Technology is advancing and at a very fast rate. Just 30 years ago the inventions we enjoy today seemed too unbelievable to exist so soon. It didnâ€™t however take us long to get to where we are today. Dentistry has not been left behind when it comes to new inventions.
There have been a number of recent groundbreaking dental inventions that have greatly improved the way people take care of their teeth. However, there are still a number of challenges the dentistry field face to bring the benefits of these inventions to the masses. We discussed the future of dentistry with Boronia’s most renowned dentist – Dr. Dorairajan Kulandaivel.
Below are just a few of the incredible advances in dentistry that are set to change the future of dentistry.
The majority of people fear going to the dentist for one primary reason: the drill. This fear doesnâ€™t really even make sense because when dentists use a drill, the patient under anesthesia is not able to feel any pain. The vibrations can still be felt however and this may be part of the reason why many people are terrified of dentists.
Laser dentistry will solve this problem. With this technology, the drill will be able to be done away with. This technology is able to prepare the outside parts of the teeth better for filling or crowning so the filling is able to stay on the tooth longer. The challenge that comes with this technology advancement however is cost. It is an expensive form of treatment. This is something that should be changed so that everyone can afford to access this service.
Radiography is a necessity in the medical field. However, large amounts of radiation pose a great risk to human health as these can lead to cell damage. For this reason it is very important for dentists to minimize the amount of radiation they expose to their patients.
New technologies are focusing on digital radiography. This is a type of technology that utilizes a miniscule amount of radiation but does not in any way compromise on the quality of scans that are achieved. This will not only pose less risk to the patientsâ€™ health but it will make dentistâ€™s work easier as they will only be required to get one scan for their analysis.
The other example of the advances in technology that may really help in dentistry is the use of digital records. Today, patients need a place where they can access their dental records in a matter of seconds either through email, on a website or even on social media. This is something that can only be achieved through digitization of records. Gone are the days when patients waited for hours for their records on paper to be located in order for them to receive treatment. With digital records, things are able to move faster for both the dentists and the patients.
Some of these advances in technology have already been integrated in some dental facilities while others have not. Cost is usually the deciding factor and in many smaller clinics or in poorer areas technology is lagging.
To ensure everyone has access to the latest in technology it will be necessary for the cost of implementing these new technologies to be reduced. We can only hope that this happens sooner rather than later to ensure the best dental care for patients all over the globe.
Whether you’re looking to treat yourself or are looking to purchase a gift for a loved one, discover some of the coolest inventions of 2016 below. From high-tech gadgetry to smart new designs of old products, below are our choice for some of the best products to come out so far this year.
The AirChair is a large, inflatable lounge, which can be made ready within seconds. No pump needed! Better yet, the AirChair folds up into a handy, portable carry bag, so you can take it with you camping or to the beach. It can also be used as a pool float. Best of all, the AirChair is as large and as comfortable as a hammock, so you can comfortably lie back and relax, anywhere you like, or even just in your own backyard. With instant inflation technology and almost unlimited versatility the AirChair is definitely on our Christmas wishlist this year. If you envisage yourself spending a lot of time outdoors this summer, you may want to look into purchasing one of these yourself.
For our female readers – if you’re looking for a way to save yourself time in the morning, you may want to invest in the Swift. This revolutionary ceramic hair straightening brush will make your old hair straightener obsolete. Unlike a traditional hair straightener, such as flat iron, the Swift won’t damage your locks. If you’ve burnt yourself with a hair straightener in the past, you’ll love the fact that the Swift boasts an innovative heat proof design, which ensures that you’ll never burn yourself while straightening your hair again. It also brushes at the same time it straightens, which saves you precious time when you need it most.
samsung welt beltThe Welt, which was designed by tech giants Samsung, will monitor your waist size, your eating habits and the amount of steps that you take each day. The Welt will even track how many minutes you spend sitting per day. Best of all, all of your data will be sent from your Welt to an application on your smart watch or your smart phone. So if you’re looking for a unique way to track your health, you may be interested in trying out Samsung’s new Welt Belt. Best of all the Welt, is a lot more low key than fitness bands or watches, that are worn on your wrist.
