On The Road To A More Sustainable WorldRead More
As concerns over global warming have grown and supplies of fossil fuels have diminished, the media has increasingly been talking about ‘renewable energy’. More and more emphasis has been put on inventing technologies that are environmentally friendly and sustainable. These new technologies are powered by renewable energy sources such as wind power, solar power, geothermal and hydropower rather than relying on precious supplies of coal, oil and natural gas.
The thought that maybe one day, the need for fossil fuels could be completely eradicated, was hard to imagine a few decades ago. If you were to ask a person in the 1980s what they would expect the world to be like in 20 years, they would probably describe a scene from ‘Back To The Future’, with hover-boards, time machines and self-fitting jackets, and see it as a completely plausible idea. But mention farms dedicated to turbines instead of animals, and dams that can generate enough energy to power a city, and they would look at you as if you were a madman. This is how many people would feel today about entertaining the thought of a future without the need for coal and oil.
So just imagine the surprise of those sceptics as we move one step closer to this form of reality with the idea of roads, pavements, driveways, bike trails and even motorways made entirely out of solar panels. The panels use the heat of the sun to generate enough power to light up the road at night, transporting people safely from one destination to another. They can also melt away the perils of snow and ice and even display warning signs or traffic lines using their embedded LED lights, as well as charging electric vehicles that are in motion on them.
Electrical engineer and inventor of the hexagonal green road solar panels, Scott Brusaw is currently in the process of expanding his company, Solar Roadways, in order to make the idea a reality. This process of expansion was slow at first due to the lack of financial backing as many concerns were raised about the durability of the panels. These concerns were put to rest by the creation of a 108-panelled protocol car park at the company’s headquarters that showed the panels’ abilities to withstand a hefty weight of up to 250,000 pounds. Investors and donations eventually started to appear with the aid of crowd funding platform website ‘Indiegogo‘. Other helpful donation-draws were a Youtube video starring the panels that went viral, with over 14 million views, and mentions on various social media platforms, including mentions from celebrities such as George Takei from ‘Star Trek’. From this publicity, Solar Roadways received donations from over 45,000 people in 50 countries, which well and truly got the company on its feet and noticed.
We are due to hear more from Solar Roadways later on this month as they reach the end of their Phase II contract with Federal Highway Administration.
So, roll on Solar Roadways is what I say, paving the way to a cleaner, greener future! But what do you think? Tweet us @NotchCom
This week’s post was a special guest blog from Eve Blears at Altrincham Girls Grammar School.
Photo credit: http://www.solarroadways.com/intro.shtm
Wearable Tech and The Internet Of ThingsRead More
The thought of everything being connected via the Internet of Things, from your glasses, to watch, to fridge, is a scary one to some people. For me, it brings excitement! The Internet of Things means that objects, animals or people are provided with unique identifiers allowing them to transfer data via a network.
Picture this; it’s winter, which means dark, cold mornings, everyone’s favourite, right? Your usual morning routine consists of waking up at 7:00am, having a shower and breakfast and leaving the house at 8:00 for your hour long commute into work. One particular day you need to be in the office at 8am because you have an important client flying in for a meeting. You’ve gone to sleep at 10pm to ensure you have the full recommended 8 hours. Whilst you sleep your client’s flight has been delayed a few hours, meaning your meeting has been pushed back. It’s also become very icy over night, so your car will need the dreaded task of de-icing in the morning! You’ve also not realised that you need petrol. Sounds like a wonderful thing to wake up to! Don’t fear the Internet of things is here! Your smartphone has received notification that your meeting has been pushed back, so has kindly sent a message to push back your alarm. Your car then interferes ‘but wait, I need petrol and I’m iced up’ so your alarm is changed to fit in enough time to get petrol on your way in. The de-icing? Well that’s taken care of also: 10 minutes before you need to leave the house your car turns itself on and de-ices and warms the car up for you. The Internet of things is slowly starting to sound less scary now isn’t it?
Smart watches have changed a vast amount from the calculator watch of the 80s. Now we have devices such as the Pebble, Android Wear and Galaxy Gear. They’re basically smartphones for your wrist. Emerging wearable tech is not only being made to help us connect easily to our emails and text messages, it’s also being used for other applications such as in health care. Bones is an orthopaedic cast with sensors, which records the muscle activity around a fractured area and stimulates the full recovery time of the patient. The information gathered from the cast is then synced to the user’s online profile where they can track their recovery progress.
Google Glass is also being used for health. Stanford University physician Dr. Homero Rivas uses Glass to assist with surgery, by directing his Glass on a target, which then reveals an augmented reality display on his Glass screen. Looking through the Glass enables him to see the procedure illustrated step by step with images superimposed over the skin of the model.
Will you be connecting yourself? Tweet me @JennaAtNotch
(image credit: http://blogs.jabil.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/IOT.jpg)