For those who love model trains,
here's a peek at the future - a solar-augmented monorail. Joe Kopacz and his
brother Justin created the monorail from scratch. Joe, a mechanical engineer at
Colorado State University, created the gadget for a school contest. The
monorail includes break regeneration and has solar panels to augment the battery.
The monorail is run off of an arduino uno, which controls the recharging and
other special features - including lights that come on when the monorail enters
I guess the future is now. This is certainly a long way from the trains I had as a kid. Even later on when a buddy of mine got into model trains for a while they were not like this. I have heard a lot about the arduino technology but have not tried my hand at it yet. The solar aspect of this is interesting as well since I am seriously considering some home improvements that would include some solar PV installations. Here in Florida any power sold back to the utility is at the same rate we get charged for it so it is a pretty attractive proposition once all the state and Federal incentives are added in.
I am just not so sure how a real solar train would work out.... :-)
A simple new chemical method for repairing and recycling notoriously difficult carbon fiber composites has been developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research. An entire component can be completely recycled, including reclaiming its expensive carbon fibers for reuse.
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