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The Solar Pocket Factory: an Invention Adventure

We are two inventors working to revolutionize the world of small-scale solar panels. Follow our story and make awesome solar things!

 

What if you could have electricity anywhere there was sunlight? What if the charge on your phone could last for weeks, the poorest, most remote homes in the world could have electric home lighting, and adding a USB charge outlet was as simple as slapping a sticker onto a sunlit wall? All of these are becoming possible thanks to microsolar: small solar panels that are small and cheap enough to go anywhere...

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Cool Future Technologies
New cool ways to do things, clever uses of new - and sometimes old - technology
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3D-printed Car by Local Motors - The Strati - YouTube

The Strati is the world’s first 3D-printed car. See for yourself: http://localmotors.com/3dprintedcar


This 3D-printed electric car will be manufactured with Oak Ridge National Laboratory (ORNL) and delivered at the International Manufacturing Technology Show (IMTS) in September of 2014.

The Strati will be 3D-printed in just 44 hours, in one piece, using direct digital manufacturing. The design for the 3D-printed car was first submitted during the Local Motors 3D-printed Car Design Challenge when over 200 entries were accepted from a massive online community of designers and engineers. The winning design will heavily influence the look and feel of the Strati 3D-printed car.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

That sounds like fun!

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Beautiful Woven Refugee Tents Get Their Power from the Sun

Beautiful Woven Refugee Tents Get Their Power from the Sun | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Designer Abeer Seikaly has developed a practical yet elegant solution to the need for lightweight, mobile, and structurally sound shelters for disaster zones.


The Canadian-Jordanian's Weaving a Home project not only provides flexible, transportable shelter, but also incorporates water collection, solar power generation and solar water heating into the design.


Each tent has its own water collection system, utilizing the natural channels formed by the skin to direct water to the storage point. By using a fabric with strong thermal properties, the tents can alsoconvert solar radiation into power and heat collected water for showering.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Something simple and clever for a change...

We certainly have enough refugees that need some kind of dependable shelter. 

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British inventor develops Hoverbike, a motorcycle that takes to the skies

British inventor develops Hoverbike, a motorcycle that takes to the skies | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Mr Malloy, the inventor who works a day job at an optical engineering firm in Sydney, has spent the last two years working in his garage on a bike that can take to the air.


With a maximum takeoff weight of 270kg, the Hoverbike is projected to reach an airspeed of 150 knots (278 km/h) and travel 148km on a primary tank of fuel at 80knts cruise (290km with secondary tanks installed), according to his website.


The original intention was to get the Hoverbike free flying and "show that to the world and get potential investors to invest to take it towards the production stage, which is harder than the flying stage". But this proved financially impossible. 


So for now, a 1/3rd size prototype is being developed that can be used as a drone. There is a Kickstarter campaign that will run until the end of August and has already reached its funding goal.


https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1524806320/hoverbike

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

"We combined the simplicity of a motorbike and the freedom of a helicopter to create the world’s first flying motorcycle."  


The Hoverbike concept is intriguing and seems sound. Two motors and counter-rotating propellers for lift. Very stable in the air. The inventor is producing a 1/3rd size model/drone first and then will develop the full size version...

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A new way to make laser-like beams using 250x less power

A new way to make laser-like beams using 250x less power | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

With precarious particles called polaritons that straddle the worlds of light and matter, University of Michigan researchers have demonstrated a new, practical and potentially more efficient by far.


For the same light that a normal laser produces, this new breakthrough only takes 1/250th of the same energy. But, it is actually even more impressive than that!


Here is a quote from the original article: “The beam they demonstrated incidentally was ultraviolet and required relatively next to nothing in terms of power – less than a millionth of a watt. A laser pen usually requires less than 1 mWatt, or one thousandth of a watt. ”

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Progress in laser technology ... an electricity driven quasi-laser that has promise for electronic applications. 

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NASA Scientists Claim "Impossible" Space Travel Engine Could Actually Work | IFLScience

NASA Scientists Claim "Impossible" Space Travel Engine Could Actually Work | IFLScience | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

While some may say that nothing is impossible, that is a word that has been frequently used by experts to describe SPR Ltd’s EmDrive. To some, EmDrive is crazy, junk science that will never amount to anything; however, its inventor Roger Shawyer has stuck by it resolutely and insists that this novel spacecraft propulsion system works.


