Smart devices could soon tap their owners as a battery source

The world is edging closer to a reality where smart devices are able to use their owners as an energy resource, say experts.

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Physicists train robotic gliders to soar like birds

Scientists know that upward currents of warm air assist birds in flight. To understand how birds find and navigate these thermal plumes, researchers used reinforcement learning to train gliders to autonomously navigate atmospheric thermals. The research highlights the role of vertical wind accelerations and roll-wise torques as viable biological cues for soaring birds. The findings also provide a navigational strategy that directly applies to the development of UAVs.

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Large wind and solar farms in the Sahara would increase heat, rain, vegetation

Wind and solar farms are known to have local effects on heat, humidity and other factors that may be beneficial — or detrimental — to the regions in which they are situated. A new climate-modeling study finds that a massive wind and solar installation in the Sahara Desert and neighboring Sahel would increase local temperature, precipitation and vegetation. Overall, the researchers report, the effects would likely benefit the region.

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Wind turbines: How much power can they provide?

Wind turbines could cover 40 percent of the current electricity consumption in Germany.

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3D printed impeller allows unmanned aircraft to operate for thousands of hours

Engineers are developing a cooled, radial gas turbine for a small generator that provides thousands of hours of electricity to an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), a significant improvement to current UAV turbines that only operate a few hundred hours before wearing out.

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