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— Wearable Electronics

BAE develops Body Wearable Antennas

Reliable communications are almost as critical to the modern soldier as their weapons and ammunition. Conventional whip-antennas are not only cumbersome and conspicuous, but they don't always provide a reliable link between a soldier laying on the ground and one standing up. Meanwhile, the short antenna of a portable radio can mean the signal is masked by the user's body. To provide more reliable, continuous 360-degree radio coverage, BAE Systems has developed a series of Body Wearable Antennas (BWAs) that, like the experimental antenna system recently developed at Ohio State University, sees the antennas weaved into the fibers of a uniform. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Experimental antenna-clothing outperforms regular antennas

In the recent past, we’ve seen outfits that incorporate bio-sensors and batteries, and even a bikini with integrated solar cells. One of the latest innovations in smart fabrics, however, allows a person’s clothing to act as multiple antennas. Developed at Ohio State University (OSU), the system could prove particularly useful to soldiers, who don’t want to be encumbered by a protruding whip antenna. Read More
— Electronics

Eye implant contains 'world's first' millimeter-scale computing system

Researchers from the University of Michigan have created what they claim is the world’s first millimeter-scale complete computing system, designed as an implantable eye pressure monitor for glaucoma patients. Incorporating a microprocessor, pressure sensor, memory, thin-film battery, solar cell and wireless radio with an antenna that can transmit data to an external reader device, the device is just over one cubic millimeter in size. The scientists see it as the next step in the evolution of ever-smaller and more efficient computers. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Body-to-body networks could be the future of mobile communications

At a major sporting event I attended recently, it proved impossible to get a connection on a mobile network that was swamped as many of the 100,000 strong crowd attempted to contact friends and family. While the influx of calls was the result of a thrilling draw, it highlighted the weakness of overloaded communications networks that would struggle in the event of a disaster in a heavily populated area. A new system being developed by researchers at Queen’s University Belfast could turn this weakness into a strength by allowing members of the public carrying wearable sensors to form the backbone of new mobile Internet networks. Read More
— Telecommunications

New chip could allow antenna arrays to replace satellite dishes

There was a time not so very long ago when people who wanted satellite TV or radio required dishes several feet across. Those have since been replaced by today’s compact dishes, but now it looks like even those might be on the road to obsolescence. A recent PhD graduate from The Netherlands’ University of Twente has designed a microchip that allows for a grid array of almost-flat antennae to receive satellite signals. Read More
— Science

Nano antenna amplifies light by a factor of 1,000

Scientists at Houston’s Rice University have successfully increased the intensity of laser light a thousand-fold by shining it into a “nanoantenna.” At the heart of the device are two gold tips, separated by a gap measuring about a hundred-thousandth the width of a human hair. At the point where it passed through that gap, the light was “grabbed” and concentrated. Condensed matter physicist Doug Natelson believes that the technology could be useful in the development of tools for optics and chemical/biological sensing, with applications in industrial safety, defense and homeland security. Read More
— Electronics

Smart home sensors use electrical wiring as an antenna

Smart homes of the future will automatically adapt to their surroundings using an array of sensors to record everything from the building’s temperature and humidity to the light level and air quality. One hurdle impeding the development of such intelligent homes is the fact that existing technology is still power hungry and today’s wireless devices either transmit a signal only several feet, or consume so much energy they need frequent battery replacements. Researchers have now developed sensors that run on extremely low power thanks to using a home’s electrical wiring as a giant antenna to transmit information. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Apple's iPhone 4 Case Program will end on September 30 but Bumpers will still be free

This July, following the torrent of bad press surrounding the iPhone 4’s antenna issues, Apple implemented its Case Program, which provided a free Apple Bumper, (including a refund if one had already been purchased), or a choice of case from a number of third-party suppliers. The company also applied a no restocking fee return policy for dissatisfied customers. Apple has now announced that after September 30, it will continue to offer only the Bumper case for free through AppleCare and the no restocking fee policy will end. Read More
— Environment

Carbon nanotube “solar funnel” for smaller, more efficient solar cells

The size and efficiency of current photovoltaic (PV) cells means most people would probably have to cover large areas of their rooftops with such cells to even come close to meeting all their electricity needs. Using carbon nanotubes, MIT chemical engineers have now found a way to concentrate solar energy 100 times more than a regular PV cell. Such nanotubes could form antennas that capture and focus light energy, potentially allowing much smaller and more powerful solar arrays. Read More