EmDrive is a highly efficient propellant-less propulsion system that converts microwave energy into thrust inside a sealed chamber. Such a system would be a complete game changer in spaceflight; it could dramatically cut the cost of satellites and space stations, extend the lives of spacecrafts and drive deep-space missions.

more at http://www.iflscience.com/technology/nasa-scientists-claim-impossible-space-travel-engine-could-actually-work#fIR0rScvf8dyGY8Z.99

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Time to take space tech beyond rockets?

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Sepp Hasslberger's curator insight, August 3, 7:13 AM

Time to take space tech beyond rockets?

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Silk leaf maker says material could aid space journeys (w/ Video)

Silk leaf maker says material could aid space journeys (w/ Video) | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

A graduate of the Royal College of Art has developed a synthetic biological leaf. Potential applications range from the material being used on buildings' facades, or even for support on space journeys for oxygen.


Silk Leaf, he said, a man-made, biological leaf. He said it involves a material extracted directly from the fibers of silk. Melchiorri said the synthetic biological leaf he developed, which absorbs water and carbon dioxide to produce oxygen, is like a real leaf...

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-07-silk-leaf-maker-material-aid.html#jCp

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A leaf that breathes ... coming out of an art project

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How goTenna will enable smart-phone off-line direct messaging by radio transmission

How goTenna will enable smart-phone off-line direct messaging by radio transmission | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

goTenna enables you to communicate without any need for central connectivity whatsoever—no cell towers, no wifi, no satellites—so when you're off-grid you can remain connected. In fact, goTenna will even work if your smartphone is in “Airplane Mode”! How does this magic work?


Pair your smartphone to your goTenna device wirelessly, using Bluetooth-LE. Your goTenna needs to be within 20 feet of your phone, so that the two can communicate with each other.


Use free app to type out a text message or share a location. Your smartphone will send the message to your goTenna, which will then shoot it out, via long-range radio waves (151-154 MHz), to the intended goTenna(s).


At the other end, the exact same thing happens, in reverse: the recipient goTenna sends your message over Bluetooth-LE to the smartphone app it's paired with. All of this happens in a matter of milliseconds.

Your goTenna will be able to transmit to any goTenna within range...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

For those who venture into areas that have scarce cell pone coverage ... goTenna will enable direct p2p messaging beyond the reach of a cell tower (and when communications are down for any reason).


Expected to be available later this year. Can be pre-ordered at half price.

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Ann Windham's curator insight, August 22, 11:59 AM

 @gotenna Love this!  We want you at TSTechSummit.com events to provide Fortune 500 clients with solutions at their events and trade shows!  Read about it here..

Ann Windham's curator insight, September 28, 7:49 AM
How goTenna will enable smart-phone off-line direct messaging by radio transmission
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Electrifying: Giant futuristic 'Tesla Tower' in abandoned woods near Moscow (PHOTOS, VIDEO)

Electrifying: Giant futuristic 'Tesla Tower' in abandoned woods near Moscow (PHOTOS, VIDEO) | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it
No, it’s not an alien colony, a time machine, or even a Russian version of America’s ionospheric HAARP program. But in a forest near Moscow, this Soviet-era “lightning machine” has a capacity arguably equal to Russia’s entire electricity output.
Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Not really future technology - this one was built in the 1970s in Russia...

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No crankshaft, no problem: Toyota's free piston engine is brilliant

No crankshaft, no problem: Toyota's free piston engine is brilliant | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Electrically driven cars are the future. But until we have cheap, 1000-mile batteries, we still need range-extending fossil-fuel engines.


Those devices don't need to turn wheels, just generate juice. The simple solution is to strap a generator to a piston engine, as BMW did with the two-cylinder range extender in its i3 EV.


But if the engine never turns a wheel, there's no need for it to rotate anything. Why not cut out the middleman and use the piston's reciprocating motion to generate electricity? That obviates camshafts and most other rotating parts, too.


Toyota recently showed a prototype engine that does just that.It's called the Free Piston Engine Linear Generator (FPEG). "Free" refers to the fact that the piston isn't attached to a crankshaft; instead, as the piston is forced downward during its power stroke, it passes through windings in the cylinder to generate a burst of three-phase AC electricity.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Neat design for an engine that is also a generator of electricity. The idea has been around for some decades, but now Toyota has engineered one...

