Photokina 2014 highlights

Electronics

The SMI RED500 remote eye tracking system for scientific, marketing, and design studies

SensoMotoric Instruments (SMI) of Germany has launched its latest gaze and eye tracking system called the RED500. Eye tracking is a key research technique for many types of scientific, marketing, and design studies. Billed as the world’s first high-performance and high-speed remote eye tracker, the RED500 features a “scientific grade” 500 Hz sampling rate, binocular tracking, and a portable all-in-one design.  Read More

The MPQ/EPFL microresonator, which couples light with vibrations (Photo: EPFL)

Researchers from Germany’s Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics (MPQ) and the Swiss Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne (EPFL) have created a microresonator that produces vibrations from laser light. The device also uses one laser beam to control the intensity of another, thus making it essentially an optical transistor. The technology could have big implications in fields such as telecommunications.  Read More

Tel Aviv University's explosive-detecting sensor (Image: AFTAU)

The recent Yemeni bomb threat has only highlighted the need for quick, accurate ways of detecting explosives. With their excellent sense of smell and the ability to discern individual scents, even when they’re combined or masked by other odors, this task is usually given to man’s best friend. But training these animals can be expensive and good sniffer dogs can be hard to find. Scientists have now developed an electronic sensor they say is more sensitive and more reliable at detecting explosives than any sniffer dog.  Read More

A waveguide optical switch uses an array of optical switching elements to connect the path...

Fujitsu Laboratories has unveiled a new optical switch technology that it claims uses half the power of conventional optical switches. The new optical waveguide switch uses photonics made from silicon germanium (SiGe) instead of pure-silicon semiconductor material. This technology will be the basis for a new generation of high-speed optical switches capable of operating across a wide range of wavelengths, while featuring perhaps the world’s lowest power requirements.  Read More

Metal-insulator-metal (MIM) diodes might just be the technology that allows electronics achieve the next big leap in processing speed. Research into diode design conducted at the Oregon State University (OSU) has revealed this week cheaper and easier to manufacture MIM diodes that will also eliminate speed restrictions of electronic circuits that have baffled materials researchers since the 1960's.  Read More

The OSU microreactor (left) uses microlamination architecture to produce nanoparticles mor...

Nanotechnology products could become much more commercially practical, thanks to work being performed by engineers at Oregon State University (OSU). Using a new fabrication method, they have been able to increase the production rate of nanoparticles by 500 times, while simultaneously reducing the amount of environmentally-harmful byproducts involved. It’s definitely big news – or really tiny news, depending on how you look at it.  Read More

FlexUPD paper-thin, flexible AMOLED display technology has been announced as the gold winn...

The paper-thin, flexible AMOLED display developed by Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) has taken gold in the Wall Street Journal's Technology Innovation Award. Catering for two-sided surface visibility, FlexUPD could see its way into rollable mobile phones or e-Readers, or incorporated into clothing to provide information about the wearer – for medical purposes, for instance.  Read More

Dr. Heike Riel, who leads the nanoscale electronics group at IBM Research-Zurich, is part ...

It has been estimated that in the European Union, about ten percent of the electricity used in homes and offices goes to power computers and other electronic devices that are in standby mode. By 2020, that amount could constitute 49 terawatt hours per year, which is almost equivalent to the combined annual electrical consumption of Austria, the Czech Republic and Portugal. The European Union’s just-announced Steeper research initiative squarely addresses such concerns. Its aim is to develop electronics that operate on less than half a volt when in standby, and that are up to ten times more energy-efficient when active.  Read More

The handheld TATP detector prototype (Photo: Kenneth Suslick)

Much as we might hate having to take our shoes off when going through airport security, it’s become necessary ever since a terrorist managed to get a shoe bomb aboard an American Airlines flight in December of 2001. Unfortunately, the X-raying of shoes is not enough to detect triacetone triperoxide (TATP). This easily-made explosive has been used in several bombing attempts, and is very difficult to detect in an airport environment. It doesn't fluoresce, absorb ultraviolet light or readily ionize, and can only be detected with large, expensive equipment and extensive sample preparation. Now, chemists from the University of Illinois have announced a simple new way of detecting even minute concentrations of TATP, using a piece of plastic and a digital camera.  Read More

Fraunhofer's self-monitoring polymer-metal composite

When engineers want to know how much stress mechanical components such as wind turbine blades or machine parts are subjected to, they usually do so via a series of sensors. These sensors are typically either built into components, or are glued onto them. A new polymer-metal composite material developed at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Material Research (IFAM), however, may be about to change that – components made from the material are reportedly able to act as their own sensors.  Read More

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