Highlights from Interbike 2014

Electronics

Flexible thin film CIGS solar cell on polymer substrate developed at Empa (Photo: Empa)

Swiss researchers have claimed a new world record efficiency of 18.7% for flexible copper indium gallium (di)selenide (CIGS) solar cells on plastics. Flexible CIGS solar cells have the potential to drive down the price of solar electricity because they are cheaper to produce and this latest breakthrough brings them closer to the highest efficiency levels achieved by crystalline silicon and rigid CIGS cells.  Read More

TU Vienna researchers Markus Hatzenbichler and Klaus Stadlmann with the miniature 3D print...

With the recent release of the Trimensional app, people can now use their iPhones as inexpensive 3D scanners. Not only can users take three-dimensional images of objects, but they can use those images to create actual physical models ... as long as they have access to a 3D printer. Currently, such printers tend to be large, expensive devices that are usually only found in places like universities or industrial design companies. That could soon change, however, as researchers at the Vienna University of Technology (TU Vienna) have created a prototype compact, affordable 3D printer.  Read More

The new dielectric elastomeric sensors can be stretched to twice their size (Image: Fraunh...

Gauges that determine the amount of strain on an object are commonly used in mechanical engineering research and development to measure the stresses generated by machinery and to test structural elements like aircraft components. The most common type of strain gauge consists of an insulating flexible backing material that supports a metallic foil pattern whose electrical resistance changes as the foil is deformed, which allows the amount of strain to be measured. However, the relatively low elastic limits of the foil restrict the possible applications for such gauges. Now researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute of Silicate Research have developed a sensor that can be stretched to twice its size, dramatically increasing its possible applications.  Read More

With an LCD display housed within the body of a folder, TV in a Card can bring a brochure,...

It is said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and a moving picture worth even more. Now a company in the UK is enticing businesses to go beyond the confines of eye-catching text, colorful graphics and product photos with TV in a Card. The brainchild of Russell Lawley-Gibbs and Robert Green, a standard TV in a Card folder has A4 (297 x 210 mm / 11.7 x 8.3 inches) dimensions and opening the cover reveals a 4.3-inch, 320 x 240 resolution, 16:9 aspect LCD display powered by a custom board with built-in storage for about 30 minutes of video footage.  Read More

Scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology are claiming to have created the world...

For the past several years, scientists from around the world have been engaged in the development of nanogenerators – tiny piezoelectric devices capable of generating electricity by harnessing minute naturally-occurring movements, such as the shifting of clothing or even the beating of a person's heart. So far, while they may have worked in principle, few if any of the devices have been able to generate enough of a current to make them practical for use in consumer products. Now, however, scientists from the Georgia Institute of Technology are claiming to have created "the world's first practical nanogenerator."  Read More

Professors Cor Koning (left) and Paul van der Schoot (right), with their new transparent c...

With its two chief properties of excellent electrical conductivity and optical transparency, indium tin oxide (ITO) can be found in transparent conductive coatings for displays found in all kinds of products, such as TVs, mobile phones and laptops, and is also used as a transparent electrode in thin-film solar cells. Unfortunately indium is a rare metal and available supplies could run out in as little as ten years. This has prompted researchers to search for alternatives with some success already reported using carbon nanotubes and copper nanowires. The latest ITO replacement material also uses carbon nanotubes, as well as other commonly available materials, and is environmentally friendly.  Read More

Advertising is likely to be the first application for Samsung's new transparent LCD panels

When it comes to display technologies nothing says "cool" like a transparent display. While we've seen a number of prototypes, such as TDK's flexible OLED display, pop up at trade shows in the last couple of years, Samsung has announced it has already started mass production of a 22-inch transparent LCD panel. Because they rely on ambient light instead of the usual back lighting, the transparent panels consume 90 percent less electricity than conventional LCD panels. But despite the fact the new panels are starting to roll off the Samsung production lines, it will probably still be a while before transparent panels make it onto our desktops.  Read More

A Microsoft presenter gets on her tip-toes to activate a huge button on the world's bigges...

For the last eight years, German presentations specialist Stereolize has been helping Microsoft do its thing at CeBIT, and every year the company tries to top the previous year's efforts. For this year's trade show, the company went super-size – creating 234-inches of diagonal, interactive touchscreen loveliness that towered above the Microsoft presenters and left onlookers having to pick their jaws up off the floor. Read on, to see a short video showing the huge display in action ...  Read More

The new MT55 HD Multitouch Table from Ideum features a 55-inch high definition LCD display...

As its name suggests, the new MT55 HD Multitouch Table from Ideum features a 55-inch high definition LCD display which can support multiple simultaneous touch points. Standing at 31 inches tall, the powder coated, aluminum and steel pedestal table has a powerful quad-core processor and NVIDIA graphics running the show, supported by dual hard drives and DDR3 memory. A useful feature for the museum and tradeshow settings that the table is likely to find itself in, is the ability to lock the power switch out of harm's way and keep the ports hidden from view.  Read More

'These nanorods with configurable internal periodicity represent the smallest possible pho...

Chemists at the University of California are developing a future display technology using nanoscale-sized iron oxide rods that shine when exposed to an external magnetic field. Though in its early stages, the research could pave the way for producing magnetically responsive, ultra high-res displays with significantly reduced dimensions and power demands.  Read More

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