What types of products will regulators at the Department of Energy (DOE) be looking at most closely in the next two years? DOE has decided to give high priority to distribution transformers, clothes washers, fluorescent lamp ballasts, water heaters, kitchen ranges, ovens, and microwaves. The agency has assigned medium priority to central air conditioning and heat pumps. Given low priority are small electric motors, high-intensity discharge lamps, clothes dryers, dishwashers, furnaces and boilers, pool heaters, direct heating equipment, 1- to 200-hp motors, and fluorescent and incandescent lamps. Following stormy "pre-negotiating" with industry and environmental concerns, DOE recently established a new standard for refrigerators. It requires that these appliances use 30% less electricity by July 1, 2001. Meanwhile, DOE is developing software that allows users to test the sensitivity of proposed appliance standards bas-ed on a variety of inputs. Users can plug in projections for such variables as future energy prices, discount rates, and efficiency levels.
Audi is testing a new technology that eases many assembly activities at its Neckarsulm plant: the so-called "chairless chair." The device's carbon-fiber construction allows employees to sit without a chair. At the same time, it improves their posture and reduces the strain on their legs.
Just when you thought mobile technology couldn’t get any more personal, Procter & Gamble have come up with a way to put your mobile where your mouth is, in the form of a Bluetooth 4.0 connected toothbrush.
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