The LG Signature Refrigerator automatically opens when you approach it. This is a handy feature if you’re carrying a bag full of groceries. All you have to do is step on a smart sensor which is projected onto your kitchen floor. You can even view the contents of your fridge without opening your fridge’s door by simply knocking on the refrigerator’s door. This space age refrigerator even boasts a high tech fresh guard wall, which ensures that your food stays fresh.
The Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar is an innovative toy, which will teach young children aged 3-6, the basics of coding. The Code-a-Pillar encourages young kids to connect segments in endless combinations in order to solve problems. Whilst the Code-a-Pillar is fun to play with it also helps develops the skills that kids need to learn about computer programing. So, if you’re a parent or are looking for a gift for a loved one’s child, you can’t go wrong purchasing the Think & Learn Code-a-Pillar.
The Swegway, or segway hoverboard as the internet has affectionately named them are the latest craze in a rapidly growing industry called eco-tech. Since their introduction to the market earlier this year, they have generated hundreds if not thousands of sales from all across the world. Apart from being stylish and having superior functionality, the scooters are planet friendly. Here are some of the eco benefits of Swegways that you should know and why you should ditch your morning commute for one of these bad boys!
Swegways are powered by a rechargable lithium-ion battery which powers two independent gyroscopic motors. The user controls each motor through pressure sensor pedals located on the top of the board. By simply tipping your feet forward or backward the rider is able to move comfortably in each direction. Turning is just as easy with more pressure being applied to one foot than the other which initiates a turn. While quality can vary dramatically depending on parts, most swegway suppliers claim they have a range of 20km and can reach top speeds of 12-15km p/h. Some swegways also come with energy efficient LED lights for night riding, and even Bluetooth speakers! With such an impressive range, the swegway is perfect for inner city residents who may currently drive the short distance to work. No traffic, no stress trying to find a park, and best of all, no pollution!
No Emission of Pollutant Gases
Other modes of transport such as cars and buses emit harmful chemicals into the environment and this causes massive environmental degradation. This is because they rely on natural fossil fuel such as diesel and petrol. Despite the fact that new technological innovation have led to development of fuels that are more efficient, they still cause environmental pollution but at a lesser magnitude. On the other hand, Swegways run on batteries and do not emit any gases into the atmosphere no matter the amount of weight on it.
Reduces Carbon Footprint
According to a recent study conducted by EPA, over 900 million car journeys are done per day. Surprisingly, most of these journeys are less than five miles or even shorter and cars release carbons into the environment every time. By investing in a self-balancing scooter, you will reduce your carbon footprint, as you will not have to drive your car around as often as you are used to. They are ideal for short journeys such as going to the shopping centre. Plus if you have solar panels on your home where you charge your swegway, you can claim 100% sustainable travel as you dont have to rely on coal power plants to generate charge for your battery!
Uses Renewable Energy
Unknown to most people is the fact that not only cars and industries emit carbons and other harmful gases into the atmosphere. Energy manufacturing plants that rely on fossils such as coal release a huge chunk of pollutant gases that aggravate the current effect of global warming and climate change. One of the best ways of preventing this is by investing in gadgets that will not only make your life easier but also promote environmental wellness. Swegways rely on renewable energy; the batteries can be recharged repeatedly before been disposed. There are also companies with the technology required to recycle the batteries instead of disposing them ensuring any wasted materials can be recovered.
Finally, Swegways have a compact design that make it possible for users to pack it almost anywhere and avoid traffic jams. If everyone was to use it, the common traffic jams that cause massive pollution in cities would be a thing of the past, plus you get to turn the boring daily routine into something a bit more fun! Start promoting environmental wellness today by investing in this state-of-the-art self-balancing scooter.
