Compact solar panels have been around for some time, but in a trade-off with portability many are too small to generate practical amounts of electricity over short periods. New designs, such as the Yolk Solar Paper, are capable of generating more electricity while maintaining a slim profile, but the HeLi-on further expands on the idea of portable power generation with a flexible solar cell that rolls out from a compact package to soak up more rays.
Ceiling fans, thermostats, mailboxes and light fittings. It seems that no matter which direction you look in a smart home of the future you'll find a connected appliance interacting with its environment in one way or another. These smart devices generally feature hardware that's been carefully designed with a very specific purpose in mind, but what if there was more of a "one-size-fits-all" solution? British company Hanhaa is looking to offer inventors an easier route to the so-called Internet of Things, with a multi-purpose sensor kit that can be adapted to various tracking or monitoring applications within minutes of breaking open the box.
Researchers at the University College London (UCL) have developed a new sensor with the ability to simultaneously detect five commonly-used explosives. Currently in the prototype stages, the device could one day be used to improve security in public spaces.
One of the problems for the smart buildings of tomorrow is that they may depend on some very un-smart wires to power them. To cut the cord, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) researcher Hao Gao, as part of his PhD thesis, is developing a tiny transmitting temperature sensor that is powered by radio waves to eliminate the need for wires or batteries. Instead, it picks up radio waves from a special router, converts them into electricity, and uses it to transmit readings.
Using millions of tiny fibers of nanocellulose sheathed with a
conductive polymer coating, scientists have created sheets of paper that
can store significant amounts of electric charge. Dubbed "power paper," the material is able to be recharged
many hundreds of time, and in mere seconds. It is also
no toxic chemicals or heavy metals to create, and may offer a renewable
and prolific way to provide energy to all manner of devices.
Scientists at the University of Maryland and the US Army Research Laboratory have used high concentrations of salt in water to create safe, green batteries that could find use in anything from large-scale grid storage to spaceships and pacemakers.
The small sensors found in wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches are only becoming more versatile, from monitoring your heart rate to enabling gesture control. But a new sensor design could afford these devices even more flexibility, in more ways than one. By combining carbon nanotubes with used chewing gum, scientists have developed a sensing device that can pick up movements of the more flexible body parts, such as bent finger.
Have you ever wondered how many people walk past your shop? Or drive past your adverts? A new device is aimed at giving people that information, which might otherwise remain inaccessible. The Placemeter Sensor sticks to the inside of a window and counts people, vehicles, bicycles and more.
Media entertainment tends to be more fun when experienced with friends and family, but it's not always convenient if those people live far away. A new device by Genii is designed to diminish the limitations of distance by livestreaming games, movies, or shows to anyone in the world. The Cast Hub allows up to six mobile devices to watch the same content, offering users the ability to enjoy and interact with each other in real time, as if on a virtual couch.
The Mstick is a curious little device. It doesn't immediately appear to fall easily into any category and yet has multiple useful functions. It seems conspicuously unusual and yet strangely compelling. It's just an LED light stick. But it's also a timer, an alarm and a weather forecast display.