Sunday Solar News

I was digging around in the hundreds of tabs I have open in Google Chrome (yes, hundreds), and I have so many tabs open right now on solar news and products that I figured a list would suffice.  After all, those hundreds of open tabs aren’t doing $#!& sitting on my machine, right?

America, there is so much news on solar tech right now.  I urge you to seek it out.

A DIY Solar-Powered Walkway Weekend Project

MIT and the Indian Government in Talks for A High-Power Solar Battery System

Stored Solar Energy and Georgia’s Suniva, Inc – Grid-Stored Solar Energy

VASIMR Plasma Rocket for A Lunar Tug

A Solar-Powered Herb Dryer

Huge Parking Lot Solar Array Powers NJ Grid with 1 Million+ Annual kWh

A Solar-Powered DIY Bottle Boat

21st Century Solar Tech Meets 15th Century Architecture

Ventamatic Ltd CX2121 Power Automatic Gable Vent Shutter

High School Students to Make an Old Tractor Run Clean on Solar Power

A Solar-Powered Eco Freezer

Solar and Wind Power Feel the Hear from Low Natural Gas Prices

First Solar Begins Operation of the Largest Thin-Film PV Plant in California

The Large Magellanic Cloud

Hey, wanna see something ridiculously beautiful?

This image is of a really young star cluster called R136 – scientists think that it’s only a couple of million years old (you know, only), and lives inside the 30 Doradus Nebula.  You know, the 30 Doradus Nebula.  Yeah, I really have no idea where that is either – but it’s a very violent, turbulent region inside of the Large Magellanic Cloud.  See the blue dots?  Those are some of the largest stars known – some over hundreds of times larger than our Sun.

The Hubble Telescope’s Widefield Camera 3 took the above image in red, UV, and visible light.  This blew my mind – that image is about 100 light years wide.  The green hue in the photo is the glow of oxygen; red from fluorescing hydrogen; the blue hues are the hottest and largest stars.  It just blows my mind – the swirling cream-colored masses, it’s like space mist, so intangible to my imagination.

From the NASA site on this image:

The brilliant stars are carving deep cavities in the surrounding material by unleashing a torrent of ultraviolet light, and hurricane-force stellar winds (streams of charged particles), which are etching away the enveloping hydrogen gas cloud in which the stars were born. The image reveals a fantasy landscape of pillars, ridges, and valleys, as well as a dark region in the center that roughly looks like the outline of a holiday tree. Besides sculpting the gaseous terrain, the brilliant stars can also help create a successive generation of offspring. When the winds hit dense walls of gas, they create shocks, which may be generating a new wave of star birth.

The movement of the LMC around the Milky Way may have triggered the massive cluster’s formation in several ways. The gravitational tug of the Milky Way and the companion Small Magellanic Cloud may have compressed gas in the LMC. Also, the pressure resulting from the LMC plowing through the Milky Way’s halo may have compressed gas in the satellite. The cluster is a rare, nearby example of the many super star clusters that formed in the distant, early universe, when star birth and galaxy interactions were more frequent. Previous Hubble observations have shown astronomers that super star clusters in faraway galaxies are ubiquitous.

Beautiful.  Ridiculously beautiful.

Studiomama’s 1X1 Series Lamps

Nina Tolstrup had a pretty interesting idea, you have to give it to her for reuse and originality – she took some old reclaimed wooden pallets, tore them apart, milled a spot inside of the 1″ wood components, and made luminaires.

Simple, in every respect of the word!

Nina’s 1X1 series comes in the three standard forms (well, three of the four):  table lamp, hanging lamp, floor lamp.  Check out some images below, and make sure to check out Studiomama, Nina’s studio website.

1X1 Floor Lamp:

1X1 Table Lamp:

1X1 Hanging Lamp:

Philips LivingColors, V2.0 – LED Love for the Home

I wrote about the Philips LivingColors fixture in its initial form quite a while ago – and I had the pleasure of meeting the designer of the LivingColors fixture when I was in Sweden, Willem van der Sluis.  Willem is one cool dude.  We got to hear a lot about the original story of the initial ideas surrounding the LivingColor lamp – did you know that when Philips first proposed this idea, they wanted to use three incandescent (halogen) lamps inside this thing?!  That goodness that they decided to repel that decision – otherwise it might have been the Philips LivingCrapIBurnedDownMyHouse.

There is now a new release of the LivingColor wash – Philips claims that it is 50% brighter than the original, which, if you bought version 1, sucks for you.  Right now the fixture retails for between $230 and $350, and includes seven LEDs, a choice between a wall lamp and floor lamp, and comes with a multi-parameter color and intensity control.

I still think it’s cool, and I still want one.  Amazon has the Philips LivingColors full size for $190 and a mini version with the remote built-in to the case (which comes in glossy black and glossy white) for $107.  My birthday just passed, anyone need a belated gift idea?  :)

Here’s a picture of the mini version, in glossy black:

Thanks, Geek and Hype!

