Is This The Beginning Of The End For Phone Batteries?

clear-solar-panel-for-phones
Is A Clear Glass The Future Of Power Generation For Handheld Devices? Image: MIT

As exciting as advances in battery technology have been lately–not least because of the efforts of Elon Musk, his Powerwall, and the Gigafactory in Nevada–a new glass created by MIT spinoff Ubiquitous Energy promises (threatens?) to turn current power-storage paradigms of their head.

The key here is the special organic coating of that absorbs light in the non-visible potion of the spectrum. When applied to clear glass it is capable of producing power from it. That means future devices could draw energy from the sun without the unsightly dark solar panels currently being used.

It also mean that with clear glass doing double-duty as part of the physical interface for phones, watches, etc. and as at least part of the power generation for the devices, that their weight and volume could be dramatically reduced. You can be sure there will be a rush to get this glass into appropriate devices as quickly as possible.

Portable IMac Solution

If you’re looking for a way to transport your iMac on an airplane, I have a solution for you that I’ve used many times since I bought my iMac G5 almost 5 years ago. If you’re heading someplace for more than a week or two you should know that iLugger makes it very easy to take your iMac as a carry-on bag.

I have a second home overseas and while I do take my laptop, I’m there long enough to justify taking the desktop with me as well. The computer is rather heavy, but it’s nice to have the larger screen and my primary computer when I arrive, and this custom bag makes it essentially a portable iMac.

For about $130 for the 21-inch iMac bag, you would expect a pretty high-quality piece of luggage, and that is exactly what you get. It is constructed from heavy-duty canvas and resists scuff marks and minor scratches, and has very generous amounts of padding to protect your screen. There is room for your keyboard and mouse, and some additional space too. The design is well thought out and it only takes a couple of minutes to load your computer into the bag. I have never had a problem from airport security, unless you consider a few “wow what a geek” eye-rolls to be an issue.

IMacs were not conceived as portable computers, but this bag transforms them into computers that are suddenly mobile. I was surprised to see that they now have iLugger bags for the 27 inch iMac, which may have me thinking twice as to which size I get the next time I upgrade!

Digital Audio To Analog Audio Converter

Wondering if any regular (or irregular) readers have recommendations for a digital to analog audio converter. I need a converter so I can run the two-channel digital audio signal coming from my DVD/CD setup to what you might call a ‘legacy’ sound system, despite the RCA-style analog outputs on my amp. I don’t get very involved in hardware on this site but I thought that I would make an exception in this case as I’m looking for a solution for a real-world issue that I am having myself.
I received a good suggestion for a video booster before so maybe this will work again.

DIY $10 Macro Photo Studio

Strobist has a quick DIY project that will help you create a $10 Macro Photo Studio. All you need is a cardboard box, some white tissue paper, some posterboard and a bright light and soon enough you’ll be taking some great still life photographs. I love photographic tips like this which both allow you to improve your photos and give you new ways to approach subject matter, but which also are so cheap that you almost can’t resist implementing them.

Everybody likes to make use of macro photography at some point–which after all is just a fancy way of saying high-quality close-up photos–and now virtually everyone has the means to accomplish this.

DIY Macro Ring Light

If you’re into digital macro photography, you might want to look at building your own 48 LED macro ring-light. The article claims that it’s possible for less than $10!

With this do-it-yourself project, you can build a special LED light that attaches to the lens of your consumer level digital camera. If you enjoy photography but are unfamiliar with macro photography, rest assured that it will open up an entirely new world and possibly even a new obsession for you viz a viz photography.

A macro lighting rig is probably the first thing you’re going to need and this project shouldn’t take you more than a couple of hours so you be taking photos same day.

Win an iPod!

I thought that the title of this post just might have caught your attention! Last week, I posted that the students in my Digital Media Technologies program are holding their Graduate Show in Victoria, British Columbia on May 1st. One of the door prizes will be a 15GB Apple iPod. So if you happen to be a web developer or graphic designer who lives in British Columbia or the Pacific Northwest, I would like to invite you to attend Surfacing 2004.

This event is presented by the graduating students of Malaspina University-College’s Digital Media Technology and Graphic Design programs.

The exhibition is on Saturday, May 1, 2004, from 9:00am – 4:00pm, in the Balmoral room at the Empress Hotel in Victoria. Students will showcase their work in animation, design, illustration, typography, video and web. Industry professionals, potential employers and the general public are all welcome to come down and see the innovate work done by students in these two highly successful programs.

Turn you LCD Monitor into a TV

Have a spare LCD monitor kicking around? Xpert TV looks like a cool product that will turn your LCD monitor into a TV or Video Monitor. Okay, maybe you are thinking that with the advent of the Internet you have less need for television than you ever did. Still it’s nice to know that the next time you could use a TV for your spare room or possibly for your kid’s room, that you might be able to spend less money and have a cool project to undertake. Here at Digital Media Minute we are about digital delivery, no matter what screen you are using.

This product retails for about $120CDN.

Low Cost iPods?

CNN reports that it looks like Apple will soon be unveiling lower-cost iPods. This shouldn’t be a total surprise as the usual path for a company who finds itself in possession of very hot product will usually be to start to differentiate it into a whole product line within a couple of years. Apple has shown incredible prescience not only in the development of the iPod itself but also in its marketing and the idea of offering a simpler and cheaper version of the ubiquitous device (and who knows maybe a more expensive version as well?) seems to me to be a smart one. Stay tuned!