Decision time? Check out our latest product comparisons

Electronics

MakiBox designer Jon Buford shows off the 3D printer's compact size

Over the past few years, the price of desktop 3D printers has been falling thanks to devices such as the uPrint, MakerBot, Printrbot and Cubify ). But designer Jon Buford's thoughtfully-conceived MakiBox looks to be the least expensive yet. He and his team have now pre-sold enough of the device to make the move from prototype to market and the result looks rather promising. If all goes well, the US$300 printers (plus US$50 for global shipping) could be available for delivery as soon as the end of the month.  Read More

The PriNXT functioning printer made of Lego by 14-year old Lego Mindstorms wunderkind Leon...

The PriNXT may not be the first functioning printer made of Lego, but given that it was made by 14-year old Lego Mindstorms wunderkind Leon Overweel, we won't hold that against it.  Read More

Wake Forest University researcher Corey Hewitt, with a sample of the Power Felt

Some day, your jacket may be able to power your iPod ... and no, I’m not talking about piezoelectric fabrics (which generate electricity from movement-caused pressure), nor am I talking about photovoltaic materials, although both of those could probably do the job. Instead, your jacket might be made out of a new thermoelectric material called Power Felt, that converts temperature differences into electrical voltage – in the case of the jacket, the difference between its wind-cooled exterior and its body-warmed lining might be all that was needed.  Read More

NODE is a multi-function remote sensor designed for use with a linked smartphone

While smartphones are awesome little computers, one of the things that really makes them useful is their built-in sensors – many apps are made possible via a phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, microphone, camera, or some combination of the bunch. The thing is, though, all of those sensors are stuck in the smartphone. What if you want to use your phone to monitor another device? Well, that’s where NODE comes in. The proposed gadget could be placed on or near a device, and would wirelessly relay data from multiple onboard sensors, via Bluetooth.  Read More

BAE Systems is developing structural batteries for the military (Photo: Shutterstock)

Battery life is a crucial issue on any portable device drawing power - from cell phones to something as big as a car. Of course, the larger the battery, the more it weighs. Structural batteries which store power in the parts that make up the device are seen as a solution to this issue and BAE systems is working on such systems with the aim of lightening the load for frontline soldiers.  Read More

The XDModo Window solar charger sticks to the inside of a glass window pane so that the PV...

I guess I'm lucky that I now live in a part of the world blessed with long sunny days that are perfect for juicing up the battery on my solar device charger. I do have to keep getting up and moving it, though, so that the panels don't fall into the shadows cast by furniture in the room or even the window frames themselves, and reducing its efficiency. Propping the charger up against the glass is one way to ensure maximum exposure to those energy-giving rays, but XDModo has a much slicker solution. Users can stick the 0.68-inch thick Window solar charger to the inside of a glass window with the photovoltaic panels facing out and then feed off a charging cable to a portable device positioned in the cooling shade.  Read More

The UCSB von Neumann quantum computer. The small black squares are the superconducting qub...

John Martinis’ research group at the University of California at Santa Barbara has created the first quantum computer with the quantum equivalent of conventional Von Neumann architecture. This general-purpose programmable quantum computer is realized using superconducting circuits and offers greater potential for large-scale quantum computing than the one-problem devices that have been demonstrated in this emerging field to date.  Read More

Light pulses (white spheres) traveling down the optical fiber can be converted into electr...

When data is transmitted as pulses of light along a fiber optic cable, chips at either end of that cable must convert the data from and back into an electronic signal - this is what allows an outgoing video image to be converted into light pulses, then back into video at the receiving end, for instance. There are a number of technical challenges in coupling chips to fibers, however. Now, an international team of scientists are developing an alternative ... fiber optics with the electronics built right into the fiber.  Read More

Unlike typical 3D printers, iModela carves rather than builds its models

3D printers are certainly hot technology these days, with machines like the Printrbot, MakerBot and Cubify launching on a regular basis. But while most of these devices focus on building something from the ground up, Roland DG has unveiled a new machine that does the exact opposite. Rather than slowly building a model by adding layers of material, the iModela iM-01 3D Modeling Machine carves its creations down from a larger block of material, like a small, automated sculptor.  Read More

A new type of radio frequency identification (RFID) tag doesn't have an antenna of its own...

Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are definitely a handy way of tracking shipments. Instead of simply crossing their fingers and hoping for the best, importers and exporters can check the location and condition of shipped items in real time, by remotely accessing the data being transmitted by RFID tags attached to those items. Unfortunately, many such tags don't work on metal objects such as shipping containers or oil drums, as the metal interferes with the functioning of the tags' antennas. A new tag developed at North Dakota State University gets around that limitation, however - it uses the metal object as its antenna.  Read More

Looking for something? Search our 29,036 articles