Category: Energy Harvesting

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Worlds first Solar flight from Switzerland to Belgium underway

Posted by Charbax – May 13, 2011

Watch the live video now here:

The flight should be 12 hours, 438 kilometers from Payerne Switzerland to Brussels Belgium. This is the worlds first attempt to make an international flight using a 100% solar powered airplane.

You can follow the flight live with video and metrics with the Solar Impulse app on Android Google Marketplace and Apple Appstore.

I'd like to know this from an aeronautical expert:

Could we build an electric airplane, no solar, just big batteries, how many people can be transported, how far and how fast? What if the range of an electric jumbo jet with 100 passengers was only 2 hours, that's enough for half of all the short range gasoline powered flights.

Solar Impulse to attempt worlds first international solar flight tomorrow

Posted by Charbax – May 12, 2011

Tomorrow May 13th 6AM Swiss Time, weather permits, Solar Impulse will attempt to fly a 100% Solar Powered airplane from Payerne Switzerland to Brussels Belgium. The prototype, piloted by André Borschberg, will take off from Payerne airfield and climb to an altitude of 3600 meters. The plane will head for France, pass over Luxembourg and land at Brussels Airport. Here's my Interview with Solar Impulse co-founder Bertrand Piccard:

Schedule Friday May 13th 2011 (UTC +2) (liftoff is scheduled for 6AM Central European Time, this Midnight EST (New York), Thursday 9PM 12th May PST (San Francisco)):
06:00 approximately Take-off from Payerne aerodrome bound for Brussels Airport
20:30 Hangar doors open/ building 117 (logistical details below)
21:00 approximately Land at Brussels Airport
22:00 approximately Briefing in the hangar with Bertrand Piccard and André Borschberg
23:00 End of the event

Although the flight has been confirmed, the Flight Director may still decide to postpone it or alter the route up until a short time before takeoff.

Tomorrow, you will thus be able to track the flight live on and via the Smartphone app "Solar Impulse Inventing the Future" available in Android Google Marketplace and Apple Appstore. The airplane’s position, altitude and speed will be shown live and cameras fitted inside the cockpit and at “Mission Control Center”, the mission’s nerve center, will allow you to experience the adventure live.

The purpose of Solar Impulse is to inspire all of us to think big, to become more ambitious, that we can as Humans pretty much do whatever we want. Solar Impulse is a philosophy. We can reach the moon, send Humans to Mars, fix global warming, make all new cars electric, feed the hungry and solve poverty.

Larry Page starts today as CEO

Posted by Charbax – April 4, 2011
Larry Page starts as CEO
Larry Page starts as CEO

He might quickly become regarded as greatest inventor/innovator/entrepreneur in the world. A modern Nikola Tesla, a modern Thomas Edison. I think Larry Page wants to be CEO so he can get credited for the amazing things Google is about to release:

- Android powering next 3 Billion smartphones/tablets to be released these next 3 years. Android dominating in tablets is also inevitable.

- Chrome OS about to be released as first real challenger to Windows on Laptops and PC. Advances with native code and 3D browser plugins will enable full desktop performance right inside the browser, offline support and full multimedia support also being there.

- Google TV, first set-top-box to be successful at bringing online video to the TV.

- Google Circles, the first real social network that will actually be more useful than for stalking and following famous people.

- Google Cloud storage expanded, with Google Music as part of the deal, users will be able to store terrabytes of multimedia data on the cloud for cheap.

- Google Books to actually launch, regardless of the publishers lawsuits, Google Books is inevitably just about to revolutionize reading.

- YouTube to take over majority of people's daily TV watching hours. With Google TV as tool, algorithms for a perfect on-demand lean-back experience are coming. YouTube already accounts for more than 50% of worldwide bandwidth usage, but this will only increase. YouTube will likely soon become Google's main source of revenues.

- Most adults might actually be using Google Apps as main tool for collaborative productivity. Google Wave features might get integrated to empower the real-time collaboration.

More revolutions Google might attempt to get to do :

- Revolutionizing the cell carrier industry. They may invest giant sums in developing White Spaces worldwide. To actually create a free wireless broadband network for all. Very disruptive to telcos.

- Revolutionizing fixed line Internet access through proving that cheap Gigabit/s Fiber to the home can get built everywhere worldwide.

- Revolutionizing energy production, helping to prove that solar, wind, geothermal can be built and used for cheaper than coal and nuclear energy.

- Revolutionizing education, through establishing more of the Khan Academys, enabling talented teachers get their teachings out to students worldwide simply through clever video production.

Sure, Larry Page will probably be humble and say that the work was actually done by the more than 24'000 Phd engineers working at Google. Yet he will be the CEO while all these things get released, upgraded and implemented. Having co-founded the company, he might just as well want to be in charge when all these new products are launched. I also think that he might know about the potential trouble that his competing companies like Apple, Microsoft, Intel and others might get by not being positioned effectively in the cloud computing world. If somehow Google turns out to the be the last Silicon Valley giant standing through the next potentially upcoming bubble, it will make him look even more impressive.