While it seems the majority of the world have been becoming more and more obsessed with the latest in technology specifically when it comes to smartphones there is growing resistance to counter this trend. An increasing number of people are shunning the connected culture, uninterested in spending countless hours messaging friends from their cell, browsing Facebook on their iPhone, and being contactable via work email 24/7.
A recent Kickstarter campaign by Light, to generate funds for their new mobile concept based on old technology, and its incredible success thus far, exemplifies this. The phone which is the size of a credit card and has a battery that last for up to 20 days, has easily surpassed its funding target with over 30 days left until the campaign ends.
The phone has attracted so much attention due to is versatile nature, and the fact that it can help people disconnect from their digital worlds; something that a lot of people seem to want to do. The phone can connect with the users smart phones so ensure the users never miss a call, but dont have any fancy gadgetry or complicated applications, so all you can really do with them is call. Being only millimeters thick and the size of a credit card, the light phones arent going to weigh you down either.
Take a look at this video from Light, to find out more about their new offering which is expected to be available for sale mid-2016.
The key selling points of the Light phone are obviously its size and the fact that it can help people disconnect from the mobile phone obsessed world while still allowing them to be contactable when necessary. The phone does not contain any really new technology, however it brings about something that people seem to really want, a phone that does just what cell phones were intended to do; make and receive calls.
Another new innovation to hit the cell phone market in recent times is the increase in mobile phone buyback or recycling stores. Weve noticed a number of these second-hand mobile phone purchasing websites popping up. These sites offer a service where you can sell your old mobile phones for an instant cash rebate; some in-store but most online, for those of us eager to sell their old mobile device or just get rid of the smartphone thats taking control of our lives to trade up for something like the Light phone.
These online stores will give a refund on most cell models, especially the newer ones. We reviewed a number of the sites and found the best average prices on a cross-section of 5 phones comprised of an iPhone 5, and 6, Samsung Galaxy S4and Note 3 and an LG G3 at Sold My Device.
Some of the buyback stores will not only take the latest smartphones but theyll also give you a cash refund for your second-hand ipad, tablet or notebook as well! With the constant evolution in technology and the continual upgrading of devices that so many of us are inclined to partake in, it makes sense to recycle our old devices rather than throw them away or have them sitting around in a cupboard in our homes. So many of us have old mobile phones lying around at home, why not get something back for them and help other, less-fortunate people get connected as well.
If youre in the market for a new phone, be it a Light phone or the latest from Apple, Samsung or LG, do yourself a favour and recycle your old cell phone. Not only will you end up with a bit of cash for your troubles, but youll also help to recycle and keep the world in better shape, and help someone else update their own mobile phone.
Wireless technology has always lagged behind wired technology somewhat. Slower internet speeds, frustrating mobile browsing experiences, cause many users and especially high-end gamers to adopt the wired accessories due to concerns over lag issues. Will wireless ever catch up, or are we doomed to live in a world whereby the wired solution will always be one step ahead? Movies based in the future can often be scarily accurate, and how they portray future wireless technology is probably no exception.
Why has Wired Always been Better?
During a thunderstorm youll notice that you hear the thunder up to a few seconds after seeing the lightning. This is because sound travels slower than light. This is the basis of the problem were experiencing with wireless technology. Light always travels the fastest. This is why optical was such a big deal when they first came out because they are based on data transmission using light technology in a cost efficient and reliable consumer product.
Much of computing technology today relies on electrical transmission of data, which moves at one tenth the speed of light. Its widely believed that in the future we will be using computers based on light, and quantum technology. Optical (light) technology has been used for quite a while now, but only for relatively basic applications such as the simple transmission of data from one place to another.
Using this optical technology in more advanced areas is a different task altogether and involves the clever manipulation of light, effectively making the light behave how we choose.
What uses Optical Technology?
Computer mice are a great example of how we use optical technology today. They work using a diode that emits light to determine where the mouse is on your mouse pad, and which direction its moving in. This is how your mouse pointer moves across your computer screen.
