Researchers at Sandia National Laboratories are working to eliminate energy guzzling incandescent and fluorescent lights and replace them with semiconductor LEDs. Lighting is responsible for approximately 20% of electricity consumption and use of LEDs mean big energy savings. "LEDs could be 10 times more efficient than incandescent bulbs and two times more efficient than florescent," says Jerry Simmons, a department manager at Sandia National Laboratories. Although LEDs were first demonstrated in 1962, new LED colors are available that, when combined, form white light. The researchers believe that the development and adoption of solid-state lighting could end up cutting the nation's electrical consumption by 10% if LEDs could be made more efficiently and less costly. "LEDs will need to decrease their cost as well as improve their energy-conversion efficiency and the quality of their white light", says James M. Gee, senior scientist, Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy Technologies at Sandia National Laboratories. "Many observers in the community believe that this can be achieved in 10 years with a concerted, coordinated national effort, which is proposed in the Next-Generation Lighting Initiative that is part of energy policy bills in Congress today." The Sandia researchers are studying the physics of the gallium nitride-based materials from which LEDs are made, to boot photon generation and high light extraction. For more information, go to www.sandia.gov.
The Beam Store from Suitable Technologies is managed by remote workers from places as diverse as New York and Sydney, Australia. Employees attend to store visitors through Beam Smart Presence Systems (SPSs) from the company. The systems combine mobility and video conferencing and allow people to communicate directly from a remote location via a screen as well as move around as if they are actually in the room.
An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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