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Electronics

The various laser-cut wooden panels of Matt Keeler's Fab Boombox snap together to form the...

Music lovers wanting to listen to digital music files on the move are pretty much spoiled for choice these days, whether keeping things personal with players like the Cowon C2 I reviewed earlier in the month, or sharing with friends using something like the FoxL v2 wireless loudspeaker. If commercial designs don't really appeal, though, there is another route - you could always build your own. Matt Keeter's Fab Boombox is just such a device, designed and built for a final class project and featuring laser-cut, snap-together panels housing stereo speakers (said to be loud in a quiet room and quiet in a noisy room), a custom main control board with an MP3 decoder and a 9V battery power source. Digital music is fed into the player via an SD card slot, with the user controlling playback on a touch-sensitive interface.  Read More

The Sphere 2 is a high-end computer mouse made of surgical grade stainless steel with eith...

We've seen quite a few gadgets made out of gold throughout the years. From a gold-plated USB flash drive to a 24 carat Gold- and Platinum-leafed Aston Martin DB7, gold has long been a symbol of class and a way to add a little flash to what might otherwise be an ordinary gadget. Now we can add computer mice to that long list of fancy gold items, with the new Sphere 2 by Ore Object. The mouse is made of surgical grade stainless steel with either a titanium, gold, or platinum finish. Both stain and dirt resistant, the mouse's surface repels germs, and can be easily sanitized if necessary.  Read More

Top view of the US$25 Raspberry Pi computer

Budding computer hackers/scientists are about to get a welcome gift, albeit a bit late for Christmas 2011. The non-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation (RPF) is nearing the release date of its surprisingly powerful and remarkably affordable Raspberry Pi line of bare-bones machines that have been developed in an effort to broaden kids' access to computers in the UK and abroad. How affordable? The figure above was no typo. Read on to learn just what US$25 will get you when these nifty, fully-assembled, credit-card sized computers go on sale next month (sorry, case, monitor, keyboard and mouse not included ... we did say bare bones).  Read More

Rooting the Nook Tablet expands the slate's horizons with the addition of the Android Mark...

The Nook Tablet from Barnes and Noble offers meatier specs than Amazon's Kindle Fire for half the price of an iPad, but the selection of apps on offer for the e-reader/tablet hybrid is a bit underwhelming. Fortunately, it takes less than 30 minutes to turn a Nook into a fully-functional Honeycomb tablet with access to the Android Market.  Read More

Scientists are creating self-healing electronics, that use liquid metal to instantly resto...

A hard material is impregnated with microcapsules that burst when the material cracks, releasing a stored liquid that hardens on contact with the air, thus repairing the crack ... it’s a system that we’ve recently seen used in a number of applications, including self-healing concrete and polymers. Now, a research team from the University of Illinois is applying it to electronics. They have already created a system that automatically restores conductivity to a cracked circuit in just a fraction of a second.  Read More

The Alpha Clock Five in 12-hour mode

When is a clock not a clock? When it's a big fat reprogrammable five-character 18-segment display, a bit like the Alpha Clock Five from Evil Mad Science. Its 2.3 inch 18-segment alphanumeric characters are each illuminated by 54 LEDs, providing a bold, bright answer to that most burning of questions: what's the time?  Read More

The cover of Moosejaw's winter catalog

Here's an unlikely recipe for successfully spicing up a winter clothes catalog – make the models lose their clothes, or to be more exact, allow your clients to see what is hiding underneath the bulky winter garments. The X-Ray augmented reality app by clothing retailer Moosejaw does exactly that. It uses your mobile device's camera and some augmented reality trickery to grant you X-ray vision, as you scan both female and male models' bodies in the catalog. All you have to do is position your device over the catalog pages.  Read More

Former graduate student Nirav Dave (left) and PhD student Myron King (right) were part of ...

Although we may think of smartphones as being like tiny desktop computers, they do have at least one key difference – in order to save battery power, many of their functions are hardwired into highly-efficient dedicated processors, instead of taking the form of software. Because smartphones perform so many functions, however, not all of them can be hardwired. As a result, designers of mobile devices must decide which functions will be handled by software, and which by hardware. Computer scientists from MIT have recently devised a system that should make those designers’ jobs a lot easier – if they’re willing to adopt it.  Read More

The world's first molybdenite microchip has been successfully tested in Switzerland.

Back in February, Darren Quick wrote about the unique properties of Molybdenite and how this material, previously used mostly as a lubricant, could actually outshine silicon in the construction of transistors and other electronic circuits. In brief: it's much more energy efficient than silicon, and you can slice it into strips just three atoms thick - meaning that you can make transistors as much as three times smaller than before, and make them flexible to boot. Well, the technology has now been proven with the successful testing of the world's first molybdenite microchip in Switzerland. Does this mean Lausanne will become known as "Molybdenite Valley?"  Read More

Roboden electrical cable stretches like human skin

Researchers from Japanese company Asahi Kasei Fibers have developed what is claimed to be the world's first elastic electric cable. Inspired by the extensibility of human skin, the Roboden cable has been initially designed as a wiring solution for humanoid robots and wearable electronics. The stretchy cable could also find its way into personal electronics in the form of power cords or USB data cables.  Read More

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