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Electronics

There are plenty of systems that use an app-running smartphone instead of a key to unlock doors, such as UniKey and Lockitron. A new app not only wants to do that, but wants to give you a seamless journey through buildings. myPORT provides building access, calls elevators and sends intercom feeds to your phone. Read More
There's another promising contender in the race to supplant the dominance of lithium-ion and metal-hydride based batteries in the world of energy storage. New research from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology's (KIT's) Helmholtz Institute Ulm (HIU) details the development of an electrolyte that can be used in new magnesium-sulfur battery cells that would be more efficient and inexpensive than the dominant types of batteries in use today. Read More

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

Should you ever be captured while checking out a crazed villain's secret headquarters, it's entirely possible that a burning laser might provide you with your only means of escape. Of course, anything that's obviously a laser will be taken from you ... which is why our favorite laser weapons hobbyist, Patrick Priebe, has created a "Bond-inspired LaserWatch." Read More

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

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

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

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
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
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
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