Soap – A Portable Light

That’s right – a bar of light, er, soap, wait, no, it’s a light.  It’s a light that looks like a bar of soap.  A Soap Light.  Jiyeon Ahn and Jieun Kim of the multidisciplinary design firm Luca 12:00 have created this handheld light, which, as you can imagine, fades up and out as you rub it in your hands.  Yeah, that’s right – and it sits in a soap dish looking holder, too.

Crazy.

Thanks, Yanko!

Martin Neuhaus’ Becherlicht – A Cup, Uh, Lamp?

This is an interesting project.  I am still not totally sure if I like it, but you can make your own decisions.

So, Martin Neuhaus’ lamp, Becherlicht, is a projection-type luminaire.  A source of light shines onto and through a transparent “cup” (I say that in quotes, but I think it’s really a cup” that projects onto a wall.  To me, the cup creates what looks like a shade shape onto the wall surface, which seems to be the point made by the designer, who wanted the “aha!” factor with the shade.  It attaches to the wall, as in the image below – but when it’s off, what exactly is it?

I like the idea of a projected “thing,” whether it be color, shape, whatever – but what I would hope is that I can put whatever the hell I want into that holder.  I want to stick a template in there, a colored glass, a plate, whatever I feel like.  It does come in a few colors.  I still want to put other stuff in that slot to create my own lamp.

Eh, to each his or her own.  I think it’s novel.  Make sure to check out Martin Neuhaus’ website.

Thanks, DesignBoom!

Audi’s A1 LED Headlight Designer and His Baby

You know, it’s hard to listen to this guy, André Georgi, and not think “dude, you have a lot of passion for what you’re doing!”  I can personally say that I have never considered that a person had this much passion for designing an automobile’s headlight cluster.  Then I realize that if everything had this kind of passion put into it, things might be a lot better off.

Check out this video – well worth your time:

Olafur Eliasson Request That You Take Your Time

Sometimes things make you say “wow, that is really cool.”  There are other times when something is so amazing that there are no words.

If you have never heard of Olafur Eliasson, I am so glad to say that today I am able to give you a spectacular gift.  Olafur is one of the greatest and most influential thinkers (and artists!) of our time, friends.  On December 10, 2009, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Sydney, Australia opened an installation of Olafur Eliasson pieces in a collection called Take Your Time.  The installation is open until April 11, 2010.

Make sure that you visit Olafur Eliasson’s personal website.  You’re missing out on life if you don’t.

From the MCA Sydney website on the exhibit:

Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson is the first full-scale survey of projects by this contemporary Icelandic artist to have been presented in Australia. The exhibition gathers works from major public and private collections worldwide and spans Eliasson’s diverse range of artistic production from 1993 to the present, including installations, large-scale immersive environments, freestanding sculpture, and photography.

Take Your Time: Olafur Eliasson has been organised by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art (SFMOMA) and curated by Madeleine Grynsztejn, Pritzker Director, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago (and SFMOMA’s former Elise S. Haas Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture) in close collaboration with the artist. The exhibition is accompanied by an extensive catalogue which thoroughly explores Eliasson’s practice and its critical context.

I wish I had the bread to go to Sydney this week.

Check out some images, all courtesy of the MCA Sydney website:

360 Degree Room for All Colors, 2002

Notion Motion, 2005

Beauty, 1993

One-Way Color Tunnel, 2007

Inverted Berlin Sphere, 2005

Sunset Kaleidoscope, 2005

Jakub’s Almost Light Theremin (If Theremin Could Do Video)

A guy named Jakub Koźniewski created something quite awesome – using photocells, Arduino, a real-time audio synthesizer called Supercollider, and the Processing environment, Jakub created a pretty excellent audio and video controller.

I wrote about the Processing environment a while ago, in relation to a project called MSAFluid.  It’s worth checking out the Processing and Supercontroller websites if you’re a geek like me.

This thing is awesome, Jakub.  Great work.  Check out Jakub’s Vimeo channel – cool stuff.

Here’s the original video of Jakub’s work, this set not quite as detailed as the one above:

Thanks a lot, Make Mag.  This is why I love your blog so much.  Original post on the Arduino Forums.

Solar iPods? QUE?!

There is news out right now that Apple has filed for a patent on adding photovoltaic cells to their iPods.  That’s right.

I almost put this in the What? category, but I am staying strong that maybe it’s a possibility.  Can you imagine?  I mean, I have replaced the battery in every iPod that I have ever owned.  It’s not hard to do, and it’s certainly cheaper than buying a whole new iPod – who does that anyway?  Doesn’t the Apple Store gouge you for changing the battery, or do they just replace it?  That hardly seems resource efficient.

I wonder how long it’s gonna take to charge this little puppy – I can see myself forgetting my charger right before I have to do some programming or something where I need to really focus “because I figured I would just charge it in the sun.”

Interesting.  I say GO APPLE! on this one.

Check out the schematics, from CleanTechnica:

The skinny on the street is that this patent will cover basically all of their mobile devices, from Shuffles to iPhones.  Crazy.