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Electronics

Function Flashlight tries to fill a lot of shoes

If you’re anything like me, you own a flashlight, a bike light, and a videography light. While they all emit the same sort of white(ish) LED light, their form factor can make it difficult to use one of them for another’s purpose. Vancouver-based mechanical engineer Ronald Chan, however, is hoping that his Function Flashlight will become the one and only go-to portable light source for its owners. Read More

Graphene gets even cooler

For a two-dimensional material, graphene is certainly punching above its weight in terms of potential applications. Already set to enable faster, stronger and foldable electronic devices, researchers claim that the single layer lattice of carbon atoms can also help keep electronic components up to 25 percent cooler, giving it the potential to significantly extend the working life of computers and other electronic devices.Read More

British Airways set to bring luggage tags into the 21st century

Most people would probably agree that air travel still has plenty of room for improvement, particularly when it comes to actually checking in and getting on the plane. For its part, British Airways is now taking steps to speed up the whole process on its end and is even testing a digital alternative to the traditional paper luggage tag. The airline recently produced an electronic luggage tag that travelers can update themselves with a smartphone and re-use over and over.Read More

K-array introduces the very flexible Anakonda KAN200 speaker

Ensuring the dulcet tones of your keynote speaker reach every nook and cranny of a crowded conference room can be something of a challenge. Even perfectly-positioned box speakers and a powerful sound system might leave some guests wondering what exactly was said. Italian audio specialist K-array has come up with a distinctly bendy answer to the problem of placing speakers in those awkward, out of reach places. The Anakonda KAN200 is so flexible it can be wrapped around lamp stands or table legs, mounted to curved surfaces, or quite literally be tied in knots. It promises crisp, intelligible audio, and can be combined with other units to form one seamless sound line over 200 ft in length.Read More

It's all in the wrist: The Voltmaker kinetic smartphone charger

It's always the way. Just when you have to make that important phone call, your smartphone tells you it's time to recharge your battery and then promptly dies. Little wonder then that the backup charger market has become such a crowded space. Arguably the most appealing battery blocks available are those that can also offer off-grid emergency power from sources like PV panels or kinetic energy. The Voltmaker takes the latter approach, providing your smartphone with enough juice to make a quick phone call with a flick (or more accurately, several flicks) of the wrist.Read More

New technology from MIT may enable cheap, color, holographic video displays

Researchers at MIT’s Media Lab have developed a new form of holographic projector that may enable the introduction of practical color 3D holographic video displays as well as higher-resolution 2D displays with lower power consumption. The new projector is built using principles of guided wave optics to construct the spatial light modulator (SLM) that is the heart of digital holography. The MIT holographic projector, which contains an SLM costing US$10 to fabricate, provides 3D images at 30 frames per second (fps) with a resolution similar to that of a standard-definition TV. Read More

DARPA program develops world's smallest vacuum pumps with big potential

Three DARPA-funded research teams have completed a foundational study of chip-scale vacuum pumps by inventing three very different approaches to removing air from a sample chamber with a volume of one cubic millimeter, which is about one-tenth the volume of a grain of rice. These new technologies will enable many micro-scale devices which require a vacuum or a controlled flow of gas, such as Lab-on-a-Chip sensors, radio frequency MEMS switches and microscopic vacuum tubes.Read More

WiSee system recognizes user gestures in other rooms

By now, even if they’ve never used one themselves, most people are pretty familiar with the idea behind gesture control systems such as the Kinect – the user makes a movement, the device “sees” that movement, and interprets it. However, what would happen if the user was in another room, blocked from the device’s cameras and depth sensors? Well, as long as there was a Wi-Fi signal available, it wouldn’t be a problem ... at least, not if the WiSee system was being used. Read More

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