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Darren Quick

Panasonic's prototype 8.8mm thin 50-inch plasma

Panasonic is giving Australian consumers a glimpse of future plasma display technologies first showcased at CES 2009. The two 50-inch prototype plasma TVs demonstrate next generation improvements to materials and processes, cell design, and circuit and drive technology, resulting in less energy consumption and twice the luminous efficiency of earlier models, all in an ultra-thin 8.8mm thick package.  Read More

Hearing it on the vine: Microsoft Vine's widget-based dashboard

With the Facebook and Twitter social networking juggernaut rolling ever onwards, Microsoft is looking to jump on the bandwagon with its new social web app called Vine. While sites such as Facebook and Twitter use the global span of the internet to let users connect with people from all corners of the globe, Vine makes its focus local, concentrating on keeping users in touch with family, friends, activities and major events in their community, including disasters and emergencies.  Read More

The low power nanoWatt XLP microcontrollers

Employing a sleep mode to cut power consumption and prolong battery life has become a standard feature in electrical devices that need to run constantly, but there is always room for improvement. Microcontroller manufacturer Microchip Technology Inc. has set what it calls a "new industry benchmark" with its nanoWatt XLP eXtreme Low Power Technology providing sleep currents as low as 20 nA.  Read More

The Blaze Wireless Controller Keyboard

The PS3’s recent 2.70 firmware update saw the capability for in-game text chat for 16 people at a time added to the console, a function that can be accessed via Sony’s QWERTY Wireless Keypad. Anyone balking at Sony’s USD$50 asking price might want to check out an alternative - though not quite as slick - option from video game accessory manufacturer Blaze.  Read More

A conceptual model of the proposed Panasonic P2 3D camera

While the popularity of 3D movies has had more ups and downs than a roller coaster, the technology is experiencing a resurgence in popularity with Hollywood scrambling to generate more 3D content. The latest manufacturer taking the ride up is Panasonic. The electronics giant has announced it will start developing a professional 3D Full HD production system consisting of a twin-lens P2 professional camera recorder and a 3D-compatible High Definition Plasma display.  Read More

Overlapping blue lasers recording holograms in a GE micro-holographic disc

Many pundits proclaimed Blu-ray would be the last optical disc based storage medium we would see before the seemingly inevitable move towards Flash-based drives and online storage. Apparently GE isn’t buying into that prediction, forging ahead with the development next generation optical storage technology that can store a massive 500GB of data before Blu-ray has even gained widespread adoption with consumers.  Read More

Purdue associate professor of mechanical engineering, Douglas Adams, and graduate student ...

Researchers at Purdue University have developed a system which can detect damage to critical suspension components simply by driving over a speed bump-like "diagnostic cleat". Designed to streamline vehicle maintenance in the military, the unit uses accelerometers to gather data on the condition of tires, wheel bearings and suspension components.  Read More

Dr William Richard (left) takes an ultrasound probe of colleague David Zar's carotid arter...

Looks like smartphones are getting even smarter. We can already access our email, GPS navigate and use a wide range of business document formats, making them an integral part of a business person’s day. Now doctors might soon be packing a smartphone alongside their stethoscopes. Computer engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have coupled a smartphone with USB-based ultrasound probe technology to produce a mobile imaging device that fits in the palm of a hand.  Read More

The gumstix-based Somniloquy prototype
 Pic. credit: Yuvraj Agarwal

Computers are often left running so they stay connected to a network or the Internet – be it to ensure remote access, availability for virus scans and backup, maintaining presence on instant messaging (IM) or voice-over-IP (VoIP) networks, or for file sharing and downloading. Although such tasks mean the PCs are relatively idle, they remain in awake mode and draw more power than they really need. Now computer scientists at UC San Diego and Microsoft Research have created a plug-and-play hardware prototype for personal computers that induces a new energy saving state known as "sleep talking", which provides much of the energy savings of sleep mode and some of the network-and-Internet-connected convenience of awake mode.  Read More

The space age looking AirPenguins

The latest example of biomimicry in robotics to cross our desk is from German electrical automation company Festo, which has used the shape of the acquatic, flightless bird to construct two different types of bionic penguins. The AquaPenguins use the bird's hydrodynamic body contours and wing propulsion to allow the robot to maneuver in cramped spaces, turn on the spot and, unlike their real-life counterparts, swim backwards. The larger helium-filled AirPenguins use the same principles to lift the usually flightless bird into the air.  Read More

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