Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Electronics

The silver pen can write electric circuits and interconnects directly on paper and other s...

People have been using pens to jot down their thoughts for thousands of years but now engineers at the University of Illinois have developed a silver-inked rollerball pen that allows users to jot down electrical circuits and interconnects on paper, wood and other surfaces. Looking just like a regular ballpoint pen, the pen’s ink consists of a solution of real silver that dries to leave electrically conductive silver pathways. These pathways maintain their conductivity through multiple bends and folds of the paper, enabling users to personally fabricate low-cost, flexible and disposable electronic devices.  Read More

A new type of hydrophone, inspired by the ears of orcas, is reportedly much more sensitive...

Given how poorly light and radio signals are able to travel underwater, sound is still the best medium for wireless undersea communications. Conventional underwater microphones – or hydrophones – have their limitations, however. One of their main problems is that the deeper they go, the less sensitive they become. Scientists from California’s Stanford University have now found a solution to that problem, in the form of a hydrophone that is designed to perform like an orca’s ear.  Read More

Jacobs School of Engineering researchers have developed a proof of concept device that can...

So far as television goes, we're pretty spoilt these days. We can now watch in 3D if we want to, on a screen that is far too big for the once traditional corner-of-the-room placement, and we can also listen to heart-stopping surround sound audio - but there's still more sensory enjoyment to come. Researchers have now managed to create a proof of concept Smell-o-Vision device potentially capable of pumping out thousands of different odors, yet small enough to fit behind a TV.  Read More

Improv Electronics has announced two new additions to the Boogie Board brand, together wit...

Improv Electronics has announced some new additions to its Boogie Board LCD writing tablet brand. The original digital contender to the note book is being joined by a new bigger-screen version, and one that includes a binder-friendly casing. There's also a new accessory for the original 8.5-inch device that can be attached to a fridge door, wall or almost any other flat surface to act as a slide-in home for a Boogie Board.  Read More

Scientists have applied conductive nanocoatings to textiles, which could pave the way for ...

Not long ago, we reported on a prototype thin, flexible smartphone known as the Paperphone. While it isn’t actually made out of paper, the success of a research project at North Carolina State University indicates that phones in the future could be. Scientists there have been able to deposit conductive nanocoatings onto textiles, meaning that items such as pieces of paper or clothing could ultimately be used as electronic devices.  Read More

Geo-Cosmos hangs 60 feet above the floor at Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science an...

Mitsubishi Electric will unveil a huge, 19.7 foot (6 m) wide OLED globe at Tokyo's National Museum of Emerging Science and Innovation on June 11. Billed as the world’s first large-scale spherical OLED screen, "Geo-Cosmos" is made up of an aluminum frame covered with 10,362 tiny OLED panels, each measuring 3.7 x 3.7 inches. The sphere will display images of clouds and other views of the Earth coming from a meteorological satellite as it hangs almost 60 feet (18 m) above the museum floor.  Read More

Scientists have determined the molecular structure of proteins that allow bacteria cells t...

The development of practical microbial fuel cells took a big step forward this week. Research conducted by a team of scientists from England’s University of East Anglia was published on Monday (May 23), in which they revealed that they had discovered “the exact molecular structure of the proteins which enable bacterial cells to transfer electrical charge.” Scientists possessing this knowledge can now start working on technology for tethering bacteria directly to electrodes, which could lead to much more efficient microbial fuel cells – also known as bio-batteries.  Read More

Duke University scientists have outlined a theory for the use of metamaterials in facilita...

The weird properties of artificially engineered metamaterials are at the core of research into invisibility cloaking, but engineers from Duke University in North Carolina suggest that these materials could also provide a boost to another of technology's quests - wireless power transmission. In this latest hard-to-get-your-head-around metamaterial scenario, it's not the cloaked object that "disappears" - it's the space between the charger and the chargee.  Read More

EEG brainwave headsets have potential applications ranging from medicine to gaming and mar...

Until recently a purely lab based technology, brainwave (electroencephalograph or EEG) headsets are trickling into the marketplace in a number of different guises. But what exactly do these devices do, how do they differ from each other and - with potential applications ranging from medicine to gaming and market research – who will use them and for what purpose? Dr. Max Sutherland takes a closer look.  Read More

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

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