc’d Core i7, it certainly has a reputation for a rampant appetite. But is it really as bad as people claim? The general consensus is that a high end dual graphics card set up will pull in at least 400w by themselves, not including the processor, which itself is a power thirsty piece. Then of course you have hard drives, fans, lights, memory, etc., etc. Today you can consider a large chunk of that “is my power supply big enough” unknown hysteria finally answered thanks to the fine folks at XbitLabs. Xbit’s feature article today went on to test 23 of the most popular graphics cards. The power consumption numbers they came away with may surprise you.

For example, a pair of stock clocked ATI 5850′s running Crysis only pull roughly 244w together (so that’s 122w per card) and 163w in a balls-to-the-wall all out GPU stress test. Not bad at all! Give the 5850 some extra juice in the form of 1000/1000MHz core/memory clocks and you end up with a little more aggressive 276w per card. Nvidia doesn’t fair so well if energy consumption is one of your pet peeves, with the ATI 5850′s cousin — the Nvidia GTX 275 — consuming almost 220w during peak Crysis sessions to the 5850′s 122w. And that balls-to-the-wall GPU test? The Nvidia GTX 275 again comes in higher at 218w.

For those curious about the top of the line cards such as the ATI 5970 and Nvidia GTX 295, just know that both cards consumer a lot of power. The 5970 manages to stay well below 400w with a 355.9 showing in the GPU stress test with Nvidia toping the charts with a nice round 400w power draw during the same GPU test. Clearly, if you’re running these top of the line cards, you’ll need a beefy power supply. Going the dual/tri/quad setup? Then a 1k+ PSU should definitely be considered.

For some, energy consumption isn’t anywhere near the forefront of their mind. And that’s ok. But for those who were curious or really wanted to know, XbitLab’s little study is an awesome piece of information for gamers, pc builders, and geeks alike. I know for myself at least, I feel a lot better about my 750w Corsair HX purchase. It is now obviously more than enough for my setup. XbitLabs did all the hard work, now we geeks need to take it, learn it, and spread it. Go ahead and give it a read.

Overclockers Forums

Power strips are cool again: The Power Strip Ejector series (Ejector-strip). [Concept]

  • February 23, 2010 2:08 pm

Green this, hug a tree that. It seems that all we ever hear about concerning heavy gadget usage is how terrible it is for the planet. That very well may be, but at least progress is being made, wouldn’t you say? If any doubt still remains, simply take a look at this innovative and downright cool power strip concept designed by “Soon Mo Kang”.

Similar in design to the Leech Plug, the “Ejector-strip” (self-titled — copyright eleventy billion years with) is so basic yet so complex at the same time. The easy side of things is how it, like any other power strip, plugs into a wall and shuttles electrons from port A to prong B. The real magic is how it handles such things in it’s modular design. By going modular, not only to end users save money on not having to pay for outlets they don’t need, but also in not having unused outlets constantly sucking power (albeit tiny amounts) at home. Further adding to it’s love-a-tree mentality, less packaging is used and trashed as a result. It’s a win-win for everyone.

The other lust worthy feature is the very thing that sparked my naming idea — the ejectable nature of the plugs by way of a simple finger click freeing it from it’s 3 holed prison. Like the Leech Plug, the easy removal of the plugs is by no means revolutionary or a major feature that will save the world. But it’s cool tech plain and simple.

Yes, I’m getting all excited over a concept power strip…

Geeky-Gadgets > Wired

The green cubicle starts here? CubeTubes.

  • February 19, 2010 10:50 am

It isn’t too often we see a corporate minded gadget get us all hot and bothered. I mean, the differences between the corporate world of gadgets and the consumer world of gadgets are like comparing the a horse and buggy to flying cars. But every once in a while, a gem makes it’s way past our visual receptacles and excites us. In this case, it’s the CubeTube.

Everyone knows what a solar panel is and what it’s main function in life is — to recycle solar particles into usable energy for whatever plugs into it. An office uses a ton of energy but has generous amounts of worker bees crammed into tiny cubes, away from the outside world (and sun) meaning any solar advancements have to typically be thrown outside or on the roof of the business costing eye bleeding amounts of money. And we all know how giving your typical business is with modern tech. That’s where CubeTube comes in.

