2014 Paris Motor Show highlights

Colin Jeffrey

Colin Jeffrey
Colin discovered technology at an early age, pulling apart clocks, radios, and the family TV. Despite his father's remonstrations that he never put anything back together, Colin went on to become an electronics engineer. Later he decided to get a degree in anthropology, and used that to do all manner of interesting things masquerading as work. Even later he took up sculpting, moved to the coast, and never learned to surf.
Top Articles by Colin Jeffrey
The direction of magnetic north suddenly reversed about 786,000 years ago, with new resear...

A new study by a team of scientists from Italy, France, Columbia University and the University of California, Berkeley, demonstrates that the Earth's magnetic field could change polarity in less than 100 years. The last magnetic reversal occurred some 786,000 years ago and was previously thought to have taken several thousand years but, if the researchers are right, the real time it may take for the flip to occur could actually be closer to the span of a human life.  Read More

Samsung has announced the development of 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology that enables data transmi...

Samsung Electronics has developed a new Wi-Fi technology that it says will soon allow users to download a 1 GB movie in less than three seconds, or stream uncompressed high-definition videos from mobile devices to TVs in real-time. The company also claims that the 802.11ad standard, 60 GHz Wi-Fi technology will to enable maximum speed irrespective of the number of devices connected to the same network.  Read More

3D image of a shoe print with a color-based depth gauge produced using a new 3D mapping de...

Using an enhanced LADAR (Laser Detection And Ranging) system, researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have created a long-range, laser-based imaging device that can generate high-definition 3D maps of objects at distances of up to 10.5 m (35 ft). The technology could find applications in precision machining and assembly, as well as in forensics where it could map evidence non-destructively.  Read More

Artist's impression of an electron wave in a crystal of nuclear-spin-free silicon-28 atoms...

In what are claimed to be new world records, two teams working in parallel at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia have each found solutions to problems facing the advancement of silicon quantum computers. The first involves processing quantum data with an accuracy above 99 percent, while the second is the ability to store coherent quantum information for more than thirty seconds. Both of these records represent milestones in the eventual realization of super-powerful quantum computers.  Read More

For the first time, robotic prostheses controlled via implanted neuromuscular interfaces h...

Robotic prostheses have advanced greatly in the past decade, in terms of both cost and capability. Unfortunately, the standard electrode-over-skin method of control makes many of them unreliable and restricts their functionality, meaning that a number of recipients of these devices commonly reject them as a result. However, a Swedish man has recently celebrated a milestone in robotic prostheses by taking advantage of an osseointegrated (bone-anchored), thought-controlled, implant system in his daily life for more than a year and a half.  Read More

Equipped with an array of multi-junction photovoltaic chips, each of the IBM 'sunflowers' ...

Looking rather like a 10-meter (33 ft) tall sunflower, IBM's High Concentration PhotoVoltaic Thermal (HCPVT) system concentrates the sun’s radiation over 2,000 times on a single point and then transforms 80 percent of that into usable energy. Using a number of liquid-cooled microchannel receivers, each equipped with an array of multi-junction photovoltaic chips, each HCPVT can produce enough power, water, and cooling to supply several homes.  Read More

A new app can help turn your smartphone into a detector of cosmic rays thought to emanate ...

There are all sorts of apps available for smartphones to show atmospheric phenomena like wind speed, temperature, and rainfall along with other observations for tides and phases of the moon. But how about something really cool like an app for measuring the amount of interstellar cosmic radiation hitting the earth? A professor of physics from the University of Wisconsin thought that would be cool as well, and created an app to turn your smartphone into a cosmic ray detector that works in a similar way to those instruments found in high-tech observatories and mega-expensive laboratories.  Read More

Just a few grains of the newly synthesized material could allow us to stay underwater with...

Using specially synthesized crystalline materials, scientists from the University of Southern Denmark have created a substance that is able to absorb and store oxygen in such high concentrations that just one bucketful is enough to remove all of the oxygen in a room. The substance is also able to release the stored oxygen in a controlled manner when it is needed, so just a few grains could replace the need for divers to carry bulky scuba tanks.  Read More

Researchers have combined materials derived from alfalfa and pine resin to create a recycl...

Thanks to their high power ratings and relative reliability, lithium-ion (Li-ion) batteries are an efficient and reliable source of power, widely used in modern electronic equipment. On the downside, however, expired Li-ion batteries are also difficult to dispose of, with their potentially toxic content and the complex methods required for their recycling. Researchers at Uppsala University’s Ångström Laboratory think that they may have a solution: combine the salvaged remnants of a Li-ion battery with completely organic materials derived from alfalfa and pine resin, to create a recycled biomaterial Li-ion hybrid battery.  Read More

The discovery of a complex organic molecule in space suggests the origins of life can be f...

Astronomers using the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) group of radio telescopes have discovered a carbon-based molecule with a branched structure – a common feature in molecules that are required for life to form. Contained within a giant gas cloud in the star-forming region of Sagittarius B2, the molecule of isopropyl cyanide is the first hint that other complex molecules may form in space before finding their way to the surface of planets.  Read More

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