Archive for November, 2010

Since our last visit to the Glenmore Reservoir in October, we decided to pay the indoor testing tank (image below) a second visit to undertake anoter stage of testing. This time- for paddle noise.

Equipped with our paddles (courtesy of Undercurrents, Calgary AB) and armed with an acoustic noise measuring device (courtesy of the Department of Mechanical Engineering, Calgary AB) we headed to the Glenmore Reservoir’s Indoor Facility to undertake our first round of acoustic testing.

The paddles were tested to assess how much overall noise each one generated during a paddling cycle of 10 strokes. Two intensity levels were chosen- one at 20 beats per minutes (BPM), and a second trial at 30 BPM- meaning a new stroke was started at each 20 or 30 beat increment.

The various paddles tested are shown here:

The Dihedral Paddle

The ‘Scoop’ Paddle

The Otter Tail

The Traditional Paddle

The Shearwater Paddle

Noise Level Results (click image to enlarge)

Keeping in mind inherent error in the testing methodology, generalized conclusions should be made with caution.

However, this is a promising preliminary result which suggests that the ‘quietness’ of the paddle can be optimized further from conventional paddles currently on the market.

Read Full Post »

Phidget info

Phidgets were originally designed here at the University of Calgary, by a

colleague of Jeff Boyd’s in the Computer Science Department and are a vast

variety of low-cost ‘plug and play’ sensors and motors connected through a

USB port and controlled by a PC.

The sensor I chose for this project was the ‘1056 – PhidgetSpatial 3/3/3’

for its plug and play functionality and it’s compact, all-in-one design.

It can measure:

– static and dynamic acceleration in 3 axes, up to 5g.

– magnetic field in 3-axes up to ±4 Gauss

– measures angular rotation in 3 axes, up to ±400° per second

a compass and correction package are also included to, not only tell

direction, but assist in error and offset correction caused by magnetic




1056 Phidget Product page:


Phidget Description:



Read Full Post »

Whale inspiration

This slideshow requires JavaScript.




Read Full Post »


The footage above was taken at the Glenmore Reservoir (Indoor tank), shows the shearwater paddle in action. Although the paddle is removed from the water during the recovery stroke, the vorticies that are produced during the power stroke are quite vivid. Alot of questions around these vortices’s, and how they can be utilized best by the paddle.

This side by side footage helps in showing how much the water is disrupted during the power stroke. The paddle on the right is a standard canoe paddle commonly used. Although there may be a difference in the energy applied for each paddle design, much is to be investigated regarding the shape design and water displacement. The biomimetic paddle design looks promising, but further testing is required to quantify some areas of concern.

Read Full Post »

FLOWE wind farm design


Company: The Caltech Field Laboratory for Optimized Wind Energy
Product Phase: Under development
Product Type: Wind farm spatial design

Energy boost from vortices: bull trout >

As fish swim, they shed tiny vortices. In large schools of fish, individuals transfer energy to each other with these vortices, lowering the energetic costs of swimming. Researcher John Dabiri has taken inspiration from this strategy and applied similar principles to the spatial design of wind farms. By placing vertical-axis turbines (different from the traditional horizontal-axis, propeller-style turbines) close together in a strategic array, energy is gathered by each turbine, while simultaneously directing wind to nearby turbines. Dabiri’s research team, supported in part by Windspire Energy Inc., is currently working to determine ideal positioning of turbines to achieve optimum power output.


The largest issue facing wind farms is the space required for propeller-style turbines to function properly. The vertical-axis turbines used by researchers demand less space to operate and are placed in close proximity as a necessary part of the spatial design, significantly decreasing the acreage necessary for the gathering of wind power.


Dabiri estimates that once optimal positioning is determined, it may be possible to produce 10 times the amount of wind energy currently generated by a common horizontal turbine wind farm.

Read Full Post »


Via The Guardian

Via http://icons-ecast.wunderground.com/data/wximagenew/p/PaulTurner/20.jpg

Via AskNature

Via http://www.ericarnold.us/images/photo-duckfeet.jpg

Via http://animal.discovery.com/mammals/platypus/pictures/platypus-picture.jpg

Read Full Post »

Follow link

Image via http://www.freepatentsonline.com/6685521-0-large.jpg

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »