Interesting Engineering

http://interestingengineering.com Science and Engineering Magazine Mon, 03 Aug 2015 20:01:42 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 http://interestingengineering.com/monorail-the-future-of-mass-transportation/ http://interestingengineering.com/monorail-the-future-of-mass-transportation/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:24:49 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=24041
In a world where metros, bullet trains, cruises and super sized jumbo jets have dominated mass transportion, the chances of asking such a question might be very bleak and sound quite senseless. But will it sound the same to you after reading this article? Here is something you need to know about the monorail. Well […]

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Futuristic aesthetics of monorails bring a vision of the future at sight. Image Courtesy-WDWINFO

In a world where metros, bullet trains, cruises and super sized jumbo jets have dominated mass transportion, the chances of asking such a question might be very bleak and sound quite senseless. But will it sound the same to you after reading this article? Here is something you need to know about the monorail.

Well if you are technical-sensed person you will understand that Monorail has something to do with a single rail and you’re exactly right! It is simply a ‘bogey’ or what you would call as a bus which moves on just one rail, typically elevated. These vehicles are either suspended from a straddle or a narrow guide way. It uses numerous wheels along the sides of the beam way to stabilize the tall vehicle. However, Mag-Lev technology is also being used to drive the monorails in a few cities.

Glimpse of a hanging monorail in japan – Courtesy of Feorag

Each and every day hundreds of thousands of passengers are carried on monorails. Many of the world’s transit monorails exist in Japan, eight of which are full-scale urban transit systems. Monorails also exist Australia, Malaysia, India, Europe, Russia and in the United States. Several more are either under construction or in advanced planning. The Walt Disney Monorail System near Orlando, Florida, has one of the highest ridership of all monorails where well over 100,000 passenger trips are recorded each day on the 14 miles of beam-ways. Recently, however, a number of major transit grade monorails have been either built or are in construction or planning phase. Japan is the clear leader in the construction of monorail systems.

The Tron Artwork featured monorail belonging to Walt-Disney Monorail System. Image Courtesy-Druidhills

In most cases rail is elevated, but monorails can also run at grade, below grade or in subway tunnels. They can be individual rigid vehicles, articulated single units, or multiple units coupled into trains. Almost all modern monorails are powered by electric motors fed by dual third rails, contact wires or electrified channels attached to or enclosed in their guidance beams, but diesel-powered monorail systems also exist. Historically some systems, such as the Lartigue Monorail, used steam locomotives. Modern monorails also come equipped with the tilting technology which help the train to negotiate a tight curve with ease.

It could just fairly be called the motorcycle version of a metro rail due to several reasons. For the fact that it is more economical both in operation and construction, it occupies lesser space due to its ability to travel on only a single beam or rail. The construction by itself is very simple and can be completed swiftly causing least disturbance to its surrounding. The construction of a monorail guide-way is so simple that it involves: digging a hole, droppin in a pre-built support pylon, trucking in the track which was manufactured offsite, and finally lifting it into place.

Now you might ask yourself, if monorails are really so awesome then why aren’t there more of them? An excellent question indeed! “There aren’t any transit monorails, we shouldn’t build something that hasn’t been proven.” It’s a ludicrous reason, but it sticks for some reason. This is despite the fact that there are dozens of successful transit monorails around the world.  Monorails are perceived as new, experimental and untried. Not enough people are aware of the many transit monorails in operation today along with their proven track record.  But monorails have an excellent track record of safety, Eco-friendliness and reliability and I wish to see a day soon when the investors realize the pros of monorail and give them more importance.