Newer technology even includes a laser diode for enhanced resolution and precision. This is a selling point for high-end gaming mice which employ the use of DPI or dots per inch. This number has recently gone over the 10,000 dots per inch mark, which effectively translates to 10,000 pieces of movement tracking data per inch. The reason that optical mice often dont work on glass tables is that the light cant be beamed back to the mouse, but simply goes through the table and the data is effectively lost.
Its been around for quite a while too!
Thats right, optical data has been around longer than you may realize, and was even a basis for the way CD players gathered data from CDs to play back on a music. With every new area optical technology has been employed on a consumer grade level, it has changed the product entirely. From cassette tapes to CDs, video game cartridges to CDs and DVDs, and analog sound cables to optical sound cables.
Where is Wireless technology headed?
The University of Minnesota has engineers that have developed a chip which employs the use of sound waves, as well as light waves which are tightly confined together within the same space. This might not sound amazing on its own, but the breakthrough here is that the sound waves are able to control the light waves. This new technology could be used to improve wireless communication systems in the future, along with the possibility of being used with computation in quantum physics. Quantum computers have been considered one of the holy grails of technology and great progress has been made in recent years in making them a reality. There have been some workable models which could be applicable for very specific situations, but nothing that can yet be used on a consumer grade level.
This new chip uses a silicon coating, with a layer of aluminum nitrade. The aluminum is the part that conducts the electrical charge. An earthquake like effect is then used to deform the material on the surface of the chip, thereby creating soundwaves which look like an earthquake. This has been done before, but the difference here is that the integration of optical circuits has made the harmony between sound and light much stronger.
What this boils down to, is the faster transmission of data due to the fact that sound and light are now working together and not against one another.
Engineers at the University of Minnesota have also begun looking closer at the possible applications for this chip in quantum devices. Photons are the smallest units of light, and phonons are the smallest unit of sound. In order to apply this chip to quantum devices, the interactions between photons and phonons needs to be better understood.
How Far Away is the Application of this Technology?
No one knows for sure, but progress is being made every day and wireless advancement is believed to be one of the great viable stepping stones by which progress can be made. You may have noticed the computing speed advancement has slowed down over the past couple of years. Weve somewhat reached a limit in how fast computers can think with our current technology. This is part of the reason why research and development is taking place in these areas, in order to overcome these restrictions and barriers currently holding us back.
Data is all around us. It always has been. However it is only through the development of the digital age that it has really come into focus. Prior to the past decade, data was mostly considered to be laboratory notes and school science projects, but now it is collected and traded as a valuable commodity. Technology and marketing companies are interested in the collection of all information that can be observed and measured, in the hope they may be able to benefit from it through advertising etc. Personal information is a prime target for collection and something big business and governments are collecting and collating for future reference. While almost unheard of in the 90s, data is now an important part of the lives of many of us, and its collection and usage affects us on a daily basis.
Why is Data so Important?
So why is there so much focus on the collection of data for analysis? Forecasting is one of the major reasons. People always want to know what is going to happen in the future, and by extrapolating data based on up-to-date information reasonably accurate predictions can be made. Data based forecasting is so important that business proposals in the digital era without any data-backed forecasting are usually seen as being incomplete.
A time series is a collection of measurements of well-defined items obtained through repeated measurements. For example, measuring the value of retail sales at any particular store each month of the year would comprise a time series. This is because sales revenue is well defined, and consistently measured at equally spaced intervals. Data collected irregularly or only once cannot be considered to be a time series. A time series can be decomposed into three components: the trend component (long term direction), the seasonal component (systematic, calendar related movements) and the irregular (unsystematic, short term fluctuations). The decomposition is important in data analysis, because what we see in a chart doesnt necessarily happen in real life. For instance, consider the example of turkey sales over a year. If we look at turkey sales around Thanksgiving, we would estimate that sales were much higher over the entire year than they would be in actuality. Alternatively if we only looked at turkey sales in February we would get a lower estimate than the actual number of sales. This is why it is important to look at an entire time series to get a real long-long term picture.
