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Sleepy? Blame it on your gadget!

With technology creeping its way into our lives many times over, our sleep is really getting disturbed says research. Don’t believe it? Oh! Please turn off those snazzy headphones and read this alarming feature before you turn into a zombie.

imageAre you always feeling sleepy and lethargic? Do you sleep with your iPhone under your pillow in case President Obama calls? Or are you always chatting away to glory into the wee hours of the morning? Well, it’s time to a put a full stop to all this crazy activity and get out of your rose-tinted robotic zone. Why? Because you are suffering from a severe case of junk sleep!

To quote the real definition, junk sleep is a term used to describe a physiological effect where proper REM (Rapid Eye Movement) is not achieved because one has been using consumer electronics right up until the moment of falling asleep. Aha! Now isn’t that you?

REM is the most important sleep pattern, mind you, where dreams get created and memories merge; it’s a time where the mind finally gives itself a break and heaves a happy sigh of relief. Now imagine, what exactly are you doing to the most important part of your sleep. You are snatching it away!

But it’s not just you. World over, people have fragmented sleep; this is especially common in children who are constantly using their fancy iPads and phones just to be “with it” their peers. This unhygienic sleep pattern has been keeping everybody awake since the time the Godzilla called technology started ruling our sleep space. Even in India, this issue has reached an alarming level.

It’s really important that everybody gets a good amount of sleep; less than 7 hours cannot be considered good. Apart from severe developmental problems, if one doesn’t sleep well, there is a fair chance of weight gain as well. But of course, the next day is groggy and you can’t even hear your colleague next door. That also amounts to fatigue and low productivity at work. You need to decide. What’s more important? Checking FB in the middle of the night or value-creating next day? It’s up to you. Stay awake or sleep well!

Talk to the wind turbine

That’s right! Thanks to General Electric’s new line of wind turbines. Now, grid operators on offshore turbines, can be contacted with important information such as wind availability and power over what GE calls an ‘industrial internet’. This would help them position turbines better to generate more energy. Combine this with a grid-scale battery, installed in the turbine, to store power when the wind is blowing, and you have a smooth functioning wind turbine. This innovation may smooth out the one ruffle in wind energy’s coat – intermittency.

Stay afloat with the wind

Normally, building an offshore wind turbine farm is a construction heavy process. And can be built only in water 60 meters deep or less. Norwegian-based oil and gas company, Statoil, have developed a hub of floating wind turbines off the coast of Scotland. These simply need some cables to anchor them and hold them up. They can be set up in water 700 meters deep or more. This innovation, essentially, means that offshore wind power can be built anywhere on the ocean, wherever economical and practical of course. Apart from the one in Scotland, two other floating wind farms are planned off the coast of Fukushima, Japan.

Size zero solar

A solar cell usually has the conversion efficiency of about 18.7 percent and 24 percent. What is conversion efficiency? It is the amount of sunlight hitting the cell that is converted into actual electricity. Silicon Valley-based solar manufacturer Alta Devices, set a new record in 2013 with ultra-thin solar cells with a record 30.8 percent conversion efficiency. Though making these cells is an expensive affair, but they can generate a lot more electricity from a smaller surface area. Stick ‘em on and solar power up!

Secure my storage

Achieving energy security with renewable energy would all depend on one thing – storage. Researchers at Oak Ridge National Laboratory in the US used nanotechnology to create a new lithium-ion battery technology that cuts the size, but ups the power of a battery. This technology store far more power in a much smaller size. Finally! Electric vehicles can go longer and faster, without adding to cost and bulk.

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Sleepy? Blame it on your gadget!