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http://interestingengineering.com/monorail-the-future-of-mass-transportation/feed/ 1 http://interestingengineering.com/sustainable-alternative-lighting-with-galvanic-cells/ http://interestingengineering.com/sustainable-alternative-lighting-with-galvanic-cells/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 13:12:25 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=23986
SALt or Sustainable Alternative Lighting is a start up that has recently gained attention for their innovation in lighting.   The goal of the company is to offer a cost effective, safe and environmentally friendly lighting solution as an alternative to kerosene or battery powered lamps. The SAlt lamps use galvanic cells which consist of […]

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SALt or Sustainable Alternative Lighting is a start up that has recently gained attention for their innovation in lighting.salt1

The goal of the company is to offer a cost effective, safe and environmentally friendly lighting solution as an alternative to kerosene or battery powered lamps.

salt-lamp-charge

Source: SALt

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The SAlt lamps use galvanic cells which consist of two electrodes, an electrolyte solution as well as salt and water which are the consumables. These are meant to be replaced every 6 months with running the system for 8 hours a day along with proper care and maintenance. Other notable features include its ability to run on salt water and it’s USB port which gives it the ability to charge a variety of devices.

Salt-Sustainable-Alternative-Lighting-Lamp-Lipa-Aisa-Mijena-Outdoors-537x403

Sources: SALt, Science Alert

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http://interestingengineering.com/sustainable-alternative-lighting-with-galvanic-cells/feed/ 0 http://interestingengineering.com/bolt-m-1-is-part-moped-electric-motorcycle-and-bicycle/ http://interestingengineering.com/bolt-m-1-is-part-moped-electric-motorcycle-and-bicycle/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 12:30:05 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=23900
The Bolt M-1 is a 2 wheeled form of transport that is said to be part bicycle, electric motorcycle and moped. The electric bike has 5,500 watts and this allows it to travel up to 40mph, while at the same time being taken back to 1,000 watts so that it can be ridden in the […]

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The Bolt M-1 is a 2 wheeled form of transport that is said to be part bicycle, electric motorcycle and moped. The electric bike has 5,500 watts and this allows it to travel up to 40mph, while at the same time being taken back to 1,000 watts so that it can be ridden in the form of an electric bike.

bolt-m-1-moped

Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

The founder of Bolt Motorbikes is Dr. Nathan Jauvtis and when he moved to San Francisco he rode around on a moped. He said that he found it to be the perfect form of transport for moving around the city. He went on to form Bolt along with Zach Levenberg and the pair came up with their own version of the moped by way of the M-1.

bolt-m-1-moped-1

Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

The design of the M-1 is very much along the same lines as that of a moped and the pair wanted to be careful so as to keep it within the specifications of California when it came to their definition of an electric bicycle. This means that there is no need for the rider to own a motorcycle license. The design was kept simple so as to entice riders of ordinary bikes and it is perfect for those looking for a form of transport that is light and which is suitable for urban commuting. The co-founder said that anyone who can ride a bicycle will be able to ride the Bolt.

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Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

The Bolt M-1 can be put into economy mode and then never taken out of that mode if that is what the rider wants. The motor will then be limited to offering just 1,000 watts and be optimized for going up to 50 miles by way of motor power alone and a speed limit of 20mph. The rider will not have to use the pedals; however should the rider want to use them they can.

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Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

When in the economy mode it is within the limits of California for motorized bikes. The sport mode on the Bolt is for using off road only and when in this mode the range is around 30 miles. The M-1 comes with USB phone charger, Bluetooth support and a control system that is computerized and protected with a passcode. The battery pack offers a quick release to make charging easy and in 1.5 hours it charges to 90%. The bike is just 140 pounds in weight and the first production run of it has sold out. The M-1 is listed at US$5, 485.

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Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

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Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

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Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

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Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

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Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

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Image Courtesy of Bolt Motorbikes

Via [Bolt Motorbikes]

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http://interestingengineering.com/bolt-m-1-is-part-moped-electric-motorcycle-and-bicycle/feed/ 1 http://interestingengineering.com/cymatics-visually-exposing-the-vibrations-of-sound/ http://interestingengineering.com/cymatics-visually-exposing-the-vibrations-of-sound/#comments Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:52:02 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=24056
Cymatics is the study of seeing sounds. Sounds may have been visualized as far back as 1000 years ago in Africa when hide drums would accumulate sand revealing geometric patterns when they were played. Today sound frequency visualization experiments are done using all different mediums. The image below is a sound snapshot of Beethoven’s 9th […]

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TedX London talk 768x545

Source: TED talk-Evan Grant

Cymatics is the study of seeing sounds. Sounds may have been visualized as far back as 1000 years ago in Africa when hide drums would accumulate sand revealing geometric patterns when they were played. Today sound frequency visualization experiments are done using all different mediums. The image below is a sound snapshot of Beethoven’s 9th symphony translated into light.

