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Electronics

NASA's new laser-based modem could revolutionize data-crunching

For years now, fiber optics has been synonymous with super-speed communications and data transfer, but now NASA is working to develop the next generation of high-speed modems using an emerging technology called integrated photonics. The agency's first integrated photonics modem is set to be deployed aboard the International Space Station in 2020. The palm-sized device makes use of optics-based functions like lasers, switches and wires that are all integrated on a microchip much like those in our cell phones. Read More

Futuristic no-PIN automated teller looks its user in the eye

Tired of having to remember PINs, or having a wallet full of plastic cards? Well, if EyeLock has its way, you eventually won't have to. Teaming up with self-service tech company Diebold, it's created a prototype automated teller that has no keypad, card reader or screen. Known as the Irving concept, it utilizes an iris scanner and an app instead.Read More

myFC readies for launch of world's smallest fuel cell charger

If you need to power up your smartphone but are nowhere near an AC outlet … well, that's why Sweden's SiGNa Chemistry and myFC developed the PowerTrekk fuel cell/battery. While it's a handy device for off-grid device-charging, it's not exactly the type of thing that you'd just slip into a purse or pocket. myFC's new JAQ, however, is exactly that. It's being billed as the world's smallest fuel cell charger.Read More

Review

Review: Ditching keys and combinations with the Noke Bluetooth padlock

The Noke padlock launched on Kickstarter last August, resonating with backers who liked the idea of a Bluetooth-connected padlock. Since then, other smart padlocks have hit the market, such as ones by Master Lock and Quicklock. The Noke padlock has recently started shipping to backers, and although it may not be the first available to consumers, it's possibly the smartest and most secure. We spent some time with the Noke to lock down its strengths and weaknesses.Read More

Laser X-rays to nab nuclear smugglers

With over 100 million cargo containers in transit each year, screening them for illicit nuclear material is a major problem. To keep commerce flowing while maintaining an eye on nuclear terrorism and smuggling, a team of scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is developing a laser-based X-ray machine that can image a uranium disk the size of a stack of three US nickels hidden between three-inch (7.6 cm) steel panels.Read More

HeLi-on flexible solar panel rolls up to portable power party

Compact solar panels have been around for some time, but in a trade-off with portability many are too small to generate practical amounts of electricity over short periods. New designs, such as the Yolk Solar Paper, are capable of generating more electricity while maintaining a slim profile, but the HeLi-on further expands on the idea of portable power generation with a flexible solar cell that rolls out from a compact package to soak up more rays.
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Multi-purpose Symbisa sensor looks to fast track the Internet of Things

Ceiling fans, thermostats, mailboxes and light fittings. It seems that no matter which direction you look in a smart home of the future you'll find a connected appliance interacting with its environment in one way or another. These smart devices generally feature hardware that's been carefully designed with a very specific purpose in mind, but what if there was more of a "one-size-fits-all" solution? British company Hanhaa is looking to offer inventors an easier route to the so-called Internet of Things, with a multi-purpose sensor kit that can be adapted to various tracking or monitoring applications within minutes of breaking open the box. Read More

Tiny temperature sensor powered wirelessly with radio waves

One of the problems for the smart buildings of tomorrow is that they may depend on some very un-smart wires to power them. To cut the cord, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) researcher Hao Gao, as part of his PhD thesis, is developing a tiny transmitting temperature sensor that is powered by radio waves to eliminate the need for wires or batteries. Instead, it picks up radio waves from a special router, converts them into electricity, and uses it to transmit readings.Read More

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