New Solar Energy Technology – The Future is Here

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Television shows and movies you may have watched as children often looked toward the future.  Often, the mere idea of what that future would look like, be like, even sound like were fascinating enough to hold the interest of vast groups of individuals.  Some shows developed such followings that futuristic ideas became topics of conversation at the family dinner table, around the water cooler at work, even at luncheons and social gatherings.  It may have seemed that almost everyone thought that cars would fly.  Most thought there would be talking robots, and some even thought the telephones, though large and bulky, would not require a cord attached to an outlet in the wall.  Now that some years have passed, and you have time to think back on those futuristic expectations, you may suddenly realize that the future is here and is even more amazing than any show or movie could have ever predicted. 

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The telephones shown in days gone by bear no resemblance to the sleek pocket sized cell phones of today.  Never could you have guessed that not only would the vast majority of individuals carry a telephone in their pocket, but that most of those telephones would also be a personal computer. The computers you had anticipated to be in the future filled entire rooms with machines, all working frantically to calculate numbers and work out answers. Today, computers are housed inside of cell phones and take many unexpected forms.  Some are simply boxes that sit under desks, while others are collapsible folders with attached keyboards.  Some computers look simply like a metallic base with a black reflective screen that can be carried about with ease.  A mere flick of a finger and this futuristic device springs to life.  Robots of today not only talk, but are capable of intelligent conversation.  There are even robots that look like a thicker version of the Frisbee you played with as a child.  With the push of a button, this device will vacuum your home while you are away.  Perhaps you could have never imagined that the future would look quite like this.

Solar technology has also had unbelievable advances. You probably could not have predicted, in the 1970’s that solar power today would be 30 times less expensive.  You also would have been unable to predict, or even imagine some of the solar energy technology that would exist a few decades later.  Gone are the large bulky solar panels attached to one’s roof, or even to the south-facing wall of a home.  Instead, there are solar capable shingles, built to blend in with asphalt shingles.  In looking through a window years ago, you probably never would have predicted that the windows of one’s home could be sprayed with an energy generating coatings that are capable of gathering solar energy even more efficiently than the giant panels of the past.

Advancements have also brought new developments in solar steam technology.  In essence, this prototype uses solar energy to create steam.  The generated steam is being used in sterilizing both medical and dental equipment in places with little or no electricity.  Another solar steam device being tested is one that would disinfect waste from humans and animals to prevent the spread of disease in underdeveloped countries.  It is hopeful that this futuristic technology will one day be used in purifying water where little clean water is available.

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From solar shingles to cell phones, from solar steam to Frisbee like vacuums advancements in many types of technology have far exceeded what you may have expected to see at this point in time.  With advancements adding so many benefit to technology in one lifetime, one can only wonder what tomorrow’s future has in store.

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Nick Barnett

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