CES 2010: Final Thoughts

The Consumer Electronics show, the behemoth of tech, the Valhalla of gadgetry, has come and gone for yet another year. But this time, rather than arriving with a bang, it slinked into sight with something more like a whimper. CES…

CES 2010: Day 1 Round-Up

With CES 2010 now well under way, it can be pretty tough keeping track of all the latest announcements. Here's Tech Digest's round-up of the of best Day 1 at CES 2010 so far, including all the news from the…

Waterless washing machines to hit the market next year


To be fair, “waterless” is a slight exaggeration, but only slight because a company named Xeros has managed to develop a washing machine that uses just 90% of the water used by a normal houselhold unit.

This utility room game-changer employs reusable nylon polymer beads to wash your undies. They clean the clothes faster, using 30% less energy and each cycle only requires a single drop of detergent too. What’s more, expensive eco-enemy tumble dryers need less time because you’re linen will be less wet too. Therefore saving a few inches more planet. Sounds pretty marvelous really.

The trick has been working out a way to get the beads from your togs at the end of the wash but, now that’s sorted, Xeros reckon they’ll have commerical units in hotels and other such large operations by the end of the year.

And if that hasn’t got your juices flowing green, then check this – if these nylon polymer machines were as standard in the UK, it’d be the equivalent of taking 2 million cars of our roads. Where do I sign up?

(via Cambridge News)

Mobile phones and gadgets to charge themselves?


What if you never had to plug any of your gadgets in to charge them ever again? No stray wires running around your walls, no need to remember to pack numerous chargers when going on holiday and of course there are the financial and ecological benefits as well.

Well, this could well become a possibility. Nokia has got their boffins in Cambridge working on a technique whereby a phone can remain in standby mode and effectively charge itself using just ambient radio waves.

I’m no scientist, but I’ve done the research and I understand it as thus:

Waves in the air, such as Wi-Fi, radio, television and so forth can be harnessed and converted into enough juice to power your gadgets.

The system needs a bit more developing though, currently the boffins are only able to gather between three to five milliwatts of power and they need this figure to be more like 50 milliwatts in order for it to work in practice.

If they do manage to master this system, the possibilities are pretty immense. On the flip side, how scary is it that, potentially, there is enough electricity floating about in the air to charge mobile phones? How our brains don’t get frazzled remains a mystery to me.

(via NokNok)

Anaconda – Giant offshore sea snakes to provide power for 50,000 homes


Cheap, clean power for 50,000 UK homes could be just 5 years away as “anacondas” take to British shores.

A company, called Checkmate, is testing 200m long rubber devices which would be tethered to the sea bed and are designed to swim against the current to produce up to 1MW of power each. The waves cause a bulge to ripple down the length of the anacondas and power turbines at the tails.

Fifty-strong shoals of the tubes could sit together just below the surface and scare all sorts of children in the sea. Checkmate hopes the devices, as designed by Professor Rod Rainey, would be in commercial production by 2014.

Excess datacentre energy used to heat homes


Telehouse is a company based in London’s Docklands that runs massive datacentres providing servers and other network gear to major companies.

It’s building a new one – Telehouse West – that’s costing $180 million, but the carbon footprint for such a facility is absolutely massive. Tonnes of heat is generated and the cooling systems involved have to work extremely hard. The company realized that the heat could be reappropriated for use in local homes.

As a result, the company’s been able to generate up to nine megawatts of power for local homes – the equivalent of boiling 3,000 kettles continuously. It’s the first major UK datacentre to implement such a strategy, and the first datacentre to gain planning permission in London since strict sustainability rules were introduced.

(via DataCentreKnowledge)