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News Article | January 22, 2016
Site: phys.org

At MIT's Tata Center for Technology and Design, researchers are exploring ways to extend electricity access to such communities using microgrids—independent electricity generation and distribution systems that service one village or even just a few houses. In addition to being flexible in size, microgrids can run on whatever power sources are available, including wind, hydropower, and the source accessible at all sites: solar power. "A large number of people, particularly in rural India, won't be electrified for decades, and the situation is similar in other parts of southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The statistics say that 1.5 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, but many more don't have reliable access," says Robert Stoner, deputy director for science and technology at the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and director of the Tata Center. "We're looking for ways to make electricity available to everyone without necessarily having to go through the costly and time-consuming process of extending the [national] electric grid. With policy support in the form of regulation and financing … it's conceivable that microgrids could proliferate very quickly. They might not supply a level of access equivalent to that offered by a well-managed grid but would provide an affordable and significant step forward in quality of life." Microgrids can be powered by diesel generators or by renewable technologies, among them solar power, which is becoming more attractive as the cost of solar technology falls. "If you use solar, [the fuel is] essentially free," says Rajeev Ram, MIT professor of electrical engineering and a Tata Center researcher. In addition, he says, "microgrids are attractive because they let you pool resources." Nevertheless, the widespread adoption of microgrids has been stymied by several challenges, including the high cost of setting up private generation and distribution systems and the business risk of investing in a system that's susceptible to being undercut by an extension of the electric grid. At the Tata Center, researchers are addressing such concerns from multiple angles—from mapping out national electrification networks, to providing planning assistance to rural entrepreneurs, to developing technology that can make it easier to build microgrids organically, from the grassroots up. Indeed, the researchers say that properly designed microgrids can be grid-compatible, reducing the risk to investors and providing an intermediate stage to grid connection where this is technically and economically viable. "Everyone agrees we have to scale microgrids" to address the rural electrification gap, says Brian Spatocco, a Tata Fellow who worked on microgrids as a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering at MIT. The problem, he says, is that "not one size fits all." To address the microgrid challenge at the macro level, Tata researchers led by Stoner and Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga, a visiting professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management from IIT-Comillas University in Madrid, Spain, have been developing and implementing a sophisticated computer program that can help government planners determine the best way to provide electricity to all potential consumers. The Reference Electrification Model (REM) pulls information from a range of data sets—which in India include satellite imagery, the Census of India, and India's National Sample Survey, which gathers statistics for planning purposes. REM then uses the data to determine where extending the grid will be most cost-effective and where other solutions, such as a microgrid or even an isolated home solar system, would be more practical. "We are approaching the problem of rural electrification from the perspective of planners and regulators," Stoner says. Satellite imagery is used to map the buildings in a given location, and demand is estimated based on the types and profiles of the buildings. REM then uses pricing and technical data on such equipment as solar panels, batteries, and wiring to estimate the costs of electrification on or off the grid and to make preliminary engineering designs for the recommended systems. The model essentially produces a snapshot of a lowest-cost electrification plan as if one could be built up overnight. "This is a technology tool that [officials] can use to inform policy decisions," says Claudio Vergara, a MITEI postdoc working on the REM project. "We're not trying to tell them what the plan should be, but we're helping them compare different options. After a decision has been made and detailed information about the sites is gathered, REM can be used to produce more detailed designs to support the implementation of each of the three electrification modes." Currently, Tata researchers are using REM to model an electrification plan for Vaishali, a district of 3.5 million people in the state of Bihar in India. "We're designing the system down to every house," Stoner says. In the project, results from REM were used to identify the best locations in Vaishali for microgrids (see Figure 1 in the slideshow above). In July 2015, the team visited two candidate sites, each with between 70 and 250 houses, and REM will now be used to produce a detailed technical design showing all the equipment and wiring needed to electrify them. Then, Vergara says, a local Tata partner will put REM to the test by actually building the microgrids. "The pilot will help us improve the model," Vergara says. "We're making many modeling assumptions now, so we need real-world validation." Once the software has been perfected, Stoner says, the researchers plan to make it openly available. Another project under way at the Tata Center addresses the barriers to entry for potential microgrid entrepreneurs. Such businesses face several hurdles, including the high cost of determining the most cost-effective sites for their projects. India's government and public utilities often provide no information about where the electric grid is likely to be extended next, and calculating the likely demand for electricity in a village typically requires costly, on-the-ground research—all of which makes it tough for any potential microgrid entrepreneur to make the case for profitability and to secure financing. Three MIT graduate students and a postdoc are working to develop GridForm, a planning framework that rapidly identifies, digitizes, and models rural development sites, with the goal of automating some of the work required to design a microgrid for a small village. "Doing a custom system for every village creates so much work for companies—in time and in the human resources burden—that it can't scale," Spatocco says. "We're trying to expedite the planning piece so [entrepreneurs] can serve more people and reduce costs." Like REM, GridForm begins with satellite data, but GridForm goes on to use advanced machine learning to model individual villages with a high level of detail. "We'll say this is a house and this is a house, hit run, and the machine learns the properties of a house, such as size and shape," Spatocco says. The goal is to produce a hardware and cost model of a target village that is 90 percent accurate before anyone even visits the site. GridForm also develops load estimates, based on factors such as demographics and the proximity of buildings, and provides entrepreneurs with potential microgrid designs and even lists of necessary equipment. The program incorporates data sets on solar radiance and uses an algorithm to determine the best configuration of solar panels, battery packs, and distribution wires to power the greatest number of houses at the lowest cost. "We're providing everything from siting to planning to implementation—the whole process," says Kendall Nowocin, a PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science working on GridForm. The other two researchers working on the project are George Chen PhD '15, anMITx postdoctoral teaching fellow, and Ling Xu, a PhD student in health sciences and technology. The main difference from REM, the researchers say, is that GridForm envisions electrification being built from the ground up rather than from the top down. "We think rural entrepreneurs will electrify themselves," Spatocco says. "We want to create insights that are immediately useful to practitioners on the ground—what to buy, what it will cost, where to put it." Already GridForm has been used to develop detailed microgrid plans for four villages in the state of Bihar, and the team is working with Indian social enterprise SELCO Solar to do the installations, providing service to 2,000 to 3,000 people. A third Tata Center project focuses on fostering the organic growth of microgrids by enabling residents to share extra power-generating capacity with their neighbors via an inexpensive piece of hardware, the uLink power management unit (PMU). A "demand response" system that meters and controls the flow of electricity, uLink can adjust the demands it serves based on the supply of electricity that's available. The system reflects an innovative approach to electrification, Ram says—one that acknowledges that the standards for electrification common in the developed world are unrealistically high for poor, remote areas. Building in the system redundancies necessary to ensure 99.9 percent availability is simply too expensive—and particularly unrealistic in India, where even the areas served by the grid are plagued by power