Taking solar recycling and giving it back to the people, the CubeTubes sit atop your cubicle or desk and actually draw the ambient light from indoor lighting — not solar/sun light — to recycle into usable energy. Color me thoroughly impressed yet skeptical. I mean, even the best solar panels have a pretty paltry efficiency rate with real sunlight let alone a few fluorescent lights. Are the photovoltaic cells really that good at their job? I simply don’t think so. Michael Trei of Dvice thinks the same too. Also, if these photo cells are so efficient with light (and can run off of indoor lighting no less), I’m pretty sure we would have seen a much larger media presence and more implementations already, wouldn’t you say?

In the end, I’m highly intrigued though still a fence sitter at this point. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until “sometime next year” before getting our hands on some. What do you think: Do these seem plausible or do you see “late-night infomercial” written all of this?


Fiat Lux Lamp with floating on/off orb wins lamp design of the decade.

  • December 29, 2009 2:10 pm

Of all the lighting fixture/lamp concepts and designs I’ve seen, the Fiat Lux Lamp designed by Constance Guisset and GrĂ©gory Cid easily takes the crown for coolest, most innovative lamp design of the decade — the next decade. Some may see this admission as coming a wee bit early seeing as how the next decade doesn’t start for a couple more days. Even still, though I already know how fast technology does in fact progress and evolve, I’m left wondering how anyone can top the Fiat Lux design for at least another 15-20 years. (Hint: that’s a challenge please).

Before I get too much more excited and stumble over my words, perhaps you’d like to know how it works hmm?

The design is simple yet ingenious and straight out of a sci-fi movie. Instead of the tried and true on/off switch that usually adorns some solid surface, the Fiat Lux uses a levitating orb that when placed underneath the lamp instantly illuminates the lamp above. The basic idea involves magnetism and the whole emerging filed of wireless electricity of which magnetism has a very important role.

Who’s intrigued and wishing we were counting down the hours until 2030?

Make > Notcot

Ultra low energy consuming Bluetooth developed by Texas Instruments. Relevant?

  • October 19, 2009 7:28 am

If you find yourself in Munich tomorrow, you may want to stop by the Texas Instrument unveiling of their latest baby: the CC2540. This alphabet/number line soup’s claim to fame is the fact that it takes up but a mere 6mm (squared) of space. That’s tiny. Naturally, because of the utter pittance of physical size, such an object has an equally minuscule appetite. Just how meager are the feeding requirements? Try an entire year of runtime on a single, lonely button battery. Ya. That’s pretty impressive. If you haven’t made much use of Bluetooth yet, one thing to make note of is the battery decimating characteristics of current iterations. This new, ultra low energy variant could allow mobile devices to last longer and by physically smaller. Good results don’t you think?

Although, with the recent announcement of WiFi-Direct, does anyone really care about anything Bluetooth related? I mean, they’ve taken their sweet time moving forward. The same can be said about WiFi technology as well (we’re looking at you Mr. “it took multiple years for N spec finalization). Still, do you really care?


Image Source

Solar Road Panels: the roadway of tomorrow…tomorrow.

  • September 8, 2009 5:42 am


Imagine driving down the road and looking out in front of your car and seeing the roadway light up with markings or directions. Such a sight might make you think of some science fiction movie or some futuristic technology that is still decades from becoming reality. However, the technology and deployment may not be that far off. Instead of the typical asphalt based roadway that does nothing but cause us to use more petroleum based products, the solar roadway could actually make us more independent. The company with the technology, Solar Roadways, has been given a $100,000 grant by the U.S. Department of Transportation to further develop a prototype of the solar roadway mentioned above. The power harnessed by even a smaller 12′ x 12′ section could top 7.6 kilowatt hours. Moving on to bigger sections such as a mile long section of highway could provide enough energy to power 500 homes! As mentioned previously, adding LED lights to the roadway could also provide drivers with short bits of information as well as provide the lane markings reducing the need for road paint.

Naturally, the thought of driving on LED’s and glass can make some uneasy. Though, with as many incredible feats I’ve seen attained with glass, a roadway is but another notch in the belt of science.

Source: Dvice, Dvorak, Physorg