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Tiny Piezoelectric Generator Lights 100 LEDs With Flick Of A Finger

Researchers in South Korea have taken another step toward harvesting the energy in tiny movements and vibrations. They’ve built a piezoelectric generator that converts enough kinetic energy into electricity to briefly light more than 100 LED bulbs. 

Keon Jae Lee, an associate professor of materials science and engineering at The Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, said his team’s work showed “a high-output performance of ~250 V from the slight mechanical deformation of a single thin plastic substrate.”

They claim they attained conversion efficiency 40 times higher than previous attempts. They are now working on stacking the thin-film generators to up power output so the units can make enough electricity to operate machines like implants and other small devices in inaccessible places.

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U.S. Soil Grows Wind Power Garden
by Michael Keller
Wind farms have proliferated across the American landscape over the last four decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one wind farm existed California in 1975. It produced enough electricity to power around 4,100 homes. By 2012, 815 wind farms were pumping out enough power for 15 million homes. 
See the Department of Energy’s interactive version.[[MORE]]

U.S. Soil Grows Wind Power Garden

by Michael Keller

Wind farms have proliferated across the American landscape over the last four decades. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, one wind farm existed California in 1975. It produced enough electricity to power around 4,100 homes. By 2012, 815 wind farms were pumping out enough power for 15 million homes. 

See the Department of Energy’s interactive version.

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Txch This Week: Flying Saucers from Earth and Medical Innovations

by Norman Rozenberg

This week on Txchnologist, we looked at innovations improving the medical field and the environment around us. First, MIT researchers have unlocked the mystery of what makes oyster shells so strong. Their discovery could make lightweight, translucent and extremely strong armor.

Medical devices continue to advance in leaps and bounds. The newest discovery can monitor the heart and perform other hospital-quality diagnostic functions with tiny wearable sensors. This marks a new step in miniature, flexible and wearable medical technology. Other diagnostic methods are getting an upgrade thanks to developments made with Google Glass. A new app developed for the hardware can scan samples and digitally send them out for analysis. This development by UCLA researchers reduces the need for nearby labs and might improve medical treatment in areas without large medical facilities.

Some optimistic news about U.S. air quality came out recently. Research shows that Americans are breathing air with fine fewer particulates. The new study shows that this measure of air quality has significantly improved over the last decade thanks to effective state emission control plans.

Buildings regularly suffer lightning strikes, offering a brilliant - and destructive - light show during storms. Scientists say they have devised a way to save buildings from Zeus’ wrath using laser beams. The high-intensity beams can guide lightning away from buildings.

And now we’re bringing you the news and trends we’ve been following this week in the world of science, technology and innovation.

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Digital Currency Looks To Charge Up Solar Electricity Production

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by Morgen E. Peck

A new project called SolarCoin seeks to make investments in solar energy just a little bit more attractive for anyone who may be on the fence. It’s a brand new digital currency of the Bitcoin ilk whose creators are offering to disburse to anyone who can prove that they’ve generated solar electricity. Right now, each megawatt-hour of electricity that your solar panels pump into the grid will get you one SolarCoin.

The goal, they say, is very simple. “SolarCoin will help make more solar energy,” currency founder Nick Gogerty tells Txchnologist. “In economics, whatever has more money flowing through it generally gets amplified. Throwing SolarCoin at solar electricity producers is the goal.”

To that end, SolarCoin Foundation volunteers began verifying electricity production claims in a pilot program this January. A third party reads each applicant’s meter to determine the amount of coins granted. The coins are then disbursed from a reservoir of “pre-mined” coins that the foundation has on hand.

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