outages. "Here we can guarantee a basic level of service, but we don't guarantee 99.9 percent," Ram says. "This is a very powerful way to manage the cost of electricity infrastructure. Demand response allows you to size the system for average demand, versus peak demand." What that means is that when the sun is shining and batteries are fully charged, microgrid customers can run all of their appliances, but when it's been cloudy for a few days and the system is low on power, uLink can signal users to shut off loads; as a last resort, it can even shut off loads automatically. Automating this function eases the social difficulty of sharing electricity, the researchers say. Once users have pooled their resources, there's no need to argue over who can use which appliances; uLink allots electricity based on which loads have been predetermined as "critical" and therefore not subject to shutoff when system demand peaks. Everything else can be shut off by uLink as needs arise. Users themselves determine which few loads are "critical," providing an element of choice not typically seen in home solar systems, which hardwire their loads. uLink features several outlets, enabling users to plug in a variety of appliances. At maximum capacity, the initial prototype low-voltage, DC system provides about 25 watts per household, enough to run a fan, a cellphone charger, and a couple of lights. "The hardest part is making a box with all these functions at a cost people can afford," Ram says, noting that the uLink consumer unit is designed to cost about as much as a cellphone, making it affordable for most Indian villagers. uLink was field-tested in June 2015—five houses were wired together for two weeks—and the delivery, metering, and networking systems worked well. The next milestone for the developers is to test the algorithm designed to estimate how much electricity is available from the system's batteries and solar panels and optimally shed loads. "This is definitely a work in progress," Ram says. Indeed, all three Tata Center projects are still being refined, but together they offer a rich portfolio of potential solutions to the problem of rural electrification, the effects of which many of the researchers have seen firsthand. "Electricity is not just empowering. It's an enabling force. Electricity goes right into livelihood activities," Spatocco says, noting that just a few lights make it possible for residents to work in the evenings, for example, or to improve their efficiency with simple machinery, such as sewing machines. "People can double or triple their economic output." There are also benefits few in the West might imagine, as Ram discovered by interviewing residents of one non-electrified Indian village: "They conveyed how frightening it can be to have a snake in the village if no one has a light." Explore further: The powerful potential of microgrids for livable cities More information: Architecture and system analysis of microgrids with peer-to-peer electricity sharing to create a marketplace which enables energy access, DOI: 10.1109/ICPE.2015.7167826 Kush R. Varshney et al. Targeting Villages for Rural Development Using Satellite Image Analysis, Big Data (2015). DOI: 10.1089/big.2014.0061


(PRLEAP.COM) October 3, 2016 - Scalp Micropigmentation, or SMP, is the process of adding thousands of pigmented, simulated hair follicles to the upper dermis of the skin of the scalp to give bald or balding men or women the look of a freshly shaved head of hair. SMP HD™ (Hair Density) SMP HD gives men and women with thinning hair, the look of a denser, thicker, fuller head of hair, similar to the results of adding powders or fibers to the hair; however, SMP is more permanent and is maintenance free. SMP SC™ (Scar Camouflage) Clients who have undergone a hair transplant, now or in the past, can now come back to have their scar camouflaged within their own hair follicles, or within their own hair. The white of the scar is no longer visible, and can be camouflaged up to 100%.. Scalp Micropigmentation works hand in hand with clients who undergo hair transplant surgery. From the hundreds of clients that we have treated that have had a hair transplant, the same complaints or issues arise during the consultation: 1) Hair is too thin 2) Scar is visibleYou can increase your clients' satisfaction rate by adding SMP as part of the treatment, or offering SMP after the treatment. SMC offers SMP HD (Hair Density) treatments, which again, adds thousands of simulated, pigmented hair follicles to the upper dermis of the skin of the scalp. This darkens the scalp, and gives the appearance of a fuller, thicker, denser head of hair. The client will have no need to add any powders or fibers, however, these modalities can be used during special occasions, and such, to give the client even more volume.Whether the client has undergone FUT or FUE, using SMC's SMP SC (Scar Camouflage) treatment, we are able to camouflage the clients scar either within their own hair follicles, if they decide to completely shave their head and have the look of a buzz cut, or, we are able to camouflage the scar within their own hair by darkening the scar with a pigment that matches their hair color. Even if the client had a very successful hair transplant treatment, the major concern for each client is a) when they get a haircut, and the white of the scar is visible for a week or two, or b) once they age and their hair thins or they decide to keep their hair short, the scar is now fully visible. SMP SC is the best and only treatment to fully camouflage the scar and increase client satisfaction, increase their self-esteem and increase their body image.Currently the average price for a full frontal and upper crown treatment of SMP or SMP HD (Hair Density) is approx. $3500 CDN or $3000 USD. SMP SC (Scar Camouflage) can run anywhere between $1500 to $3000, depending on the size of the scar. This may seem high to some, however, once you speak to a client and add up all the modalities that they currently use to cover their thinning hair, bald spot or scar, you will find that SMP is actually much cheaper in the long run.A simple comparison of Powders and Fibers vs SMP shows the difference:Powders and Sprays Scalp MicropigmentationMust be applied daily Three treatments and yearly maintenance15min – 45min to apply Nothing to apply after SMP completedMakes a mess in the bathroom No mess in the bathroomComes off with water Does not come off with waterCan't go swimming Can go swimmingUpkeep during the day No upkeepStains pillows Does not stain pillowsRepeated application Only touch ups requiredThis does not include the cost of other modalities the client may be using, such as: Rogaine, Propecia, etc. This also doesn't include the emotional stress these products place on the client on a daily basis.Once these facts are brought up to our clients, our closing rate is 80%+. However, each office can offer discounts to clients who also undergo hair transplant surgery, and combine the modalities. We also give discounts when the client wants both SMP HD and SMP SC.SMC trains Doctors, Nurses, Hair Transplant Techs, PMU Artists, Tattoo Artists, and other technicians in the skin and skin care industry because they already have a background in skin anatomy. Hair Transplant techs can remain busy all year round with HT surgeries, or by conducting SMP treatments on clients in the office. SMC trains in house, online or we are able to travel to your office to train all your techs at once in a 3-4 day intensive course. The students would receive their online training and kit, and 4 weeks later we would hold the intensive training course in your office, or at our training location in Toronto, Ontario.Once the Doctor, Nurse or HT Tech completes the course, they will receive a Certificate of Completion and will become an SMP Artists certified by SMC.Scalp Micropigmentation goes by many names including: SMP, Scalp Tattoo, Hair Tattoo, Hair Follicle Replication, Hair Follicle Simulation, etc. However, this treatment is still classified under Permanent Makeup. SMC's stance is that SMP is not a tattoo and not permanent makeup, but really is a hybrid of the two treatments. We are working hard to come up with standards in the industry, but until then you must understand that although there may be different names for Scalp Micropigmentation, not all treatments are the same. SMC prides itself in having studied all aspects of the industry, and coming up with SMP Certified Equipment solely used for the purpose of Scalp Micropigmentation.We have worked with Dermatologists, Hair Transplant Surgeons and Trichologists in order to come up with the most advanced online SMP Training Program in the world. We also include continuing education for all our SMP Students, and we promote them to different levels, allowing all our students to achieve a Master status in the industry, and to become an industry expert.The Scalp Micropigmentation Center not only conducts hundreds of SMP treatments per year, but they are the leaders in training future SMP Artists. Our SMP Training program focuses on the the main points of SMP, which are:There are a variety of SMP training program out there, but most rely on Tattoo and PMU equipment, while SMC produces their own SMP Certified Needles and Inks for the sole purpose of conducting an SMP Treatment. Our SMP Training program has been developed by our Master SMP Artist who has worked years in the industry, and was very disappointed in the lack of training and equipment used in todays SMP treatments, thus, we developed our own. We only use these tools on our clients, and we only sell