Scientists make thin material that acts as air conditioner

Newly engineered material can cool roofs, structures with zero energy consumption, The team with their glass-polymer hybrid Material. (University of Colorado)
Updated 10 February 2017
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Scientists make thin material that acts as air conditioner

MIAMI: Scientists have invented a new kind of thin material that can cool a surface against the heat of the sun without using energy or typical air conditioning, a study said Thursday.
The glass-polymer hybrid material measures just 50 micrometers thick — slightly more than aluminum foil — and can be manufactured cheaply, researchers said in the journal Science.
“We feel that this low-cost manufacturing process will be transformative for real-world applications of this radiative cooling technology,” said researcher Xiaobo Yin, an assistant professor at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Uses for the product could include keeping buildings and other objects cool, as well as extending the life of solar panels.
In the case of thermoelectric power plants, which need massive amounts of water and electricity to maintain the operating temperatures of their machinery, such a film could save resources and money.
Researchers found the material could cool objects by dissipating the sun’s thermal energy in the form of infrared radiation.
In field tests, the material showed a cooling power roughly equivalent to the electricity generated using solar cells for a similar area, and could cool continuously both day and night.
“Just 10 to 20 square meters (yards) of this material on the rooftop could nicely cool down a single-family house in summer,” said co-author Gang Tan, an associate professor in the University of Wyoming’s Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering.
While not on the market yet, researchers said the material is lightweight, easy to fit to curved surfaces, and fairly simple to mass produce.


Saudi ICT sector holds key to growth, forum told

Updated 20 March 2019
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Saudi ICT sector holds key to growth, forum told

  • 5G will be used in 30% of big cities in Saudi Arabia by 2020
  • 90% of KSA has 4G technology coverage, including remote centers and villages

RIYADH: Information and communications technology (ICT) is one of the main drivers of development in today’s world, a Riyadh forum on “Digital Transformation for an Ambitious Country” has been told.

In his opening speech to the annual Communications and Information Technology Indicators Forum, Abdul Aziz Al-Ruwais, governor of the Communications and Information Technology Commission, said the ICT sector stimulated productivity, enhanced competitiveness and encouraged innovation.

On Wednesday, the Saudi minister of communications and information technology, Abdullah bin Amer Al-Sawaha, joined regional and global leaders in the ICT sector, telecom executives and government officials at the forum.

Al-Ruwais said that ICT has been used to “develop strategies and regulatory policies that can guarantee the availability of infrastructure, basic apparatus and services in all regions of the Kingdom.”

“In order to facilitate the mission of researchers, experts and those interested in telecommunication services indicators, the Communications and Information Technology Commission established an electronic platform that allows the user to have access to indicators and statistics related to the sector. This platform enables the user to view the indicators in the form of tables and detailed graphs,” he said.

Al-Ruwais said the commission has achieved 90 percent coverage of 4G technologies in the Kingdom, including remote centers and villages.

He said the authority has issued temporary licenses for fifth-generation networks, equipping 153 sites with 5G in nine cities. So far, 680 trials were conducted for 5G.

He said that ICT services achieved high indicators during the 2017 Hajj season, with local and international calls totaling 439 million through 16,000 base stations.

Mufarreh Nahari, director of Market Studies at CITC, said: “It is expected that by 2020 the experimental uses of 5G will be fully completed and they will be ready to launch the official 5G sim by then. By the end of 2020 we expect that 5G will be used in 30 percent of the big cities in Saudi Arabia.”

The past three years have seen an increase in internet usage. In 2018, two-thirds of Internet users in the Kingdom used the internet for more than four hours a day, said Nahari.

Ammar Al-Ansari, department head of Country Digital Acceleration at Cisco, said: “The agreements signed by the crown prince during his overseas visits led to the introduction of a number of artificial intelligence (AI) techniques, including virtual schools and smart classrooms.” 

Seven schools in Saudi have a live stream for teachers to connect with their students. They may be 250 km to 300 km apart, but an active learning session takes place between students and educators.

Al-Ansari displayed a video from a teacher in Jeddah giving lessons to students in the northern region via a smart board. AI was used to monitor and analyze students’ attention spans. 

The analysis will help educators update traditional teaching methods.