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Electronics

Review

Review: Ditching keys and combinations with the Noke Bluetooth padlock

The Noke padlock launched on Kickstarter last August, resonating with backers who liked the idea of a Bluetooth-connected padlock. Since then, other smart padlocks have hit the market, such as ones by Master Lock and Quicklock. The Noke padlock has recently started shipping to backers, and although it may not be the first available to consumers, it's possibly the smartest and most secure. We spent some time with the Noke to lock down its strengths and weaknesses.Read More

Laser X-rays to nab nuclear smugglers

With over 100 million cargo containers in transit each year, screening them for illicit nuclear material is a major problem. To keep commerce flowing while maintaining an eye on nuclear terrorism and smuggling, a team of scientists at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) is developing a laser-based X-ray machine that can image a uranium disk the size of a stack of three US nickels hidden between three-inch (7.6 cm) steel panels.Read More

HeLi-on flexible solar panel rolls up to portable power party

Compact solar panels have been around for some time, but in a trade-off with portability many are too small to generate practical amounts of electricity over short periods. New designs, such as the Yolk Solar Paper, are capable of generating more electricity while maintaining a slim profile, but the HeLi-on further expands on the idea of portable power generation with a flexible solar cell that rolls out from a compact package to soak up more rays.
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Multi-purpose Symbisa sensor looks to fast track the Internet of Things

Ceiling fans, thermostats, mailboxes and light fittings. It seems that no matter which direction you look in a smart home of the future you'll find a connected appliance interacting with its environment in one way or another. These smart devices generally feature hardware that's been carefully designed with a very specific purpose in mind, but what if there was more of a "one-size-fits-all" solution? British company Hanhaa is looking to offer inventors an easier route to the so-called Internet of Things, with a multi-purpose sensor kit that can be adapted to various tracking or monitoring applications within minutes of breaking open the box. Read More

Tiny temperature sensor powered wirelessly with radio waves

One of the problems for the smart buildings of tomorrow is that they may depend on some very un-smart wires to power them. To cut the cord, Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) researcher Hao Gao, as part of his PhD thesis, is developing a tiny transmitting temperature sensor that is powered by radio waves to eliminate the need for wires or batteries. Instead, it picks up radio waves from a special router, converts them into electricity, and uses it to transmit readings.Read More

Rechargeable paper sheets could help rewrite the book on electricity storage

Using millions of tiny fibers of nanocellulose sheathed with a conductive polymer coating, scientists have created sheets of paper that can store significant amounts of electric charge. Dubbed "power paper," the material is able to be recharged many hundreds of time, and in mere seconds. It is also lightweight, requires no toxic chemicals or heavy metals to create, and may offer a renewable and prolific way to provide energy to all manner of devices.Read More

Flexible sensor made from chewing gum promises sensitive and versatile wearables

The small sensors found in wearables like fitness trackers and smartwatches are only becoming more versatile, from monitoring your heart rate to enabling gesture control. But a new sensor design could afford these devices even more flexibility, in more ways than one. By combining carbon nanotubes with used chewing gum, scientists have developed a sensing device that can pick up movements of the more flexible body parts, such as bent finger.Read More

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