Expensive travel bags should do more than look good, and German high-end
luggage manufacturer Rimowa would seem to agree. The company has
developed an electronic luggage tag which displays baggage info in the
same format, size and appearance of typical paper labels, but on a
digital screen built into the unit and located near the handle.
Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips have made cashless payments commonplace and opened the way to automatic inventory control. However, they've also made it possible for credit card details and other private information to be stolen wirelessly. To make things a bit more secure, MIT and Texas Instruments are developing an "unhackable" RFID chip that's designed to fend off information-stealing attacks.
The rapid and on-going development of micro-miniature optical electronic devices is helping to usher in a new era of photonic computers and light-based memories
that promise super-fast processor speeds and ultra-secure
communications. However, as these components are shrunk ever further, fundamental limits to their dimensions are dictated by the wavelength of light itself. Now researchers at ETH Zurich claim to have overcome this limitation by creating both the world's smallest optical switch using a single atom,
and accompanying circuitry that appears to break the rules by being
smaller than the wavelength of the light that passes through it.
For years now, fiber optics has been synonymous with super-speed communications and data transfer, but now NASA is working to develop the next generation of high-speed modems using an emerging technology called integrated photonics. The agency's first integrated photonics modem is set to be deployed aboard the International Space Station in 2020. The palm-sized device makes use of optics-based functions like lasers, switches and wires that are all integrated on a microchip much like those in our cell phones.
A team at Stanford claims to have made a battery breakthrough that could boost the performance of lithium-ion batteries and also make them smaller and lighter. The researchers managed to remove two long-standing barriers to these improvements by putting silicon particles in graphene "cages."
Using an oven to cook food during cold weather is wonderfully efficient, in that the single appliance serves a meal while providing welcome heat for the home. A new personal accessory takes a similar approach, with a very common mobile device. The Ye-T Warmpad is designed to warm feet from the heat generated by laptop wall chargers.
Every year CES has more to offer than any one human being could possibly digest in one week. We waded through the torrent of tech gear to bring you our picks for the most interesting, innovative and just plain fun tech in fields like transportation, VR and wearables. This is Gizmag's Best of CES 2016.
Tired of having to remember PINs, or having a wallet full of plastic cards? Well, if EyeLock has its way, you eventually won't have to. Teaming up with self-service tech company Diebold, it's created a prototype automated teller that has no keypad, card reader or screen. Known as the Irving concept, it utilizes an iris scanner and an app instead.
While Bluetooth has become a popular way to connect devices within very close proximity (30 ft/9 m or less), its range limitations and inability to connect more than one device to another have limited its use. A new Bluetooth-enabled hub introduced by Cassia at CES could change that by extending the range to 1,000 feet (304 m) or through three interior walls, and allowing up to 22 different devices to be connected at once.
If you need to power up your smartphone but are nowhere near an AC outlet … well, that's why Sweden's SiGNa Chemistry and myFC developed the PowerTrekk fuel cell/battery. While it's a handy device for off-grid device-charging, it's not exactly the type of thing that you'd just slip into a purse or pocket. myFC's new JAQ, however, is exactly that. It's being billed as the world's smallest fuel cell charger.