Picture of a Positive Future: A Different Way Of Getting Around

This week on Sea Change Radio, Dr. Chandrasekhar “Spike” Narayan of IBM’s Almaden Research Center talks to Sea Change host Alex Wise about his team’s Battery 500 Project.  Then, digital artist, Steve Price, of Urban Advantage, a firm that creates visions of pedestrian-friendly, socially-interactive communities by transforming photographs using photo-editing software, walks us through some of the traffic, parking and other transportation-related issues facing today’s green urban designers. 

The lithium metal-air battery, which IBM announced in September of 2009 plans to ultimately license to manufacturers, has been around in developmental stages for the past twenty years.  And there are a number of other well-financed global car battery projects racing to take a chunk of the promising electric vehicle market. In his Sea Change interview, Dr. Narayan explains how the technology works and talks about the challenges still facing the project.  As he notes, there are still two major remaining hurdles with lithium metal-air technology: First, cathode designs need to be optimized so that lithium oxide that forms when oxygen is pulled inside the battery won’t block oxygen intake channels. Second, better catalysts are needed to drive the reverse reaction that recharges batteries.  And while consumers try to keep up with the large number of breakthroughs in the electric vehicle market, Narayan warns that we should not expect to see these batteries in production vehicles for “5 to 10 years.” 

Creating stunning images using photomontage to envision urban and suburban revitalization, Steve Price’s consulting firm, Urban Advantage, has worked on urban renewal projects from Honolulu to San Jose to Arlington, VA. Price’s images serve as a persuasive tool as cities try to advance more healthy and ecologically sustainable urban environments.  Click here to see how Price creates images of vibrant, bustling neighborhoods out of seemingly drab chunks of suburban sprawl.