Items tagged with 'GE Research'

Important question: Will we be able to put magnets on our future magnetic refrigerators?

ge magnetic refrigerator beer

Why develop a new type of refrigerator if not to chill beer?

If ever you wondered what the scientists at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna do, here's one answer (of many): develop an entirely new type of refrigerator.

Researchers at the GRC in Niskayuna, along with other research sites around the world, have been working to develop refrigeration technology that uses magnets for cooling. GE recently announced that its researchers believe the tech could be in consumer fridges in about a decade. The company says the technology is about 20 percent more efficient than the sort of technology currently in your fridge at home -- tech that's about a century old. (And it doesn't use some of the substances that make recycling refrigerators difficult.)

A post on GE's Edison's Desk research blog by Frank Johnson, one of the scientists in Niskayuna, explains some of the science behind the technology:

In a conventional refrigerator, a compressor is used to compress and heat refrigerant gas and deliver it to a condenser where it cools off by dumping heat to ambient air. When the refrigerant has given up enough heat it becomes a liquid. It then flows through a tight passage called an expander or capillary tube and drops in pressure and turns into cold liquid at a lower pressure. After exiting the expander it is in an evaporator, really cold, and ready to accept heat from the space it is in, the freezer. When it accepts enough heat it is boiled into gas and is then ready to enter the compressor again. This cycle continues as long as the compressor runs. The magnetocaloric effect is similar except that it occurs entirely in the solid state. The magnetism "evaporates" when heated above a certain temperatures and "condenses" back upon cooling. A magnetic field can be used to drive this reaction and "pump" heat from low to high temperatures, providing the cooling effect.

The magnetocaloric effect has been known for more than a century, but finding a way to apply it in a practical way to a refrigerator has taken years of off-and-on research and the development of new materials. Johnson's blog post covers a lot of that history, and the story illustrates how advances are so often the result decades of work by many people and institutions, often on basic research.

If you're curious, GE scientists talked about the tech this week in a Google hangout.

GE says its researchers are currently working on a magnetic refrigerator that can drop the temperature by 100 degrees. And they see the tech as potential replacement all sorts of cooling devices, including air conditioners.

photo: GE Reports

Very Important (scientific) People

ge research vip book thumbnailGE has posted images from the guest book for the company's original research center in Schenectady (GE Global Research is now in Niskayuna):

While its beginnings were humble, it didn't take long for scientists and inventors from around the world to flock to the Research Lab to see what GE was working on. And each famous mind that visited would stop at Willis Whitney's desk to sign the VIP guest book. The book sat at Whitney's desk from 1914 to 1935, and the signatures are a veritable Who's Who of inventors, physicists, chemists, physiologists, and businessmen -- including 9 Nobel Laureates.

The collection of people who stopped by the place during its first years is remarkable. Among the names signed in the book: Bohr, Marconi, Pavlov.

photo: GE Reports

The Schenectady Silly Putty Mystery

Silly Putty Exhibit

It first bounced in Schenectady... we're pretty sure.

By Liz Clancy Lerner

Remember Silly Putty? The rubbery stuff, in the egg?

It stretches, it bounces, it copies pictures out of comic books.

Yeah, that stuff.

It was invented in Schenectady!

Unless it wasn't.

But it probably was.

Like most stories of invention, the one behind Silly Putty has its competing claims. But a new exhibit at the Schenectady Museum traces the wonderful rubbery substance to a failed experiment at a GE lab in Schenectady.

(there's more)

Santa's Toy Lab

Santas Toy LabThis is kind of fun afternoon distraction: the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna has posted a holiday-themed game on its website. The goal of "Santa's Toy Lab" is to match technology (ice-phobic surfaces, LEDs, carbon fiber composite, etc) to holiday items (sleds, robotic dogs, etc.) before they pile high (and game over).

GE says it will donate $5 to the local Toys for Tots program for each score posted on the research center's Facebook page (up to a 1000 scores).

A bright idea

Check it out: after we posted that scientists at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna were looking for new things to film with their super slow motion camera, a bunch people of posted suggestions.

And the researchers used one of them! B had suggested an incandescent bulb turning on. The clip above is one of the results.

The whole post on the Edison's Desk blog includes more videos (a few of a bulb burning out) along with some explanation (why does the light pulse?).

The voice of Edison via shaking light sound

thomas edison pallophotophoneDead or near-dead media formats: wax cylinders, 8-tracks, cassettes, floppy discs, CDs (almost) and... the pallophotophone.

The pallophotowhat?

From the GE Reports blog:

A pile of dusty film canisters in the basement of the Schenectady Museum & Suits-Bueche Planetarium has yielded some of the world's oldest surviving radio broadcasts. The 20 shows were first heard on Schenectady radio station WGY between 1929 and 1931. One features a talk by GE founder Thomas Edison in a broadcast celebrating the 50th anniversary of the incandescent light bulb. Another is a portion of a high school basketball game that's believed to be the second oldest surviving sports broadcast.
They were recorded on a long forgotten machine that GE developed in 1922 called a pallophotophone -- after the Greek words for "shaking light sound" -- in one of the earliest attempts to record sound on film. But there was only one catch with the great find: There weren't any known pallophotophones in existence to play back the lost pieces of history.
Enter the museum's curator, Chris Hunter, and GE's engineers, who together cracked the pallophotophone code.

How? The engineers built a whole new machine out of modern parts to read the media.

The post includes a photo of the new machine and audio from one of the Edison recordings.

