The best of 2014

Electromagnetic

Figure of a plasmonic metasurface hologram of the word 'PURDUE' that is about the width of...

Holography is one of the more dramatic forms of photography, in which a three-dimensional image is stored on a photographic plate in the form of interference fringes. Researchers at Purdue University in Indiana have developed a different approach, in which a 3D image is stored in a structure of thousands of V-shaped nanoantennas etched into an ultrathin gold foil. The new approach dramatically shrinks the size of a hologram, potentially enabling photonic and plasmonic devices and optical switches small enough to be integrated into computer chips.  Read More

The small-scale prototype of the system

Among the concepts put forth for decreasing the range anxiety associated with electric cars, one is to embed electrical coils within the asphalt. This would allow vehicles to wirelessly draw power from the road as they traveled, although it would also involve having to tear up existing roads to install those coils. An alternative could be on its way, however. Scientists at North Carolina State University are developing a system in which power could be transmitted from stationary roadside stations to mobile receiver coils in cars passing by.  Read More

While one would hope to make an invisibility cloak that performs like the central image, i...

It's often a case of swings and roundabouts. If you save money by buying a house out of town, you spend more time and money commuting. If you really measure the momentum of an electron, you have no idea where the little guy is located. And now, according to a new analysis by a pair of University of Texas electrical engineers, the better an object is hidden by an invisibility cloak at a given wavelength of light, the easier it is to see at other wavelengths. Swings and roundabouts.  Read More

The five-cell metamaterial array developed by Duke engineers that converts stray microwave...

Joining the ranks of devices designed to harvest energy from ambient electromagnetic radiation comes an electrical circuit from researchers at Duke University that can be tuned to capture microwave energy from various sources, including satellite, sound or Wi-Fi signals. The researchers say the device converts otherwise lost energy into direct current voltage with efficiencies similar to that of current solar cells.  Read More

HAARP operational site on the edge of Denali State Park northeast of Anchorage, Alaska (Ph...

Reports that the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP) had been shut down permanently were apparently a bit premature. According to HAARP program manager James Keeney, the facility is only temporarily off the air while operating contractors are changed. So why does anyone care? Despite being associated with various natural disasters over the past two decades by the conspiracy fringe, HAARP is in reality a facility for studying the ionosphere. Let's take a look at the goings on at HAARP – past, present, and future.  Read More

The Last Ride of the Pony Express - painted by  George M. Ottinger in 1873 - showing a Pon...

After linking the world for 167 years, the commercial electric telegraph is no more. The speed with which electromagnetic telegraph systems took over both short- and long-distance communication in the mid 19th century set the pattern which telephones and the internet would follow, spawning the connected world we now live in. The closing down of India's state-run Bharat Sanchar Nigam, Ltd. (BSNL) network on Monday sparked a last-minute rush of people looking to send a souvenir telegram to mark the historic event before the electric telegraph was relegated to the history books.  Read More

A MacBook's electromagnetic field brought to life (Video still: Luke Sturgeon and Shamik R...

By rigging an Android smartphone as an electromagnetic field indicator, interaction designers Luke Sturgeon and Shamik Ray have visualized the fields around everyday electronics using long-exposure photography and stop-motion animation. The results are fascinating and beautiful.  Read More

The VEPS sensor can detect signs of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that can result from blow...

Victims of penetrating head injuries usually seek immediate attention, as the hole in their skull is difficult to miss. However, people with closed-head injuries may show few immediate signs of the trauma, and appropriate diagnostic equipment (primarily a CAT scanner) is often not immediately available. A Mexican-US team of researchers has now developed a simple, easy to operate, and inexpensive electromagnetic sensor for traumatic brain injuries, suited to on site use by field personnel and paramedics.  Read More

The handheld Electromagnetic Harvester allegedly charges a AA battery using just the elect...

We're surrounded by electromagnetic fields almost everywhere these days. Just because they're almost imperceptible doesn't mean they can't be used as a source of energy though. One student in Germany recently built the Electromagnetic Harvester, a small box that allegedly charges an AA battery using just the electromagnetic fields given off by the likes of power lines, vehicles and electronic gadgets.  Read More

Researchers from Stony Brook University have developed a device capable of harvesting ener...

Much of the abundant mechanical energy around us is irregular and oscillatory and can be somewhat difficult to efficiently tap into. Typical energy harvesting systems tend to be built for low power applications in the milliwatts range but researchers from New York's Stony Brook University have developed a new patent-pending electromagnetic energy harvester capable of harnessing the vibrations of a locomotive thundering down a stretch of track to power signal lights, structural monitoring systems or even track switches.  Read More

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