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The Charge of the Ultra-Capacitors

Nanotechnology takes energy storage beyond batteries

10 min read
The Charge of the Ultra-Capacitors
Illustration: Bryan ChrIstie Design

In 1995, a small fleet of innovative electric buses began running along 15-minute routes through a park at the northern end of Moscow. A decade later, a few dozen seaport cranes in Asia, a couple of light-rail trains in Europe, and a battalion of garbage trucks in the United States have joined their high-tech ranks.

A smattering of mass-transit vehicles and industrial machines may seem like one wimpy revolution, but revolutionary they are. Unlike most of their electric relatives, these vehicles all share one key attribute: they don't run on batteries. Instead, they are powered by ultracapacitors, which are souped-up versions of that tried-and-true workhorse of electrical engineering, the capacitor.

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Remembering LED Pioneer Nick Holonyak

He received the 2003 IEEE Medal of Honor

3 min read
close-up portrait of man wearing glasses and suspenders holding something between his fingers

Professor Nick Holonyak, Jr., inventor of the light-emitting diode, holds a part of a stoplight that utilizes brighter, current version LED's designed by students of his.

Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Getty Images

close-up portrait of man wearing glasses and suspenders holding something between his fingersNick Holonyak, Jr. holds a part of a stoplight that utilizes a newer LED designed by his students. Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Getty Images

Nick Holonyak Jr., a prolific inventor and longtime professor of electrical engineering and computing, died on 17 September at the age of 93. In 1962, while working as a consulting scientist at General Electric’s Advanced Semiconductor Laboratory, he invented the first practical visible-spectrum LED. It is now used in light bulbs and lasers.

Holonyak left GE in 1963 to become a professor of electrical and computer engineering and researcher at his alma mater, the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He retired from the university in 2013.

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Video Friday: StickBot

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

2 min read
An image of a robot made of a small sticks tied together with a tangle of colorful wires, batteries, actuators, and electronics

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.

IROS 2022: 23–27 October 2022, KYOTO, JAPAN
ANA Avatar XPRIZE Finals: 4–5 November 2022, LOS ANGELES
CoRL 2022: 14–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today’s videos!

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Evolution of In-Vehicle Networks

Download this free poster to learn how developments in Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) are creating a new approach to In-Vehicle Network design

1 min read
Rohde & Schwarz

Developments in Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems (ADAS) are creating a new approach to In-Vehicle Network (IVN) architecture design. With today's vehicles containing at least a hundred ECUs, the current distributed network architecture has reached the limit of its capabilities. The automotive industry is now focusing on a domain or zonal controller architecture to simplify network design, reduce weight & cost and maximize performance.

Download this free poster now!

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