View Full Version : New IT info?

Mike Soukup
12-01-2001, 12:32 AM
Supposidely taken from DEKA Research's site which was mistakengly up for <1 hour tonight:

Core Technologies

DEKA develops technologies ranging from engines to fluid management. The products that we develop with our partners are revolutionary. Our development efforts focus upon the creation of technologies which will have a variety of applications. A single invention may become the core technology of numerous, often diverse, products.

The Stirling Cycle Engine
The Stirling Cycle Engine was devised in the early 1800’s as a safe and efficient alternative to Steam Power. In its original incarnations, it was a large, air charged, low pressure, low power machine, made of cast iron, brass, bricks, and wood. One section of the engine was kept hot, another section cold. The air contained within the closed cycle engine was cyclically heated, expanded, cooled, and compressed as the machine would operate. Mechanical power was extracted from a rotating output shaft. The Stirling Engine’s usage was primarily industrial throughout the 1800’s, before its obsolescence at the turn of the century with the advent of the internal combustion engine.

The Stirling Engine possesses an inherently high potential for thermodynamic efficiency, but has been historically plagued with real world, practical problems. The limitations of materials, heat transfer efficiency, and engine design were and remain, so far, fundamental constraints on the engine’s performance capabilities. In light of the technical advances over the past 150 years, however, almost all aspects of the engine can now be improved and modernized, taking the engine from a low power, cast-iron, 19th century giant, to a high performance, high output, efficient machine of the 21st century. New materials in the high-temperature sections of the engine and high performance bearings and seals enable the production of compact, efficient, high-speed machines. In addition, the use of Computer Aided Design Systems, the ability to acquire and contain light, high performance gasses such as hydrogen and helium within an engine at high-pressure, and the use of microprocessors to control engine operation all contribute to these potential improvements. Today, the value of a small, clean, quiet, efficient, power source is greater than ever, particularly in view of the engine’s inherent flexibility in fuel source.

Is it real? We'll find out on Monday.


Mike Soukup
12-01-2001, 12:33 AM
Apparently the picture I attached didn't make it. Here it is.

12-01-2001, 12:29 PM
New story; the unveiling apparently will be on a rooftop studio...oh boy, I hope there's a reason for this.

This article quotes Woodie as well as Dean's Mom who sounds great (no surprise.)

Wait over: Kamen will tell secret of ‘Ginger’
Sunday News Staff

The wait is over.

After nearly a year of wild speculation, New Hampshire’s own Mister Wizard, Dean Kamen, will reveal what “IT” is on national television Monday morning.

Kamen, a Bedford inventor, entrepreneur and the founder of a national student robotics competition, sounded remorseful yesterday that the big announcement of his latest invention will not happen here in New Hampshire. Instead, it will be ABC’s “Good Morning America” that will reveal the secret, he confirmed.

“What’s true is on Monday we will be in New York, and I must say I’m a little disappointed that we have to do it in New York,” he said. “I love New Hampshire.”

But, he went on, “Our investor group is literally global in scale, and the supporters that have made all this possible and their partners are global, and New York is the media center that they believe is the appropriate place to do the announcement.”

So New York it will be. Kamen promised a “special event” immediately after the “Good Morning America” broadcast. The event is planned for a luxurious Manhattan studio — which includes a “rooftop shooting deck,” a detail that may only further inflame speculation that Kamen has invented some sort of personal flying machine.

But further details will not be available until next week. Asked whether a newly built plant in Bedford is where “Ginger” will be built, Kamen said, “Until Monday, we’re not going to talk about that.”

However, some in Bedford have their suspicions.

Town planning director Karen White said yesterday that Kamen’s company, ACROS, is expected to receive a certificate of occupancy for the new manufacturing plant, at 14 Technology Drive. “They’re not telling us anything about what’s going to be manufactured there. And they don’t have to.

“But the timing is curious, that they are coming in at the same time they’re making this big announcement,” White said.

