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Portable solar panel device powers lights and cell phones
A group of students from the University of Michigan have come up with a portable solar panel-powered device that provides 100 lumens of light and power for electronic gadgets. Emerald will provide 100 lumens of light, a USB charging dock, cell phone ports, and a number of adapters. The device charges in only three hours in full sunlight. It can charge a smartphone in the same time it takes to charge by an outlet, and can provide light for eight full hours. PC World

Robotics sales surge to UK food and drink firms
Robotics sales to UK food and drinks manufacturers have jumped by more than a quarter over the past two years as industry increasingly embraces the technology, Investment by the UK food and drinks sector in automation rose 15 per cent between 2008 and 2009 and a further 12 per cent last year. The trend is even stronger across industry as a whole, with 2010 UK robot sales climbing by a staggering 65 per cent year-on-year.

PAC-based batch control eliminates the need for PCs
Mitsubishi Electric has collaborated with the Solvenian process control specialist Inea to develop a batch control system that runs on a PAC (programmable automation controller) rather than a PC. It says that the C Batch software will improve security and cut costs. The new system runs a complete batch engine, with recipe management, within a PAC. This removes the need for a PC-based batch server, simplifying the system architecture, speeding implementation and cutting costs. Drives & Controls

Will Solar Become A Standard Offering In Construction?
Enphase just signed a deal whereby Siemens AG will buy the start-up’s microinverters, co-brand them, and sell them to electrical contractors aiming to move into the solar business. Since it began shipping its products in July 2008, Enphase has shipped more than a half million microinverters, which are attached to individual solar panels to improve their performance. Enphase is manufacturing the microinverters specifically for Siemens, with the products carrying both of the brand names. Wall Street Journal

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