Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Ikea starts selling residential solar panels in the UK

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Ikea starts selling residential solar panels in the UK




Ikea starts selling residential solar panels in the UK 

..Because when you think of Britain, you think of sunny skies. Ikea has started selling solar panels for residential rooftops at its stores in the United Kingdom. The furniture outfit's move into home solar systems (as opposed to sun-powered lighting) was apparently made attractive due to the drop in cost of solar panels, and Ikea's initial offering will set you back £5,700 (about $9,300). For your money, you get a 3.36 kW system, in-store consultation, installation, maintenance and energy monitoring service. Ikea's got plans to sell solar panels in other locales, but according to Ikea Chief Sustainability Officer Steve Howard, such expansion will be done market by market (so don't expect a worldwide rollout). Hey Steve, might we suggest your next store to start selling solar be someplace with more than two weeks of sunshine per year?
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Smartphone chips sense earthquakes, could speed up aid response

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Smartphone chips sense earthquakes, could speed up aid response






The chip that tells your smartphone which way is up has been used to detect earthquake-scale forces accurately. If further testing proves successful, smartphones could be turned into a network of seismometers that together tell emergency services where to respond first.

The testing was done by a pair of seismologists from the National Institute of Geophysics and Volcanology, Antonino D'Alessandro and Giuseppe D'Anna, who initially put forward the proposal in April 2013 in a paper entitled "Can mobile phones be used in strong motion seismology?" and have now published their results in the Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America. 

The chip in question is the Micro Electro-Mechanical Systems (MEMS) accelerometer, commonly found today in smartphones and laptops. In the former it flips the home screen the right way round by measuring movement across three axes. For the experiments, the LIS331DLH chip was used, found in both the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5. Using readings from the EpiSensor FBA ES-T seismometer as a point of reference, D'Alessandro and D'Anna set the phone sensor on a vibrating table (typically used in seismology studies). 

Read the full article: http://bit.ly/170zd7H
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Tuesday, 1 October 2013

4 Apps to Lower Your Smartphone Bill

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4 Apps to Lower Your Smartphone Bill 





Who uses their phone to make calls anymore? It seems as if smartphones hardly make it up to users’ ears these days and instead get regularly used to text, share pictures, video chat, update our social networks or search the web. While convenient, smartphones aren’t cheap. 

According to J.D. Power and Associates, U.S.- based families spent on average $139 a month last year on their cell phone bills. While some of the costs are out of your control, there are ways you can reduce your bill. Developers have created a slew of apps that let you text, video chat and even make phone calls for free. Here’s a look at four:

WhatsApp

While most carriers offer text messaging plans, going over your selected plan can result in a jaw-dropping statement. Text messaging has become the main form of communication for many users, and app developers have responded to the trend with several free services.

1. WhatsApp, a wildly popular free texting app works on the iPhone, Blackberry, Android and Windows-based phones. The app allows you to message across platforms without having to pay for SMS by using your internet data plan to send the messages.

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iMotion 3D controller launches on Kickstarter with dreams of replacing your mouse, we go hands-on

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iMotion 3D controller launches on Kickstarter with dreams of replacing your mouse, we go hands-on 



If you thought the Kinect was a brilliant step forward in 3D sensing and you were enthralled by the possibilities of hand gestures with the Leap Motion, then you might be interested in what the iMotion 3D motion controller has to offer. A small rounded rectangular device that fits onto your hand like a glove, the iMotion is composed of accelerometers, gyroscopes and three LED sensors that will communicate with any standard web cam to locate your body in 3D space. There's no special sauce to it either; as long as you have the iMotion software on your computer, you're able to use the controller with pretty much any application. However, iMotion does plan on releasing an SDK so that developers can fine-tune their app or game to enable additional features of the iMotion, such as better precision and haptic feedback.

The technology was initially developed a few years ago by Intellect Motion, a company based out of Singapore, for medical purposes like sports rehabilitation. A year ago however, it started to delve into the gaming side of things and came up with the prototype device you see above. Now the company is ready to move on to the next stage, and that's to launch the device on Kickstarter and get the iMotion out to the public. Join us after the break to get our early hands-on impressions, a video of it in action and more details of the Kickstarter campaign. Read more: http://bit.ly/16XCxAo
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