these tools to our students, thus, there are no other SMP Certified Equipment in the market, unless you see our SMC Seal of Approval – then you know it is genuine.This is an important part of the SMP treatment, as the power source needs to be powerful enough to drive the needle cleanly through the first layer of skin. If you are using a PMU machine, chances are you are getting a lot of blow outs because those machines do not have enough power, and are used for Permanent Makeup, not Scalp Micropigmentation.The machine must have the correct settings on it, and a regular PMU or Rotary Pen cannot be used to complete a proper SMP treatment because, if you are using the proper power source, rotary pens would not be able to handle the kind of power needed to complete a proper SMP Treatment. We are partnered with Cheyenne who are the best Tattoo Machine Makers in the world. Our machine is powerful enough to handle the power source, and has the correct settings to be able to drive the needle through the first layer of skin cleanly. If the machine you are using is vibrating too much, you cannot control your needle and you will get poor results.Again, we work with Cheyenne, who are the best needle makers in the world. Their needles are of high standards, and have no back flow. Currently, most SMP providers are using tattoo needles or permanent makeup needles. Obviously, you would want someone to use proper SMP needles, designed specifically for use in Scalp Micropigmentation. We have designed 3 types of needles that work with different skin types and different ethnicities. We only sell our SMP Certified products to our students, so you will NOT find these on kijiji, DH Gate, eBay, Amazon, or any other site. We have the patent, and SMC are the only ones to carry these specialized needles.Our SMP Inks or Pigments are specially formulated for SMP ONLY. Our SMP inks will not change color and are free of any carcinogens. The fear today is that other providers are using inks that are from unknown sources, or worse are permanent makeup pigments which are composed of different colors. If PMU pigments are used, they will eventually fade into their original colors, thus, your perfect brown color today, can be green tomorrow. Only used SMP Certified equipment and supplies.There are three options to choose from:Cost of Online Training: $4,000.00, which includes:Consultation Forms, Release Forms, Waivers, etc.Our online SMP training program allows any student with 6 months or more experience in Medicine, Nursing, Hair Transplant Technicians, PMU Artists, Tattoo Artists, Medical Estheticians, etc, to be able to learn the art of SMP or Scalp Micropigmentation at their own pace, and in the comfort of their own surroundings, with no pressure and no time limits.All students must complete the SMP Online Training program. The program includes: Blood Borne Pathogens Certification, Skin and Hair Loss Lessons and Quizzes, and SMP Practice Modules. The SMP Practice modules include an online system whereby the student must submit their pictures of their work to our Master SMP Artist for evaluation. Our Master SMP Artist will evaluate your work and either critique your work and ask you to resubmit your work, or pass you onto the next module.If you do not need to attend our in-class, intensive program, then you can finish your final module which is working on a minimum of 3 clients or 20 hours of self-practice, in order to receive your Certificate of Completion. Once you receive your Certificate of Completion, you are now able to work as an Certified SMP Artist, and SMC will place you under their website, and if you decide to partner with SMC, we will start referring you clientele.Cost of Online and In-Class Training: $7000.00, which includes: Online SMP Training, 3 Day Intensive, In-Office Training and SMC SMP KIT.This option is for those students who have little or no experience in Tattoo, PMU, Medical Esthetics, or any other medical or non-medical related education. From the novice to the expert, whom have less than 6 months of PMU, Medical Esthetics, Tattoo, or Hair Transplant experience, must take our 3 day, intensive, SMP Training Program. This program consists of no more than 3 students at a time for maximum exposure and learning. In the 3 day course, our students will review the online training program and any difficulties they may have had. We will go over every step of the process from Consultations to Aftercare, from SMP to SMP HD and practice on a variety of clients. This program is to ensure that you are ready, willing and confident enough to be able to practice the art of SMP on your own on live clients. Once you pass this course, you must still complete your final module, which is to self-practice on a minimum of 3 clients or 20 hours of working on a scalp. Once you complete and pass the final module, you will receive your Certificate of Completion, and are now a Certified SMP Artist. You can add this modality to your current business, or start a new SMP business, or you can franchise or partner with SMC, and we will refer our clients to you.Your In-Office training program will be booked 4-6 weeks after your payment for online training is received. This will give you ample time to complete the online portion of the program before coming to our in-office program.Cost of Private Training Program: $5000 for Private Training (One-on-One with Master SMP Artist)Cost of Semi-Private Training Program: $4000 per Person for Semi-Private Training (Two-on-One with Master SMP Artist)This option is for those seeking a more intensive one on one or two on one training session with our Master SMP Artist. If you feel that you require more training and more hands on work with our Master and the SMP models, then this option will allow you more opportunity to practice and learn more than with groups of 3. You will have our Master SMP's full attention and be able to practice on more models, thus you will become much more comfortable doing the treatment, as if you are in your own clinic. This option has limited days and times per month, so book this option early by calling 1-844-877-2257 or sending us an email at info@scalpmicropigmentationcenter.com to let us know that you are interested in one on one or two-on-one training.Cost of Group Training: $2500 per Person (Training ONLY. Each Student Must Pay and Complete online SMP training Course)If you are a Hair Transplant Clinic, Medical Clinic, Medical Spa, etc, and are looking to train all your staff members, or staff members from different locations, then we can come to your clinic or rent a space in order to properly train a large group (maximum of 8 people per training session). Here we offer an extra day to ensure that all participants understand the principals of SMP, and are able to confidently perform a Scalp Micropigmentation Treatment.We are able to travel anywhere in the world to complete this training, however, the cost of the flight and accommodations will be billed to the group. As well, we are able to train groups in Toronto, but if your location is not big enough to accommodate the training, we can find a facility big enough, and bill the group accordingly.For more information and details about our SMP Training Program, Hair Tattoo Training Program or Scalp Tattoo Training Program, please visit us at:


Avec 20 ans d'expérience et plus de 200 projets à son actif, Metaware compte parmi les principaux acteurs européens de solutions et de services de modernisation des systèmes d'information. Le Groupe, qui compte des clients prestigieux comme Axa, BNP, Club Med, la Sécurité Sociale, PMU, Airbus Helicopters, Caja de Valores (bourse Argentine) ou Renault, se différencie grâce à un savoir-faire unique, alliant des outils logiciels spécialisés pour la manipulation de code et les tests, avec des processus hyper industrialisés, et une forte proximité avec de grands éditeurs tels qu'Oracle et IBM. La société comprend une soixantaine d'experts et réalise un chiffre d'affaires compris entre 7 et 10 M€ par an. Gfi Informatique entend privilégier la continuité des opérations et se concentrer sur le développement de synergies d'offres devant permettre de capitaliser sur les solutions de Metaware pour offrir à ses grands clients la maintenance et la transformation digitale de leurs patrimoines legacy, avec des coûts, des calendriers et des risques maîtrisés. « Avec de très nombreuses références clients et une équipe d'experts reconnue, Metaware possède des actifs uniques sur lesquels Gfi Informatique souhaite capitaliser afin de devenir le partenaire de modernisation IT des grands comptes en Europe et au-delà » précise Vincent Rouaix, Président-directeur Général du Groupe Gfi Informatique. « Grâce à ce rapprochement, Metaware pourra accroître sa couverture du marché et innover pour proposer à nos clients des solutions de modernisation et de maintenance adaptées à leurs enjeux métier (agilité) et de réduction de coûts. Toute l'équipe de Metaware est associée avec moi à la dynamique du nouveau Groupe et enthousiasmée par les perspectives qu'il nous ouvre » explique Jean-Luc Bellet, fondateur de Metaware. Acteur européen de référence des services informatiques à valeur ajoutée et des logiciels, Gfi Informatique occupe un positionnement stratégique différenciant entre les opérateurs de taille mondiale et les acteurs de niche. Avec son profil de multi-spécialiste, le Groupe met au service de ses clients une combinaison unique de proximité, d'organisation sectorielle et de solutions de qualité industrielle. Le Groupe qui compte près de 12 500 collaborateurs a réalisé en 2015 un chiffre d'affaires de 894 M€.


