Space-Based Solar Farm

Mon, 05/19/2014 - 11:17am
Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development

This week on WDD's HotSpot:

  • A team at the University of Michigan have developed a smartphone app that monitors subtle qualities of a person’s voice during everyday phone conversations to detect early signs of mood changes in people with bipolar disorder. According to the University, the app still needs much testing before widespread use, but early results from a small group of patients show its potential to monitor moods while protecting privacy. The researchers hope the app will eventually give people with bipolar disorder and their health care teams an early warning of the changing moods that give the condition its name. The technology could also help people with other conditions.
  • If you get confused with what remote goes to what device, you may need to condense down the controls. With the Mighty RC, you can turn your mobile phone, pad, or tablet into mighty tools. The MightyRC is a smart universal remote control solution designed with developers in mind. With a built-in temperature sensor, infrared receiver, and infrared emitter, the MightyRC Open API can create various applications. There are also several ideas that can be implemented with MightyRC Open API; such as customized remote control system; temperature and air conditioner control system; TV guide and recommendation related applications; and any integrations between hardware and smart devices.
  • To help lower blood pressure without causing side effects, researchers from the Laboratory of Biomedical Microtechnology at the Department of Microsystems Engineering (IMTEK) and from the University of Freiburg teamed up to develop a new cuff equipped with electrodes that can be implanted in the so-called vagal nerve on the neck. The device determines which electrode is closest to the nerve fibers that transmit the blood pressure signal and uses electrostimulation to overwrite the information in these fibers with such precision that other bundles of fibers with other functions are not affected. The researchers have named this procedure for individual analysis, selection, and stimulation “BaroLoop. The device has been successfully tested on rats, lowering their mean blood pressure by 30 percent without causing side effects such as a reduced heart rate or a drastic decrease in respiratory rate.
  • Researchers from the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA), have created a technology road map for a space-based solar power system that will include a 1-gigawatt commercial system, man-made island studded with 5 billion tiny rectifying antennas, and a microwave beam. JAXA is currently working on several models for solar-collecting satellites, which would fly in geosynchronous orbit 36,000 kilometers above their receiving stations. With the basic model [top left-hand side], the photovoltaic-topped panel’s efficiency would decrease as the world turned away from the sun. The advanced model [top right-hand side] would feature two mirrors to reflect sunlight onto two photovoltaic panels. This model would be more difficult to build, but it could generate electricity continuously. In either model, the photovoltaic panels would generate DC current, which would be converted to microwaves aboard the satellite. The satellite’s many microwave-transmitting antenna panels would receive a pilot signal from the ground, allowing each transmitting panel to separately aim its piece of the microwave beam at the receiving station far below. Once the microwave beam hits the receiving station, rectifying antennas would change the microwaves back to DC current. An on-site converter would change that current to AC power, which could be fed into the grid.

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