Archive for the ‘ Future ’ Category

Oorja power, an Indians Invention taking on Bloom Box

Bloom Box is the brain child of an Indian, Mr. K R Sridhar who used to work at NASA and found that Fuel Cells using the right potent fuel for its input can be used to run entire house holds. Now Another Indian Mr. Sanjiv Malhotra is now looking to challenge the invention with another invention of his own which uses Methanol as the input fuel to generate clean electricity for the homes. Yes you read it right, two people from the sub continent in USA are working on technologies that can change the face of the earth.

With stationary fuel cells hot again, Oorja Protonics is jumping into the market. In a few months, the company, which specializes in methanol fuel cells, will release a fuel cell capable of generating 5 kilowatts of power, enough to run a home or small business or to provide backup power to cell towers. It’s somewhat small in size, as well. Check out the video: the 5-kilowatt fuel cell fits on top of a gurney. It is about the same size as a 500-watt device Oorja produced a few years back, then the market for this technology did not really exist. “This will sit on large forklifts. You could use it for auxiliary power for trucks, RVs or marine applications, or for off-grid power for homes or farms,” said CEO Sanjiv Malhotra. “This opens up a plethora of other markets.” For larger applications, the fuel cells can be chain-ganged together. Connect twenty of them and they would be capable of generating 100 kilowatts of power — as much energy as the recently unfurled Bloom Energy Server. Check out the video below.

Methanol is one of the mostly commonly produced chemicals in the world, costs about $1 to $2 a gallon and doesn’t have to be transported under pressure so it’s easy to ship. Many car manufacturing plants already have large tanks on site to store methanol because it’s the same chemical as windshield washer fluid. Methanol would be delivered to plants that don’t have large tanks in large plastic drums. Methanol also has environmental advantages over lead acid batteries. Oorja claims a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions even if the methanol for its fuel cells were produced from coal liquification or natural gas. But methanol can also be made using non-food biowaste, which would virtually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions.

Malhotra founded Oorja, which means energy in Sanskrit, in 2005. The Fremont-based company employs about 35 and Aug. 25 announced a 60-unit sale to a Nissan factory in Smyrna, Tenn. Nissan has tested Oorja’s products for the last 18 months. Malhotra studied fuel cells in graduate school two decades ago, first at the University of Iowa and then at the University of California, Berkeley. “Back then, nobody had heard of fuel cells,” he said. “I remember looking for a job after I finished my Masters and people were sending me to gas stations.” After completing a Ph.D., Malhotra worked at H Power, where he landed an $81 million sale for H Power’s propane fuel cells. The company went public in 2000, raising $100 million and selling in 2002. After tiring of early retirement, Malhotra founded Oorja.

Is Dell Going to Follow Suite to What Google is doing ?

Past few days there have been unconfirmed reports of DELL having talks with the Indian Prime Minister Mr. Manmohan Singh and discussed its intent to move from China into safer Markets. Apparently, DELL sees huge potential in India as the country is playing a dramatic shift towards selling services to business clients after shaking off its singular dependence on direct sales of personal computers, as per the Economic Times. Add to it the fact that India has showed proven growth in the recession when other states have not been able to (finger pointed to China).

The Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh, was quoted in the Hindustan Times as saying he’d just met with Dell’s chairman, who would like to move all of their set-up to a country “with security of legal system”. They’ve currently got one factory in India already, so it might seem an obvious choice. Mr. Dell, the founder of Dell is quoted to be saying, “India is a great place to be in. It is growing faster than China for us”. Dell, whose return as CEO in 2007 redefined a hardware company that once championed the direct sales model, sees the Indian market helping its offshoot Dell International Services expand beyond technology and consulting services to healthcare, insurance and governance. In India, the company won a Rs. 90-crore contract from Max Healthcare late last year.

Dell generates annual revenues of nearly $1 billion and has a free cash flow of $4.6 billion from India. “Over the last three years, consumer, public sector and small medium businesses have been growing in India.” On India’s ambitious Unique ID (UID) project, Dell said that he is keen on participating, particularly on aspects such as how it can the used to deliver healthcare by storing patient records. The company is also eyeing the smart phone market. “There’s a huge market to be tapped out there if we go by the smart phone user base,” he said, adding that just 1.5 percent of the world’s 4-billion mobile phone users have a smart phone.

Everyone knows about the Google – China fight and Google to leave China soon. Well after that, GoDaddy the domain registration firm has mentioned that it will leave china as well. Now Dell. Could this be the beginning of a mass exodus. Might be, considering the famous Chinese legislation which might have companies manufacturing in China to provide their schematics

Via Gizmodo via HindustanTimes via SiliconIndia

India leading the way in Telecom “Greening” process

Its rare to see developing nations showing the way to developed nations about new technologies and new methodologies. India on the other hand, has been making the transition very smoothly to a developing Nation to a slow developed nation in its own rights. And this time around the Government is making strides as well, which means it is not the Sleeping tiger stage but the waking stage.. lol. On a much more serious note, after taking on a huge responsibility to produce 20GW of renewable energy by 2020, India’s energy ministry seems to be making progress. Firstly the National Solar Mission announced that they will work on the world’s largest solar power plant through a joint venture between Airvoice Group, an Indian mobile phone and commodity export firm, and Satluj Jal Vidyut Nigam, a a joint venture between the governments of India and the district of Himachal Pradesh. They expect that over $50 billion will be invested over the next 10 years to make the project a reality.

If the news above does not make you go wow, feast your eyes on the second bit. The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy of the Indian government is likely to come out with a mandate that would require telecom operators to transform their cellphone towers from being powered by diesel generators to solar panels. This may not seem like such a big deal until you think about the numbers – India has approximately 500 million mobile phone subscribers (more than the population of any country except China) and still continues to be one of the two fastest growing telecom markets. That means that even more cellphone towers are going to be set up in the near future. India has more than 250,000 cellphone towers which consume 3-5 kilowatts power depending on the number of operators using the tower. These towers consume about 2 billion litres of diesel every year.  According to Cleantechnica, the switch over to solar power translates to a reduction of 5 million tons of CO2 emissions as well as a savings of $1.4 billion!

More and more initiatives like trying to make the government buildings green, and aiming higher so that the self proclaimed milestone can be reached; can be seen in recent newspaper articles. Its great to see the sleeping tiger slowly awakening. However, considering the vastness of the country and the plagues of apathy and irresponsibility, its going to have to wake up quicker and move swiftly.

Via CleanTechnica

Zero Baggage Allows Travelers To Fly Without Luggage

One of the biggest pains for passengers, airlines and airports alike is the baggage of people. It is unbelievable the amount of baggage that gets lost or misplaced in a single days operation. In fact this article in the telegraph puts the number at close to 2.5 Million a year. Considering the fact that all airlines have to pay an amount to people who miss or misplace baggage it is a major issue for everyone. A new startup Zero Baggage has come up with a system that allows travellers to fly without luggage.

Zero Baggage aims to change the travel experience by letting its users fly without checked luggage, borrowing items from local suppliers through the duration of their trips. Zero Baggage also has novel perks that come along with the service; users accrue carbon credits for traveling light, which can be reimbursed for various services such as a spa trip or dinner. Members of Zero Baggage can also opt to buy new items, or store personal effects at frequently visited places. The service also has a community feature, which enables travelers to connect with people at their destination. Zero Baggage will start its services in November 2010. I am really looking forward to seeing this work, should be one of those interesting technologies that may help revolutionize travel if it works, or just fail otherwise.

Here’s a video on how the service works:

You can also check out their service at : http://zerobaggage.com/index.html

Source via pfsk

Where is Innovation required in India – i.e Where is the money ?

This is a question that has been asked before and a lot of people and companies are striving to get the answer to this. India is a big country with varying socio economic sectors, each with a different requirement than the other. However the numbers is each sector would dictate what sector is the best sector for the maximum market reach or most profit.  Here are my views on where is the real market for an aspiring service or company in India.

First things first, to categorize India into sectors is very difficult. There are many factors and many conditions that dictate what the consumers need and where is the best place to work. But, largely based on the socio economic front there can be 5 distinct sectors in India.