News Article | January 21, 2016
Site: news.mit.edu

More than 300 million people in India have no access to grid electricity, and the problem is especially acute in rural communities, which can be difficult and expensive to reach with grid power. At MIT’s Tata Center for Technology and Design, researchers are exploring ways to extend electricity access to such communities using microgrids — independent electricity generation and distribution systems that service one village or even just a few houses. In addition to being flexible in size, microgrids can run on whatever power sources are available, including wind, hydropower, and the source accessible at all sites: solar power. “A large number of people, particularly in rural India, won’t be electrified for decades, and the situation is similar in other parts of southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The statistics say that 1.5 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, but many more don’t have reliable access,” says Robert Stoner, deputy director for science and technology at the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and director of the Tata Center. “We’re looking for ways to make electricity available to everyone without necessarily having to go through the costly and time-consuming process of extending the [national] electric grid. With policy support in the form of regulation and financing … it’s conceivable that microgrids could proliferate very quickly. They might not supply a level of access equivalent to that offered by a well-managed grid but would provide an affordable and significant step forward in quality of life.” Microgrids can be powered by diesel generators or by renewable technologies, among them solar power, which is becoming more attractive as the cost of solar technology falls. “If you use solar, [the fuel is] essentially free,” says Rajeev Ram, MIT professor of electrical engineering and a Tata Center researcher. In addition, he says, “micro­grids are attractive because they let you pool resources.” Nevertheless, the widespread adoption of microgrids has been stymied by several challenges, including the high cost of setting up private generation and distribution systems and the business risk of investing in a system that’s susceptible to being undercut by an extension of the electric grid. At the Tata Center, researchers are addressing such concerns from multiple angles — from mapping out national electrification networks, to providing planning assistance to rural entrepreneurs, to developing technology that can make it easier to build microgrids organically, from the grassroots up. Indeed, the researchers say that properly designed microgrids can be grid-compatible, reducing the risk to investors and providing an intermediate stage to grid connection where this is technically and economically viable. “Everyone agrees we have to scale microgrids” to address the rural electrification gap, says Brian Spatocco, a Tata Fellow who worked on micro­grids as a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering at MIT. The problem, he says, is that “not one size fits all.” To address the microgrid challenge at the macro level, Tata researchers led by Stoner and Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga, a visiting professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management from IIT-Comillas University in Madrid, Spain, have been developing and implementing a sophisticated computer program that can help government planners determine the best way to provide electricity to all potential consumers. The Reference Electrification Model (REM) pulls information from a range of data sets — which in India include satellite imagery, the Census of India, and India’s National Sample Survey, which gathers statistics for planning purposes. REM then uses the data to determine where extending the grid will be most cost-effective and where other solutions, such as a microgrid or even an isolated home solar system, would be more practical. “We are approaching the problem of rural electrification from the perspective of planners and regulators,” Stoner says. Satellite imagery is used to map the buildings in a given location, and demand is estimated based on the types and profiles of the buildings. REM then uses pricing and technical data on such equipment as solar panels, batteries, and wiring to estimate the costs of electrification on or off the grid and to make preliminary engineering designs for the recommended systems. The model essentially produces a snapshot of a lowest-cost electrification plan as if one could be built up overnight. “This is a technology tool that [officials] can use to inform policy decisions,” says Claudio Vergara, a MITEI postdoc working on the REM project. “We’re not trying to tell them what the plan should be, but we’re helping them compare different options. After a decision has been made and detailed information about the sites is gathered, REM can be used to produce more detailed designs to support the implementation of each of the three electrification modes.” Currently, Tata researchers are using REM to model an electrification plan for Vaishali, a district of 3.5 million people in the state of Bihar in India. “We’re designing the system down to every house,” Stoner says. In the project, results from REM were used to identify the best locations in Vaishali for microgrids (see Figure 1 in the slideshow above). In July 2015, the team visited two candidate sites, each with between 70 and 250 houses, and REM will now be used to produce a detailed technical design showing all the equipment and wiring needed to electrify them. Then, Vergara says, a local Tata partner will put REM to the test by actually building the microgrids. “The pilot will help us improve the model,” Vergara says. “We’re making many modeling assumptions now, so we need real-world validation.” Once the software has been perfected, Stoner says, the researchers plan to make it openly available. Another project under way at the Tata Center addresses the barriers to entry for potential microgrid entrepreneurs. Such businesses face several hurdles, including the high cost of determining the most cost-effective sites for their projects. India’s government and public utilities often provide no information about where the electric grid is likely to be extended next, and calculating the likely demand for electricity in a village typically requires costly, on-the-ground research — all of which makes it tough for any potential microgrid entrepreneur to make the case for profitability and to secure financing. Three MIT graduate students and a postdoc are working to develop GridForm, a planning framework that rapidly identifies, digitizes, and models rural development sites, with the goal of automating some of the work required to design a microgrid for a small village. “Doing a custom system for every village creates so much work for companies — in time and in the human resources burden — that it can’t scale,” Spatocco says. “We’re trying to expedite the planning piece so [entrepreneurs] can serve more people and reduce costs.” Like REM, GridForm begins with satellite data, but GridForm goes on to use advanced machine learning to model individual villages with a high level of detail. “We’ll say this is a house and this is a house, hit run, and the machine learns the properties of a house, such as size and shape,” Spatocco says. The goal is to produce a hardware and cost model of a target village that is 90 percent accurate before anyone even visits the site. GridForm also develops load estimates, based on factors such as demographics and the proximity of buildings, and provides entrepreneurs with potential microgrid designs and even lists of necessary equipment. The program incorporates data sets on solar radiance and uses an algorithm to determine the best configuration of solar panels, battery packs, and distribution wires to power the greatest number of houses at