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IBM's prototype 5.2 x 5 .8 mm Holey Optochip

Last Thursday at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference in Los Angeles, a team from IBM presented research on their wonderfully-named “Holey Optochip.” The prototype chipset is the first parallel optical transceiver that is able to transfer one trillion bits (or one terabit) of information per second. To put that in perspective, IBM states that 500 high-def movies could be downloaded in one second at that speed, while the entire U.S. Library of Congress web archive could be downloaded in an hour. Stated another way, the Optochip is eight times faster than any other parallel optical components currently available, with a speed that’s equivalent to the bandwidth consumed by 100,000 users, if they were using regular 10 Mb/s high-speed internet.  Read More

Toshiba Tec's new supermarket scanner is able to identify grocery items based on nothing b...

At some point, we’ve probably all had a supermarket cashier ask us to identify the mysterious fresh produce that we’re attempting to buy. Once we’ve told them what it is, they have then had to manually type in its code – they have to enter it themselves, of course, given that fruits and vegetables don’t have barcodes. Thanks to Toshiba Tec, however, those days may be coming to an end. The company’s new Object Recognition Scanner is able to instantly identify grocery items of all types based on their appearance alone.  Read More

TAU researchers have created a new transistor using blood, milk and mucus proteins (Image:...

In a bid to develop a transistor that didn’t need to be created in a “top down” approach” as is the case with silicon-based transistors, researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) turned to blood, milk and mucus proteins. The result is protein-based transistors the researchers say could form the basis of a new generation of electronic devices that are both flexible and biodegradable.  Read More

Content such as games can be streamed from an iDevice onto an HD TV, via the new 1080p-cap...

Along with spreading the word about a certain new tablet computer, Apple also used today's media event to unveil the latest version of its Apple TV video streaming system. The big news is that the new device allows users to view content in full 1080p HD, from sources such as iTunes, Netflix, Vimeo and YouTube. It also features a simpler icon-based user interface, which facilitates the viewing of purchased content that is stored on Apple's iCloud service.  Read More

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

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