The Next Big Thing
Posts about next generation technologies and their effect on business.

Displaying articles for: December 2011

Popular Science Archive Explorer

It just came to my attention that Popular Science magazine released an interactive tool that charts the frequency of any word in the full-text archive of Popular Science since 1872. This site transforms:


“1,563 issues into mineable data. By counting the frequency of every word in a 1.35-gigabyte file containing the full text from those issues”


There is also a powerful visualization tool that provides an interesting look at when certain terms we use regularly today first appeared in the magazine.

Tags: Trends
Labels: Trends

Will solar energy shine in 2012?

A Bloomberg article recently discussed the decline in the price of photovoltaic panels in 2011. The article discusses the fact that “The spot price of solar panels has fallen 47 percent this year, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, while crude oil prices have gained 8 percent in New York.”


You may think this means there may be a significant burst in solar installation in 2012, but these lower costs may not be sustainable though, since the actual costs involved in the production of solar cells have not declined and is more of a side effect of overproduction. The costs of installing solar cells has declined significantly as better techniques are being used today. The DIY market is responding to the reduction is solar panel costs as well.


It will be interesting to see what happens next.

Tags: energy| Finance| Green
Labels: energy| Finance| Green

Smart clothing advances

electroniccotton.jpgTransistors are a foundational component in active electronic circuits. Cotton is one of the foundational components of today’s textiles. Putting their capabilities together will provide applications that we couldn’t dream of before.


Researchers in the United States, Italy, and France have invented transistors made from cotton fibers. These threads can be woven into clothing capable of performing electronic functions enabling new applications like sensing and displaying information. Applications like smart hospital gowns, carpet that measures traffic and dynamic T-shirt displays are some of the more obvious applications.


To make a fiber conductive, the team coated each strand with gold nanoparticles and added a thin layer of a conductive polymer. They created an organic electrochemical transistor and an organic field-effect transistor by doping the conductive fibers with a semiconducting polymer.


Smart clothing is definitely something that will be in fashion throughout the rest of the decade. Picture courtesy of Textiles Nanotechnology Laboratory at Cornell University.

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About the Author(s)
  • Steve Simske is an HP Fellow and Director in the Printing and Content Delivery Lab in Hewlett-Packard Labs, and is the Director and Chief Technologist for the HP Labs Security Printing and Imaging program.
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