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Electronics

— Electronics

Front section of Boeing 737 recycled as superb flight simulator

Like many computer users of my generation, I've notched up many hours of virtual flight time in a number of fairly realistic simulation programs. There are those who are simply not satisfied with keyboard, mouse and joystick control of jet fighters and passenger airplanes on a desktop computer system, though. Air traffic controller and pilot James Price is one such simulation-junkie who has taken his desire for realism to dizzy new heights by having the nose lopped off a veteran Boeing 737, fitting out the gutted cockpit with working controls, dials and monitors and then interfacing the hardware with flight simulation software. It's been a labor of love but we think the result is well worth the enormous amount of time and effort that's gone into the build. Read More
— Electronics

Self-assembling plastic nanofibers present cheaper alternative to carbon nanotubes

French researchers have produced highly conducive plastic fibers with a thickness of only a few nanometers that self-assemble when exposed to a flash of light. The tiny fibers (one nanometer equals one billionth of a meter) could become a cheaper and easier-to-handle alternative to carbon nanotubes and play a role in the development of electronic components on the nanoscale. Read More
— Electronics

Transparent, flexible memory chips could replace flash

According to Dr. James M. Tour, a synthetic organic chemist at Houston’s Rice University, flash memory devices can only be built smaller for another six to seven years – at that point, they will reach a technological barrier. Already, however, Tour and his colleagues have developed a new type of memory chip, which they believe could replace flash in thumb drives, smartphones and computers. Not only does their chip allow more data to be stored in a given space, but it can also be folded like paper, withstand temperatures of up to 1,000ºF (538ºC), and is transparent – this means that devices’ screens could also serve as their memory. Read More
— Electronics

Doctor creates his own Tricorder

If Star Trek has taught us anything, it's the importance of gathering as much information about the alien planet you've just been beamed onto as quickly as possible. To that end, the Science Officer on the away team would perform a quick scan of the surroundings with a handheld, multifunctional sensing device called a Tricorder. Fortunately, we now live in an age where the science fiction of yesteryear is increasingly becoming the science fact of today, and the once futuristic Tricorder is no exception. For his Tricorder Project, Canada's Dr Peter Jansen has designed and built some pocket-friendly devices housing a number of sensors which reveal the secrets of the unseen world around us. Read More
— Electronics

DVD writer spins out graphene electrodes for new class of supercapacitor

The wonders of graphene seem to know no bounds. Not only is it one of the strongest materials known, is both highly conductive and piezoelectric, it can generate electricity from flowing water and now it is being used to make better supercapacitors. Using a DVD writer, a team of UCLA researchers has invented a new process for making high quality graphene electrodes and used these electrodes to make a new species of supercapacitor. Though the work is in the early stages of development, it could lay a foundation for supercapacitor-based energy storage systems suitable for flexible portable electronic devices. Read More
— Electronics

Piezolelectric graphene could have wide-reaching applications

Scientists have succeeded in endowing graphene with yet another useful property. Already, it is the thinnest, strongest and stiffest material ever measured, while also proving to be an excellent conductor of heat and electricity. These qualities have allowed it to find use in everything from transistors to supercapacitors to anti-corrosion coatings. Now, two materials engineers from Stanford University have used computer models to show how it could also be turned into a piezoelectric material – this means that it could generate electricity when mechanically stressed, or change shape when subjected to an electric current. Read More
— Electronics

Sony develops power outlet that can recognize devices and users

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
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