Robonaut 2, the humanoid working robot that's been under development with NASA and General Motors, is finally ready to show its stuff in outer space, GM announced Wednesday.
The Robonaut 2, aka R2, will take up residence at the International Space Station, with a voyage to its new home planned for this September as part of the STS-133 mission on the space shuttle Discovery.
The Canadian Space Agency already has a humanoid robot residing at the International Space Station for spacewalk. Like the R2, it also has two long arms for completing tasks otherwise done by astronauts. Its primary … Read more
IBM and Saudi Arabia's national research group are opening a solar-powered desalination plant in the city of Al-Khafji.
The pilot plant will supply water to about 100,000 people and pump out about 30,000 cubic meters of potable drinking water per day. It will run exclusively on solar-powered electricity, and showcase two technology breakthroughs that were the result of a multi-year collaborative research agreement signed in 2008 by IBM and the Saudi research group known as the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST).
Using hard data from 11 meteorological stations, the group tracked hourly how much wind blew over the last five years across a 2,500-kilometer area of the U.S. East Coast, and where it was consistently the strongest offshore. The scientists then created a theoretical wind grid based on the real-world wind behavior. It showed that had a wind grid existed over the last five years it would have neither reached full power nor reached an all-time low, but provided a steady source of electricity.
Despite seasonal shifts up and down in output from each individual offshore wind farm, the connected system allowed for a manageable stable power source, according to the results of the study.
The group concurred with the assertions that harnessing just two-thirds of the offshore wind power that potentially exists off the U.S. northeast coast could provide household electricity from Massachusetts to North Carolina, as well as electricity for lightweight vehicle fuel and building heat for those areas. But the group also agreed that offshore wind is challenging because of wind's naturally intermittent nature, and the expense of building and managing utility-scale storage for an intermittent energy source.
The group studied transmission versus utility-scale storage, and found that transmission between farms along a common grid was far more economical despite an initial cost layout to connect the Atlantic offshore wind farms with 3-gigawatt HVDC submarine cables .… Read more
The BlueMotion brand label is given to VW cars that add efficiency technology to a model's engine, transmission, braking system, and aerodynamics among other parts. The combination creates the lowest CO2-emitting version of each car. BlueMotion purports to improve a car's existing combustible engine, whether … Read more
Think will begin selling its all-electric City cars in the New York metropolitan area within the coming months, the company said Thursday.
Think's City model is a highway-legal electric vehicle that runs solely on a lithium ion battery system and gives off zero emissions. The car, which has a top speed of 60 mph, can be charged from either a standard U.S. 110-volt household outlet, or a fast-charging 220-volt station that can be installed for home use. The small two-door car, clearly intended for city driving and parking, has a battery system with a range of about 112 … Read more
The market for electric-vehicle energy storage devices is expected to grow from $7.7 billion in 2010 to $14.5 billion in 2015, according to a report from Lux Research. But that's not the most interesting part of the analyst report that was released last month with seemingly little notice from the media.
Specifically, 75 million euros ($100 million) will go toward a research and development center in Norway, where there are plans under way to test GE's new 4-megawatt offshore wind turbines. GE already has … Read more
General Motors on Wednesday unveiled its Electric Networked-Vehicle (EN-V), a two-seater urban transport concept vehicle it's developing in conjunction with the Shanghai Automotive Industry Corp. (SAIC).
The EN-V is not intended for highway driving, but for what GM refers to as "personal urban transport," an idea already taken up by several companies and academic research groups. Many feel there's a need for "last mile" transport or gap transport, a means of transportation that covers the area between where public transport drops off and an exact final destination.
Walking is already the obvious solution in many cases. But in severe weather, when touting packages, or in cities lacking extensive public transport reach, people still tend to take a car over public transport. Providing another option could be the key to getting people to leave those cars outside the city.
The EN-V aims to offer a solution to city traffic congestion, parking, poor air quality, and affordability, according to GM. Using the same platform, the car could come in three distinct looks: the Jiao (Pride), Miao (Magic), and Xiao (Laugh).
CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--The Massachusetts Institute of Technology on Friday officially opened the doors to its MIT Media Lab Complex, the school's most famous interdisciplinary program.
The new building, designed by architect Fumihiko Maki and his Maki and Associates firm, broke ground in 2007. But the Media Lab's quest for expansion has actually been 12 years in the making, according to Adele Naude Santos, dean of the MIT School of Architecture and Planning.