Beethovan's 9th

Source: TED talk-Evan Grant

According to John Stuart Reid, ancient Egypt may have had vast knowledge on the subject of sound resonance. Reid is an acoustics engineer and expert in cymatics or modal phenomena. Inside of the Great Pyramid of Giza, Reid performed a simple experiment in the King’s Chamber. A “glissando” is a musical term that means gliding smoothly from one pitch to another. So using his vocal range, Reid laid inside of the sarcophagus and sang a glissando. The King’s Chamber revealed a very strong resonance vibration which indicated that the ancient Egyptians may have known quite a bit about sonic resonance. It is this sonic vibration that can be used to reveal specific geometric patterns on a sandy drum.
Every day more and more scientists, artists, and everyday people are using and experimenting with cymatics and proving that sound indeed can move matter. If you’re interested in cymatics and would like to learn more, we’ve compiled the following must see videos to get you started:

• Watch the video below if you’d like to see the effect sound frequency has on water. The reverse effect is crazy!

• Artist Nigel Stanford’s music video beautifully displays his work with sound resonance using sand, fire, water, and electricity. These displays are visually stunning and definitely worth a watch!
• Artist Jodina Meehan uses a violin bow to play a handheld cymatics plate. This visual display of sound is used by violin bow makers for testing purposes.
• Two Students at George Mason University experiment with putting fire out using sound waves.
• Evan Grant discusses and demonstrates cymatics in this eye opening TED talk.
• And lastly, here’s a talk that acoustics engineer John Stuart Reid gave about his experiments with resonance inside of the King’s Chamber at Giza in Egypt.

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http://interestingengineering.com/cymatics-visually-exposing-the-vibrations-of-sound/feed/ 2 http://interestingengineering.com/increase-your-efficiency-using-a-voip-system/ http://interestingengineering.com/increase-your-efficiency-using-a-voip-system/#comments Sun, 02 Aug 2015 19:05:18 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=24063
In every business, there are certain systems that need to be maintained, and one of them is the phone system. Without the phone system, you will be left with an absolute inability to communicate with your staff or the outside world, and that would be tragic. Not only would you lose productivity, but you would […]

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In every business, there are certain systems that need to be maintained, and one of them is the phone system. Without the phone system, you will be left with an absolute inability to communicate with your staff or the outside world, and that would be tragic. Not only would you lose productivity, but you would also find that your business just could not survive – at least not for too long. That said, you need to find the best phone systems for business– check out someone like BroadConnect USA— and you need to make sure that the systems will fit your needs. Sometimes this can be a bit of a challenge, but at this point we can all agree that typical phone systems simply are not going to do the trick. When you are a subtle business, which is to say one to two people in an office, then you might just get away with a typical phone line, but as you grow you will need to fight the mounting costs somehow. That will not always be easy, especially for companies that grow suddenly to accommodate a boom in business. Fortunately, PBX systems are being replaced by Voice over IP. PBX had its time, but now, VoIP has presented a far better option than ever before. How does it work exactly? VoIP is still a new technology, at least when compared to the PBX phone systems, and it is without a doubt the direction that the vast majority of businesses are going to take in the future.

voip_1

Understanding Phone Systems

There are two different ways that you might choose to utilize your phone system. The first way, of course, is for exterior calls. This includes calls to customers, calls to clients, even calls to suppliers that you are associated with. Without the outside line element, your business simply would not survive for very long.

Interior calls are made from the same phones, but they are handled using an internal system, and they can call any office or any desk that is connected to the VoIP phone system. For larger offices, the system can be tailored properly to individual floors, and in the end, it is simply a much better choice for you, your employees, and even the customers that depend on you. All in all, a phone system like this will raise your efficiency ten times over.

