Entitled “Harvesting the Waves”, von Jouanne’s piece makes a key point that is obvious, and yet had never occurred to me: “waves may be seasonal, but [they] are more constant – and more predictable – than wind or sunlight.” Despite this advantage, the article pegs wave energy at a technical maturity roughly 15 to 20 years behind wind power. I will wager that wave consistency fosters rapid maturity. Further catalysis will occur against the backdrop of expensive fossil fuel whereas wind’s coming of age toddled along through an era of cheap energy.
It is not just the predicable nature of waves that makes this renewable low-hanging fruit. The world’s wave energy resources coincide with many major coastal populations, meaning electrons can be generated where they are needed. Plus, estimates from the World Energy Council suggest that wave energy could eventually supply 10% of the planet’s electricity needs; that’s 1 to 2 TeraWatts to you and me.
Despite the promise of wave energy, Oregon State University’s O.H. Hinsdale Wave Research Laboratory and Motor Systems Resource Facility seem to house the only serious federally-funded US-based research program in ocean wave energy extraction. To deepen the pit of despair, a Google search for “wave energy” reveals a host of hits for non-US companies: Wavegen (UK), Wave Dragon (Denmark), and Energetech (Australia). Stop surfing the waves America and start extracting energy from them!
Truchard will be presented the award at the 2014 Golden Mousetrap Awards ceremony during the co-located events Pacific Design & Manufacturing, MD&M West, WestPack, PLASTEC West, Electronics West, ATX West, and AeroCon.
Robots that walk have come a long way from simple barebones walking machines or pairs of legs without an upper body and head. Much of the research these days focuses on making more humanoid robots. But they are not all created equal.
The IEEE Computer Society has named the top 10 trends for 2014. You can expect the convergence of cloud computing and mobile devices, advances in health care data and devices, as well as privacy issues in social media to make the headlines. And 3D printing came out of nowhere to make a big splash.
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.