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Power Space Hardware

Power Beaming For UAVs and Space Elevators 137

An anonymous reader writes "The idea of power beaming — using lasers or microwaves to transmit usable energy over great distances — has been around for decades. But recent advances in cheaper, more energy-efficient diode lasers have made power beaming commercially viable. LaserMotive, based in Kent, WA, is best known for winning the Level 1 prize of the NASA Power Beaming Challenge at the Space Elevator Games last November. In a new interview with Xconomy, LaserMotive co-founder Tom Nugent, who previously worked on the 'photonic fence' mosquito-zapping project at Intellectual Ventures, talks about gearing up for Level 2 of the NASA competition, slated for later this year. What's more, LaserMotive is trying to build a real business around beaming power to unmanned aerial vehicles, remote sensors and military bases, and other locations where it's impractical to run a wire, change batteries, or truck in fuel. The ultimate goal is to beam large amounts of solar power to Earth."
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Power Beaming For UAVs and Space Elevators

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  • Sounds cool (Score:3, Informative)

    by socceroos ( 1374367 ) on Tuesday April 13, 2010 @11:37PM (#31841672)
    I'm surprised that with all the recent news of NASA being marginalized that they can still have competitions like this? Or have I just got the wrong impression of the state of NASA's future?
  • by dbIII ( 701233 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @01:27AM (#31842124)
    It's not 1963 anymore.
    We've got these things called integrated circuits and microprocessors now that meant we're using high purity silicon in bulk and the price has fallen to the point that solar cells are in cheap novelty garden lights.
    I suggest "checking" again.
    I don't really understand where the "lifespan" thing comes from since there's still panels from the 1970s running. Please elaborate and tell me what modes of failure make you think they have a short lifespan?
  • Patent alert ! (Score:2, Informative)

    by vikingpower ( 768921 ) on Wednesday April 14, 2010 @05:45AM (#31843078) Homepage Journal
    Upon reading the write-up once more, suddenly all my warning LEDs turn red: "Intellectual Ventures" ?? That is a patent-monger! If there is any link between this project and Intellectual Ventures, it is doomed to stay in a box. Which would really, really be too bad.

In seeking the unattainable, simplicity only gets in the way. -- Epigrams in Programming, ACM SIGPLAN Sept. 1982