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Unify and Consolidate

Adopting the newest technology is important, and it will help your business out considerably, but have you ever considered just how beneficial it can be to consolidate all of your assets? With a VoIP phone system, you can now merge your phone, your data, and even your voicemail. In addition to that you can add your videoconferencing to the list. The Internet is making it more and more possible to add dozens of different systems together, ultimately making it so that you don’t have to raise a finger to get connected. With so many different systems being stored and handled off-site, your business can do what it does best: business.

Uptime and Efficiency

One thing you might be concerned about when switching over to a new system is the uptime and effectiveness of that new system. This is most definitely a concern for anyone, and it doesn’t just extend to the VoIP switchover. As a matter of fact, there are going to be concerns about any sort of system or upgrade as to whether or not it will not only work, but will fill the shoes of the previous system. That being the case, you need to make sure that your concerns are appeased. We can easily guarantee a 99.999 percent uptime for our servers, and quite frankly you should expect nothing less from any service. Why, exactly? Because without your phones, your business simply will not run, and you can’t have that. Your company depends on its ability to communicate with the outside world whether it is to speak with clients, talk to partners, or perform any other task that might seem routine to you. Your business, however, is our business, and your ability to communicate is our priority. With constant support and great uptime, you are making the right choice.

There is a lot to be said for this new system, and while something bigger and better always comes to overtake old technology, we are convinced that VoIP is the way of the future, at least for right now. Take a look at our page and decide what level of service is for you, at least at the moment. Remember, we are completely scalable, and we have the ability to provide you what you want when you want it. Your future as a company is uncertain, and we will be ready to meet your expansion challenges.

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http://interestingengineering.com/increase-your-efficiency-using-a-voip-system/feed/ 0 http://interestingengineering.com/hugh-herr-is-reinventing-the-human-machine-with-extreme-bionics/ http://interestingengineering.com/hugh-herr-is-reinventing-the-human-machine-with-extreme-bionics/#comments Fri, 31 Jul 2015 20:05:37 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=23926
Hugh Herr was a great mountain climber at a very young age. That was until he had to get both his legs amputated from the knees down after a climbing incident at age 17. Then he became an even better mountain climber. Herr had to use prosthetic legs to walk, but he took the opportunity to transform his […]

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Hugh Herr was a great mountain climber at a very young age. That was until he had to get both his legs amputated from the knees down after a climbing incident at age 17. Then he became an even better mountain climber. Herr had to use prosthetic legs to walk, but he took the opportunity to transform his limitations into innovations. He went on to build bionic limbs adapted for every type of climbing: using screwdrivers instead of feet to climb vertical rocks, another one using nails to give more support on the ice, and many more.

Hugh_Herr

Photograph: Andrew Kornylak/Aurora Photos

“At the beginning of that year society said I was broken,” said Herr. “One year later I had surpassed my pre-amputation climbing abilities and done climbs no climber had ever done. I had augmented my body within 12 months, so much so that a few competitors were threatening to cut off their own legs”

Herr became and engineer and decided to specialize in robotic prosthetics. He is now the head of the MIT Media Lab’s Biomechatronics group which develops new types of prosthesis for amputees. These prosthesis not only have a beautiful design, they are also intelligent, being controlled by thought. When the brain gives an unconscious command to move the leg that is no longer there to respond, programmed microprocessors stimulate an artificial tendon, simulating those movements on the prosthetic leg. It makes the artificial limb an integral part of the body. And it doesn’t stop there: it also has touch sensors, which means you can feel the ground you step on as if it were your real foot.

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Hugh says that his team develops a new software or some new part for the prosthesis pretty much every week. And in recent years this process has accelerated. Herr found Adrianne Haslet-Davis, a dancer who lost her left leg in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. He decided to create a special prosthesis for her, one with the parts and the software necessary to allow her to dance again, which she did on the TED stage during his presentation.

