3. august 2013

Spectacular clouds over Oslo today

Panorama of ominous rain clouds over Oslo, Norway 3. August 2013 (Photo by Knut Karlsen)

A few minutes later and we are expecting the alien mother ship to break through. (Photo by Knut Karlsen)

2. januar 2013

Are flexible solar panels finally catching up?

"Sun Cat" Batteries
A few years ago I documented a DIY project where I created self charging batteries using flexible solar panels. However, the batteries where just an experiment in evidencing; the art of make believe in realising new product concepts and evaluate said concept concept before any actual work is done. This experiment was part of my master thesis on how consumers could be encouraged to produce electricity in their own homes.

One of the key components missing at the time to make those batteries more than a mirage, where the lack of proper flexible solar panels. For some time there has been "bendable" panels available, but those where still attached to quite thick substrate.

Actual cells in use. Not too curvy, these are!
Now I find that researchers at +Stanford Engineering  has developed a method to peel off the thin film Photo Voltaic (PV) cells from its substrate and transfer them onto various objects, even those with curved surfaces. Their method includes soaking the panels in hot water to loosen the cells from the original substrate which sounds suitable for any DIY project.

The substrate is normally made of glass, not flexible, in solar panels. Substrate can also be made of special polymers (plastics) for thin film solar panels that are more or less flexible. The major new development, as far as I understand, is that the substrate is no longer necessary for the cells to function and thus can be removed. These new PV cells can be applied to non special materials and could give product designers new freedoms in adding powers sources to their products without compromising in their designs.

Maybe this technology could be used to produce tear off pages in a booklet for DIYers to stick on any odd project laying around? Sign me up for a couple!

Happy New Year!

13. januar 2011

Nokia firmly leads the pack by Bluetooth numbers

This table shows the top 20 manufactures of 5153 unique bluetooth devices spotted in Oslo, Norway between 11. November 2010 and 12. January 2011.

Device manufacturer Count
Nokia Danmark 1811
Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications 888
Nokia Corporation 638
Apple 282
Samsung Electronics Co 241
Samsung Electronics 160
Texas Instruments 114
Hon Hai Precision Ind Co 82
Infineon 80
Private 78
Lg Electronics 75
Tomtom 67
Novero 65
Usi 61
Parrot Sa 39
Continental Automotive Systems 35
Motorola 29
Liteon Technology Corporation 25
Apple Computer 19
Alps Electric Co 18

I am grabbing the information from nearby devices on my daily commute to work, which results in an average of 150 unique devices. The data was gathered infrequently, mostly on weekdays.

PS. I'll get back to you shortly (this year) with a more interesting "tool" related to bluetooth!

9. juli 2010

Synthetic Vortex in Blender 2.5

I'm starting to use Blender 2.5 as my new tool these days. It offers some really nice smoke, cloud & fluid simulations that might get handy in my new job as a "Weather designer".

The goal is to use Blenders particles and simulation tools to create weather phenomenon that I can use in my work.

25. februar 2010

My familiar strangers this morning

I have been experimenting with data logging on Pachube and the concept of the "familiar stranger" (people you coincidentally create social networks with due to same habits or routines). I believe there is a big potential for interesting analytical use of the data.
This morning I logged my surroundings going from home to work. The thumbnails show two graphs, one for new strangers (top)  and one for familiar strangers (bottom). In this case "familiar" is concidered to be people that have been around for more than one minute.
Overlaying the two graphs I'll try to explain what caused the fluctuations in the data.
Vertical lines are five minutes apart, blue is for strangers and red is for familiar strangers.
  1. Leaving kindergarden and walking towards subway stop. I was alone.
  2. Approaching the station, buying a coffee at the subway station and a seven minute wait at station. People come and go and on the platform, but there are a few people waiting with me.
  3. Entering rail car, lots of people around. I guess the second blue spike is the next station. 
  4. The rail car fills up and the same people are with me until I approach my transfer station (15 min journey). See how the two blue spikes adds up to the height of the red graph, suggesting that the people from the two first spikes are within 5-10 meters.
  5. Changing line, meet new people, but the rail car is less crowded than on the other line. 
  6. Leaving the subway and passing through an large office builidng.
  7. At work, quite a few familiar strangers that i suspect will stay for the duration of the day.
I find it interesting to see how the blue spikes on some occations are followed by a longer red surge and sometimes not. This tells me, just from the data that some occations you move past people and sometimes you stay with them. Which is what you would expect!