Check out the world’s first lights powered by micro-sphere solar cells

December 9, 2016 by  
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Sphelar Power , makers of the world’s first “micro-sphere” solar cell, have declared “flatness is over” when it comes to solar power generation. The Japan-based company is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to back two products : the Sphelar Lantern and the Sphelar Stick. Both are powered by onboard solar cells that integrated right into the product and generate electricity passively when exposed to sunlight. Although the campaign is lagging behind on its fundraising goal, there is still time left to see this project advance to the next phase of production. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0_ATpCFKvIY When Inhabitat first covered Sphelar’s spherical solar cell in 2012, the product was still in its infancy but showed enormous promise. At that time, the rounded solar cells challenged solar industry standards with their unique ability to capture sunlight from all angles simultaneously. Traditional flat solar panels must be angled directly toward the sun for maximum efficiency, but Sphelar’s design eliminates that fussiness. Related: Revolutionary Sphelar spherical solar cells capture sunlight from all directions Sphelar’s new products—a stylish modern lantern and a pocket-sized flashlight—incorporate the multi-directional solar cells and LEDs in new, portable lighting products. The Sphelar Lantern promises a 4-6 hour charging time for full battery capacity, which can power the light source for up to four hours. The Sphelar Stick provides up to four hours of light when fully charged, and can be recharged before the battery is fully drained. As of the time of this report, Sphelar has raised just over $7,000 of its $20,000 goal with six days remaining in the Kickstarter campaign . If the goal is met, the company aims to expand its production. Currently, the Lantern and Stick are only available inside Japan, but Sphelar hopes to broaden its reach and share its multi-directional solar technology with the world, one light at a time. + Sphelar Power on Kickstarter Images via Sphelar Power

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Check out the world’s first lights powered by micro-sphere solar cells

$10 million project to test universal basic income in the US

December 9, 2016 by  
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Could a universal basic income (UBI) be the answer to income inequality in an increasingly automated world? One US group is investing $10 million to find out. The Economic Security Project is a coalition of investors, activists, and technology companies committed to spending the next two years exploring the feasibility of a UBI for US citizens. The work will follow up on previous trials of the UBI , which have shown promising but inconsistent results. (Advocates of the idea claim the programs were under-funded and too short-lived to prove the concept one way or another .) Research has generally shown direct cash transfers to be more helpful than other forms of aid in poor nations, but it’s unclear exactly how matters will play out in a more developed country. Related: Ontario is rolling out a basic income test for citizens living under the poverty line The ESP funds will be used in a variety of ways over the next two years: while there will be some unconditional cash stipends delivered to US citizens, it appears that work will mainly be done through state and local basic income campaigns rather than the organization itself. Some of the funds will also be donated to fund nonprofit research into the best ways to implement UBI and on advocacy efforts to influence political policy. While a universal income may sound like a handout, proponents of the idea believe it will become increasingly necessary as technology advances. One high-profile backer is Elon Musk , who recently told CNBC he believes in the near future, there simply won’t be enough jobs to keep the economy afloat otherwise. But his vision of the future isn’t completely grim: he believes we’ll simply adapt and use our newfound leisure time on more interesting hobbies instead of work. Via The Independent Images via Steven Depolo and Tracy O

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$10 million project to test universal basic income in the US

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