Adrianne-Haslet-Davis-4

The presentation itself was an extremely important step in the proper development of the prosthesis. By making a perfect TED presentation, Hugh and his team caught the attention of many people to the work being done to recover amputees – the video presentation had millions of hits. And drawing attention means receiving more investment to continue the research.

Watch his inspiring TED presentation where he shows his incredible technology in a talk that’s both technical and deeply personal.

Source: TED

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http://interestingengineering.com/hugh-herr-is-reinventing-the-human-machine-with-extreme-bionics/feed/ 0 http://interestingengineering.com/carbon-engineering-aims-to-reduce-carbon-dioxide-in-the-atmosphere/ http://interestingengineering.com/carbon-engineering-aims-to-reduce-carbon-dioxide-in-the-atmosphere/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:35:54 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=23937
[Source: Carbon Engineering] With carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rising, the world looks for a solution other than increasing the time it takes to get to work, the grocery store or the next family vacation. Carbon Engineering aims to solve that problem by pulling carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.  Carbon Engineering is a […]

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carbon engineering fans

[Source: Carbon Engineering]

With carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere rising, the world looks for a solution other than increasing the time it takes to get to work, the grocery store or the next family vacation. Carbon Engineering aims to solve that problem by pulling carbon dioxide directly from the atmosphere.  Carbon Engineering is a independent Canadian company founded in 2009 and funded by private investors including Bill Gates and Murry Edwards. Below is a graphic that depicts a current solution to reducing carbon in the atmosphere. This includes capturing carbon directly from buildings that emit carbon dioxide which is easier since the concentration is so high. These systems are also not feasible for transportation vehicles since vehicles are not stationary.

traditional carbon storage[Source: Carbon Engineering]

Fans have been designed to pull ambient air and then push it through corrugated PVC sheets. These sheets will have a capture solution supplied from the top and pulled down by gravity. The carbon dioxide then reacts with the capture solution forming a carbonate salt and is collected at the bottom with excess solution. This process is shown in the graphic below. If the only need is to reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere the the process would stop here but, Carbon Engineering is also working on using this carbon to create hydrocarbons.

CE diagram[Source: Carbon Engineering]

The carbon dioxide will be harvested using a paper membrane to separate the carbon dioxide from the capture solution. The capture solution will be recycled into the system and the carbon dioxide will be used for other purposes explained in the next paragraph. The energy required in the separation of the of the carbonate salt comes from renewable energy including natural gas, wind and nuclear and any carbon dioxide produced in the production of energy will be fed through the system.

CE process

[Source: Carbon Engineering]

The carbon dioxide that has been isolated is meant to react with hydrogen provided from electrolysis. Electrolysis requires electricity which will be provided with renewable energies and like before, any carbon dioxide produced will be entered directly into the system. The processing of carbon dioxide and hydrogen is meant to produce hydrocarbons which can be used in current technologies that require them. The cycle then repeats itself when carbon dioxide is release in the atmosphere and then absorbed by the system.

CE process 2[Source: Carbon Engineering]

Trees may seem like a more “green” solution but this process will require 1,000 times less area and the beauty of the system is that it can be placed where trees do not have the ability to grow. While an ideal placement of this system would seem to be in a zone with not much plant life, there is still a need for water to provide the hydrogen and if this would take place in the desert for example, systems for pulling water out of the air or ground would be necessary as well.

Sources

1:  Carbon Engineering – About CE

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http://interestingengineering.com/carbon-engineering-aims-to-reduce-carbon-dioxide-in-the-atmosphere/feed/ 0 http://interestingengineering.com/samsung-design-a-monitor-to-wirelessly-charge-smartphones/ http://interestingengineering.com/samsung-design-a-monitor-to-wirelessly-charge-smartphones/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:35:31 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=23966
Smartphone owners have made use of wireless charging for many years; however the technology has needed a special charging pad. Samsung are changing this has they have come up with a design for a monitor that can charge smartphones wirelessly. The SE370 might look just like any other monitor when first looking at it. The […]

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Smartphone owners have made use of wireless charging for many years; however the technology has needed a special charging pad. Samsung are changing this has they have come up with a design for a monitor that can charge smartphones wirelessly.
The SE370 might look just like any other monitor when first looking at it. The monitor is available in a choice of 23.6 or 27 inch configuration and is offered with a blue and white finish. However if you take a closer look at the stand you can see that it contains the Qi charging pad of Samsung which is built into the display base in the centre.

