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Electronics

Caltech’s chips survive laser armageddon thanks to self-healing powers

Although you are fairly unlikely to start zapping your gadgets with high-power lasers any time soon, scientists are already hard at work trying to make electronics immune to such cruelty. In another in a series of self-healing electronics breakthroughs, a team of scientists from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) demonstrated chips capable of dealing not only with laser-inflicted physical damage but also with far more common ailments such as aging, power fluctuations, changes in temperature or load mismatch. Read More

Biometric credit card remembers its user's signature

If you watch a handwriting expert authenticate a signature, they will talk about echoes of the process of signing one's name – darker or lighter lines reveal pressure variations, the shape of the loops reveals the shaking of the hand, and the flow of the ink shows if the signature was laid down without hesitation. These echoes of the act of writing make a signature far more revealing than a simple squiggle on paper. Now researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD) have created a credit card that contains a thorough description of these signature traits, which can be used for instant authentication. Read More

Tone Tank is the über cool way to reposition studio microphones

Don't go thinking that the Tone Tank is just a big boy's toy, it's not. It's a serious piece of studio equipment, on a par with the mixing desk and professional monitors – well, perhaps not quite. In addition to adding a bit of fun to the studio floor, this RC military tank allows sound engineers to precisely position studio microphones without having to constantly leave the console. And yes, the cannon is fully functional.Read More

Review

Review: XD Design's Window and Port Solar Chargers

This time last year, we covered an interesting new solar charger that sought to avoid troublesome shadows from window frames, potted plants and household ornaments by sticking to the glass of the window itself. The Window Solar Charger from XD Design has now been joined by a new, slightly less capacious sibling called the Port Solar Charger, and I've been given the chance to take both for a test drive.Read More

Experimental lithium-ion battery can be stretched, twisted and wirelessly charged

Thanks to the advent of stretchable electronics, we’re currently witnessing the development of things like smart fabrics, bendable displays, and even pressure-sensitive skin for robots. In many potential applications, however, the usefulness of such electronics would be limited if they still had to be hooked up to a rigid battery. In response to that problem, a team of scientists have recently created – you guessed it – a stretchable lithium-ion battery.Read More

Accidentally Extraordinary headphones feature capacitive touch controls in the cable

Due mainly to the influence of the iPhone and iPod, a good many headphones have a playback/call control unit of some sort bulging out from the audio cable. Though undeniably useful, this can add some unwelcome weight (particularly with earbuds), but more often the housing just gets in the way or adds its own thump to the music as it bangs against your upturned collar. California-based Accidentally Extraordinary is looking to change all that, with a pair of elegant studio headphones featuring a capacitive touch control interface on the surface of the cable itself.Read More

New transparent, flat, flexible image sensor has potential for gesture control displays

A research team from the Johannes Kepler University Linz in Austria has developed an image capturing device using a single sheet of polymer that is flat, flexible and transparent. The researchers say the new image sensor could eventually find its way into devices like digital cameras and medical scanners, and that it may help to usher in a new generation of gesture-controlled smartphones, tablets and TVs.Read More

Sony patents universal 3D glasses

Sony has filed a US patent for 3D glasses that can be used with any 3D TV set. The glasses use a variety of downloadable software and interchangeable modules that hold out the promise of cheaper 3D glasses that aren't tied to a single receiver model. Read More

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