Data can behave in a large number of ways. Depending on the situation it may have a rhythmic behavior or be highly erratic. It may have a stiff and dull attitude, being insensitive to external influence; or it may have a flexible nature and be very sensitive to externalities. It may also just behave erratically without having any major controlling parameters. Weve discussed how data can affect a business or an organization based on data forecasting. Now were going to talk about the second reason why data is important in business. A collection of data can be seen as more than just a time series chart; people also needs to know what correlation can be drawn from data.
Ellison and Marks brought a simple correlation case in a paper entitled Practical Data Analysis: Business Case Studies, in 2013. They showed a case of data set containing measurements taken on customers at an Australian womens clothing store that specialises in boho maxi dresses and other gypsy clothing. The variables included number of clothing items purchased, total amount spent, gender of the bill payer, and day of the week. They wanted to see what variable or variables had or have the strongest influence to purchases. They also compared the amounts spent between women, and the men who were shopping for gifts for women.
From their study we learned that women tended to purchase more expensive items from the store later in the week, possibly due to its proximity to the weekend, whereas mens purchases were more erratic and did not follow any sort of pattern. For single purchases males spent more on average than females, however women were much more likely to purchase numerous items of clothing. Over the week the study was conducted several women bought over 5 items at a time including boho dresses, pants, tops and accessories, however this was definitely not the norm. Much can be learned about consumer behavior in womens clothing outlets by reviewing thisstudy, and all of this information is useful for the owners of the store (and their competitors) so that they can adjust their services to work with the data and increase profitability.
It is not just small businesses that can benefit from data. Big corporations have recently come under fire for their collection of peoples personal data. To the point where some people consider what they are doing to be an invasion of privacy. Corporations profit from the sale of personal information that can be used to target people for marketing purposes, to profile them, and for other more nefarious means. Anybody who has heard or the allegations of Andrew Snowden can attest to that.
The Future of Data
It was not until around a decade ago that a new kind of profession was created. These people are named data scientists. A data scientist represents an evolution from the business or data analyst role. These people are familiar with statistical analysis and trend prediction and generally have a background in computer science and applications, modeling, statistics, analytics and math. We are talking about a powerful career where people can essentially predict the future, through forecasting and analysis. A good data scientist will not just address business problems, they can also pick the right problems to solve, ones that will bring the most benefit to the organisation.
The work of a data scientist generally covers the following aspects:
Formulation of context-relevant questions and hypotheses to correlate with scientific research
Interpret data sets for the production of statistical evidence which could then be communicated in written form
Build models based on new data types, experimental design, and statistical inference
Aside to the proficiency in computer science, math, and statistics, a good data scientist must have the curiosity, creativity, focus and attention to detail.
Data scientists are always needed as far as theres data involve in any operation. Companies that hire data scientist include:
Federal, provincial/state and municipal government departments
Retail companies with potential for repeat customers such as hairdressers
Oil, gas and mining companies
Online retail stores selling repeat purchase items such as t-shirts
Hospitals and health care organizations
Colleges and universities
The list goes on. As long as it remains lucrative for people to collect data, there will be people collecting it. Right now you yourself are probably included in the datasheets of hundreds, if not thousands, of companies and associations. While you may not be aware of it data is all around you. It can be used to benefit your life, your business and your education however it can also be used to do the opposite. Data is the next big thing in business and our consumeristic societies. Numbers are not just numbers, they can speak. Its up to us to listen.
Even if youre not doing it, you can be sure somebody else is.
Computing power generally follows Moores Law which in summary states that computing power will nearly double every two years. This means that systems we have today are exponentially more powerful than what we had just 10 years ago. This is enabling many incredible technologies to emerge across a variety of industries. Here are a few new markets that have exploded due to increased capabilities of computers, servers and specialized electronics.