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[Image Courtesy of Samsung]

Many people rest their phone close to them on the desk when working on a computer so the logical thing is to offer a place to rest the phone where it can charge. To charge the phone all the user has to do is place the phone on the stand of the monitor and it will charge automatically and an LED light will come on to remind the user that the device is charging.Of course only devices that are compatible with Qi will charge with the new monitor. Other devices that use such as Powermat for charging wirelessly will not work with the monitor.

There is a huge amount of research going on into wireless charging technology and people are coming up with some ingenious ideas when it comes to charging. Researchers in the US looked into a way of charging mobiles by using magnetic fields which were up to 30 centimetres away from the charger. An electronics company have also come up with what they call WattUp technology that is able to charge as many as 12 devices when they are up to 4.5 metres from the charging station.

Via [ScienceAlert]

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http://interestingengineering.com/samsung-design-a-monitor-to-wirelessly-charge-smartphones/feed/ 0 http://interestingengineering.com/new-storage-chip-from-intel-is-1000-times-quicker-than-flash/ http://interestingengineering.com/new-storage-chip-from-intel-is-1000-times-quicker-than-flash/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 18:34:56 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=23962
Intel has come up with a new storage chip and they say that it is tougher and faster than what any of the competition has to offer and it is in production. 3D Xpoint is 1,000 times faster than NAND architecture which is seen in the majority of solid state drives and flash memory. It […]

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Intel has come up with a new storage chip and they say that it is tougher and faster than what any of the competition has to offer and it is in production. 3D Xpoint is 1,000 times faster than NAND architecture which is seen in the majority of solid state drives and flash memory. It doesn’t have transistors and instead it relies on bulk material property change in order to switch bits from low to high resistance states. The memory cells then go into an intricate 3D checkboard pattern that is layered and which has 10 times the density of conventional memory.

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[Image Courtesy of Google]

The industry has been searching for decades to find ways to reduce the amount of lag between the data and processor to make faster analysis and this non-volatile memory is able to achieve the goal. With it will come performance to storage solutions and memory that will be game changing.

At the moment the limitations of the memory are not clear. Intel has also managed to single out fraud detection along with disease tracking as early applications along with analysing data in real time. The chip may also be used in applications such as immersive gaming if the chip was brought to the personal computer. Benefits of the chip are that it is non-volatile and durable and it is aimed at long term storage solutions. Being able to access the data fast could mean new applications for everyday services.

Via [TheVerge]

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http://interestingengineering.com/new-storage-chip-from-intel-is-1000-times-quicker-than-flash/feed/ 3 http://interestingengineering.com/esbee-cables-possibly-the-last-cable-youll-buy/ http://interestingengineering.com/esbee-cables-possibly-the-last-cable-youll-buy/#comments Wed, 29 Jul 2015 01:49:55 +0000

http://interestingengineering.com/?p=23953
Every user of a cell phone, tablet, or iPad knows what the Achilles heel of their device is. Regardless of who made it, or what model it is, it’s the charging/data cable that’s most likely to crap out first. Some of those are, in fact, legendarily fragile and/or touchy. That’s surprising, given how critical they […]