  1. The Very Rich
  2. The Consuming Class
  3. The Climbers
  4. The Aspirants
  5. The Survivors

The first and second sectors are the ones that expect the products and services the same as that of the developed countries. For the most part, the rest of the sectors are only aspiring to achieve any sort of service that can be there. This is the real market for an aspiring new company. The majority of enterprises in the Climbers or aspirant sectors have ten or fewer employees, and are the main contributors of employment for the poor. Hence micro-entrepreneurs form the backbone of economies in these regions, and their development is crucial for socioeconomic improvement in a country like India.

The climbers / Aspirants and Survivors form the largest sector of the country. In India these sectors represent the sleeping tiger, which is the part of the country which has the most potential but still have to deal with infrastructural requirements that plague the country. There are great markets that can be worked on considering the sharp downfall of the government to provide these services to people:

POWER : For instance, for many it still is a daily struggle to get enough electricity to go about their daily lives. Those living in rural areas or in urban slums simply don’t have electricity. This could be addressed by integrating new battery technology, solar recharging, low-power technologies, or via devices that automatically utilize other ways of charging or saving power that are still being explored.

LITERACY : The UN estimates that nearly 20% of the world population is illiterate – with the vastmajority residing in developing nations. Before even basic information services like SMS can be used, more effort needs to be made into creating new user interfaces for those who can’t read, and more effort into finding the best ways of teaching literacy with mobile devices.

COMMUNITY : Rapid technological change in the world is going to inevitably create friction, as well as great opportunities. Finding ways to integrate technologies into traditional social structures in a positive way could play a huge role in community enhancement. Micro payments, encouragement for Entrepreneurship, Venture Capitalism are all venues where we could approach the community issues.
There have been certain products that have come around in the past few months to cater to these sectors. Good examples to these have been Mitti Cool, the Refrigerator aimed at the villages without electricity and made entirely of clay, and other innovations. You can check more of these inventions at http://www.jugaadu.com/.

Though it is tempting to simply assume that eventually growing economies will need many of the same things that developed nations already have, innovation and new services to help the poor and uneducated can’t stop because some parts of these sectors have crossed into what can be called “lower middle class.” For the vast majority, there are still many problems with accessing just the most basic requirements of human beings. The opportunities to improve the lives of millions of people with new services aimed at growing economies are incredible. As time goes by and new technologies become cheaper and accessible by more people, the possibilities for even greater services that truly improve the quality of life are enormous.

New Invention for Sleep at Airports

The airport Industry is considered the peak in commercial automation in terms of the technologies in use, of course there is Industrial Automation, Military Automation as the other parts or you could say peaks. But in Commercial Automation, working on an Airport is like working on a Spacecraft. The airports often throw up technologies and or gadgets that may in fact one day move into daily life a few examples of these would be travelators, escalators, and image recognition through security cameras etc. I am working on the Dubai Airport expansion project and recently came across this interesting little device from the consultants who have designed the Dubai Airport, Airport De Paris International (ADPi) that they have installed in the Paris Airport as a sample.

Sleep Machines, that allow people to sleep or rest while they wait for flights these seem like amazing machines. It looks just right, the perfect place to catch up on your sleep between long flights. We like its clever design, with sheets that are automatically changed by winding from one roller to another, just like a conveyor belt. Each Sleep Box is decked out with an LCD display, Wi-Fi, a place to stash your luggage, and plenty of sockets for charging up your laptop and cell phone. Sure beats sleeping in a chair. Check out the pictures of the same here below and also the video below.

Try before you buy, online ? Now you can !

[tweetmeme] One of my favorite technologies that I keep writing about is Augmented reality and this is one technology that is definitely going to change a lot of habits among us; And the part of society or business that will be the first to adopt will be able to be on top when the technology comes up for good. Anyway, back to what I want to talk about, I did do a post earlier where I had mentioned how Cisco imagines our future, where we shop using augmented reality. That future is closer than I think it is. As a refresher check out the video below :

Now imagine how this could be happening ? Well, I have the answer. A business in London http://www.glassesdirect.co.uk has come up with an online solution for people to be able to select their glasses and having to try them on before buying them …. all online 🙂 How you ask me?

You can check it out yourself here. I can assure you that you will be surprised at the result. You can see a demo of the same here below :

This reminds of a very famous quote about the future :

“The future is already here, its just not evenly distributed ” – William Gibson