Im sure you have heard the word datacenter before, but how are they changing? You would assume that the size of these locations would decrease as disk drives are able to hold more and all other surrounding components become smaller, but this hasnt been the case. Hundreds of new advanced datacenters have been popping up all over utilizing advanced hardware and technologies to create the most efficient form of storing and delivering data, whatever that might be.
This is partly in due to many services moving from older style formats to a web based delivery system such as Blockbuster being replaced by Netflix. You can only imagine the amount of traffic and load that is placed on a datacenter to keep up with the number of shows and movies being watched. Something else that has had a heavy influence on the size and capacity of these locations is the gaming industry which has well exceeded the growth rate of Moores Law throughout the last decade.
Games such as Minecraft have enlisted tens of millions of players who spend many hours each week playing the game. This is related to the server industry as most games are now installed on a local computer, but played while connected to a server. One datacenter can easily be packed with thousands of different servers running at the same time hosting everyones game. In the game of Minecraft, individual players are given the ability to create their own world through a Minecraft server hosting company. http://apexminecrafthosting.com allows them to have their world available 24 hours a day 7 days a week as the datacenter team works tirelessly to make sure that the services are always available. It is easy to see why these datacenters are becoming very profitable in a competitive environment and being built on a regular basis.
Another driving factor for the rapid development of computing power is almost comparable to the arms race. In todays age, there is an competition continuing on from what was seen many years ago, but it much more secretive. One of the most important pieces of a military now is intelligence and information. Supercomputing power has allowed for governments to monitor every single bit of communication taking place all over the world while being analyzed by these systems. On the front it is known as the push for the fastest supercomputer in the world, but we all know what lies beneath the surface.
These advanced computers can perform research, development and analysis of advanced problems that would otherwise be impossible to reach conclusions. Currently, China houses the fastest supercomputer named the Tianhe-2. This isnt all bad news though, as these systems becomes more affordable, they can be applied in more markets such as healthcare. This would enable researches to enlist to the power of a supercomputer to help solve the toughest health related issues in the world.
Looking forward, there is still much potential and opportunity for intelligent systems to be developed to assist in any of these markets. Right now every device needs to be perfectly programmed to perform a specific task, while computing of the future offers a more flexible and intelligent design, which will be able to adapt to the task at hand.
LG Innotek has been making enormous gains in the world of LED lighting since they started LED development back in 2000. Their first major achievement was the development of a mass production white LED chip in 2004, followed by their patented ultra-slim, world first wafer chip on board LED chip in 2009. Fast forward five years and LG Innotek are again creating world firsts. With the help of an Australian company by the name of LED Arts, LG Innoteks world class LED chip-on-board devices are now 100% replaceable!
The new COB LED lighting boards are available for LED flood lights, LED spotlights, and LED downlights. The new clip-out, clip-in design means that a qualified electrician is no longer required to change the diodes (just remember to turn off the power).
This breakthrough design is a huge step forward in making LED flood lights, downlights, and spotlights even more affordable for the average home owner. Not only do these lights lower energy usage but with the new design, home owners can replace the lights themselves without the need to buy new housings, further reducing maintenance costs.
LG Innoteks LEDs are also worth mentioning. The announcement of their new high power LED (mainly used in flood lights and spot lights) saw a 30% increase in lumen efficacy when compared to their previous products. These LED chips put out a whopping 167 lumens per watt, moving LG Innotek into pole position for high power LED production.
As with all lighting products in the past, brighter light is usually accompanied by higher temperatures. LG realised that this high power LED lighting could lead to performance degradation over time and built in their new LED epitaxial growth technology which offers improved heat dissipation than previous products, ensuring the LEDs can maintain their intended lifespan of over 54,000 hours (they passed the US EPA tests with flying colours and were awarded an LM-80 rating).