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Every user of a cell phone, tablet, or iPad knows what the Achilles heel of their device is. Regardless of who made it, or what model it is, it’s the charging/data cable that’s most likely to crap out first. Some of those are, in fact, legendarily fragile and/or touchy. That’s surprising, given how critical they are. Surprising enough that it drove Moazzam Khan to found Esbee Cables; his company is poised to debut what they refer to as, possibly the last cable you’ll buy: If he’s right, it could be game changer.
Consumers are always looking for a deal, and charger/data cables are no exception. When genuine OEM, (Original Equipment Manufacturer), Apple cables retail at dang near $20 for a three footer, those bargain jobs off eBay or Amazon for .99¢ look pretty enticing. Alas, as so many have discovered, you absolutely do get what you pay for. If you read the fine print on those lightning cables, you’ll see the term “MFI Certified” on the pricier versions – What that means is “Made For Ipad/pod/phone’, and refers to the fact that the accessory in question is certified to work with Apple stuff; anything not marked MFI is, well, not guaranteed to work.
From wire gauge, to insulation, and the care with which all that is assembled, the difference between cheap and pricy cables is night and day. 99.9% of those cheap cables are what’s termed 28/28 AWG cables – The first number refers to the gauge of the data transfer wire, followed by the gauge of the charging wire. AWG means American Wire Gauge, and describes thickness of the wire, and as such, its ability to transfer data and power – The higher the AWG number, the thinner the wire. What this means from a practical standpoint is that a 28/28 AWG cable is inadequate for charging; those will push no more than 500mah to your device, and most likely less – that’s all that wire can handle – That translates to ridiculously slow charges for most devices. What you really want is 24 AWG power wire; that’s 60% thicker than the 28 AWG stuff, and can handle 2 amps of charging power with ease. That’s as good, or better, than what shipped with your device.

 

 
None of that stuff is lost on the folks at Esbee Cables. A UCSB trained Mechanical Engineer, he founded the company as a response to those very problems. As Khan explains, “Everybody owns more than one charging cable and they are all ugly. They get tangled, they’re messy, and on top of that, they’re cheap rubber; they break at the connectors and at the wire/connector joint, and they don’t live up to the money they cost.” That last issue is what really got Esbee started. Again, Khan explains, “We started by tackling the existing problem of cables fraying at the ends. Our initial plan was to leather coat them, to provide additional reinforcement for the terminal ends. But, the more we looked at existing cables, the less we liked, so we ended up completely redesigning the cable inside out.” What they ended up designing might just be the first Super Cable.


The cables themselves are manufactured in China to Esbee’s specs, and as noted, they spec’d a very nice cable indeed. First item of note, these are unibody, four core cables – meaning two wires each dedicated to power and data, instead of the typical two wire core. Power wires are 24/28 AWG, and data wires are 30/30 AWG, (And the extra wire set means that 24/28 power wire pair is more than adequate to push fast charging). All those wires are tin plated, which adds considerable durability. Instead of the typical two to three layers of insulation, there are five; in addition to individual wire insulation, there’s an aluminum shield layer, which is then topped by an 18 strand layer of tinned copper mesh, (Most cables have 8 strands or less). A thermoplastic elastomer jacket, (TPE), provides a flame retardant, low smoke, Halogen-free alternative to PVC, which is a nice touch.


Then comes the leather. Esbee Cables are, as Khan noted, leather wrapped, and leather, good leather, adds a notable level of durability, strength, and class. After initial manufacturing, cables are sent to the Indus Valley in Pakistan for hand finishing with natural hide and suede. There’s classic black and brown hide leather and five colors in suede, so preferred vibe is covered for everything from high school kids to grandparents. Brass buckles neatly secure coiled cables.


Esbee claims their cables are “the world’s toughest” and has a video in production to prove just that. Cables come in lightning and micro USB configurations; the lightning cables are MFI Certified, meaning they’re built to standards set by Apple and certified to be ‘Made For IPhone/IPad/IPod.’

EsBee cable prices will start out at $24 for early bird kickstarter donators. While that’s a few bucks more than the Apple OEM cable, Khan points out “that’s comparing a five star cable to a 1.5 star cable (according to the apple website reviews).” If Esbee cables are all they’re cranked up to be, it’s well worth the difference.


Esbee’s Kickstarter campaign is set to launch within the next few weeks. Given the need for a truly high performance cable, it’s bound to be a ripper once it’s kicked off. Check their website and Facebook page to stay tuned in.

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