Photokina 2014 highlights

Electronics

The Mobile Authentication via Retina Scanner (MARS) prototype is compact and portable (Pho...

Retinal scans have a lot going for them as a form of identification. You can’t forget your retinas, they're unique, they’re a lot harder to steal than passwords, and Captain Kirk uses them. The problem is, the technology needed to run a reliable retinal scan is often bulky, expensive, and hard to use. Scientists at the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) have shrunk down retinal scanning technology in the hopes of making retinal scans a more widespread identification technology.  Read More

A group of engineers at Stanford have developed an iPad-sized, highly power-efficient way ...

A group of engineers at Stanford have developed an iPad-sized, highly power-efficient way of simulating a million neurons and billions of synapses for as low as US$400. The advancement could both help our understanding of the brain and help develop a new generation of bionic limbs that are controlled by the patient's brain in real time with no effort at all.  Read More

Rice University postdoctoral researcher Yang Yang holds an energy storage unit with the be...

Researchers at Rice University have created an ultra-thin, high-performance flexible battery that is lithium-free, only a hundredth of an inch thick, and also doubles as a supercapacitor. The technology could find use in mobile and wearable electronics such as smartphones and fitness bands.  Read More

KAIST's DCRS prototype turns a LED television on at a 5-meter distance (Photo: KAIST)

Researchers at the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST), have developed a wireless charging system that can charge around 40 smart phones at a time, from a distance of 5 meters (16 ft). While we've examined numerous wireless charging systems, even one that transmits power to up to 9 m (30 ft), KAIST's prototype can power multiple devices within its range. It can deliver enough electrical juice, the scientists claim, to power many larger devices like fans, TVs and computers, simultaneously.  Read More

Arrays of stacked multi-junction cells achieving ultra high efficiencies were produced usi...

The ultimate goal of solar cell technology is to be able to generate electricity at costs lower than sources such as coal, natural gas and nuclear. Key to this is continuing improvements in conversion efficiency, and with the development of the first four-junction, four-terminal stacked solar cell produced using a micro transfer printing process, researchers have taken another step towards this goal by achieving efficiencies of up to 43.9 percent, with the possibility of exceeding 50 percent in the near future.  Read More

Prototype of a 3D-printed abstract spiral loudspeaker, that emits sound off its spiral sur...

It's one thing to assemble a loudspeaker from 3D-printed components, but researchers at Disney have figured out a way to 3D print interactive loudspeakers in any shape imaginable, while also integrating speaker functionality into the whole object or just parts of it. Just envision 3D printing an entire loudspeaker in one step in the shape of Cinderella, and having sounds boom off her whole body or just her skirt.  Read More

The PiPhone from software engineer and photographer Dave Hunt

Since its launch and slightly delayed shipping in 2012, we've seen Raspberry Pi computers used for everything from a bartender to robots to a bizarre musical instrument. Now dedicated tinkerer Dave Hunt has used a Model B to create a touchscreen smartphone called the PiPhone, though he readily admits that it would be easier and cheaper to pick up an (arguably much better looking) budget cellphone from a shop in the mall, "but hey, where’s the fun in that."  Read More

The SCiO Pocket Molecular Sensor

Wondering how nutritious that food is, if that plant needs water, or just what that misplaced pill is? Well, the makers of SCiO claim that their device is able to tell you all of those things, plus a lot more. To use it, you just scan the item in question for one or two seconds, then check the readout on a Bluetooth 4.0-linked smartphone.  Read More

One of the finished felt teddy bears, alongside its digital model

Ask someone to think of a 3D-printed object, and chances are they'll picture something hard ... or perhaps rubbery. Thanks to new technology developed by Carnegie Mellon University and Disney Research Pittsburgh, however, it's now possible to make soft and fuzzy 3D-printed items, using yarn instead of plastic or resin. Among the first items to be created were little felt teddy bears.  Read More

The magazine cover is so small that 2,000 can fit on a grain of salt

IBM has unveiled the world’s smallest magazine cover at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in Washington, DC. Certified by the Guinness Book of World Records, the micro magazine is a reproduction of the cover of the March 2014 issue of National Geographic Kids and is many times smaller than a grain of salt at just 11 × 14 micrometers. Why, you ask? The tiny cover was created to demonstrate potential of a new nano-scale manufacturing technology, as well to encourage young people’s interest in science and technology.  Read More

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