Along with the new diode technology, LG began to assess the optical design of their LEDs to ensure the optical characteristics of the flood lights and spot lights in particular met the requirements of the consumer. To do this a range of illuminance tests were undertaken. Various optic designs such as uniformity, beam angle control, and omni-directional lamp designs were explored and ray tracing simulations were run, along with real view consumer based tests. All this technical research has led to lighting designs that offer the most efficient, bright, and long lasting LED lights on the market. Its no wonder the likes of Philips and Samsung are scrambling to catch up.
In 2011, the worldwide population exceeded 7 billion. This is well up on the earths population at the beginning of the last century when there were just 1.6 billion people. This rapid rise in human numbers is unprecedented and threatens the very well-being of the planetary systems on which all life depends. As population grows bigger and bigger, there is an increased demand for food, water, housing, and other resources including energy.
The bulk of energy we use comes from non-renewable fossil fuels such as coal, oil or natural gas. We burn these fuels in power stations to make electricity or in combustion engines as transport fuels. The combustion of fossil fuels results to an increased concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere which can then lead to global warming. Much of the easily accessible oil will be gone in 50 years (figure 3) and coal will be scarce in 200 years. As more and more fossil fuels are used those that are the easiest to find will be used up first. As time goes on it will be harder to find new reserves of fuels and the cost of extracting them will increase.
The use of renewable energy sources to provide electricity is rapidly increasing in popularity among proprietors and companies. The increasing use of natural and renewable energy sources is needed to help relieve us of our current dependency on fossil fuels. The significantly high level of fossil fuel products burnt each and every day is polluting of the air and surrounding environments and may also be contributing to climate change.
Renewable energy sources are those that can regenerate in a relatively short time such as solar, hydroelectric, geothermal and wind. All of which harness the earths power without the need to destroy it.
Wind energy, currently the cheapest renewable energy source, involves the generation of electricity from the naturally occurring force of the wind. Sites where there is strong, consistent wind, such as Southern Australia, are the most appropriate locations for wind farms. An excellent wind site is generally considered to deliver average wind speeds larger than 8 metres per second at sea level.
Australia has some of the worlds best wind resources. The total operating wind capacity at the beginning of 2011 was 1991 megawatts. The amount of installed capacity of wind power has increased by an average of 30 per cent a year over the past decade. Wind energy supplies over 5,100 gigawatt hours of electricity annually around 2 per cent of Australias overall electricity needs.
Currently there are 53 operating wind farms in Australia, with a total of 1089 operating turbines. South Australia has the largest installed capacity with around 51 per cent of the nations total wind capacity. In 2010 estimated wind energy generation saved Australia 5,100,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide. That is equivalent to the removal of 1,133,000 cars from our roads. As an additional environmental benefit, no water is needed for wind farm operation.
The use of wind power continues to grow around the world. Global installed capacity at the end of 2010 was almost 194 gigawatts a 22 per cent increase on 2009.
In 2010, around 36 gigawatts of new wind capacity was installed around the world with a value of around $US65 billion.
Wind farms have various societal, commercial, ecological and health implications. The most noticeable impact a wind turbine places upon the people in the surrounding environment is noise pollution. It also has the potential to lower property values within a varying radius of construction. Nina Pierpont, a paediatrician based in New York, conducted a research that suggests that people living close to wind turbines are vulnerable to what she calls Wind Turbine Syndrome (WTS), an illness with symptoms including sleep disorders, heart disease, panic attacks and headaches.
Another disadvantage regarding a wind turbine and its impact on the surrounding environment can be expressed with the term visual impact or visual pollution. Some people believe wind turbines actually look quite nice, yet many people disagree seeing turbines as a scare on the landscape.
Bird deaths are a cause for concern and a key biological issue related to wind turbines. The number of birds that perish at the arms of wind farm sites created an outcry from fishing and wildlife agencies and conservation groups like PETA. On the other hand, several large wind farms have functioned for years with only minor impacts on such wildlife. Also tied in with this matter is the construction of wind turbines. As with many other developments, wind turbines require deep bases, and this has the potential to abolish underground habitations, and disrupt surrounding ones.