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Anantharaman Seetharaman's curator insight, July 4, 2:05 AM

This development should keep both the schools (ICE & Electric) at peace for sometime - logical yet innovative development

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Here Comes the Sun (50min) - YouTube - How Germany became a solar country

The sun could easily provide the planet with sufficient energy, if only we were willing to change and to invest in harvesting that solar energy...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

An interesting video documentary of the rise of solar power in Germany. Worth watching.

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The dune buggy that can fly - YouTube

SkyRunner is a dune buggy and a power parachute in one. After almost three years in development, it is on track to hit the market later this year.
Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A simple idea for how to fly without needing a runway or having to go from airport to airport...

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OutRunner - The World's Fastest Robot

OutRunner - The World's Fastest Robot | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Florida-based company Robotics Unlimited has made a new robot called OutRunner. The company claims it is the world's fastest robot.


These robots are biologically-inspired; they emulate the behavior of legged animals by reproducing their step pattern and having a similar mass/length distribution. By having a center of mass lower than the leg axis of rotation, OutRunner robots exploit a buoyancy effect, making them inherently stable and eliminating the need for expensive sensors and complex control algorithms.


Energy efficiency is achieved by exploiting the same feature observed in legged animals; using legs as an energy storage system allows for fluctuation and conservation (and not losses) of potential and kinetic energy during running.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

An interesting advance in robotics - a robot that can actually run - not out of a large university but the result of some genius thinking by a few young guys...

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Focus Fusion: Clean energy for all - an indiegogo funding campaign to empower the world with clean fusion energy

Focus Fusion: Clean energy for all - an indiegogo funding campaign to empower the world with clean fusion energy | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Focus Fusion will be the first pollution-free source of energy that is clean, safe and affordable. Help us change the world for future generations.


We need to raise $200,000 to fund the purchase of new electrodes for the final phase of research, to prove that Focus Fusion works.  And with your help, we can make this incredible breakthrough a reality!

... we’re using the natural instabilities of plasmas to concentrate the energy. We’re using the same processes, like the pinch effect, that occur in solar flares and other astronomical phenomena, but scaling them down to laboratory size.


The government-sponsored programs have been fighting these instabilities. So they have taken a far more difficult route. Ours is much easier since we are using natural processes, not fighting them...




Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Although there is no guarantee yet that this will develop into a commercially available technology, there is great potential in the process.


If the demonstration of excess power from fusion comes out positive, it could radically change the energy landscape.


They've raised $73,000 of their $200,000 goal to conduct the final experiment of three to provide cheap, clean and decentralized fusion energy to everyone - Donate if you can...

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Scottish Researchers claim hydrogen energy advance

Scottish Researchers claim hydrogen energy advance | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Researchers at Glasgow University have claimed a breakthrough in producing hydrogen fuel from water. 


They said their process is fast, clean and cheap. It can store energy from the sun and wind.


Writing in the journal Science, the Glasgow researchers said their process is thirty times faster than the current method.


Without using any more energy, it is claimed to store the hydrogen in a carbon-free liquid.


Prof Lee Cronin, of the university's School of Chemistry. said: "The process uses a liquid that allows the hydrogen to be locked up in a liquid-based inorganic fuel.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

This looks like an important advance ... with it, hydrogen becomes a useable way to store excess electricity production for later use.  

Of course in the end all depends on engineering and on actually getting the technology in use. That is where we seem to be a bit weak.  

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Salt Water Powered Car Gets European Approval

Salt Water Powered Car Gets European Approval | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

With salt water as its fuel, which it converts to electricity, it has a top speed of over 200 mph and has now been approved for public road use in Europe.


A car which uses an electrolyte flow cell power system is now certified for use on European roads. The car is called the Quant e-Sportlimousine, which made its debut at the 2014 Geneva Motor Show.


Not only can this car run on salt water, but it is claimed that the car has peak power of 920 horsepower (680 kW), 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 2.8 seconds and a top speed of 217.5 mph (350 km/h).


“The power density of the nanoFLOWCELL® at 600 W per kilogram or per litre is greater than any comparable system; five times greater, to be specific. That means you can drive five times further with our system than you can with a conventional battery system, including the most state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries. The system is also extremely safe to operate and environmentally friendly. Most importantly, since there are almost no moving parts and it produces negligible waste heat, it has an efficiency of more than 80%. There has never been anything like it.”

