Tag archive for gadgets

The Wii’s Shows Potential for U.S. Military Applications

wiiClearly my videogame nerd tendencies brought this article to my attention. The Wii, the console system designed to provide fun games and activities for the entire family, is being studied closely by military engineers and scientists at the Idaho National Laboratory for potential uses in the military. Its easy to use wireless controller is what is currently being studied in relation with bomb robots. As it stands now, the current equipment used to control these robots requires detailed knowledge of over 50 buttons and requires the operator to devote a lot of time to watching a computer screen. This leaves the operator open to attack, making it crucial to have a second officer to guard him. If the Wii-mote could be programmed to control the robot with just a few simple buttons and an infared trigger, the operator would have a better awareness of his surroundings, making him less vulnerable to surprise attacks. Unfortunately, they will have to improve the programming of these robots to prevent them from being hacked, so it will be some time before we see any Wii-bots on the field.

And you thought the Wii was all fun and games?

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A Greener MacBook

enviroappleI don’t know if many of you have seen the new Macbook commercials yet, but Apple has released a new “greener” laptop. The new notebook is free (less than 900ppm Br and Cl, as defined by Apple) of brominated flame retardants (BFRs), which are present in many industrial products.  The toxicity of many of these compounds has not yet been extensively studied and BFRs are currently showing up increasingly in the environment and in humans (Birnbaum, L; Staskal, D. Brominated Flame Retardants: Cause for Concern? Environmental Health Perspectives, Vol 112, 1, January 2004).  In addition, all internal cables in the laptop are free of polyvinyl chloride (PVC), the LED glass display is free of arsenic and mercury and uses 30% less power than traditional laptop displays, the computer is encased in less packaging, and the battery is free of lead, cadmium, and mercury.  (A more detailed analysis can be found here.)

The notebook has been rated at the highest level by the EPEAT, an agency that helps electronics manufacturers environmentally evaluate their products.  Apple seems to explain a lot of the information regarding the new Macbook’s environmental safety well to the average consumer, but I think the sales pitch of environmentalism still comes into play a bit.  Although the notebook can’t be free of all harmful materials whatsoever, it seems like a better (and cooler) option than most of the other notebook computers on the market.

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Are you ready for a backyard reactor?

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It looks like these may be ready in the next 5 years or so. Now if I only had the $100 million to put one in my backyard. I may have to ask for a raise…

Hyperion Power generation is trying to make a factory mass produced uranium hydride molten core reactor which will generate 70 MWt and 27-30MWe. [via nextbigfuture]

The reactor uses a low (10%) enriched Uranium Hydride, is no-maintenance and completely self contained, runs for 8-10 years powering approximately 20,000 homes, produces a football sized mass of waste, and can be fully refurbished and redeployed. What’s not to love? In contrast, using electricity from a traditional coal fired plant, an INDIVIDUAL would account for enough waste, including CO2, to fill Mile-High Stadium! Could this be the future of power generation?

see also

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Zap, Lotus Team Up on Electric Crossover SUV

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This one is for the Tesla fan in the room… You know who you are!

The companies say the all-electric model will challenge the Tesla all-electric sportster in performance, with the equivalent of 644 hp and a top speed of 155 mph — and a range of 350 miles on a charge.

[via jalopnik]

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