the lowest cost. “We’re providing everything from siting to planning to implementation — the whole process,” says Kendall Nowocin, a PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science working on GridForm. The other two researchers working on the project are George Chen PhD ’15, an MITx postdoctoral teaching fellow, and Ling Xu, a PhD student in health sciences and technology. The main difference from REM, the researchers say, is that GridForm envisions electrification being built from the ground up rather than from the top down. “We think rural entrepreneurs will electrify themselves,” Spatocco says. “We want to create insights that are immediately useful to practitioners on the ground — what to buy, what it will cost, where to put it.” Already GridForm has been used to develop detailed microgrid plans for four villages in the state of Bihar, and the team is working with Indian social enterprise SELCO Solar to do the installations, providing service to 2,000 to 3,000 people. A third Tata Center project focuses on fostering the organic growth of microgrids by enabling residents to share extra power-generating capacity with their neighbors via an inexpensive piece of hardware, the uLink power management unit (PMU). A “demand response” system that meters and controls the flow of electricity, uLink can adjust the demands it serves based on the supply of electricity that’s available. The system reflects an innovative approach to electrification, Ram says — one that acknowledges that the standards for electrification common in the developed world are unrealistically high for poor, remote areas. Building in the system redundancies necessary to ensure 99.9 percent availability is simply too expensive — and particularly unrealistic in India, where even the areas served by the grid are plagued by power outages. “Here we can guarantee a basic level of service, but we don’t guarantee 99.9 percent,” Ram says. “This is a very powerful way to manage the cost of electricity infrastructure. Demand response allows you to size the system for average demand, versus peak demand.” What that means is that when the sun is shining and batteries are fully charged, microgrid customers can run all of their appliances, but when it’s been cloudy for a few days and the system is low on power, uLink can signal users to shut off loads; as a last resort, it can even shut off loads automatically. Automating this function eases the social difficulty of sharing electricity, the researchers say. Once users have pooled their resources, there’s no need to argue over who can use which appliances; uLink allots electricity based on which loads have been predetermined as “critical” and therefore not subject to shutoff when system demand peaks. Everything else can be shut off by uLink as needs arise. Users themselves determine which few loads are “critical,” providing an element of choice not typically seen in home solar systems, which hardwire their loads. uLink features several out­lets, enabling users to plug in a variety of appliances. At maximum capacity, the initial prototype low-voltage, DC system provides about 25 watts per household, enough to run a fan, a cellphone charger, and a couple of lights. “The hardest part is making a box with all these functions at a cost people can afford,” Ram says, noting that the uLink consumer unit is designed to cost about as much as a cellphone, making it affordable for most Indian villagers. uLink was field-tested in June 2015 — five houses were wired together for two weeks — and the delivery, metering, and networking systems worked well. The next milestone for the developers is to test the algorithm designed to estimate how much electricity is available from the system’s batteries and solar panels and optimally shed loads. “This is definitely a work in progress,” Ram says. Indeed, all three Tata Center projects are still being refined, but together they offer a rich portfolio of potential solutions to the problem of rural electrification, the effects of which many of the researchers have seen firsthand. “Electricity is not just empowering. It’s an enabling force. Electricity goes right into livelihood activities,” Spatocco says, noting that just a few lights make it possible for residents to work in the evenings, for example, or to improve their efficiency with simple machinery, such as sewing machines. “People can double or triple their economic output.” There are also benefits few in the West might imagine, as Ram discovered by interviewing residents of one non-electrified Indian village: “They conveyed how frightening it can be to have a snake in the village if no one has a light.” This research was supported by the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design. Work on GridForm also received support from the MIT IDEAS Global Challenge. The REM program also benefited from other studies undertaken outside India supported by ENEL Foundation and Iberdrola. This article appears in the Autumn 2015 issue of Energy Futures, the magazine of the MIT Energy Initiative.


Gfi Informatique is strengthening its capabilities in migration and IT modernisation solutions Saint-Ouen (France), 1st December 2016 - Gfi Informatique, a major player in digital solutions and services, announced today the acquisition of Metaware. With this deal, the Group is strengthening its lead in digital transformation solutions for legacy applications. With 20 years of experience and more than 200 projects to its credit, Metaware is one of the leading European players in solutions and services for systems modernisation. The company, which has prestigious customers such as Axa, BNP, Club Med, the French Social Security, PMU, Airbus Helicopters, Caja de Valores (Argentine stock exchange) and Renault, stands out from its peers in that it benefits from unique know-how, combining specialised software tools for code manipulation and testing with hyper-industrialised processes, as well as close relationships with large publishers such as Oracle and IBM. The company consists of around sixty experts and realises sales of between €7m and €10m per annum. Gfi Informatique intends to focus on business continuity and developing synergies in product offerings so as to leverage Metaware's solutions in order to offer its major customers maintenance and digital transformation of their legacy assets with well-reined in costs, schedules, and risks. "With its large number of customer references and a team of recognised experts, Metaware has unique assets on which Gfi Informatique plans to capitalise in order to become the benchmark IT modernisation partner for key accounts in Europe and beyond" specifies Vincent Rouaix, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Gfi  Informatique. "Metaware will be able to build on the merger to increase its market coverage and innovate so as to offer our customers modernisation and maintenance solutions tailored to their business challenges (agility) and cost reduction objectives. All the team at Metaware is closely involved with me in working on the newly-formed entity's momentum, and we're all very excited about the prospects it opens up" explains Metaware founder Jean-Luc Bellet. The items in this press release other than historical facts are estimates. They do not constitute guarantees because of the inherent difficulties in forecasting results. Actual results may differ considerably from explicit or implicit forecasts. Gfi Informatique is a major player in value-added IT services and software in Europe that through its differentiated approach occupies a strategic position between global firms and niche entities. With its multi-specialist profile, the Group offers its customers a unique combination of proximity, sector organisation and industrial-quality solutions. The Group has around 12,500 employees and generated revenue of €894 million in 2015. Gfi Informatique is listed on the Paris Euronext, NYSE Euronext (Compartment B) - ISIN Code: FR0004038099.


SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - December 05, 2016) - AnDAPT™, today announced AmP™ Adaptive Multi-Rail Power Platform family, a new genre of analog power management technology heralding an innovative user paradigm for "On-Demand Power Management," and taking analog power designs to a new level of flexibility. Users can now, on-demand, select and integrate application targeted, proven Power Components on to an AmP Platform. AnDAPT Power Components are highly integrated software-based components leading to lowered device costs, board space and inventory costs while facilitating full telemetry, providing customers with an ability to lower power by monitoring, sequencing and voltage scaling power components/POLs. Power Components replace traditional expensive catalog parts and include: Buck, Boost, Buck-Boost, Multi-phase regulators, Load Switches, LDOs, Battery Chargers, Multi-phase controllers, Sequencers, Supervisors and other point of load (POL) devices. With Power Components, on-demand power management design is easy and can be completed within a span of days, without requiring long development cycles, high production volumes or NRE costs typical of traditional custom PMU/PMIC solutions. The AmP™ Adaptive Multi-Rail Power Platforms are supported by WebAmP™ cloud-based tools that include an extensive library of prebuilt and proven Power Components. WebAmP tools provide a user-friendly GUI, along with a power analysis tool suite, with an ability to on-demand adapt Power Components to user needs. AnDAPT also offers the AmPLink™ adapter to download user power design to AmP platforms. "Our AmP devices bring unprecedented simplicity of drag-and-drop, affordability along with the benefits of power management where fixed catalog parts with limited to no power management ability have dominated," said Kapil Shankar, President and CEO of AnDAPT. "Most importantly however, our flexibility offers customers design security, as they can always modify their power design through development cycle, yet avail benefits of custom power management. "AnDAPT has a compelling and innovative product that is poised to have an enormous impact on the power management market that we estimate at $14.1 billion," said Richard Wawrzyniak, Principal Analyst, Semico Research Corp. "Their technology represents the next stage in power management design efficiency and sophistication. With AnDAPT's AmP Platform and software, companies can craft complicated designs without the expense of funding a custom analog ASIC design effort while enjoying the benefits of using drag-and-drop power components to reduce design costs and design time." "Options for creating customized, integrated power management solutions are non-existent," said John Depew, Director of Hardware at an IoT company. "With AmP Platform, I found several benefits not available in other products, including flexibility provided by drag-and-drop software, the ability to integrate dissimilar power rails, reduced real estate and overall lower cost while maintaining efficiency. Flexibility to easily change power rails as the design evolved was key," added John. The AnDAPT AmP family addresses customer requirements for ever-increasing power density and the need to rapidly develop innovative products for dynamic end markets. First AmP family has been optimized to address 12V, Enterprise, Server/Client, Communications, Storage, IoT, Drones, Telematics, Medical and Industrial applications. About AnDAPT Adaptive Analog Technology The AnDAPT AmP platform is engineered with ground breaking, patented, digitally wrapped µAnalog on interconnect fabric technology. µAnalog can be interconnected with fabric to create full-function analog power components such as voltage regulators, load switches etc., without issues of interface voltage, current, impedance, noise, isolation etc. µAnalog delivers benefits of traditional analog power engineering skills and proficiency, which combined with interconnect fabric and logic, enables, flexibility for creation of a variety of power components including POLs, on-demand. This resulting technology is a unique new genre of analog. In future, AnDAPT will offer platforms for broad spectrum of both power and non-power analog applications. About On-Demand Power Components AnDAPT offers a broad selection of Power Components for the AmP family, with competitive figures of merit that replace traditional catalog parts/POLs. Customers therefore no longer have to inventory a large set of catalog POLs devices, lowering their inventory Capex/Opex expense. Power components of various topologies, range from buck, boost, buck-boost, battery chargers, load switches, LDOs to gate drivers, controllers, sequencers and supervisors. Single and multi-phase regulators and controller topologies are also offered. These come complete with a selection of control loop, compensation, control and telemetry choices. About AmP Adaptive Multi-Rail Power Platform The unique AmP Adaptive Multi-Rail Power Platforms deliver the best of analog and digital capabilities, that offer application targeted integration of multiple dissimilar power rails. The architecture includes: The family consists of nine members with three selections, four, eight and twelve power blocks of 1A, 3A and 6A current capacity each. Initially AmP8D1, AmP8D3 and AmP8D6 are available today with the rest of the family expected before year end. About WebAmP Tools and AmPLink Adapter AnDAPT offers WebAmP licensable, cloud-based power design tools which are available complete with a power analysis tool suite. Also available is an AmPLink Adapter which connects a USB port to download a bit stream to personalize an AmP device as a user designed On-Demand power management unit. Availability, Pricing and Packaging The product family is offered in QFN packages with 6x6, 7x7, 8x8 footprint sizes. Initial device AmP8DS6QF74 is available today, in a 74-pin, 8-mm-by-8-mm-by-0.85-mm thermally enhanced QFN package. The lowest cost member of the family AmP8DP1QN52 is priced at US $3.75 in 1,000-unit quantities. WebAmP tools and power components can be licensed today online and are available for a 30-day free trial period. About AnDAPT A privately held fabless Power semiconductor company, AnDAPT, Inc. designs, manufacturers and markets On-Demand Power Management solutions. Incorporated in 2014 and based in the Silicon Valley, the Company is funded by Intel, Cisco and Vanguard and has pioneered a new genre of adaptive analog technology. AnDAPT offers AmP™ Adaptive Multi-Rail Power Platforms, WebAmP™ cloud-based software tools and AmP Power Components targeting applications in Enterprise, Server/Client, Storage, Communications, IOT, Drones, Telematics, Medical and Industrial applications. Visit the company website or call for more information Copyright 2016 AnDAPT, the AnDAPT logo, AmP, WebAmP, AmPLink and other designated brands included herein are trademarks of AnDAPT in the United States and other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. 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News Article | February 5, 2016
Site: www.theenergycollective.com

Figure 1: This map shows the results of using the Reference Electrification Model (REM) — a computer program designed at MIT with collaboration from IIT-Comillas University — to determine a minimum-cost electrification solution for each of the approximately 400,000 buildings estimated to be non-electrified in the Vaishali district in Bihar, India. The program assigns each building to either a stand-alone system, a microgrid, or a grid extension (indicated by the low-voltage lines). At MIT’s Tata Center for Technology and Design, researchers are exploring ways to extend electricity access to rural communities in India using microgrids. More than 300 million people in India have no access to grid electricity, and the problem is especially acute in rural communities, which can be difficult and expensive to reach with grid power. At MIT’s Tata Center for Technology and Design, researchers are exploring ways to extend electricity access to such communities using microgrids — independent electricity generation and distribution systems that service one village or even just a few houses. In addition to being flexible in size, microgrids can run on whatever power sources are available, including wind, hydropower, and the source accessible at all sites: solar power. “A large number of people, particularly in rural India, won’t be electrified for decades, and the situation is similar in other parts of southern Asia and sub-Saharan Africa. The statistics say that 1.5 billion people worldwide lack access to electricity, but many more don’t have reliable access,” says Robert Stoner, deputy director for science and technology at the MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI) and director of the Tata Center. “We’re looking for ways to make electricity available to everyone without necessarily having to go through the costly and time-consuming process of extending the [national] electric grid. With policy support in the form of regulation and financing … it’s conceivable that microgrids could proliferate very quickly. They might not supply a level of access equivalent to that offered by a well-managed grid but would provide an affordable and significant step forward in quality of life.” Microgrids can be powered by diesel generators or by renewable technologies, among them solar power, which is becoming more attractive as the cost of solar technology falls. “If you use solar, [the fuel is] essentially free,” says Rajeev Ram, MIT professor of electrical engineering and a Tata Center researcher. In addition, he says, “micro­grids are attractive because they let you pool resources.” Nevertheless, the widespread adoption of microgrids has been stymied by several challenges, including the high cost of setting up private generation and distribution systems and the business risk of investing in a system that’s susceptible to being undercut by an extension of the electric grid. At the Tata Center, researchers are addressing such concerns from multiple angles — from mapping out national electrification networks, to providing planning assistance to rural entrepreneurs, to developing technology that can make it easier to build microgrids organically, from the grassroots up. Indeed, the researchers say that properly designed microgrids can be grid-compatible, reducing the risk to investors and providing an intermediate stage to grid connection where this is technically and economically