At about the size of a credit card, the original Makey Makey (now called the Classic) isn't exactly a behemoth, but it's not really something you could wear around your neck or dangle from your ear either. Aiming for portability, the boffins at JoyLabz have redesigned the board, stripping it down to its bare essentials, then adding a magnet (so tinkerers can stick it a fridge door between uses) and some LEDs (for colorful visual feedback), and wrapped it in protective plastic bumpers. The Makey Makey Go is now about the size of a USB thumb drive and, like the original, can be used to turn everyday objects into touch-enabled "buttons" – everything from bananas to someone's ear to jello to a potted plant. So long as it's able to conduct even the tiniest amount of electricity, it's fair game for some Makey Makey magic.
Activated carbon is a form of carbon that is shot through with nanosized holes that increase the material's surface area and allow it to catalyze more chemical reactions and store more electrical charge. But due to the way it is produced, most of the pores within it aren't interconnected, limiting the material's ability to transport electricity. Now researchers at Stanford University have created a "designer carbon" with greater pore connectivity and therefore greater electronic conductivity, which enables superior energy-storage performance.
As electronic devices are becoming outdated at an increasingly fast pace, e-waste continues to be a huge problem.
That's why scientists from the University of Wisconsin-Madison have
started producing "wooden" semiconductor chips that could almost
entirely biodegrade once left in a landfill. As an added bonus, the
chips are also flexible, making them prime candidates for use in
As digital technology becomes more ubiquitous and the Internet of Things takes shape, the question of how to power it all becomes more pressing. Japanese technology firm Ricoh is looking at its new "energy-generating rubber" as one solution. According the company, the new piezoelectric polymer converts pressure and vibration into electric energy with high efficiency, yet is extremely flexible and durable.
Texting is so much a part of modern life that some people can't even pause for a meal of fried chicken without sending a message. As part of an advertising campaign and in an effort to avoid an epidemic of greasy smartphone screens, KFC restaurants in Germany have been giving away paper tray liners with built-in Bluetooth keyboards, so patrons can text away while munching on their extra crispy.
Expanding on previous research into electronic devices that dissolve in water once they have reached the end of their useful life, researchers at the University of Illinois have developed a new type of "transient" electronic device that self-destructs in response to heat exposure. The work is aimed at making it easy for materials from devices that usually end up in landfill to be recycled or dissolved completely.
Magnets are at the heart of much of our technology, and their properties
are exploited in a myriad ways across a vast range of devices, from
simple relays to enormously complex particle accelerators. A new class
of magnets discovered by scientists at the University of
Maryland (UMD) and Temple University may lead to other types of magnets
that expand in different ways, with multiple, cellular magnetic fields,
and possibly give rise to a host of new devices. The team also believes
that these new magnets could replace expensive, rare-earth magnets with
ones made of abundant metal alloys.
A supermarket in France has become the first in the world to install an "indoor positioning system" created by Philips. The LED-based technology acts like a sat-nav for shoppers, providing in-store directions to shopping list items via their phones.
Researchers have successfully transferred monolayer graphene to fibers commonly used in the textile industry. The transparent, flexible material could one day be used to create embedded wearable electronics, such as phones, fitness trackers or MP3 players.