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Tag Archives: Power

Panasonic’s EVOLTA Batteries Are Hitting The Road Again For Another Challenge

Panasonic's ROBO-GARAGE (Image courtesy Panasonic)
By Andrew Liszewski

If you remember, last year Panasonic set a world record for “the longest distance covered by a battery-operated remote-controlled model car” with their small Evoia robot which was powered by a couple of their EVOLTA AA batteries. It ended up traveling an impressive 14.82 miles around the LeMans race circuit after 24 hours, but now they’ve created an even bigger challenge.

Their upcoming EVOLTA World Challenge III, which begins on September 23rd, will see their new robot, Robo-Garage, tackling the 310 mile route from Tokyo to Kyoto Japan. Now obviously a single set of batteries isn’t going to last anywhere near that long, which is why the new bot will be making pit stops at recharging stations along the way. So given it’s not expected to finish the course until December 10th, I assume the challenge is a publicity stunt to demonstrate how often and reliably the batteries can be recharged. We’re rooting for you little guy!

[ Panasonic EVOLTA World Challenge III ] VIA [ Akihabara News ]

iXP1-500 USB Adapter Lets Your iPad Charge Anywhere

iXP1-500 USB Adapter (Image courtesy Gizmag)
By Andrew Liszewski

Tired of not being able to charge your iPad on non-Apple computers or even older Apple hardware? Well with this $4.95 iXP1-500 USB adapter from XP1-Power you’ll never see that annoying ‘Not Charging’ message ever again. It sits between the iPad’s sync cable and the USB port on any PC and does some kind of hokus-pokus allowing the iPad to charge no matter the hardware. The website is completely vague and useless when it comes to how it works, but for just $5 this could be a case of who cares, as long as it does.

[ iXP1-500 USB Adapter ] VIA [ Gizmag ]

Power USB – A USB Controlled Power Strip

Power USB (Images courtesy Cosmos Design Studios)
By Andrew Liszewski

While it’s not the first power strip to come along that attempts to intelligently curb energy usage in your home, the Power USB does bring some interesting functionality to the table. On one end of the strip you’ve got a 6 foot extension cable, but on the other you have a rather unique 6 foot USB cable. That’s because 2 of the 4 outlets on the Power USB can actually be controlled VIA an application on your PC.

The program allows you to assign hot keys for manually powering up those 2 controllable outlets as needed, or they can be programmed to automatically turn on or off at set times. They can even be activated after you’ve performed a certain function on your PC, like when you print a document, so your printer is only on and using electricity when you’re actually using it. I also like that all 4 sockets on the Power USB are universal, meaning it accepts plug designs from all countries. Orders aren’t being accepted until sometime in August, so pricing info has yet to be announced, but hopefully the extra technology doesn’t add too much to the bottom line since it’s not going to save much energy if no one buys one.

[ Power USB ] VIA [ EverythingUSB ]

Air Force Engineers Develop Bat Hook-Like Device That Lets You ‘Harvest’ Electricity From Overhead Power Lines – DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!

RAPS System (Video courtesy Armed with Science)
By Andrew Liszewski

Sometimes we like to bring you gadgets or contraptions that you could probably save a few bucks on by building them yourselves. Like the iBox iPad Stand from a few days ago. This however is a different story. In fact, we absolutely do not recommend anyone try to build one of these themselves, no matter how tempting the prospect of being able to charge your cellphone anywhere is. Seriously.

The RAPS, or Remote Auxiliary Power System, was developed by engineers at the Air Force research lab in Dayton, Ohio to be used by military special ops who may not have a reliable power source while on a mission. But, if they happen to be somewhere with overhead power lines, the RAPS can be deployed just like a grappling hook. But instead of providing a secure mount, the RAPS’ head has a small blade that pierces the sheathing on a power line making contact with the live wire inside. The inside area around the blade also makes contact with a second exposed wire that all powerlines have (according to the video below) and safely transmits electricity to an AC to DC converter at the end of the cable. While the system looks extremely dangerous, it’s apparently designed to be safe enough to use even in the pouring rain. But that still doesn’t mean you should try to build one yourself!

