Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Electronics

Honda Soltec announces smaller, more efficient thin film solar cell design

A few years back we reported on the establishment of Honda Soltec, a Honda subsidiary devoted to the development of thin-film solar technology. This week that same group announced that it would be releasing a new thin-film cell that will rank among the world's most efficient with an expected module conversion efficiency of more than 13%.  Read More

Researchers have developed touchscreens containing carbon nanotubes that can be made of lo...

Over the past decade, touchscreens have risen to dominate mobile phone and other mobile consumer electronic device interfaces – and their popularity shows no sign of waning. Capacitive touchscreens, the type most commonly used in consumer electronics, usually use a conductor made of indium tin oxide (ITO). This material is well suited to this purpose due to its excellent conductivity and its transparency in thin layers. Unfortunately there are few deposits of indium in the world, which has prompted a search for alternatives. One such new alternative are touchscreens containing carbon nanotubes, which researchers claim offer comparable performance to ITO, but are much cheaper.  Read More

World's biggest HD video board under construction (Credit Harold Hinson/CMS Photo)

NASCAR fans are in for a high-definition treat this year at the Charlotte Motor Speedway in Concord, North Carolina, where construction of a gargantuan 200-foot-wide x 80-foot-tall screen is underway. Billed as the world's largest HD video board, the structure will weigh 332.5 tons (665,000 pounds) and contain more than 9 million LED lamps when the switch is flicked for racing events in May.  Read More

The Veebeam laptop-to-TV content streamer

If you're looking for an affordable way to stream high definition online movies to a big screen TV, then Veebeam could just be what you're looking for. The device comes in both standard and high definition varieties, and is made up of a wireless USB antenna that's connected to a laptop or computer and a receiver box that's hooked up to an HDTV. The system is said to be capable of wirelessly playing any content from one to the other, whether it's online movies, sports or news updates, digital photos or holiday videos.  Read More

The proposed interactive shop window differs from existing touchscreen technology by using...

Window shopping of the future will be exactly that, with consumers able to make purchases from in front of the store, even after hours. Using 3D imaging technology, researchers in Germany are developing a system capable of recognizing facial gestures and hand position, so that shoppers can control a digital shop window display. The system allows for transactions, and can collect data on shopper trends without collecting personal data such as facial recognition. For those germ-conscious shopaholics who think public touchscreens are a conduit for nasties, this is the interactive shop window for you.  Read More

The Planon SlimScan SS100 is a credit card-sized high-resolution color scanner, designed f...

Keeping track of receipts can be a hassle. The paper itself has a tendency to curl up, it creases very easily, and trying to sort out a sheaf of curly, creased-up receipts is no one’s idea of fun... or at least, the folks at Planon hope it isn’t. They’ve just released the SlimScan SS100, a “credit card-sized” high-resolution color scanner designed specifically for scanning receipts. The device – which was on display at CES – comes with Planon’s PaperPort SE software (for Windows only), which allows users to organize their scanned receipts once they transfer them onto their PC.  Read More

The TI bqTESLA wireless charging development kit lets designers integrate wireless power t...

Between Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and the latest-gen cell phone networks, we hardly ever have to plug anything into our mobile devices these days. That is, until the batteries die. Then we’re rooting through a rat’s nest of USB cables and adapters trying to find the right wall wart and a plug that fits the charging port. Clearly wireless charging’s day has arrived, and Texas Instruments has released the industry’s first Qi-certified wireless power development kit. The bqTESLA kit is meant to help design engineers integrate wireless power technology into devices such as smartphones, digital cameras, and MP3 players.  Read More

The first coils of silicon nanowire on a substrate that can be stretched to more than doub...

Stretchability is not something you'd think of as synonymous with electronics. For this very reason the realm of wearable electronic devices has been limited to devices on clothes with rigid or at best semi-flexible circuit boards or solar panels and watches that can do just about everything except make a decent espresso. The game is about to change with the introduction of a silicon nanowire with elastic properties that could enable the incorporation of stretchable electronic devices into clothing, implantable health-monitoring devices, and a host of other applications.  Read More

Zaca Fire, near Santa Barbara, California, in 2007. Credit: U.S. Forest Service by John Ne...

In the last decade the number and intensity of forest fires seems to have been on the increase around the globe, with massive and devastating wildfires in California, Greece, Russia and Australia. The best tool for fighting these intense wildfires is accurate and timely information. Traditional airborne infrared cameras have long been a vital device for mapping fire intensity though their limited ability to find the heart of a fire through thick smoke poses a major drawback. A new radiometric sensor that works in the microwave range can now pinpoint the heart of the wildfire, even when visibility is poor.  Read More

Panasonic President Shiro Kitajima displays prototype of the VIERA tablet

While the portable form factor of tablet computers makes them ideal for use on the go, as many tablet users have no doubt discovered, they’re also great for doing a spot of web surfing or catching up on friends’ Facebook or Twitter posts while in front of the TV. At CES 2011 Panasonic has announced its entry into the tablet computing space with the VIERA tablet – a device it calls a “tablet-type terminal” specifically designed for just that purpose.  Read More

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