The Ideas to Execution Weekly (Jul 11, 2011)

Researchers develop flexible circuits to harvest ambient electromagnetic energy: Wouldn’t it be incredible if we could tap the electromagnetic energy from our surrounding sources like radio & TV transmitters, satellite communication systems, and even cellphone networks, and provide power to small electronic devices? Well, all this is feasible courtesy a new technology that harnesses energy from the ambient environment.

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New LED bulb has the same color light as an incandescent bulb but uses about 5 times less electricity. Switch’s 60-watt-replacement bulb will sell for about $20, and the 75-watt and 100-watt replacements will cost slightly more. As LEDs are mass-produced over time, their prices will plummet. A year from now, Switch’s 60-watt-equivalent bulb should sell for under $15, and could hit $10 the year after that.

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The road ahead in mobile games: Mobile gaming is the wide-open battleground of the entertainment industry. While Zynga dominates social games and big publishers rule console games, the global smartphone game market is still up for grabs. Since there are potentially billions of users in this market, mobile gaming could become the largest game market of them all. Who will win it?

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McDonald’s in the UAE to Power its Trucks with Used Cooking Oil: Do you equate McDonald’s with sustainability? I thought not. So this is an oddball news item: the greasy fast-food chain famous for making American obese is now partnering with Dubai-based Neutral Fuels to recycle all the used cooking oil in its deep fat fryers in the UAE into a biodiesel fuel for its fleet of trucks.

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Student’s WiFi Software Could Double the Life of Your Laptop Battery: WiFi downloads can drain a battery so fast it would put True Blood to shame, especially if you are using a smartphone or laptop in an area where other WiFi devices are lurking. Now a grad student at Duke University, Justin Manweiler, has developed software that enables your mobile device to sniff out other Wifi users nearby. Manweiler’s “SleepWell” system will put your device into a trance until your neighbors are finished downloading their latest episode of – well, True Blood or whatever, then arouse it whenever its turn comes up.

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World’s First Solar Power Plant that Works at Night Constructed: Gemasolar has completed the construction of the world’s first solar power plant capable of generating electricity all day and night. As significant as the “all night” feature sounds, keep in mind that the fact that solar power plants do not normally generate electricity at night is not actually their biggest reliability obstacle — the electricity generation interruption from clouds is more problematic.

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Toshiba Battery that Reaches 80% Charge in 15 Minutes to Power New Mitsubishi Electric Vehicles: Toshiba Corporation’s SCiB battery has been selected by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation to power two new models of electric vehicles (EV), the i-MiEV and MINICAB-MiEV.

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Coming Soon: the Laptop You Power by Typing: A team of researchers at Australia’s Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) have successfully demonstrated a new, “nano-scaled” piezoelectric film’s capacity for turning mechanical pressure into electricity — bringing the (admittedly geeky) dream of perpetually-charged laptop batteries one small step giant leap closer to reality.

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