[ Armed With Science – The Bat Hook: Harvesting Energy from Power Lines ] VIA [ Popular Science ]

Sony Introduces Their Own Portable USB Power Supply Adapter

Sony USB Portable Power Supply (Image courtesy Sony Europe)
By Andrew Liszewski

Sony continues with their ‘me too!’ mentality with last week’s announcement of their new Portable USB Power Supply Adapter. It’s apparently available now, though a 20-minute search of Sony’s various sites around the world returned no indication of its existence besides this vague press release on the Sony Europe site. But from what I can tell, it features a modular design with one half serving as a charger/ac adapter, while the other features a rechargeable Li-Ion battery and a USB port for topping off any gadgets that can charge over USB. Unfortunately I’ve no idea what the battery’s capacity is or just how many devices it can recharge, or even how much it will set you back.

[ PR – Never run out of power with the new USB Portable Power Supply from Sony ] VIA [ Newlaunches ]

Elecom Power Strip Adapter Adds A Few Extra Outlets To Your Laptop’s Power Brick

Elecom Power Strip Adapter (Images courtesy Elecom)
By Andrew Liszewski

If your laptop is ‘blessed’ with one of those massive black power bricks then Elecom has a pretty simple adapter you can slap between it and the power cord, providing you with a couple of extra outlets. The adapter is available in a 2-prong model for about $15, and a 3-prong grounded one for about $21, though single outlet versions of each are also available if you don’t have room to carry that extra inch of plastic.

[ PR – Elecom Power Strip Adapter ] VIA [ Engadget ]

Nokia Patents Self-Charging Phone, Won’t Work For Lazy People

throwphone

By Evan Ackerman

At the end of last month, Nokia filed a patent for a “piezoelectric kinetic energy harvester” for mobile phones. If they get it to work, it will enable mobile phones to charge themselves. Brillliant! Why didn’t I think of that?

I’ll tell you why I didn’t think of that. It’s because a “piezoelectric kinetic energy harvester” works by generating electricity from crystals which are compressed by movement. So, the catch is (of course there’s a catch), you have to be moving for the phone to charge. As in, not sedentary in front of the computer. This means that people like me will have dead cell phones 99% of the time, with the remaining 1% of uptime due to bedroom to bathroom transitions plus trips to the fridge. Maybe I’ll just strap it to my cat and bust out the laser pointer for a few hours, that should do the trick.

Cat or no cat, it’s always good to see big companies trying to innovate when it comes to green energy and infinite phone calls. Or at least, it’s good to see them take the first tentative steps in the form of a patent.

[ Nokia Patent ] VIA [ New Scientist ]

Cute Cube Concept Needs To Become A Reality

Cute Cube Power Bar Concept (Image courtesy Red Dot Design Awards)
By Andrew Liszewski

Traveling with a compact power bar of some sort is a necessity these days, which is why I sincerely hope this Cute Cube power adapter concept becomes a reality, and soon! Designed by Zhang Xi, Wang Hui, Miao Yingying, Zhou Xing and Cai Yun and winner of a most deserved Red Dot Design Award, the Cute Cube is nothing more than your run-of-the-mill power bar, but in a vastly improved package.

First of all the compact cube shape makes it easy to carry in a laptop bag or suitcase, but it also ensures the sockets aren’t sitting next to each other, which can be problematic if you’ve got a large transformer plugged in that blocks other outlets. And if you do run into an issue because of the size of the plug you’re using or the orientation of its cord, each of the sockets on the Cute Cube can rotate to accommodate everything you need to plug in. Cute? Kind of. Brilliant? Absolutely.

[ Red Dot Design Awards – Cute Cube ] VIA [ I New Idea Homepage ]

[CES 2010] Case-Mate iPhone Wireless Charging Pad & Case

Case-Mate iPhone Wireless Charging Pad & Case (Image property OhGizmo!)
By Andrew Liszewski

I wouldn’t necessarily say that charging my iPhone with the included sync cable is inconvenient, but I can definitely see the advantage of being able to just drop it on a table to top off the battery. And the Hug from Case-Mate uses Fulton Innovation’s eCoupled Wireless Power system to enable you to do just that.

Case-Mate iPhone Wireless Charging Pad & Case (Images property OhGizmo!)

Now since the iPhone’s battery isn’t removable or even accessible the Hug enables wireless charging via a plastic case. And because there’s an induction coil inside there and other electronicy bits, you’ll have to deal with a bit more bulk than you may otherwise be used to. But the case does still allow the use of the camera and access to the dock connector on the bottom, and it comes with a charging pad that’s compatible with other eCoupled devices if you don’t happen to have a desk with that functionality built-in.

The Hug will be available sometime around early to mid February, for a hefty $90.

[ Case-Mate Hug ]