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Here is a more technical description of how the flow cell works...

http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/03/20140305-quant.html ;

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Arun Shrivastava's curator insight, August 30, 4:15 AM

Yet another masterpiece of engineering innovation. 0-100 KMPH in 2.8 seconds and top speed of 360 KMPH is brute of a machine. Fuel is salt water. Com Rothsey baby, kill this brute too before your oil business collapses.

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Scientists develop a water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery

Scientists develop a water splitter that runs on an ordinary AAA battery | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Scientists at Stanford University have developed a low-cost, emissions-free device that uses an ordinary AAA battery to produce hydrogen by water electrolysis.


The battery sends an electric current through two electrodes that split liquid water into hydrogen and oxygen gas. Unlike other water splitters that use precious-metal catalysts, the electrodes in the Stanford device are made of inexpensive and abundant nickel and iron.


"Using nickel and iron, which are cheap materials, we were able to make the electrocatalysts active enough to split water at room temperature with a single 1.5-volt battery," said Hongjie Dai, a professor of chemistry at Stanford.


"This is the first time anyone has used non-precious metal catalysts to split water at a voltage that low. It's quite remarkable, because normally you need expensive metals, like platinum or iridium, to achieve that voltage."


more at: http://phys.org/news/2014-08-scientists-splitter-ordinary-aaa-battery.html#jCp

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Electrolysis of water seems very much like low energy nuclear reactions, also called cold fusion. You have to get the materials and the conditions just right to increase efficiency to where energy output starts to match and perhaps even exceed energy input.

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IBM Solar Collector Magnifies Sun By 2000X – These Could Provide Power To The Entire Planet | The Unbounded Spirit

IBM Solar Collector Magnifies Sun By 2000X – These Could Provide Power To The Entire Planet | The Unbounded Spirit | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

A team at IBM recently developed what they call a High Concentration Photo Voltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system that is capable of concentrating the power of 2,000 suns, they are even claiming to be able to concentrate energy safely up to 5,000X, that’s huge.


The process of  trapping the sunlight produces water that can be used to produce filtered drinkable water, or used for other things like air conditioning etc. Scientists envision that the HCPVT system could provide sustainable energy and fresh water to communities all around the world.


“Each 1cmX1cm chip can convert 200-250 watts, on average, over a typical eight-hour day in a sunny region.


In the HCPVT system, instead of heating a building, the 90 degree Celsius water will pass through a porous membrane distillation system where it is then vaporized and desalinated.


Such a system could provide 30-40 liters of drinkable water per square meter of receiver area per day, while still generating electricity with a more than 25 percent yield or two kilowatts hours per day.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Some good research on solar technology...

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MJUNCKE's curator insight, August 6, 2:16 AM

Sounds good!

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Thorium Plasma Battery Technology - Wrongly Declared Top Secret?

Thorium Plasma Battery Technology -  Wrongly Declared Top Secret? | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Why disruptive new Thorium Plasma Battery Technology is deliberately being hidden from the public by Uncle Sam... 

Prepare to be a little curious and then very angry.


Since 2006, five different inventors have designed, three have created, and two have demonstrated self-contained safe and green nuclear "plasma" batteries that can put out reliable and stable power for 5-10 years - without a single recharge.


Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

This is just one of the technologies that exist and could be rolled out, but aren't. Powerful interests conspire... and we keep burning oil and gas.

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MIT creates graphite ‘solar sponge’ that converts sunlight into steam with 85% efficiency

MIT creates graphite ‘solar sponge’ that converts sunlight into steam with 85% efficiency | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it
MIT is reporting that it has created a new, cheap material -- using a microwave, no less -- that converts sunlight into steam with an amazing 85% efficiency. This could have major repercussions in the realms of desalination and sterilization, and perhaps for concentrated solar thermal power generation as well.
Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

This is basic research - not ready to use quite yet, but a neat idea anyway and it could well turn out useful.

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Sand-based anode triples lithium-ion battery performance

Sand-based anode triples lithium-ion battery performance | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Researchers at the University of California, Riverside have developed an anode using pure nano-silicon made from sand that improves the performance of lithium-ion batteries.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

That could be an important jump in battery performance in a few years...

