Ram Kumar

Home Heating by a Robot

Warm Up Robot

Heating our homes in winter consumes vast amounts of energy and costs households a great deal. But imagine if there were a robot that could store heat and then moved around the house to warm cold areas? Drum roll please for…..Hagent, the mobile heater robot. This small robot shaped like a black box is amde up of movable wheels, sensors and Phase change materials (PCM). PCM  absorb heat from a hot body and change their phase (from solid to liquid or vice versa) and then release the heat by again changing their phase. Designed by Andreas Meinhardt and Daniel Abendrith… read more

Energy Leaks at Home


It is widely said that the most expensive part of a building construction is its interior design and architecture. But there is one more important thing to check and that is “energy wastage”. In the US, it’s estimated that billions of dollars are wasted each year because of air seal leaks in doors, walls and windows. Nearly 40% of energy spent on cooling or heating a building is wasted because of this invisible problem. Any small improvements in each building can save the total power of the nation. Leaks in buildings are usually detected by a  “blower door test” which… read more

People Power, Literally

Unplugged Desk

Have you ever wondered what your workspace will look like in the future? The electronic devices at your desk may not be powered by solar energy or other technology. You may become the source of power for your workspace. The thesis project of a Swedish student Eddi Törnberg, titled “Unplugged”, is looking at how to make use of the energy generated by millions of people as they sit and work in the office. It is inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowes quote “Human nature is above all things lazy” so Tornberg has looked at how to ensure all your movements and daily activities are not going to waste,… read more

Supercharging Solar


For many decades, researchers have investigated various methods to double the power output of solar cells by making use of “hot electrons”. Recently researchers at Boston College have provided new experimental evidence that this theory will work. The team built solar cells that get a power boost from high-energy photons. This boost, the researchers say, is the result of extracting hot electrons which are normally wasted in typical solar cells. The results are a step forward for solar cells that break conventional efficiency limits. Because of the way ordinary solar cells work they can, in theory, convert at most about 35%… read more

Doomsday – Hoax Or Here?


The Doomsday Conspiracy flooded the internet for more than four years leading up to its supposedly deadline. The date for the end of the world was set as 21/12/2012 and was such a virulent conspiracy it even sparked a movie being made about it. Around the world people held their breath and waited anxiously. But it all passed just like any other day. So is the Doomsday Conspiracy dead in the water? As there is no actual date for the origin of the Earth, then it is unlikely to have a final date. It is clear that Earth was not created in… read more

Shrink Your Footprint

Shrink Your Footprint

There is endless discussion in the media about the need to change our  existing habits in the developed world in order to lower carbon emissions and save the planet. Many of us feel powerless to effect real change, but there are small ways we can all make a difference. Work at home With modern networking devices and technologies such as VPN more of us are working from home, if not fulltime, then certainly as a partime  option during our working week. This not only saves time and energy in transportation, but also often allows families to achieve more quality time together. e-reading… read more

Imitating the Power of Nature

Artificial Leaf

No matter how far into the future technology takes us, mankind has always been in awe of Nature. Modern computers and electronic devices may give us ideas and stimulate our imagination but it is always from Nature that we derive our greatest inspiration. Man built aircrafts and ships because we longed to conquer the air and the sea, like the creatures that inhabited those foreign landscapes. Solar energy is no exception. The Sun is a part of nature and we have always acknowledged its power and centrality to our own existence. The process of photosynthesis by which abundant solar energy is used to… read more

Ways With Waste

Ways With Waste

The word ‘recycling’ is a ubiquitous part of our language. It means turning waste into a reusable product or even refurbishing it to reuse again, producing useful things from useless materials. Upcycling takes recycling one step further by using recycled materials to create a product which is even more desirable than the original product itself. It is extremely important to know the difference between these two practices because doing the correct thing will produce beneficial results for both you and the environment. Upcycling actually induces creativity. It requires people to think of creative ways of using old and damaged products and materials and… read more

The $6 Million Dollar Toilet

Reinvent the Toilet

Sanitation is still a major problem in many parts of the world, especially in developing countries. The World Health Organization and UNICEF have released a report stating that about 2.3 billion people, which is approximately 40% of the world’s population, lack access to safe sanitation. UNICEF estimates that 1.5 million children die every year because of poor sanitation which causes diarrohea and other deadly diseases. A contest titled “Reinvent the Toilet” funded by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation granted more than $6 million dollar to design self-sufficient toilets that could be used in developing countries. Many leading universities designed models… read more

The Power Of Your Sweat

Working Out

What does a gym provide? People sweat and in turn it helps them get fit and healthy. But have you ever heard of a gym that produces power? Gyms in Manhattan now have stationary bikes which are pedaled by club members, who are not just keeping themselves fit but also helping to produce power. This bike looks like traditional bikes found in gyms and clubs, but it has a tall black box with wires connected to it which is nothing but a compact generator that converts the mechanical wheeling motion of the bike into electric power. This can now be used in the… read more