How Cutting-Edge Technology & Science Are Powering The Future TPM Idealab

By Bengt Halvorson

No question about it, Portland, Oregon, is an early-adopter market for electric vehicles, and one of the leading EV markets in the U.S.

The Rose City, as it's nicknamed, is already home to the first -- and only, with the Vacaville, California charger down--publicly accessible Level 3 quick-charging station in the U.S., allowing more than 500 volts DC and up to 125 Amps, and capable of charging the 2011 Nissan Leaf from 20 percent capacity up to 80 percent in just under 30 minutes.

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Facebook pulled the wraps off its "awesome" product launch Wednesday, showcasing a new video chat feature that allows users to call anyone in their network without the recipient of the call having to install video software.

When unveiling the service Wednesday morning at Facebook's Palo Alto Headquarters, CEO Mark Zuckerberg placed the emphasis on the ease of use of the new feature -- so easy he said, that even grandparents can use it to initiate calls to their grandchildren online.

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Algae holds great promise as a source of biofuel: it's rich in oil like corn, but it can be cultivated without competing for land with food crops, and researchers are developing energy-efficient ways to process it.

Recent tests have demonstrated that algae is a viable fuel for long-distance flights, and for use in naval helicopters. But questions still loom over the private sector's ability to produce sufficient quantities for widespread, routine use.

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Another day, another data spill.

This time, the story concerns Fitbit, a San Francisco start-up that makes a personal fitness tracking device.

Users of the service wear the small device to track their physical activities. They can also enter information on the service's website about other aspects of their lives, such as their diet and, yes, their sex lives (e.g., logging how "vigorous" each encounter was).

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A team of researchers from University of Toronto Engineering is developing a way to manufacture inexpensive solar cells in the form of a paint-on coating.

The new paintable solar cell could be applied to a variety of surfaces, including building materials. It could also be used to run portable electronic devices such as laptops.

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