Archive for August, 2010

Human Skull USB MP3 Player

mp3 skull

Since everyone is very different on their tastes, MP3 players should match that.  Although most are content to pick up an ipod , there might be those of you that want something a little less mainstream.  I love my iPod, but truthfully I did grumble a little when Apple products became insanely popular.  Although this Human Skull MP3 player is a touch on the goofy side, it adds a little variety to this mass produced world.

The MP3 player features glowing eyes, which give it that truly classy edge.  It works as an MP3 player, but you can also use it as a speaker for all of your other gadgets.  It doesn’t actually come with any built-in memory, but it does have a micro SD(HC) slot.  The built-in Lithium ion battery is rechargeable through the USB port  You can purchase one of these lightweight speakers for $18 through http://usb.brando.com/usb-skull-mp3-player_p01795c035d15.html

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Aussie Zero Race entry: “Trev” the three-wheeled electric vehicle

Trev the Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle that is the Australian entry in the Zero Race

When last we looked at an entry in the upcoming Zero race it was the Swiss team’s Zero tracer electric motorcycle. Today we shift our attention to the Australian entry, which sees the number of wheels upped to three and the vehicle, in typically Australian fashion, given the moniker of “Trev.” And if you’ve got a little spare cash laying about then you can join Team Trev and drive the vehicle for a day during the race – you’ll even get a Team Trev polo shirt!

Design

Trev the Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle

The idea for Trev (short for Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle) was born back in 2003 when industrial design students at the University of South Australia were given the task of designing a low-mass, low-energy vehicle powered by renewable energy and designed specifically for city mobility. At the same time, engineering students started designing the low-mass structures and the major components of the car. The design was further refined in 2004.

The key features of the resultant design were:

  • it was light, weighing about 300kg (661 lbs)
  • three-wheeled design with tandem seating layout, to give good aerodynamics and good balance
  • a canopy similar to that found on sailplanes, giving an unimpeded view of the road
  • a single door, on the curb side of the car
  • single rear-wheel drive, to simplify the suspension and transmission
  • an electric motor, to give smooth quiet acceleration from 0-100km/h (62mph) in about 10 seconds
  • efficient tires, to minimize rolling resistance
  • a 45kg (99 lbs) lithium polymer battery, giving a range of over 100km (62 miles)
  • a tub chassis made from composite boards, formed by cutting, folding and gluing.

Trev the Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle

The car was then built in 2005, painted green and named Trev. Trev was further refined during 2006, and in 2007 was driven 3,000km (1,864 miles) from Darwin to Adelaide in the demonstration class of the World Solar Challenge. Cruising speed was 80-90 km/h (50-56 mph), range was up to 120 km (74.5 miles), and recharge time was one hour.

Although Trev’s key design concepts didn’t change, the team needed to make a few adjustments to make Trev ready for the Zero Race. A larger battery needed to be placed beneath the floor to increase Trev’s range to 250km (155 miles), the brakes and suspension needed to be improved and the rear seat needed to be made more comfortable.

Powered by the wind

Trev the Two-seater Renewable Energy Vehicle

It is a Zero Race requirement that each team must produce its own electricity from renewable sources that will be fed into the grid system in the team’s home country to offset the electricity it will use during the race. To comply with this Team Trev have joined with Trust power, a New Zealand based utility that has donated energy sourced from its 98.7MW Snowtown Wind Farm in South Australia.

With Trev requiring approximately 70 Wh/km, a 30,000km trip will consume approximately 2,100kWh (2.1MWh) of energy. So the amount of energy required to drive Trev around the world is generated by one of the wind farm’s 2.1MW wind turbines spinning at full power in just one hour.

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Kiwi Choice portable solar charger

The U-Powered solar charger is a backup power source or charger for portable electronics such as smartphones, cameras and media players

Canada’s Kiwi Choice has announced the release of a strangely familiar-looking portable solar charger for mobile devices. The three-panel photovoltaic fan design first used by solio has found its way to Kiwi’s U-Powered charger. Featuring a powerful battery, LED flashlight and magnetic feet, the product also comes with multiple device connector tips for maximum compatibility

The device can be hooked up to just about any power source via USB, car or wall charger

The U-Powered solar charger is the first of four green products to be announced by Kiwi Choice. As well as being a backup power source or outright charger for portable electronics such as smartphones, cameras and media players, the device also offers the versatility of not being wholly dependent on the sun for its power. When sunlight adamantly refuses to appear or when users just need a quick power boost, the unit can be hooked up to just about any power source via USB, car or wall charger.

The charge level of the U-Powered's powerful 2000 mAh Lithium Polymer battery is shown via a simple four LED charge level indicator, and the unit is said to be good for over a thousand recharge cycles. The product also has a built-in LED flashlight and sports magnetic feet for secure placement on metallic surfaces. Universal mobile device compatibility is helped along by the inclusion of 11 connector tips.

The charge level of the U-powered’s powerful 2000 mAh Lithium Polymer battery is shown via a simple four LED charge level indicator, and the unit is said to be good for over a thousand recharge cycles. The product also has a built-in LED flashlight and sports magnetic feet for secure placement on metallic surfaces. Universal mobile device compatibility is helped along by the inclusion of 11 connector tips.

Connects via USB to multiple mobile devices

The U-Powered will be available from retail stores and online shortly, and has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of US$49.99.

Of course, fellow solar products company Solio also has a shocking pink hybrid charger which is compatible with a number of devices for about the same price as the U-Powered – although it does have a somewhat weaker 1600mAh Li-ion battery, lacks a torch, and has a suction cup instead of magnetic feet.

A handy backup power solution for mobile devices

Of the other chargers available from Solio, the MAG offers the highest battery capacity at 1800mAh. Whereas Kiwi’s product is said to need at least 17 hours of good sunlight to reach full charge, the MAG needs to sunbathe for only around ten.

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