The Ideas to Execution Weekly (Jul 18, 2011)

Soft Memory Device Opens Door To New Biocompatible Electronics

Researchers have created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O, and that functions well in wet environments. Researchers from North Carolina State University have developed a memory device that is soft and functions well in wet environments – opening the door to a new generation of biocompatible electronic devices. “We’ve created a memory device with the physical properties of Jell-O,” says Dr. Michael Dickey, an assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering at NC State and co-author of a paper describing the research.

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Tata Group to sell Ikea-like flat packed ‘Nano’ house for Rs 32,000 (US$720)

India’s Tata group will sell a flat-pack house that costs just $700 and can be built in a week. The Tata group , maker of the $2,500 Nano car, said that the 20-square-metre (215-square-foot) home comes from a pre-fabricated kit that includes doors, windows and a roof. “We have already prepared two-three different designs based on discussions with users and are gathering more feedback,” Sumitesh Das, the head of the project at Tata, told reporters in Hyderabad on Friday.

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Why Apple’s ITC patent victory over HTC Android phones is scary

Friday dealt a serious legal blow to HTC and the Android platform in general. A U.S. International Trade Commission judge has ruled that HTC infringed on two patents Apple submitted in a March 2010 complaint. Naturally, HTC appealed the judgment to the six ITC commissioners, who will ultimately have the final say on the patent verdict. But it’s easily possible their decision, which is due by Dec. 6, will uphold the judge’s initial ruling. The ruling is scary for competition because it could ultimately lead to the ban of all HTC Android devices and, to take things to the extreme, the ban of all Google Android phones and tablets. The two patents ruled to be infringing appear to be vital to the Android OS itself, so other companies’ Android products will be in Apple’s sights too.

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Graphite and water could be as good as lithium ion batteries but recharge in seconds

A combination of two ordinary materials – graphite and water – could produce energy storage systems that perform on par with lithium ion batteries, but recharge in a matter of seconds and have an almost indefinite lifespan. “The reason graphene isn’t being used everywhere is that these very thin sheets, when stacked into a usable macrostructure, immediately bond together, reforming graphite. When graphene restacks, most of the surface area is lost and it doesn’t behave like graphene anymore.” Now, Dr Li and his team have discovered the key to maintaining the remarkable properties of separate graphene sheets: water. Keeping graphene moist – in gel form – provides repulsive forces between the sheets and prevents re-stacking, making it ready for real-world application.

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Japan’s Shimizu Proposes a Loony Solar Idea

Taking space-based solar one rather giant leap further, Japan’s respected construction giant Shimizu is recommending that Earthlings build a huge moon-based solar plant to power the entire world from a Lunar Ring. The idea behind Shimizu’s lunar solar belt would be to build an array of solar modules extending like a belt around the 11,000 kilometer equator. Using robots (because they don’t need to breathe), solar modules would be constructed in situ, on the moon, using lunar material resources which Shimizu claims would be adequate for the task.

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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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Cut the Clutter

It’s been a while since I posted anything here. And as one would expect, Alexa tells me that more than 20 million websites have managed to do better than me over the past five odd months. Anyway, blog statistics notwithstanding, it is time for me to get back more seriously to putting up something useful more regularly here.image

For those of you who may be interested—wonder if there’s anyone who falls in that category but nonetheless—I shifted cities and jobs in January earlier this year. The few months after that have been consumed in just getting used to a new place, gaining momentum at a new firm, and a whirlwind tour of the US in the midst of some highly critical assignments. Looking back, I cannot think of a single day not well spent. But then, there’s always room for improvement and so it’s time for me to squeeze out a few hours every week and get you something that is worth a read, to say the least.

Having said that, I realize my human limitations, owing to which I have decided to leverage technology for part of the job. Going with a philosophy that I choose to very unimaginatively call “Cut the Clutter”, I will publish a weekly roundup of top stories around the web on specific topics. Before you thumb your nose at me, let me add that the process to select these stories is a mix of using various automated metrics around popularity and social engagement, followed by a level of manual filtering to get you stuff that does not add to your already cluttered inboxes and RSS readers.

To begin with, I am launching the “Ideas to Execution Weekly”, which will carry exactly 10 articles handpicked every week (Duh!) and will span a range of articles around entrepreneurship and innovation. Needless to say, I look forward to your feedback on the selections so I can fine-tune the process.

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