So will Monday’s announcement live up to all the hype?

“Nothing could live up to people’s wild imaginations,” Kamen said. “The only public statement I’ve made is the one I’ll go with: We’re proud of what we’re doing. But no, nothing can live up to all that. . . .”

The buzz began last January with a report by Inside.com on an upcoming book that reportedly would reveal that Kamen had invented a device — nicknamed “Ginger” and referred to as “IT” — that could change the world as much as the personal computer and the World Wide Web have.

Internet-fueled speculation soared to stratospheric heights in the following months. Entire Web sites (including www.theitquestion.com and www.ginger-chat.com) sprang up, devoted to scholarly, whimsical and sometimes heated discussions about what “IT” could or could not be.

Scientists and would-be scientists alike even scoured Kamen’s recent patent applications for clues to the mysterious device.

Many concluded that Kamen had managed to perfect the Stirling engine, a 19th-century-era perpetual motion device that runs on hydrogen. And most of the speculation, fed by intriguing patent applications filed by Kamen and company in recent years, has suggested that Ginger will be a scooter-type of transportation device, perhaps fueled by a Stirling-like engine.

Author Steve Kemper predicted that the invention would “sweep over the world and change lives, cities and ways of thinking.” And Apple founder Steve Jobs reportedly remarked that “if enough people see the machine, you won’t have to convince them to architect cities around it. It’ll just happen.”

Kamen reportedly has registered several new domain names recently, including stirlingscooter.com and mystirlingscooter.com, according to amazon.com.

And one Ginger-related Web site yesterday was speculating that the new device’s Web address would be “flywheel.com.” Attempts to access that site yesterday were met with a notice that the “page can not be displayed.”

Dave Chapman, who works for the Manhattan public Relations firm handling Monday’s unveiling, said materials about “Ginger” would be available shortly thereafter “on the Web site,” but said the Web address most likely would not be announced until Monday.

“This is very cloak-and-dagger,” Chapman said, adding that “heads would truly roll,” if anyone spilled the beans before Monday. “I’m playing by the rules.”

Woodie Flowers is the Pappalardo Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the national adviser to FIRST, the organization Kamen founded 10 years ago to promote science and engineering among youth.

He’s known Kamen for a dozen years and said yesterday, “The thing I can say with confidence is that whatever Dean works on is probably a difficult and important problem.

“If you look at the whole history of the things he’s done, he tackles problems that other people have struggled with, does them in innovative ways, and in general does a really, really outstanding job,” he added

But Flowers said the “leaked hype” surrounding Ginger has at times been “a painful experience” for Kamen. “I think he rolled with the punches, but it was a distraction,” he said.

Indeed, through all the speculation, Kamen has remained decidedly tight-lipped — Sphinxlike, even — about “IT” at all public appearances, including at FIRST robotics competitions, which he started in Manchester and developed into an international engineering challenge for high school and college students. At those competitions, he might joke about the excitement surrounding the mystery he had created, but steadfastly refused to do more than tease.

Even his mother isn’t talking.

Evelyn Kamen, who works at DEKA Research and Development Corp., her son’s engineering firm in the Manchester Millyard, said she would certainly be in the entourage that heads to New York City on Monday.

Mrs. Kamen said she was enjoying all the excitement surrounding her famous son. And she said she had been proud of him “from the day he was born — as parents are of all their children.”

She also happens to be one of the lucky few who already know the secret of “IT.”

So what would happen if she accidentally spilled it to, say, a certain reporter for the state’s largest daily newspapers? “If I told you, I’d have to shoot you,” she said, sounding serious.

Just how good a shot is she?

“Quite good, as a matter of fact,” she replied.

Union Leader correspondent Colin Manning contributed to this report.

