Posts Tagged ‘energy’

Pokiwa creates the buzz with insect power

March 11, 2014 1 comment

Pokiwa - The BuzzI recently participated in the selection for the ArtScience Prize Paris, an educational program in which 10 groups of students from engineering schools and schools of design work on new ideas around a given theme. On the 2013-2014 theme “Energy of the future” two groups have emerged as the winners: Pokiwa and InnerG.

InnerG developed a connected wrist band that enables the user to manage electric power for surrounding devices by simply waving at them, thereby creating a cool way to drive energy efficiency up.

Pokiwa came up with a radical idea: to harness the movement and acoustic vibrations of zillions of insects in their natural habitat to generate enough electricity to provide clean and safe lighting in deprived areas. A short animation illustrates the concept beautifully (a few words in French, but very visual and easy to understand).

Pokiwa and InnerG will develop their idea further for presentation at the international workshop in June 2014 at Le Laboratoire in Paris, and will display their prototypes at Harvard University in late 2014. I can’t wait to see them!


Nature v Norm – How language drives innovation culture

September 10, 2013 Leave a comment

20130907-202617.jpg There are moments when you connect unexpected dots and some new level of understanding clicks. Last week I was enjoying the park at Vaux-le-Vicomte designed by 17th century master of gardens ‘à la française’ André Le Nôtre, who went on to design gardens at Versailles and many other places throughout France and Europe. Le Nôtre’s vision of nature is one that is domesticated, made to fit a pattern, where seasons and distance are mastered, the latter through the use of perspective tricks, the former through the use of evergreen plants. Today, listening to a Modern Language professor at the University of Southampton, I picked this insight that a good behaviour referred to as ‘natural’ in English will be called ‘normal’ in French, a language subtlety that underpins deeper differences in the English and French ways of thinking. Read more…

Paradigm-shift theory applied to energy for transport

August 20, 2013 4 comments

20130820-105932.jpg Technology differs from science in its core purpose. The purpose of technology is to make things we understand work; that of science is to discover how things we don’t understand work. In mathematical terminology, science searches for the founding theorem, while technology pursues its many corollaries. Science is constrained by the faith it has placed in, or the frantic search for, a unifying paradigm; technology has, in principle, more freedom to apply science in many different ways.

However, in practice science and technology tend to operate a lot closer to each other. Read more…

Transparent photovoltaic surface is a gamechanger

July 27, 2013 1 comment

20130727-093642.jpg Aix-en-Provence based Wysips® (What You See Is Photovoltaic Surface), a subsidiary of Sunpartner, is ramping up the production of a transparent photovoltaic surface. Since winning the CTIA prize for groundbreaking innovations in Orlando, Florida in 2011, Wysips has further developed the technology reaching 90% transparency and packing enough power generation in an 0.5mm layer beneath the tactile surface to offset the energy consumption of the ‘network search’ function of a mobile phone and placing emergency calls.

Read more…

New Pegasus, the photovoltaic donkey

20130615-092355.jpg A new Pegasus roams the countryside of Macedonia. In the heart of the wine region, near Kavadarci, a donkey quietly grazes while recharging its batteries through the two solar panels deployed on its wings. As its owners lead it through the hills, Pegasus offers its 1000W batteries to anyone who might need them and allows his human companions to recharge their laptops and cameras when they camp at night.

Imagined by Philémon and Arnaud Verley, two artists from Lille, France, Pegasus is an experiment rather than an innovation. It has a use but no market. Yet the experiment illustrates brillantly how art and technology can team up to sketch out a different future where power generation could become portable and distributed amongst users.

Bottom-up or top-down, innovation is driven by vision and willpower

August 14, 2011 Leave a comment

For all the talk about creating an innovation culture and the elusive search for the fertile ground where innovation willmagically pop up, the juxtaposition of two articles in the Sunday economic press reminded me that innovation can happen in all fields and in all kind of ways.

The first article was about the launch of the first baguette dispenser in Paris. Baker-innovator Jean-Louis Hecht both leverages and challenges the mythical French baguette cultural cliché to create a 24/7 vending machine that can hold pre-cooked baguettes in a refrigerated compartment and do the rest of the cooking on demand, delivering a crisp and steaming finish for just 1€. Read more…

Invisible innovation is no less useful than hype innovation

February 11, 2011 Leave a comment

Even by conservative estimates that cater for fast-paced development of energy-efficient technologies, the global demand for energy is set to double by 2050. Since “easy oil” will not keep up with the demand, alternative sources will have to be developed, from renewables to unconventional fossil fuels. And they will have to be developed while protecting the environment, especially air and water. The huge challenge of squaring that circle makes the energy industry a rich field for innovation.  Read more…