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Electronics

— Electronics

Tesla Gun jumps out of graphic novel and into reality

If you listen to your elders, electricity is a dangerous, often fatal, medium that shouldn't be toyed with. If, like Rob Flickenger, you decide to completely ignore such sage counsel, then electricity is awesome and a whole bunch of fun – especially if you build yourself a working battery-powered Tesla Gun that handles some 20,000-volts and 2,000 amps of current and shoots out bolts of lightning! Read More
— Electronics

MaKey MaKey turns anything into a touchpad

As I discovered when reviewing the Minty Geek Electronics Lab a while back, experimenting with circuit building can be a great deal of fun. There was one particular project in this kit that made use of the human body to complete a circuit, with a simple lie detector test being the end result. With their Makey Makey open source hardware project, Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum have taken such touch interaction to a much more entertaining and inventive degree. Everyday objects like bananas, coins, and even Play-Doh can be transformed into a computer keyboard key or mouse click to control onscreen gaming action, play software-based instruments or type out short messages. Read More
— Electronics

MIT's wearable brain scanner monitors your cognitive state, handles your workload if needed

As machines get more and more sophisticated, the mental capacity of their human overlords stays at a static (albeit seemingly impressive) level, and therefore slowly starts to pale in comparison. The bandwidth of the human brain is not limitless, and if an overloaded brain happens to be overseeing machines carrying out potentially dangerous tasks, you can expect trouble. But why had we built the machines in the first place, if not to save us from trouble? Brainput, a brain-computer interface built by researchers from MIT and Tufts University, is going to let your computer know if you’re mentally fit for the job at hand. If it decides your brain is overloaded with tasks, it will help you out by handling some of them for you. Read More
— Electronics

Cheap, energy-efficient ARM Cortex-M0+ may usher in the Internet of Things

The newest entry in ARM's Cortex line, the Cortex-M0+ is claimed to be the world's most energy-efficient processor, delivering 32-bit performance on around one third of the typical energy requirements of an 8- or 16-bit processor. Targeting low-cost sensors and microcontrollers, the M0+ will come with a very modest price tag and could act as a crucuial stepping stone to a world in which everyday objects communicate with each other, sharing data to make smart, coordinated decisions that will improve our quality of life. Read More
— Electronics

Soundlazer parametric speaker to enter production

Sonic technology that allows audio to be specifically directed at a limited audience, as opposed to booming sound out as far and as loud as possible, has been around for a good many years but has yet to penetrate the mass consumer market. That situation could well change very shortly, however, thanks to the Soundlazer. The low-cost, pocket-friendly, open source, and completely hack-friendly parametric device developed by Richard Haberkern uses ultrasonic carrier waves to transmit sound from a connected music player on a narrow beam to a select listener. Read More
— Electronics

Engineers produce multiple colors of lasers using a single material

Ordinarily, if you wanted to include blue, green and red laser light sources in the same device (such as a BluRay player), you would need to build in three separate lasers – each one incorporating different semiconductor materials. Now, however, engineers from Rhode Island’s Brown University have succeeded in creating different colors of lasers, all using the same nanocrystal-based semiconductor. Among other things, this opens the door to digital displays that could produce various colors of laser light simultaneously. Read More

Solidoodle 2 – the sub-$500 3D printer

For about a year, former aerospace engineer Sam Cervantes served as the chief of operations for Makerbot, the Brooklyn-based 3D printer manufacturer. While the reasons for his departure hasn’t been made public, his subsequent activities have – he’s been developing another 3D printer, known as the Solidoodle. He recently unveiled the latest model, the Solidoodle 2, which comes fully-assembled for just under $500. Read More
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