Good Vibrations, Home Co-Generation & Lithium Batteries

An IEEE Spectrum Radio Program

IEEE Spectrum Radio
25 minutes, 11.5mb, recorded 2007-10-01

As Rachel Maines explains it, she was perusing old needlepoint magazine from the end of the 19th century and came across some peculiar advertisements. Her initial curiosity about these advertisements about vibrators, lead her to write "The Technology of Orgasm: "Hysteria," the Vibrator, and Women's Sexual Satisfaction". The book traces the history of these stimulating devices and how electricity impacted their utility and portability.

As climate change continues to receive more and more attention, discovering new tools that can help may be difference in the long term. For energy minded consumers the prospect of generating electricity cleanly and effortlessly while also heating your home is a powerful concept. The freewatt heating system from Climate Energy offers a cogeneration solution that runs on natural gas and could offer the possibility of creating virtual electronic power plants.

While some could attribute the lack of advancement in electronic car technology to conspiracies originating from the oil companies, many experts point to a lack of advancement in battery technology as the real culprit. However, there are at least two start-up companies that are working to push the electronic car closer to reality. Where the introduction of lithium ion batteries in the Toyota Prius was the first step to that reality, these companies are taking the next steps by advancing battery technology so that cars will get more miles per charge.

In the final segment of this compilation, Steven Cherry takes a look at Apple's iPhone. With sales of over 270,000 on the first day it was available, it is clear that that the iPhone is a hit, but Cherry looks at the iPhone and draws some quick conclusions. By examining the cost of materials Cherry predicts the impact of the iPhone on Apple's profits as well as questions the design of the on screen interface. He also opines about the impact of Apple's tight control on that interface.

This free podcast is from our IEEE Spectrum Radio series.