The Global View

Smart Cities

Electronic skin could enable ‘smart’ prosthetics

The concept of electronic skin might sound far-fetched, but it’s closer to becoming a reality with a wide range of potential uses. So-called smart gloves, for example, could allow medical students to practice virtual surgery that felt like the real thing. Flexible material embedded with circuitry could also be fitted around internal organs to enable …

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UK deploys sensor ‘army’ aimed at building a better energy grid

GE and the UK-based electricity network distribution operator Western Power Distribution (WPD) plan to measure demand and voltage data across southwest England and south Wales to develop “templates” for utilities working to build modern, lower-carbon energy grids. The research effort is among the projects being funded by a £500-million Low Carbon Network (LCN) fund being …

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With more jobs a goal, US to fast-track grid modernization projects

The Obama Administration says it is fast-tracking seven proposed electricity grid modernization projects to “speed the creation of thousands of construction and operations jobs.” The projects are designed to serve as pilot demonstrations of streamlined federal permitting and increased cooperation at the federal, state and tribal levels. The proposed improvements will increase grid capacity in …

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Convergys, Plug Smart partner for real-time EV charging data

Convergys and Plug Smart are teaming up to provide real-time rating, billing and data management support for electric vehicle charging stations. The partnership pairs Zephyr, Plug Smart’s charging station technology, with Convergys’ “Smart Revenue” billing solutions for electric vehicle (EV) charging. “The billing challenges utilities face in the wake of smart-grid technology and electric vehicles …

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ABB controllers drive zero-emissions data center in Iceland

ABB’s programmable logic controllers are helping to run what is believed to be the world’s first zero-emissions data center, a facility in Iceland that gets its electricity from hydropower and geothermal energy. The Thor Data Center near the capital city of Reykjavik recently opened its first data storage container and expects a second to be …

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Design entries wanted for Architecture at Zero … as in energy

What better way to revive an industrial infill site in urban California than to use it as site for showcasing an innovative, zero net energy (ZNE) building design? That’s the motivation behind a new competition sponsored by the San Francisco chapter of the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and Pacific Gas and Electric Co. (PG&E). …

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Echelon, Oracle target the new challenges facing EU utilities

As the European Union rolls out smart electricity meters and other grid-modernizing technologies, utility companies are facing more challenges than ever. To help them better manage outages, bring on renewable energy sources and juggle a host of new applications, Echelon and Oracle are teaming up to offer them a new, integrated solution. The Oracle Utilities …

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