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Charge of the EV Brigade

2012 will test the feasibility of EV charging stations

8 min read
The author’s all-electric Nissan Leaf being charged.
Ahhh! DC Current...: The author’s all-electric Nissan Leaf satiates itself with a superfast charge.
Photo: Mark Richards

In a cloud of car exhaust during a Friday rush hour, I’m humming over San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge in an all-electric, tailpipe-free Nissan Leaf. I’ve plotted a course for Vacaville, 88 kilometers (55 miles) north, known for its sprawling outlet mall. However, I seek not a shopping retreat but an eco-electric enclave, for this city is in the vanguard of a government-subsidized drive to build the first network of public electric-vehicle charging stations in the United States.

Throughout this year and into 2013, the top organizations in EV charging technology will be wrapping up projects backed by more than US $130 million in federal stimulus money and Department of Energy grants. And with thousands of public chargers coming on line, Vacaville’s beta-scale program joins the latest, politically charged controversy over the electric car: Is public charging a necessary spark to ignite mass-scale EV adoption?

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Video Friday: Humanoid Soccer

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

4 min read
Humans and human-sized humanoid robots stand together on an indoor soccer field at the beginning of a game

Video Friday is your weekly selection of awesome robotics videos, collected by your friends at IEEE Spectrum robotics. We also post a weekly calendar of upcoming robotics events for the next few months. Please send us your events for inclusion.

CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND
ICRA 2023: 29 May–2 June 2023, LONDON

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Array of devices on a chip

This analog electrochemical memory (ECRAM) array provides a prototype for artificial synapses in AI training.

IBM research

How far away could be an artificial brain? Perhaps a very long way still, but a working analogue to the essential element of the brain’s networks, the synapse, appears closer at hand now.

That’s because a device that draws inspiration from batteries now appears surprisingly well suited to run artificial neural networks. Called electrochemical RAM (ECRAM), it is giving traditional transistor-based AI an unexpected run for its money—and is quickly moving toward the head of the pack in the race to develop the perfect artificial synapse. Researchers recently reported a string of advances at this week’s IEEE International Electron Device Meeting (IEDM 2022) and elsewhere, including ECRAM devices that use less energy, hold memory longer, and take up less space.

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Solving Automotive Design Challenges With Simulation

Learn about low-frequency electromagnetic simulations and see a live demonstration of COMSOL Multiphysics software

1 min read

The development of new hybrid and battery electric vehicles introduces numerous design challenges. Many of these challenges are static or low-frequency electromagnetic by nature, as the devices involved in such designs are much smaller than the operating wavelength. Examples include sensors (such as MEMS sensors), transformers, and motors. Many of these challenges include multiple physics. For instance, sensors activated by acoustic energy as well as heat transfer in electric motors and power electronics combine low-frequency electromagnetic simulations with acoustic and heat transfer simulations, respectively.

Multiphysics simulation makes it possible to account for such phenomena in designs and can provide design engineers with the tools needed for developing products more effectively and optimizing device performance.

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