Unlike most other generation technologies, wind turbines do not use combustion to generate electricity, and hence dont produce air emissions. The only potentially toxic or hazardous materials are relatively small amounts of lubricating oils and hydraulic and insulating fluids. Therefore, contamination of surface or ground water or soils is highly unlikely. The primary health and safety considerations are related to the movement of the fan blades and the presence of industrial equipment in areas possibly accessible to the community. A supplementary concern associated with wind turbines is potential interference with radar and telecommunication facilities. And like all electrical generating facilities, wind generators produce electric and magnetic fields.
One of the limitations of wind power is that consistent wind is needed for continuous power generation. If wind speed decreases, the turbine lingers and less electricity is generated.
Even though wind power has minor disadvantages it is still an excellent alternative to fossil fuels. Wind power produces no pollution that can contaminate the environment, since no chemical processes take place, unlike in burning of fossil fuels, in wind power generation, there are no harmful by-product left over. Also, since wind power is a renewable source of energy, it will always be available for use and the world will never run out of it. Wind farms can also be built off-shore. Farming and grazing can still take place on land occupied by wind turbines which can help in the production of biofuels. By using renewable energy sources such as wind power were able to make the remaining oil, gas and coal supplies last longer.
The initial investment of wind turbines can be expensive, yet it is capable of paying for themselves over the years of operation. Government grants are also available to households and businesses switching to renewable energy system.
The current and prospective policy environments within which a wind farm is operating are central to the effectiveness and competitiveness with which it operates. Direct support through subsidisation or favourable tax policies or indirect support for renewables from costs imposed on greenhouse gas emissions will enhance the competitiveness of wind energy. In Australia growth of wind energy is favoured by the Renewable Energy Target, proposed reductions in carbon emissions and the new proposed carbon tax.
The Renewable Energy Target (RET) scheme was implemented by the Government in August 2009. RET is designed to deliver on the Governments commitment to ensure that 20 per cent of Australias electricity supply will come from renewable resources by 2020. In ten years time the amount of electricity coming from sources like solar, wind and geothermal will be around the same as all of Australias current household electricity use.
The carbon tax has had an adverse effect on the growth of wind energy. The Carbon tax taxes sources which emit carbon dioxide. Carbon taxes address a negative externality. Externalities arise when an individual production or consumption activity imposes costs or benefits on others. By placing a cost on these negative externalities the underlying purpose of a carbon tax is to reduce emissions of carbon dioxide and thereby slow global warming. It will be executed by taxing the burning of fossil fuels like coal, petroleum products such as petrol and aviation fuel, and natural gas like CSGin proportion to how much carbon they add to the atmosphere.
Other current management policy of wind farms is identifying suitable locations for wind energy facilities, it should not lead to unacceptable impacts on critical environmental, cultural or landscape values.
Although wind farms have quite significant negative impacts on the surrounding environment, I would still support the increased use of wind power, as long as wind farms are sited, designed and managed so they do not harm birds and their habitats.
The wind industry and government agencies should sponsor research into collisions, relevant bird and bat behaviour, mitigation measures, and appropriate study design protocols. In addition, project developers should be required to collect data through monitoring efforts at existing and proposed wind energy sites. Careful site selection is needed to minimize fatalities and in some cases additional research may be needed to address bird and bat impact issues. Landscape and cultural heritage values of the land should be considered also when identifying suitable sites for wind energy. It is recommended that wind turbines should be built at least 2 kilometers (a little over a mile) away from peoples homes
Government agencies should also sponsor medical research into the illness called Wind Turbine Syndrome. Project developers should be required to collect data through monitoring people living at close proximity to wind turbines.
Other improvements can also be made to address issues concerning wind power generation/wind farms such as the government continuing to provide sponsorship in investing more into wind farms and continuing to provide incentives and rebates to encourage individual households to invest in wind energy and other renewable energy resource.
A new way to cater for the increased demand of energy can be ecologically sustainable, and that is generating renewable clean energy from the wind.