Purchasing new hardware? Read our latest product comparisons
ADVERTISEMENT

Electronics

Sony has developed a power outlet that can identify devices plugged into it, as well as individuals using the plug. The company says such technology could allow the electricity usage of individual devices to be monitored so non-essential devices could be switched off remotely in the event of limited electricity supply, or for the billing of customers charging their electric vehicles or mobile devices in public places. Read More
Last Thursday at the Optical Fiber Communication Conference in Los Angeles, a team from IBM presented research on their wonderfully-named “Holey Optochip.” The prototype chipset is the first parallel optical transceiver that is able to transfer one trillion bits (or one terabit) of information per second. To put that in perspective, IBM states that 500 high-def movies could be downloaded in one second at that speed, while the entire U.S. Library of Congress web archive could be downloaded in an hour. Stated another way, the Optochip is eight times faster than any other parallel optical components currently available, with a speed that’s equivalent to the bandwidth consumed by 100,000 users, if they were using regular 10 Mb/s high-speed internet. Read More
At some point, we’ve probably all had a supermarket cashier ask us to identify the mysterious fresh produce that we’re attempting to buy. Once we’ve told them what it is, they have then had to manually type in its code – they have to enter it themselves, of course, given that fruits and vegetables don’t have barcodes. Thanks to Toshiba Tec, however, those days may be coming to an end. The company’s new Object Recognition Scanner is able to instantly identify grocery items of all types based on their appearance alone. Read More
In a bid to develop a transistor that didn’t need to be created in a “top down” approach” as is the case with silicon-based transistors, researchers at Tel Aviv University (TAU) turned to blood, milk and mucus proteins. The result is protein-based transistors the researchers say could form the basis of a new generation of electronic devices that are both flexible and biodegradable. Read More

Along with spreading the word about a certain new tablet computer, Apple also used today's media event to unveil the latest version of its Apple TV video streaming system. The big news is that the new device allows users to view content in full 1080p HD, from sources such as iTunes, Netflix, Vimeo and YouTube. It also features a simpler icon-based user interface, which facilitates the viewing of purchased content that is stored on Apple's iCloud service. Read More

Over the past few years, the price of desktop 3D printers has been falling thanks to devices such as the uPrint, MakerBot, Printrbot and Cubify ). But designer Jon Buford's thoughtfully-conceived MakiBox looks to be the least expensive yet. He and his team have now pre-sold enough of the device to make the move from prototype to market and the result looks rather promising. If all goes well, the US$300 printers (plus US$50 for global shipping) could be available for delivery as soon as the end of the month. Read More

The PriNXT may not be the first functioning printer made of Lego, but given that it was made by 14-year old Lego Mindstorms wunderkind Leon Overweel, we won't hold that against it. Read More

If you've already built your own wrist-mounted laser-sighted crossbow, how do you top it? Well, a hand-mounted flamethrower might do the trick. That's just what cyberpunk weapons hobbyist and Iron Man fan Patrick Priebe has done, with pretty impressive results. However, unlike some of his previous creations (which have included a 1-megawatt pulse laser gun, and a balloon-popping palm laser), the "flame glove" is not for sale - given its rather startling performance in the video that follows, that's probably for the best. Read More
Some day, your jacket may be able to power your iPod ... and no, I’m not talking about piezoelectric fabrics (which generate electricity from movement-caused pressure), nor am I talking about photovoltaic materials, although both of those could probably do the job. Instead, your jacket might be made out of a new thermoelectric material called Power Felt, that converts temperature differences into electrical voltage – in the case of the jacket, the difference between its wind-cooled exterior and its body-warmed lining might be all that was needed. Read More
While smartphones are awesome little computers, one of the things that really makes them useful is their built-in sensors – many apps are made possible via a phone’s accelerometer, gyroscope, GPS, microphone, camera, or some combination of the bunch. The thing is, though, all of those sensors are stuck in the smartphone. What if you want to use your phone to monitor another device? Well, that’s where NODE comes in. The proposed gadget could be placed on or near a device, and would wirelessly relay data from multiple onboard sensors, via Bluetooth. Read More
ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT