Smart Parking

Finding a parking spot in a crowded city just got a whole lot easier!  San Francisco has embedded magnetic sensors under 8200 parking spaces throughout the city, to detect the presence of a car, and has made this information available to all at the SFpark website.  It doesn’t show individual spots, but gives a block by block status of congestion, with estimated number of spaces available in each, along with the parking rates for different times of day.  Pretty cool!  And yes, ‘there’s an app for that‘ too…

Light-trapping nanoshells

Scientists at Stanford are exploring an unusual method of increasing solar cell efficiency – they’re using hollow silicon spheres to help trap the light that would otherwise be reflected.  Trapping the light in this manner allows more of it to ultimately be absorbed, increasing overall effectiveness.  You can even stack up multiple layers of these tiny spheres to further improve efficiency.  Hard to say if and when this will make it to the commercial market, but it does help show there’s a lot of research going into solar energy…a future without fossil fuels is an ever-increasing probability.  (via Gizmag)

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