You can also see my post on the day they announced that Larry Page was going to be the CEO: What Google should do. Now.

What do you think Larry Page will do as CEO of Google starting today?

The $35 Indian Sakshat Tablet project based on my video, how to make it work

Posted by Charbax – January 21, 2011

On June 26th 2010 I published this video which unveiled the Indian $35 Tablet project's Bill Of Material for the first time:

India's Minister of HRD, Shri Kapil Sibal, or one of his colleagues, watched my video.

On July 22nd 2010, the Government of India's Ministry of Human Resources Development announces the $35 Tablet, announces they plan to have a Chinese manufacturer deliver a few million of these in India for education.

I would like to be serious a bit, as there are literally billions of children on this planet who are waiting for tools for a better education, they are growing old with a missed opportunity to learn. I don't have anything against Governments watching my video-blog to find out what are the best ARM Powered devices on the market, but I would like to suggest a few more things they can do if they would like the project to be successful all the way:

1. Don't work against OLPC, announce you want to join their efforts. Doesn't mean you use OLPC's Marvell 610 platform, just means you share all knowledge and collaborate towards a same goal. You are supportive of each others goals, this is not a competition, this should be a collaboration.

2. Turning a tablet into a successful educational tool is not a piece of cake. It's probably not enough to just take whatever cheapest materials and deliver it like that.

3. Denounce Intel's blatant corruption attempt, 4 days after the announcement of the $35 ARM Powered Android Tablet project, Intel India is quick to suggest the Government should rather (basically give up on the ARM Powered Tablet) and just use the "Donation of 1500 Intel powered tablets" for pilot project (to last a couple years or so preferably, enough time to delay all other real mass low cost deployment attempts), same thing Intel did all over the world to block OLPC from reaching developing countries. Intel has subsidiaries all over the world, they may not be instructed centrally by Paul Otellini for all it does all over the world, but they seize any opportunity at preventing other potentially disruptive technologies from catching on. I mean seriously, what could Intel seriously want to do helping a project to make a $35 ARM Powered tablet for education running Android? Intel can afford to buy India a couple million of these ARM Powered tablets to help get things started, but is that anything near what they had as intention?

4. If you are a Governmental Non-profit project, you setup a Website, open source the code, informations about potential suppliers (real-time information about manufacturing requirements). Tell me in the comments if India's HRD has been open about this project, I haven't seen it. If they chose to make their project secret, it would have a harder time to get implemented. Be open about the full Bill of Material. If you listen to my video, you can hear the AllGo Systems representative list these Bill of Materials:

ARM9 Processor: $5 (Freescale i.MX233)
Memory: $3
WiFi B/G: $4
Other discrete components: $3
Battery: $5
7″ 800×480 resistive touch screen: $15
Total bill of material: $35

If this is it, then clearly publicly say this is it. Let people know what alternatives there may be, let the community discuss what alternatives could be used.

For example, I am pretty sure an educational tablet cannot be made without a 7" Pixel Qi screen. For one it's the only way to hope it has low enough power consumption to last long enough for children in India who don't have a lot of power, perhaps no power at all (let it be powered by Bicycles, hand crank, sub-$5 A4 sized solar panels..). A reflective screen is the only way the tablet can be used for reading ebooks, the only way it can be used outdoors during the day in places where a child might not even have a roof on the school or no school at all.

5. The Bill of Material should be calculated openly with the prospect of using that budget that you have for it. Meaning if you can produce 1 million units, that obviously affects the price of each Pixel Qi 7" screens, perhaps making it as cheap as a normal LCD screen.

6. Be open with how you plan to finance the project. This whole deal with the Chinese manufacturer not wanting to pay HRD $13 Million just sounds weird. Why should the manufacturer pay India and not the other way? Usually, as far as I know, a manufacturer would be paid on shipping of completed product, and India's engineers can work at the factory to monitor yield, quality and batches before mass production is started and while they are being mass manufactured.

7. Be open about how it is designed. The reports (2) on this tablet being a copy of some Chinese design may be true for the casing, but that does not mean that the cheap Freescale i.MX233 ARM9 based SoC on Motherboard, electronics, Android software porting to that specific ARM9 processor (perhaps one of the cheapest ARM SoC in the world), all that does not mean AllGo Systems didn't actually do this original work. I believe they have. The fact is the Chinese market, Chinese manufacturers have so-called Open and Free designs for those cases that can be used for cheap ARM Powered Tablets, cheap ARM Powered laptops, cheap ARM Powered e-readers. But that does NOT mean that what is inside is always a "clone" of some other design. OEM's might have turn key solutions, all ready made designs that they produce and deliver low cost, but they also produce the designs of foreign companies.

Bertrand Piccard presents Solar Impulse at LeWeb 2010

Posted by Charbax – December 9, 2010

After a worlds first successful solar powered overnight flight, Bertrand Piccard gives us an update on the project, on technology, on politics and on pioneering. You can watch his 26-minute keynote at LeWeb 2010 here.