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Electronics

— Electronics Review

Review: ZuperDAC makes hi-res thumb-sized

With a few notable exceptions, you'd be forgiven for thinking that laptop audio circuitry is something of a manufacturing afterthought, with decisions on such things made at the very end of the design process when there's very little money left in the pot. Plugging a pair of top drawer headphones into a notebook's (often cheap and cheerful) audio out jack can therefore be a little disappointing, leading many music lovers to look to the USB ports for help. Though some USB digital-to-analog converters and headphone amps can be a good deal bigger than the laptop they're connected to, and have a suitably large price tag to match, smaller options are available. The successfully-crowdfunded ZuperDAC from Zorloo, for example, is about the size of a USB thumb drive and supports audio file resolutions right up to 24-bit/192 kHz. We've spent the last few weeks diving into our hi-res FLAC and WAV vault for some lossless easy listening.

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— Electronics

BitDrones could be used in flying interactive displays

Researchers working at Queen’s University’s Human Media Lab in Ontario have created a collaborating swarm of drones that act as 3D pixels (voxels) to create giant, flying interactive displays. The researchers claim that the "BitDrone" system provides users with the ability to investigate virtual information presented in 3D by directly manipulating these hovering voxels for use in the likes of 3D gaming, medical imaging, and molecular modelling.

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— Electronics

Are sound waves a better way to move data?

Researchers from the University of Leeds and Sheffield University have created a way to move data through magnetic nanowires by using surface acoustic waves as the motivating force. Being developed for use in so-called racetrack solid-state memory, the researchers claim that using sound waves for data transfer should markedly increase computer processing speeds while vastly reducing power consumption.

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— Electronics

AirBolt travel lock offers smart features and keyless access

To some, air travel is a carefree jaunt without a single ripple in the experience. But to others, it can feel like rushing through a gauntlet of checklists, lines, and gates, with the potential for impromptu anxiety at any given moment. One company is looking to make the luggage-laden travel process a little bit easier with the AirBolt smart travel lock, which is designed with Bluetooth connectivity and a host of useful functions to keep bags secure and accounted for.

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— Electronics

Enphase plug-and-play solar energy storage system to begin pilot program

An interesting new player is set to enter the emerging home energy storage arena in the shape of the Enphase Home Energy Solution. Enphase is billed as the world’s first integrated system that allows home users to store, monitor and manage their rooftop-generated solar electricity, while controlling their overall electricity consumption. The new product will be piloted in Australia from December 2015.

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