The Cutting Edge

LEDs may double as wireless access points

In an interesting application of energy-efficient lighting, researchers at the Smart Lighting Engineering Research Center hope to embed networking capabilities into LEDs. They envision an LED-lit room where your computer, thermostat, television and PDAs can communicate with each other wirelessly. The National Science Foundation-backed lighting research team, which consists of engineers from Boston University, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and the University of New Mexico, foresees optical communications systems similar to how a television and its remote work together, except using visible light instead of infrared. Continue reading LEDs may double as wireless access points

Marine life gets Google Earth spotlight

Google Earth is gaining a new layer of complexity, in the form of detailed information about ocean conservation hotspots. The layer came about as part of Google Earth Outreach, a branch of Google Earth that helps non-profit organizations develop online maps using their data to benefit the level of detail of Google's land-based maps -- for one thing, the environmental and social causes. Though not at company isn't doing its own underwater mapping -- it does provide a way for ocean protection organizations and researchers to present their video streams, photos, and data to the public in geographic context.

Continue reading Marine life gets Google Earth spotlight

Energy ball spins new form of wind energy

Picture a wind turbine that uses an egg beater rather than stick-straight blades to produce energy, and you've got a fair sense of the Energy Ball, made by Home Energy, a company from The Netherlands.

Continue reading Energy ball spins new form of wind energy

New solar tech collects energy at night

Gold nano-antennas set this solar energy-collecting technology apart from the rest. Using cheap, flexible materials, researchers at Idaho National Laboratory, a branch of the U.S. Department of Energy, hope to create mass-produced plastic sheets with billions of nano-scale antennas to collect energy.

Continue reading New solar tech collects energy at night

Japan plans green “super express” train

A high-speed train capable of traveling 350 kilometers per hour, being developed by Kawasaki Heavy Industries, will spearhead the company’s plan to build 10,000 kilometers of high-speed rail links in the next 20 years, with an eye on selling them to Brazil and the United States. Continue reading Japan plans green “super express” train

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