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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.

Follow Colin:

— Electronics

World's first light-activated, molecule-sized switch gets turned on

By - April 22, 2015 1 Picture
In the pursuit of ever-shrinking circuitry for nanotechnology electronics, increasingly smaller devices and components are being developed. Now researchers at the University of Konstanz and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) claim to have micro-miniaturized the humble electrical switch all the way down to molecule size and proven its operation for the very first time. Unable to flick such a tiny switch mechanically, however, the researchers instead used light to turn it on. Read More
— Electronics

New invention expands Wi-Fi bandwidth tenfold

By - April 21, 2015 3 Pictures
The vast range of Wi-Fi-enabled devices available today means that anyone could have several personal electronic devices all trying to connect to a network simultaneously. Multiply this by many hundreds of people in a busy public place with Wi-Fi connectivity and this often means that available bandwidth is greatly reduced. To help address this problem, researchers at Oregon State University claim to have invented a new system called WiFO that incorporates infrared LEDs to boost the available Wi-Fi bandwidth by as much as ten times. Read More
— Aircraft

Siemens' world-record electric aircraft motor punches above its weight

By - April 20, 2015 7 Pictures
Researchers at Siemens have created a new prototype electric motor specifically designed for aircraft that weighs in at just 50 kg (110 lb) and is claimed to produce about 260 kW (348 hp) at just 2,500 RPM. With a quoted power five times greater than any comparable powerplant, the new motor promises enough grunt to get aircraft with take-off weights of up to 1,800 kg (2 ton) off the ground. Read More
— Digital Cameras

Video camera could record indefinitely, powered only by light from the image it captures

By - April 16, 2015 3 Pictures
By using the light reflected from the object being recorded, researchers claim to have created a prototype video camera that could potentially record indefinitely under its own power. By incorporating energy-harvesting photodiodes within the pixels of its image-capture array, the new camera produces self-sustaining electrical power while simultaneously capturing video footage. Read More
— Electronics

Graphene device makes ultrafast light to energy conversion possible

By - April 15, 2015 1 Picture
Converting light to electricity is one of the pillars of modern electronics, with the process essential for the operation of everything from solar cells and TV remote control receivers through to laser communications and astronomical telescopes. These devices rely on the swift and effective operation of this technology, especially in scientific equipment, to ensure the most efficient conversion rates possible. In this vein, researchers from the Institute of Photonic Sciences (Institut de Ciències Fotòniques/ICFO) in Barcelona have demonstrated a graphene-based photodetector they claim converts light into electricity in less than 50 quadrillionths of a second. Read More
— Space

A preview of the Bonhams 7th annual Space History Sale

By - April 15, 2015 210 Pictures
Bonhams auction house in New York is preparing for the seventh annual Space History auction where a vast and intriguing collection of space memorabilia will be offered for sale, including items flown on Apollo, Mercury, Gemini, and Soyuz along with components and souvenirs of a range of other manned and unmanned missions. A highlight of the auction will be a bevy of items belonging to Apollo 12 astronaut Alan Bean, some of which flew with him in space and to the moon. Slated for 21 April, the auction will showcase over 350 rare objects and collectibles – there's even a real spacesuit or two up for grabs. Read More
— Science

Researchers produce hydrogen quickly and cheaply using plant waste

By - April 9, 2015 1 Picture
Hydrogen is the ideal gas for use in low-emissions combustion engine or fuel cell-powered vehicles, due to its almost non-existent greenhouse gas emissions. Production costs, however, are higher compared to gasoline and around 95 percent of it is currently produced, somewhat counter-intuitively, from fossil fuels. Now researchers at Virginia Tech claim to have created a method to produce hydrogen fuel using a biological technique that is not only cheaper and faster, but also produces hydrogen of a much higher quality ... and all from the leftover stalks, cobs, and husks of corn. Read More
— Science

Shape-shifting nanoprobes report on internal body conditions using magnetic fields

By - April 5, 2015 3 Pictures
Scientists have developed a new type of shape-shifting nanoprobe that can perform high-resolution remote biological sensing not possible with current technology. Around one-tenth the size of a single red blood cell, the nanoprobes are designed to provide accurate feedback on internal body conditions by altering their magnetic fields in response to their environment. The researchers predict wide-spread applications for the nanoprobes in the fields of chemistry, biology, engineering and, one day, to aid physicians in high-accuracy clinical diagnostics. Read More
— Electronics

Light bulb set to be graphene's first commercial consumer application

By - March 31, 2015 1 Picture
In two claimed firsts, researchers at the University of Manchester have produced both the first commercial application of graphene and the world's first graphene light-bulb. It is expected that this new device will have lower energy emissions, cheaper manufacturing costs, and a longer running life than even LED lights. And this isn't just a pie-in-the-sky prototype, either. The team who developed it believes that the graphene light-bulb will be available for retail sale within months. Read More
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