Students racing over curving roads in a video-game simulation hope to help scientists at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute's Lighting Research Center (LRC) answer a serious question: Do current lighting standards mislead us about the efficiency of roadway, parking lot, and security lighting? Lighting efficiency is widely calculated as lumens per watt of energy, explains Mark Rea, LRC director. The lumen, a measurement defined in the 1920s, is based on the response in bright light of the fovea, the part of the retina that contains cone photoreceptors. It's responsible for central, high-acuity vision. However, parts of the retina containing rod-shaped photoreceptors also are important in low-light conditions and for peripheral vision. As a result, lumens per watt delivers an accurate efficiency measure for tasks done in bright light, but is less accurate for such tasks as night driving, which requires good peripheral vision in low light. In research sponsored jointly by General Electric, OSRAM Sylvania, Philips, and the Department of Energy, the LRC is conducting experiments with the driving simulator to measure the reaction of the participants under varying lighting conditions. The information gained could help industry produce new lighting systems that are more efficient, Rea believes, since they would take into account the complex responses of the human eye. Phone Rea at (518) 276-8701 (E)
If you see a hitchhiker along the road in Canada this summer, it may not be human. That’s because a robot is thumbing its way across our neighbor to the north as part of a collaborative research project by several Canadian universities.
Stanford University researchers have found a way to realize what’s been called the “Holy Grail” of battery-design research -- designing a pure lithium anode for lithium-based batteries. The design has great potential to provide unprecedented efficiency and performance in lithium-based batteries that could substantially drive down the cost of electric vehicles and solve the charging problems associated with smartphones.
Robots in films during the 2000s hit the big time; no longer are they the sidekicks of nerdy character actors. Robots we see on the big screen in recent years include Nicole Kidman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Eddie Murphy. Top star of the era, Will Smith, takes a spin as a robot investigator in I, Robot. Robots (or androids or cyborgs) are fully mainstream in the 2000s.
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