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New Rooftop Wind Turbine Tested: The Helyx

by Justin Thomas •

Recently, I wrote about the low-profile Aerotecture wind turbines, which are designed to be installed on the rooftops of city buildings. Now I’ve heard of another rooftop wind turbine under development. It’s called the Helyx Wind Generator, and it’s composed of two twisted wings of fiberglass that rotate around a vertical axis. The turbine is also colored bright green, which …

New Plastic Solar Cells Mimic The Veins In Tree Leaves

by Justin Thomas •

Researchers at Wake Forest University have announced they they have created plastic solar cells with an efficiency of 6%. Researchers say that have achieved record efficiency for organic or flexible, plastic solar cells by creating “nano-filaments” within light absorbing plastic, similar to the veins in tree leaves. This allows for the use of thicker absorbing layers in the devices, which …

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New 3D Solar Cells Created

by Justin Thomas •

Recently, we featured some intriguing spherical solar cells from Japan. But now there’s an announcement that unique 3D solar cells have been created using nanotubes. The 3D solar cells capture photons from sunlight using an array of miniature “tower” structures that resemble high-rise buildings in a city street grid. The tower structures, which are about 100 microns tall, 40 microns …

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0 to 60 MPH in Under 1.5 Seconds, Electric KillaCycle Sets New World Speed Record

by Justin Thomas •

The KillaCycle, the world’s electric motorcycle, and the official world record holder in the ¼ mile drag, broke the world record again using its lithium-ion batteries. The official record for any electric vehicle worldwide in the ¼ mile is set now at an elapsed time of 8.16 seconds. Weighing just over 165 pounds, the A123Systems battery pack delivers over 350 …

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Electric Tankless Water Heaters

by Justin Thomas •

Note: This post has been expanded and updated for 2009! Tankless water heaters only heat water when it is needed. About 8% to 30% of the energy consumed by a standard water heater goes to keeping the water hot while it’s not being used. New tankless systems heat the water instantly when you turn on the faucet, rather than keeping …

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Philips’ New “Simplicity” LED Bulbs

by Justin Thomas •

The new LED light bulbs from Philips will change color and brightness with one touch, squeeze, or turn. They are also energy efficient and last 10-20 years. Good work. Expect to see these in coming months or years. These LED bulb designs are part of the Philips Sense & Simplicty design project, which the company has been working on for …

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New Bamboo Fiber Goods

by Justin Thomas •

We’ve detailed the benefits of bamboo fiber previously, noting the excellent softness and anti-bacterial qualities of this fiber. For those who wanted to try out bamboo fiber, you can do so inexpensively, since bamboo washcloths are being sold for $2 each on eBay in white and pink. Also, Bamboosa, a major bamboo clothing manufacturer in the U.S., has released bamboo …

New Hydrodynamic Surfboard Fin

by Justin Thomas •

The H-2 is an advanced surfboard fin, that is designed for hydrodynamic efficiency, and better speed and manoeuvrability of surfboards. It features a specially-designed fin geometry and is constructed with an ultralight, flexible material. It was designed by Surf Hardware, and was awarded the 2005 Australian Design Award. Yanko Design has more information. They also have many other intriguing products …

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New Wind-Up LED Flashlight: The Illuminator

by Justin Thomas •

I have a “forever flashlight” — the kind that you shake for 20 seconds and get 5-10 minutes of light. This flashlight seems to be an improvement on that idea. It uses three ultra-bright LEDs. One minute of wind-up provides up to one hour of light. It’s available from Amazon.

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New Adidas Hemp: Dakota Lo

by Justin Thomas •

Perhaps due to the resurgence of interest in their hemp shoes, Adidas has introduced a new shoe called the “Dakota Lo Hemp”. This cranberry number is a reintroduction of the original Adidas basketball shoe from in the late 70s. It’s reasonably metaefficient in its construction — with hemp uppers and laces. We believe the sole is made of natural rubber …