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The Microwave Factor: Russian firm’s Li-Fi internet solution winning foreign clients

The Microwave Factor: Russian firm’s Li-Fi internet solution winning foreign clients | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

A Russian company is selling its Li-Fi based wireless LAN solution (a visible light communication technology that uses light from light-emitting diodes to deliver internet) in the U.S., Israel, China, and other countries. 


The core of the network is a router that is capable of transmitting a signal using a light beam at a distance of up to 23-26 feet (7-8 meters). The signal can be transmitted to eight devices at once in other parts of an office, and access speed is four times faster than standard Wi-Fi. 

Li-Fi is unique in that it creates a digital binary code with a light beam, while Wi-Fi transmits data using radio waves.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

A solution to the overload of microwave radiation from cell phones and WIFI?

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Slingshot water purifier: It can save millions

Slingshot water purifier: It can save millions | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Dean Kamen's slingshot water purifier:


Inside the big red box sits a smaller one, about the size of a dorm fridge, called a Slingshot.


It was developed by Kamen, the mastermind behind dozens of medical-equipment inventions and, most famously, the Segway personal transportation device.


Kamen is the closest thing to a modern-day Thomas Edison. He holds hundreds of patents, and his creations have improved countless lives. His current projects include a robotic prosthetic arm for DARPA and a Stirling engine that generates affordable electricity by using “anything that burns” for fuel.


The Slingshot, more than 10 years in the making, could have a bigger impact than all of his other inventions combined.


Using a process called vapor compression distillation, a single Slingshot can purify more than 250,000 liters of water per year, enough to satisfy the needs of about 300 people. And it can do so with any water source—sewage, seawater, chemical waste—no matter how dirty.

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Interesting project - a super efficient, small water purifier that can be used anywhere...

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Arun Shrivastava's curator insight, July 8, 9:55 AM

Could be a solution for India. However, one rider: since Coke has tied up with Kamen, I doubt it will be cheap. I have zero trust in Coke and Pepsi.

Yet, the design is superb and I am sure of the price is right, every village would like to have one.

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Cost-effective EV battery passes German tests, recharges in minutes

Cost-effective EV battery passes German tests, recharges in minutes | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

A German company has the attention of the electric vehicle industry and those watching it, having recently documented remarkable claims for its KOLIBRI lithium-metal-polymer battery.


DBM Energy told GM-Volt.com that its design could wind up costing less than the types of batteries used in the Chevrolet Volt, the Nissan LEAF, and other EVs while radically exceeding all meaningful performance criteria.


We’re talking potential for reasonably priced electric cars that could travel 300-400 miles on a charge, and be replenished in minutes...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

New lithium-metal-polymer battery developed and tested in Germany. 

As the article says, a battery like this "would mean the future is practically now – not years from now – with safe and durable batteries threatening to relegate petrol cars to merely optional status."

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Screwy-looking wind turbine makes little noise and a big claim

Screwy-looking wind turbine makes little noise and a big claim | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it

Although it's getting increasingly common to see solar panels on the roofs of homes, household wind turbines are still a fairly rare sight.


If Rotterdam-based tech firm The Archimedes has its way, however, that will soon change. Today the company officially introduced its Liam F1 Urban Wind Turbine, which is said to have an energy yield that is "80 percent of the maximum that is theoretically feasible." That's quite the assertion, given that most conventional wind turbines average around 25 to 50 percent.


That form factor reportedly results in minimal mechanical resistance, allowing it to spin very freely and to operate quietly...

Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Some better small wind turbine designs are actually becoming available. This turbine made-in-Holland has been tested and is being produced, to be offered for sale from July 2014...

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Arun Shrivastava's curator insight, June 2, 11:04 AM

Seems attractive to me. Perhaps a bit fragile for Delhi's unpredictable squalls and storms.

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Wow, This Video PROVES That Solar Roadways Are The Future! My Mind Is Blown! (Video 7 min)

Wow, This Video PROVES That Solar Roadways Are The Future! My Mind Is Blown! (Video 7 min) | Cool Future Technologies | Scoop.it
Woah, didn't know all these facts about solar roadways! Crazy cool!
Sepp Hasslberger's insight:

Solar roadways - way to go...funding campaign athttps://www.indiegogo.com/projects/solar-roadways#home


More in-depth information (question and answer) here:

http://solarroadways.com/faq.shtml#faqBase 

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Eric Chan Wei Chiang's comment, May 28, 4:36 AM
More about the technology here: http://sco.lt/6e11P7