12-01-2001, 01:14 PM
I did some research into stirling cycles today... Thought I'd share the main ideas here. The text posted supposedly from DEKA is completely accurate, although I thought DEKA had already developed a small stirling engine many years ago? Either way if they've developed a practical implementation of this cycle it could mean a lot for the future of electrical generators.

Anyway, a "hypothetical" stirling engine could be made as a piston-cylinder assembly, with two pistons in the cylinder and a regenerator in the middle. Basically the regenerator is a fixed piece of metal in the middle, or another material good at holding heat over time. The regenerator is porous so that gas can flow through the regenerator, but if it does, the regenerator will either (a) take heat from the gas if the gas is at a higher temperature than regenerator, or (b) give heat to the gas if the gas is at a lower temperature.

During a cycle, initially there is some gas on one side of the regenerator, and the piston is right against the regenerator on the other side, so we can say there is volume to the left and none to the right of the regenerator. The gas on the left is first heated (possibly from a combustion source), which results in the volume on the left increasing and the left piston moving left. Next, both pistons are moved right to force all the gas through the regenerator. The regenerator absorbs lots of the heat from the gas, so the gas is now all on the right and at a lower temperature. Next, heat is extracted from the gas which results in the volume decreasing and the temperature remaining the same. Finally, both pistons move left and the low temperature gas moves through the regenerator, picking up the heat the regenerator had earlier stored. This completes the cycle.

Basically, there are two external heat sources, one at a high temp and one at a low temp. These sources alone are used for the heat addition and heat rejection in the cycle. From these two sources alone, the stirling engine can produce mechanical piston work, which is easily converted to other types of work or electricity. The stirling engine is much better than other types of heat engines because it is perfectly ideal, i.e. no energy is lost to the environment, and it is all converted to mechanical energy. Of course, some heat will travel out of the piston-cylinder assembly in reality. I think (and could be wrong) the point is that there are no stages of the cycle that waste energy. As an example a combustion engine (based on the ideas behind an "Otto Cycle") requires work input to start the cycle (combustion). A stirling engine is started simply by taking heat from the high temperature heat source, which moves the first piston.

The advantes of stirling cycles are that there is no internal combustion involved, however external combustion may be required (or another source of external thermal energy). With external combustion you can use a wide range of different combustion sources, and it is much easier to find one that does not harm the environment in any significant way (e.g. hydrogen or helium).

The stirling engine has yet to leave the realm of theory because of the regenerator. The problem is that the regenerator would require an infinate surface area to completely transfer all the thermal energy from the regenerator to the gas, or vice versa. Or, you'd need a really really good thermoconductive material. If he's figured a clever way to solve the problem of storing this heat (or another implementation of the stirling cycle without this problem at all), then indeed he's made an awesome discovery.


Clark Gilbert
12-01-2001, 01:22 PM
Mike where did u obtain that information if it is Supposidely taken from DEKA Research's site which was mistakengly up for <1 hour tonight: ????? Just wondering:confused: :)

12-01-2001, 01:51 PM
The website was up for a while, I saw it but most links were broken. Check out the Stirling page that a guy recovered from his cache here:


Clark Gilbert
12-01-2001, 03:13 PM
Just wondering but why do they look completely different??? http://www.dekaresearch.com/


David Kelly
12-01-2001, 03:17 PM
i think the one you gave clark is the old site then they are going to change it over to the new one on monday.

Carolyn Duncan
12-02-2001, 12:13 AM
Originally posted by Mike Soukup
Apparently the picture I attached didn't make it. Here it is.
Does anyone else think this thing looks like a goofy potty? I know i sure do

Joe Ross
12-02-2001, 10:22 AM
the drudge report (http://www.drudgereport.com/) has a very detailed story. The link on the main page doesn't work (ATM) but you can read it here: http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.cfm?catid=38&threadid=643347

mike o'leary
12-08-2001, 10:03 PM
Originally posted by Carolyn Duncan

Does anyone else think this thing looks like a goofy potty? I know i sure do

yeah, but one straight out of the jetsons