Two major trends could open the door to robotic care givers that help senior citizens stay in their homes longer. First, robots are getting more people friendly. And second: people are getting more robot friendly.
My previous post “6 Tips for Using Google Wave on your First Project” was really about the initial experience a client and I had with Google Wave (s goog), and some the early lessons we learned. While I would rank both of us as web-savvy early adopters, suffice it to say my wish list for Google Wave features has been growing fairly rapidly. Read More about My Google Wave Wish List: The Document Collaboration Edition
Energy harvesting has been getting interest from a number of different sectors for tiny, energy-saving applications, and now it’s making its way down to the nanoscale. Researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have attached a tiny muscle-movement-driven generator to a hamster and let him loose in his little hamster wheel, running and scratching, to show that energy can be harvested from irregular body movements (hat tip to MIT’s Technology Review).
The system uses a piezoelectric-based nanogenerator where the stretching of a nanowire creates electricity. Zhong Wang, a materials science and engineering professor who led the research, told the Technology Review that this is the first time a generator has been shown to get energy from small, irregular motion — irregular in terms of frequency of motion as well as amplitude of power. This opens the door for possible uses in implantable medical devices that get their power from muscle stretches, heartbeats and bloodflow.
Putting energy harvesting nanodevices into bodies may be a few years away, but there are some energy harvesting systems that are already on the market, or at least much closer to market, including wireless sensors, regenerative braking, and even bumps in the road. And it’s not just startups that are getting in the game.
Read More about Energy Harvesting Gets Four Legs and Fur