Winner: Hot Rocks

Geodynamics is turning Australia’s natural radioactivity into the country’s first geothermal power plants

8 min read
Geothermal system in Australia’s desert.
Photo: Geodynamics

This is part of IEEE Spectrum’s SPECIAL REPORT: WINNERS & LOSERS 2009, The Year’s Best and Worst of Technology.

geothermal system in Australia\u2019s desert Dream Steam: A new kind of geothermal system in Australia’s desert holds great promise for clean electricity generation. Photo: Geodynamics

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Video Friday: Robot Training

3 min read
A red bipedal robot with wheels for feet and hands stands upright at the top of steps with the city of Philadelphia in the background

Your weekly selection of awesome robot videos

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.

IEEE ARSO 2022: 28 May–30 May 2022, LONG BEACH, CALIF.
RSS 2022: 21 June–1 July 2022, NEW YORK CITY
ERF 2022: 28 June–30 June 2022, ROTTERDAM, NETHERLANDS
RoboCup 2022: 11 July–17 July 2022, BANGKOK
IEEE CASE 2022: 20 August–24 August 2022, MEXICO CITY
CLAWAR 2022: 12 September–14 September 2022, AZORES, PORTUGAL
CoRL 2022: 14 December–18 December 2022, AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND

Enjoy today's videos!

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Charles Babbage’s Difference Engine Turns 200

Error-riddled astronomical tables inspired the first computer—and the first vaporware

7 min read
An intricate metal clockwork consisting of columns of toothed gears on a rectangular wooden base.

During Charles Babbage’s lifetime, this 2,000-part clockwork was as near to completion as his Difference Engine ever got.

Science Museum Group

It was an idea born of frustration, or at least that’s how Charles Babbage would later recall the events of the summer of 1821. That fateful summer, Babbage and his friend and fellow mathematician John Herschel were in England editing astronomical tables. Both men were founding members of the Royal Astronomical Society, but editing astronomical tables is a tedious task, and they were frustrated by all of the errors they found. Exasperated, Babbage exclaimed, “I wish to God these calculations had been executed by steam.” To which Herschel replied, “It is quite possible.“

Babbage and Herschel were living in the midst of what we now call the Industrial Revolution, and steam-powered machinery was already upending all types of business. Why not astronomy too?

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Why Battery Energy Storage Is Moving to Higher DC Voltages

Download this free whitepaper to learn how battery energy storage up to 1500 VDC can deliver power efficiencies and cost reductions

1 min read

The explosive growth of the battery energy storage industry has created a need for higher DC voltages in utility-scale applications.

Download this free whitepaper and learn how you can achieve a smooth transfer of power, efficiencies and cost reductions with battery energy storage system components up to1500 VDC.