Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Electronics

Philips' new 75-watt equivalent SlimStyle LED light bulb

The marketplace for more-or-less normal-looking LED light bulbs became just a little more crowded yesterday, when Philips announced the dimmable 75-watt equivalent version of its SlimStyle bulb. With an output of 1,100 lumens, it's a significant step up from the 60-watt equivalent 800-lumen model that previously sat at the top of the SlimStyle line.  Read More

Some of the printed circuits, perhaps coming to a milk carton near you

Someday soon, your milk carton may be able to tell you that the milk has spoiled, or your bandage may indicate that it needs changing. These and other things could be made possible by a new technique developed at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University, which allows disposable electronics to be printed on a variety of surfaces, using an existing T-shirt printer.  Read More

Using a smartphone, users could scan QR codes to see encrypted 3D images (Photo: Shutterst...

Whether they're on product packaging, promotional materials or in magazines, most QR codes do the same thing – when a smartphone scans them with its camera, they trigger that phone's web browser to navigate to a given website. In the near future, however, they may be used to securely display 3D images on the user's phone, without even involving the often-untrustworthy internet.  Read More

Pyle's PVTTBT8 turntable, open for business

While many people consider record players to be "delightfully retro," those same folks might not have much use for something that plays nothing but vinyl. Pyle Audio has set out to address that, with its decidedly un-retro-named PVTTBT8 turntable. It looks like something you'd bring to a 1950s sock-hop, but it plays both records and digital music files.  Read More

The new RF circulator could revolutionize microminiature communications devices (Photo: Co...

In the world of electronic components, there are many devices out there that do their job well and reliably, but are almost never heard of – even though they may be vital to equipment that plays a role in our technology-driven lives. The radio frequency (RF) circulator is just such a device: it has simply done its job as a nondescript box of gubbins buried in radio communications systems, quietly directing radio frequency signals to the places they should go. Now researchers at the University of Texas have given the RF circulator a makeover. Not only is the new prototype smaller, lighter, and cheaper, it's also claimed to be easily adapted to different frequencies on the fly, which is something the old style circulator cannot do.  Read More

Natural vibrations caused by two surfaces with different work functions repelling and attr...

Electrical energy is normally generated through heat, motion, nuclear transformation, or chemical reactions, but now scientists at VTT Technical Research Center of Finland have devised a new method that involves mechanical vibrations. They figured out how to "harvest" the vibrational energy that occurs naturally when two surfaces with different work functions are connected via electrodes, and this energy could potentially be used to power wearables and other low-power electronics.  Read More

The Flux, a modular all-in-one 3D printer that goes for under US$700, has just hit Kicksta...

A Taiwanese team has developed the Flux 3D, a cheap all-in-one 3D printer, scanner and laser engraver that, thanks to its modularity, also leaves room for further expansion. The device also allows users to create, share and download designs directly from their mobile devices and connect to the printer via Bluetooth for more convenient operation.  Read More

Researchers have developed a coating that prevents a battery from conducting electricity w...

It can be a herculean task to get kids to eat their vegetables, but they'll happily chow down on things they aren't supposed to. If one of those things is a button battery, serious injuries can result in the form of burns to the esophagus or tears in the digestive tract. Researchers may not have found a way to stop kids swallowing button batteries, but they have found a way to make such culinary no-nos safer.  Read More

The prototype LCD requires no power to maintain an image and can display in 3D as well (Im...

Liquid Crystal Displays (LCDs) are a common and increasingly pervasive method of displaying information for everything from watches to giant TV screens. Though, like most other displays, LCDs require electrical energy to constantly display an image. Researchers from the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, however, have produced an ultra-thin LCD screen prototype that is not only capable of displaying images without continuous power, but in 3D as well.  Read More

The Fireside digital photo frame uses intelligent computing and cloud services to deliver ...

Generally speaking digital photo frames are as dumb as bricks. The sole purpose of these low-end electronics is showcasing the hordes of digital pictures you take on your smartphone or digital camera, without much thought to intelligent curation of your memories. A crowdfunding push is underway to change this, though, in the form of the Fireside smart frame and cloud service.  Read More

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