Posts by — techstar

Charge your phone with this foldaway windmill
by TECHSTAR on APRIL 14, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY, MOBILE

Forget plugs – you can now charge your mobile with a portable WIND TURBINE:the Trinity propeller harnesses breezes to power up a phone and other USB devices.
Created by American electricians Einar Agustsson and Agust Agustsson, the power station folds into a 12-inch cylinder when not in use. (more…)

FireChat app
by TECHSTAR on APRIL 5, 2014 - 0 Comments in MOBILE

peer to peer messaging

peer to peer messaging

SAN FRANCISCO AP –A new mobile messaging application called FireChat is empowering nearby smartphone users to stay in touch even when there’s no cellular service or Internet connection. Think of it as peer-to-peer messaging.

In just two weeks since its release on the iPhone, FireChat already has provided a flicker of hope for people pining for more effective, secure and affordable ways to communicate. That’s because the free messaging app harnesses a technology called wireless mesh networking, which might someday allow a myriad of devices to connect like links in a chain, without a facilitating company needing to get involved. (more…)

App uses social media data to make avoiding people easier
by TECHSTAR on MARCH 23, 2014 - 0 Comments in MOBILE, URBAN

A new iPhone app allows users to harness the power of social media to become as anti-social as possible.

Cloak lets users view a map with location data taken from their friends’ Foursquare and Instagram posts in order to avoid contact.

Users can flag specific friends — or all of them — and will receive an alert if they’re nearby. The warning distance ranges between within one block and 2 miles. (more…)

Battery life easily exceeds manufacturers estimates
by TECHSTAR on MARCH 19, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

Recent research just released from Zaragoza University, Spain, by VerticalNews show that battery life, crucial to the economics of off-grid energy – can easily exceed or heavily undershoot the manufacturers estimates.
It all depends on how well you maintain your batteries. IF you baby them along, never falling below 50% power and charnging the regularly, then you can double the life expectancy. (more…)

Bye-bye the smartphone:Tablets rated and reviewed
by TECHSTAR on MARCH 3, 2014 - 0 Comments in MOBILE, OFF-GRID 101

Field tests of computers and laptops

Field-test tablets and laptops

Out in the boonies, your net-connected phone or computer can be your best work-mate.
But phones are too small, and computers too power-hungry. The new generation of tablets could be the ideal productivity tool for many off-gridders.
With the right tech choices, you’ll be able to do all the usual – send emails, stream video, run multiple programs, but also edit video, run spreadsheets, work from home AND have a family asset that will let kids do homework while granny searches the family tree and Dad watches Netflix.

So here is what we tested: (more…)

New type of battery ready for market
by TECHSTAR on FEBRUARY 27, 2014 - 0 Comments in ENERGY

Jay Whitacre - inventor

Jay Whitacre – inventor

While Tesla revolutionises the business model for batteries, the basic product remained the same. Now a small upstart company has come along with a brand new way to store energy, a new chemistry. It will hasten the death spiral of the traditional grid.

The novel battery uses a water-based electrolyte that allowed developer Aquion Energy Inc. (Pittsburgh, Pa.; www.aquionenergy.com) to achieve a low-cost and safe battery with long cycle life, although more suited to stationary energy-storage applications because of large size. The Aquion battery technology, now entering its commercial launch process, employs an aqueous sodium-sulfate electrolyte. (more…)

Tesla Motors aims to disrupt the $1tr electricity industry
by TECHSTAR on FEBRUARY 26, 2014 - 2 Comments in ENERGY

Tesla Motors Inc. might be on the verge of disrupting two industries—autos and batteries say analysts at Morgan Stanley.

Tesla this week is expected to announce with corporate partners a plan to build a new battery factory that would take in raw materials and produce finished batteries, lowering its cost of buying and assembly individual battery cell components. Mr. Jonas said Tesla’s battery cell production has the potential to make it a major competitor in the electrical grid storage business.
(more…)

Chinese solar farm $2m crowd-funding
by TECHSTAR on FEBRUARY 20, 2014 - 2 Comments in SOLAR

A state-backed firm teamed up with Chinese online financiers to fund off-grid solar facility in Qianhai, near Shenzen, southern China.

United Photovoltaics Group, controlled by state-backed finance-to-logistics conglomerate China Merchants Group, aims to raise 10 million yuan through what it claims to be the world’s first megawatt-scale, off-power-grid solar farm project funded by an internet “crowd fundraising” platform. (more…)

Subaru unreliable electrics
by TECHSTAR on FEBRUARY 6, 2014 - 0 Comments in MOBILE, OFF-GRID 101

When you live off the grid a Subaru Outback might seem like the perfect choice. It’s a low-profile All wheel Drive that has an enviable reputation for reliability.

Unfortunately the Subaru company is hostile and unhelpful when the design flaws in its cars are exposed. And there are many design flaws. Their so-called Customer Service department refused to come on the phone and wrote legalistic replies to my complaints. (more…)


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