viable. “Everyone agrees we have to scale microgrids” to address the rural electrification gap, says Brian Spatocco, a Tata Fellow who worked on micro­grids as a PhD candidate in materials science and engineering at MIT. The problem, he says, is that “not one size fits all.” Figure 2: This GridForm model of a village in Bihar, India, shows the optimal layout of hardware for the load profiles of the community. Each building, color-coded by the cost (in Indian rupees) of supplying electricity to that structure, is wired to a central generation/storage node (solid lines), and the nodes are connected to each other (dotted lines). To address the microgrid challenge at the macro level, Tata researchers led by Stoner and Ignacio Pérez-Arriaga, a visiting professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management from IIT-Comillas University in Madrid, Spain, have been developing and implementing a sophisticated computer program that can help government planners determine the best way to provide electricity to all potential consumers. The Reference Electrification Model (REM) pulls information from a range of data sets — which in India include satellite imagery, the Census of India, and India’s National Sample Survey, which gathers statistics for planning purposes. REM then uses the data to determine where extending the grid will be most cost-effective and where other solutions, such as a microgrid or even an isolated home solar system, would be more practical. “We are approaching the problem of rural electrification from the perspective of planners and regulators,” Stoner says. Satellite imagery is used to map the buildings in a given location, and demand is estimated based on the types and profiles of the buildings. REM then uses pricing and technical data on such equipment as solar panels, batteries, and wiring to estimate the costs of electrification on or off the grid and to make preliminary engineering designs for the recommended systems. The model essentially produces a snapshot of a lowest-cost electrification plan as if one could be built up overnight. “This is a technology tool that [officials] can use to inform policy decisions,” says Claudio Vergara, a MITEI postdoc working on the REM project. “We’re not trying to tell them what the plan should be, but we’re helping them compare different options. After a decision has been made and detailed information about the sites is gathered, REM can be used to produce more detailed designs to support the implementation of each of the three electrification modes.” Currently, Tata researchers are using REM to model an electrification plan for Vaishali, a district of 3.5 million people in the state of Bihar in India. “We’re designing the system down to every house,” Stoner says. In the project, results from REM were used to identify the best locations in Vaishali for microgrids (see Figure 1 in the slideshow above). In July 2015, the team visited two candidate sites, each with between 70 and 250 houses, and REM will now be used to produce a detailed technical design showing all the equipment and wiring needed to electrify them. Then, Vergara says, a local Tata partner will put REM to the test by actually building the microgrids. “The pilot will help us improve the model,” Vergara says. “We’re making many modeling assumptions now, so we need real-world validation.” Once the software has been perfected, Stoner says, the researchers plan to make it openly available. Figure 3: Sample microgrid with peer-to-peer electricity sharing using uLink. uLink’s power management units (PMUs) are shown connecting generating sources, batteries, and loads to form an ad hoc microgrid. Sophisticated computing power within the units enables power and information to be transferred automatically throughout the microgrid, which could one day employ the mobile phone system (a.k.a. the GSM network) for payments and system monitoring. Another project under way at the Tata Center addresses the barriers to entry for potential microgrid entrepreneurs. Such businesses face several hurdles, including the high cost of determining the most cost-effective sites for their projects. India’s government and public utilities often provide no information about where the electric grid is likely to be extended next, and calculating the likely demand for electricity in a village typically requires costly, on-the-ground research — all of which makes it tough for any potential microgrid entrepreneur to make the case for profitability and to secure financing. Three MIT graduate students and a postdoc are working to develop GridForm, a planning framework that rapidly identifies, digitizes, and models rural development sites, with the goal of automating some of the work required to design a microgrid for a small village. “Doing a custom system for every village creates so much work for companies — in time and in the human resources burden — that it can’t scale,” Spatocco says. “We’re trying to expedite the planning piece so [entrepreneurs] can serve more people and reduce costs.” Like REM, GridForm begins with satellite data, but GridForm goes on to use advanced machine learning to model individual villages with a high level of detail. “We’ll say this is a house and this is a house, hit run, and the machine learns the properties of a house, such as size and shape,” Spatocco says. The goal is to produce a hardware and cost model of a target village that is 90 percent accurate before anyone even visits the site. GridForm also develops load estimates, based on factors such as demographics and the proximity of buildings, and provides entrepreneurs with potential microgrid designs and even lists of necessary equipment. The program incorporates data sets on solar radiance and uses an algorithm to determine the best configuration of solar panels, battery packs, and distribution wires to power the greatest number of houses at the lowest cost. “We’re providing everything from siting to planning to implementation — the whole process,” says Kendall Nowocin, a PhD student in electrical engineering and computer science working on GridForm. The other two researchers working on the project are George Chen PhD ’15, an MITx postdoctoral teaching fellow, and Ling Xu, a PhD student in health sciences and technology. The main difference from REM, the researchers say, is that GridForm envisions electrification being built from the ground up rather than from the top down. “We think rural entrepreneurs will electrify themselves,” Spatocco says. “We want to create insights that are immediately useful to practitioners on the ground — what to buy, what it will cost, where to put it.” Already GridForm has been used to develop detailed microgrid plans for four villages in the state of Bihar, and the team is working with Indian social enterprise SELCO Solar to do the installations, providing service to 2,000 to 3,000 people. A third Tata Center project focuses on fostering the organic growth of microgrids by enabling residents to share extra power-generating capacity with their neighbors via an inexpensive piece of hardware, the uLink power management unit (PMU). A “demand response” system that meters and controls the flow of electricity, uLink can adjust the demands it serves based on the supply of electricity that’s available. The system reflects an innovative approach to electrification, Ram says — one that acknowledges that the standards for electrification common in the developed world are unrealistically high for poor, remote areas. Building in the system redundancies necessary to ensure 99.9 percent availability is simply too expensive — and particularly unrealistic in India, where even the areas served by the grid are plagued by power outages. “Here we can guarantee a basic level of service, but we don’t guarantee 99.9 percent,” Ram says. “This is a very powerful way to manage the cost of electricity infrastructure. Demand response allows you to size the system for average demand, versus peak demand.” What that means is that when the sun is shining and batteries are fully charged, microgrid customers can run all of their appliances, but when it’s been cloudy for a few days and the system is low on power, uLink can signal users to shut off loads; as a last resort, it can even shut off loads automatically. Automating this function eases the social difficulty of sharing electricity, the researchers say. Once users have pooled their resources, there’s no need to argue over who can use which appliances; uLink allots electricity based on which loads have been predetermined as “critical” and therefore not subject to shutoff when system demand peaks. Everything else can be shut off by uLink as needs arise. Users themselves determine which few loads are “critical,” providing an element of choice not typically seen in home solar systems, which hardwire their loads. uLink features several out­lets, enabling users to plug in a variety of appliances. At maximum capacity, the initial prototype low-voltage, DC system provides about 25 watts per household, enough to run a fan, a cellphone charger, and a couple of lights. “The hardest part is making a box with all these functions at a cost people can afford,” Ram says, noting that the uLink consumer unit is designed to cost about as much as a cellphone, making it affordable for most Indian villagers. uLink was field-tested in June 2015 — five houses were wired together for two weeks — and the delivery, metering, and networking systems worked well. The next milestone for the developers is to test the algorithm designed to estimate how much electricity is available from the system’s batteries and solar panels and optimally shed loads. “This is definitely a work in progress,” Ram says. Indeed, all three Tata Center projects are still being refined, but together they offer a rich portfolio of potential solutions to the problem of rural electrification, the effects of which many of the researchers have seen firsthand. “Electricity is not just empowering. It’s an enabling force. Electricity goes right into livelihood activities,” Spatocco says, noting that just a few lights make it possible for residents to work in the evenings, for example, or to improve their efficiency with simple machinery, such as sewing machines. “People can double or triple their economic output.” There are also benefits few in the West might imagine, as Ram discovered by interviewing residents of one non-electrified Indian village: “They conveyed how frightening it can be to have a snake in the village if no one has a light.”


IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--From Dec 1st to 3rd, 2016 the most important German spine congress took place at the Hannover Congress Centre. joimax,® the global acting German developer and marketer of technologies and training methods for endoscopic minimally invasive spinal surgery, exhibited again this year at the 11th congress of the German Spine Society (DWG). The congress attracted an increasing number of attendees who gathered for the latest news on spinal surgery as well as to learn about the techniques and results of endoscopic spine surgery and the benefits of these techniques for both the surgeon and their patients. joimax® presented its complete product range including the newly launched MultiZYTE® RT (e.g. for rhizotomy) as well as MultiZYTE® SI for Sacroiliac Joint therapy and the Intracs® Interaoperative Navigation Tracking & Control System. With Intracs®, a fully endoscopic integrated electromagnetic based system, the joimax® instruments can be navigated directly at the tip which allows tracking of instruments with a diameter in the 1mm range. Over the course of the congress joimax® also held two well attended lunch symposiums covering the whole scope of surgical indications and also the field of pain therapy up to decompression. Furthermore, joimax® offered daily “Meet the Expert” Sessions at its booth where spine surgeons were given the opportunity to learn from extensive experience of well-known German spine specialists. “Endoscopic minimally invasive techniques are becoming more and more the first choice in spinal surgery. This is also reflected in the steadily and now fast growing number of studies showing the benefits on these treatment modalities,” says Wolfgang Ries, CEO and founder of joimax®. The most recent study by Alastair Gibson, MD from Edinburgh, Scotland titled, A randomized controlled trial of TED vs Microdiscectomy was recently published online in the European Spine Journal. During his long-time use of joimax® endoscopic systems and educational work, Dr. Gibson published a large number of studies on endoscopic minimally invasive spinal surgery. Recently, in October 2016, joimax®, together with the Paracelsus Medical University (PMU), had the honor of awarding him with the Parviz Kambin Award for his excellence in endoscopic spinal surgery. This event took place during the CME-certified workshop course held at the PMU in Salzburg, Austria. The award is presented to pioneers in the field of endoscopic minimally invasive spine surgery. Founded in Karlsruhe, Germany, in 2001, joimax® is the leading developer and marketer of complete systems for endoscopic minimally invasive spinal surgery. With TESSYS® (transforaminal), iLESSYS® (interlaminar) and CESSYS® (cervical) for decompression procedures, MultiZYTE® RT (e.g. for rhizotomy) and with MultiZYTE® SI for SI-Joint therapy or with EndoLIF® and Percusys® for endoscopic minimally-invasive assisted stabilizations, proven endoscopic systems are provided that, together, cover a whole variety of indications. With the newly launched Intracs® system, navigation is now faster, safer and more accurate than ever before using an electromagnetic (EM) field. In procedures for herniated disc, stenosis, pain therapy or spinal stabilization treatment, surgeons utilize joimax® technologies to operate through small incisions - under local or full anesthetic - via tissue and muscle-sparing corridors through natural openings into the spinal canal (e.g. intervertebral foramen, the “Kambin triangle”).


News Article | November 2, 2016
Site: motherboard.vice.com

What's green, has four wheels, and brandishes a thermal optic gun? A brand new, ISIS-killing machine, called Al Robot (The Robot)—if you're in Iraq at least. The country's Popular Mobilization Unit (PMU), also known as the People's Mobilization Forces, debuted its new offensive ground unit on November 1 against ISIS forces currently besieged near the northern Iraqi city of Mosul. A PMU spokesperson told Motherboard that the deployment was a success, with the vehicle performing "better than anticipated." Designed by two brothers from Baghdad, the unmanned [uncrewed] ground vehicle (UGV) has a remotely operated 12.7mm cannon equipped with thermal sights, as well as side-mounted Russian-made 70mm rockets. "The combat robot is used in three primary missions," the PMU spokesperson told Motherboard. "Nighttime hunter missions, daytime combat missions and all-day support role for any troops requiring it. Hunter operations utilize the very high quality thermal optical camera on the robot to find ISIS targets at night. The target information can be given to either our designated sniper or relayed to Iraqi central command for Iraqi Air Force F16 strike or Mi-35 gunship strike with ATAKA guided missiles." According to this news video from The Baghdad Post, Al Robot's cannon can be angled 45 degrees up or down, and has full 360-degree rotation. Two drivers command the beast—one for gunning and one for driving. Its rockets can also hit targets up to three kilometers away, said the PMU. Motherboard was told that the PMU is planning to soon integrate guided anti-tank missiles onto the UGV, and that "all soldiers have felt safer with the robot deployed alongside as it offers exceptional capabilities without endangering our troops lives." The vehicle resembles many similar designs of UGVs from militaries around the world. The US Army's Gladiator tactical vehicle has been in development for more than a decade now, and in June, an Israeli contractor introduced the RoBattle—"an unmanned, heavy duty, highly maneuverable combat and support robotic system"—says Israeli Aerospace Industries. There's also the imitable Legged Squad Support System from DARPA, but that was project was canned in 2015. Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter.


News Article | October 28, 2016
Site: www.prweb.com

Markeida L. Johnson’s new book, Dear Dad, It's Me!, ($13.99, paperback, 9781498467117; $6.99, e-book, 9781498467124) shares her emotional experience of being a fatherless daughter to help promote healing and forgiveness with others who have a similar story as hers. This book uncovers the raw truth of her emotions desiring a father’s love that she never received while growing up – significant times in her life when she had to face the sadness of being abandoned by her father and what that experience did to her mindset toward love as she grew up. As Markeida struggled with negativity and insecurity, God emerged in her life to show her an example of love that could never be tarnished or forsaken. She wants the fatherless generation to know they can be free from all the emotional baggage that comes with being fatherless and to know they can break the cycle of repeating fatherless children. Markeida allows herself to be transparent through her circumstances and decisions so that others can see that no matter what life dishes out, anyone can overcome obstacles. God has shown a tremendous amount of grace and mercy in her life, and she is appreciative of where He has brought her from, and absolutely excited about where He is taking her. She is proud to say that she no longer is a victim of her circumstances. “I hope readers will gain strength to forgive and let go of the past or maybe even their present hurt and pain of being in a fatherless generation,” states the author. “I want them to know they do not have to be bound in body, mind or soul because of someone else's decision. I want them to break away from the chains of rejection and neglect from someone who didn’t have the capacity to love them.” Markeida L. Johnson has successfully been married for 21 years and has raised three sons. She has been in ministry for over 20 years and co-pastor a church with her husband since 2002. She and her husband, Gary Johnson, have a marriage ministry, ‘No Air Between Us’, in addition to counseling couples for marriage preparedness and family values. She is currently attending college to obtain a degree in Psychology. She is the founder of a women’s group called S.H.I.C. (SisterHood In Christ), under the umbrella of God’s Women of Power-PMU. S.H.I.C. is inspired by her life experiences and spiritual wisdom to motivate others to overcome struggles. She is nicknamed ‘the fire starter’ by her fellow worshippers because she knows how to ignite the word of God in their life. Xulon Press, a division of Salem Media Group, is the world’s largest Christian self-publisher, with more than 15,000 titles published to date. Retailers may order Dear Dad, It's Me! through Ingram Book Company and/or Spring Arbor Book Distributors. The book is available online through xulonpress.com/bookstore, amazon.com, and barnesandnoble.com.

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