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Electronics

Passive Wi-Fi more energy efficient than conventional Wi-Fi, ZigBee and Bluetooth LE

While it's become a necessity of modern life, Wi-Fi is also an energy hog, draining the batteries of all those connected devices surrounding us. That may change with the recent demonstration by University of Washington researchers of Wi-Fi transmissions generated using 10,000 times less power than conventional methods. Known as Passive Wi-Fi, the system also uses 1,000 times less power than current energy-efficient wireless communication platforms, like ZigBee and Bluetooth LE.Read More

Intelligent speaker tunes in to your emotions

Moodbox mightn't offer the same fully-fledged humanoid companionship as some "emotionally intelligent" robots, but it does bring elements of this into the home in the form of a voice-controlled omnidirectional speaker that plays tunes in response to your emotions. Read More

Micro-supercapacitors store energy directly inside a chip

Batteries are getting better at a steady pace, but the technology is far from perfect – they are still quite short-lived, and have real trouble delivering bursts of power. Now, researchers at Drexel and the Paul Sabatier universities have managed to embed mini supercapacitors directly inside a microchip to enable electronics that are even smaller, last longer, and have more power to feed on.Read More

Growing nanowire lasers directly on silicon promises to simplify photonic chip design

For over half a century, Moore's Law, which predicts that processor performance would double roughly every 18 months, has held true. But as electronics grow smaller and smaller, fundamental physical barriers loom ahead. To help stave off that day, a team of physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is working on nanowire lasers that are a thousand times thinner than a human hair and may one day lead to economical, high-performance photonic circuits.Read More

Electronic luggage tag lets travelers check-in bags from home

Expensive travel bags should do more than look good, and German high-end luggage manufacturer Rimowa would seem to agree. The company has developed an electronic luggage tag which displays baggage info in the same format, size and appearance of typical paper labels, but on a digital screen built into the unit and located near the handle.Read More

"Unhackable" RFID chip to keep your credit cards safe

Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips have made cashless payments commonplace and opened the way to automatic inventory control. However, they've also made it possible for credit card details and other private information to be stolen wirelessly. To make things a bit more secure, MIT and Texas Instruments are developing an "unhackable" RFID chip that's designed to fend off information-stealing attacks.Read More

World's smallest optical switch uses a single atom

The rapid and on-going development of micro-miniature optical electronic devices is helping to usher in a new era of photonic computers and light-based memories that promise super-fast processor speeds and ultra-secure communications. However, as these components are shrunk ever further, fundamental limits to their dimensions are dictated by the wavelength of light itself. Now researchers at ETH Zurich claim to have overcome this limitation by creating both the world's smallest optical switch using a single atom, and accompanying circuitry that appears to break the rules by being smaller than the wavelength of the light that passes through it.Read More

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