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Electronics

Micro-supercapacitors store energy directly inside a chip

Batteries are getting better at a steady pace, but the technology is far from perfect – they are still quite short-lived, and have real trouble delivering bursts of power. Now, researchers at Drexel and the Paul Sabatier universities have managed to embed mini supercapacitors directly inside a microchip to enable electronics that are even smaller, last longer, and have more power to feed on.Read More

Growing nanowire lasers directly on silicon promises to simplify photonic chip design

For over half a century, Moore's Law, which predicts that processor performance would double roughly every 18 months, has held true. But as electronics grow smaller and smaller, fundamental physical barriers loom ahead. To help stave off that day, a team of physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) is working on nanowire lasers that are a thousand times thinner than a human hair and may one day lead to economical, high-performance photonic circuits.Read More

Electronic luggage tag lets travelers check-in bags from home

Expensive travel bags should do more than look good, and German high-end luggage manufacturer Rimowa would seem to agree. The company has developed an electronic luggage tag which displays baggage info in the same format, size and appearance of typical paper labels, but on a digital screen built into the unit and located near the handle.Read More

"Unhackable" RFID chip to keep your credit cards safe

Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips have made cashless payments commonplace and opened the way to automatic inventory control. However, they've also made it possible for credit card details and other private information to be stolen wirelessly. To make things a bit more secure, MIT and Texas Instruments are developing an "unhackable" RFID chip that's designed to fend off information-stealing attacks.Read More

World's smallest optical switch uses a single atom

The rapid and on-going development of micro-miniature optical electronic devices is helping to usher in a new era of photonic computers and light-based memories that promise super-fast processor speeds and ultra-secure communications. However, as these components are shrunk ever further, fundamental limits to their dimensions are dictated by the wavelength of light itself. Now researchers at ETH Zurich claim to have overcome this limitation by creating both the world's smallest optical switch using a single atom, and accompanying circuitry that appears to break the rules by being smaller than the wavelength of the light that passes through it.Read More

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

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