Earlier on AOA: The new old Daily Gazette

photo: Schenectady Museum via GE Reports

Let's take this real slowwww

Check it out: Adam Rasheed, one of the researchers at GE's Global Research Center in Niskayuna, is looking for suggestions of stuff to shoot with a super high-speed camera -- the video can be slowed down to see all sorts of details. Rasheed says they'll try to post the results online.

An example is embedded above. It's the slow motion video of a water balloon being popped.

Pimp my sleigh

ge santa sleigh

Vroom.

The folks at the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna decided that Santa's sleigh could use a few upgrades:

Then, we had a flash of brilliance. Why not design a new sleigh for Santa Claus? After all, we do have cool technology that could make Santa's life a lot easier. That's when I invited my colleagues to join in on this challenge. Together we developed, what we believe, is Santa's sleigh of the future, featuring 10 Global Research technologies that could improve Santa's experience.

Among the new features on Santa's tricked-out ride: ice-phobic coatings, ceramic sleigh blades and RFID tags for presents.

Bonus holiday item: check out the fun interactive holiday video produced by local marketing firm Media Logic.

Bruno trial starts today, homicide in Albany, speculation about connections between deaths in Greenfield, toddler found because of lights on his shoes

Joe Bruno's federal trial starts today. The feds are prosecuting him under a "theft of honest services" statute -- the feds allege that Bruno made more than $3 million in consulting fees from groups who benefited from his influence in state government. The case is expected to shine a light on the many of the gaps in New York State's ethics laws. Apparently some people are saying the case is almost like putting the entire culture of the capitol on trial. Bruno has already spent more than $600k on his defense. [TU] [AP/Saratogian] [TU] [NYT] [AP/Troy Record]

Albany police say a man was killed on Saturday in an Eagle Street apartment just down the block from the Governor's Mansion (map). The APD says there are no suspects, yet. [Fox23] [TU]

Troy police say a man has been arrested and charged for the murder on Second Street two weeks ago. They didn't release info about a motive. Police say information from people in the neighborhood helped lead them to the suspect. [TU] [Troy Record] [WNYT]

The Schenectady city council approved a budget that does not include a tax increase. The originally-proposed budget had included an almost six percent increase. [TU][TU]

New York State's texting-while-driving ban took effect yesterday. [Fox23]

(there's more)

Nerd intersection in Niskayuna

make ge grc segwaySome of the staff from uber-nerdy* DIY magazine MAKE visited the GE Global Research Center in Niskayuna last week -- and and the resulting post is a fun look behind the scenes of the facility.

The Makers got to hear about the researchers' work (smart grids, computer vision and so on) -- and their side projects (a Segway-like machine that one of the scientists rides through the halls; an electric VW Rabbit). It sounds like the scientists are having a lot of fun.

(Thanks, Peter)

Earlier on AOA: Inside the Global Research Center

photo: Becky Stern / MAKE

*Of course, AOA loves nerds

Game on in state Senate, documents indicate district officials may have known about Raucci, police say man used child as shield, popular Phish camp closed

The state Senate is back in session today, though it seems no one really knows what's going to happen. The session could take up NYC-related legislation -- or it could focus on reforming pork distribution. One possible complication: Democrats will only have a 31-30 majority because one of their members is on his honeymoon. [AP/Troy Record] [TU] [NYP]

David Paterson apparently wasn't a fan of the Democratic leadership signing Happy Birthday at their post-game press conference last week. Maybe he's just annoyed that he had to take time out from fund raising because of the Senate mess. [Daily Politics] [NYT]

Longtime Capital Region car dealer Ken Gowey says he's running for governor. His platform includes big tax cuts and belief that "man-made global warming" is a "boondoggle." [TU]

Documents filed as part of a lawsuit against the Schenectady School District indicate that district officials may have known about Steven Raucci's alleged acts of harassment as early as 2005. The documents include handwritten notes from the district's HR director that originally appeared as part of a workers compensation claim against the district. That claim alleged that an employee who worked under Raucci suffered emotional harm because of harassment. [TU] [Daily Gazette]

A state Supreme Court judge has struck down Albany County's sex offender residency law because it's superceded by state law. A similar law in Rensselaer County was tossed recently for the same reason. [TU]

(there's more)

Officials say they're prepping for swine flu, more ghost ticket testimony, ACP student's skull cracked in assault, phoning while driving sweep nets hundreds, rock snot

There have now been 28 confirmed cases of swine flu in New York State -- all of them in NYC. The state Department of Health says it expects to see more cases emerge. State and local officials say they're prepping in case the influenza strain spreads elsewhere in the state. The state has set up a swine flu hotline and info page: 1-800-808-1987. [NYT] [TU] [Daily Gazette] [NYS DoH]

The head of the Albany police union testified under oath last night before the Common Council about the ghost ticket scandal. Christian Mesley reiterated his earlier assertion that APD chief James Tuffey wasn't totally forthcoming in his comments about the tickets. Mesley was testifying as an officer -- not as union head -- and some council members say they suspect they didn't get the full story as a result. [TU] [Fox23]

David Paterson says he's issuing an executive order requiring that any need state mandate on local governments will have to include funding the new rule. Paterson says the order should help slow the increase of property taxes. The governor also said yesterday that state's fiscal outlook later this year "may not be as bad we first thought." [TU] [AP/Troy Record]

County sales tax revenues were down in the first quarter of 2009 -- both locally and across the state. And that could mean... higher property taxes. [Daily Gazette] [TU]

(there's more)

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