Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Electronic

Electron microscope scan of a THz circuit detailing its high-electron-mobility transistors

Getting into the Guinness Book of World Records isn't just about who can eat the most hotdogs or fly a paper airplane the highest. Sometimes it involves technological breakthroughs with huge potential. Guinness has handed DARPA’s Terahertz Electronics program the award for the fastest solid-state amplifier integrated circuit. Developed by Northrop Grumman, the Terahertz Monolithic Integrated Circuit (TMIC) is a ten-stage common-source amplifier that cranks speeds of one terahertz (1012 Hz), or one trillion cycles per second.  Read More

A 'smart glass' iris may provide much greater image quality in future smartphones

In a conventional camera lens, the iris consists of a set of overlapping mechanical blades that control the amount of light entering the camera. As efficient as this mechanical system is, it is too bulky and too difficult to miniaturize to be incorporated in smartphones and other compact devices. To address this, a team of researchers has used "smart glass" to create a micro-sized electronic iris that may bring much greater image quality and flexibility to smartphone cameras.  Read More

Researchers have created wires with supercapacitance, which may eventually also double as ...

We literally live in a wired world, with wires snaking hither and yon transmitting electricity and data. Many are visible, while many more are hidden in the walls of buildings, the panels of cars, and the fuselage of aircraft. Now, imagine; what if we were able to turn each and every one of these into a battery that not only transmitted electricity but stored it too? Well, two researchers from the University of Central Florida (UCF) imagined that too, and came up with a way to use nano-technology to make wires with supercapacitance that may eventually also double as batteries.  Read More

Researchers from Iowa State University are the latest to shift their focus to the area of ...

The advantages of durable, long-lasting electronics are well established and, indeed, desirable in electronic devices large and small. But in what scenario would you want a device to dissolve away leaving no trace? The truth is, from military to medicine, "transient electronics" has a great many potential applications. The latest research team to shift its focus to this emerging field is a group from Iowa State University, which is developing materials that can melt away when remotely triggered.  Read More

Crystal structure of sodium bismuthide (Na3Bi), one of the newly discovered 3D topological...

Exciting times are ahead in the high-tech industries with the discovery by three independent groups that a new class of materials mimic the special electronic properties of graphene in 3D. Research into these superfast massless charge carriers opens up a wide range of potential applications in electronics, including smaller hard drives with more storage capacity, faster transistors and more efficient optical sensors.  Read More

The Gabotronics Oscilloscope Watch is a testlab on your wrist (Photo: Gabotronics)

What do you wear on your wrist, is one-third the size of a deck of cards, and helps you troubleshoot your latest electronics project? The Oscilloscope Watch, of course. The Swiss army knife of electronics, this tiny test lab (or bulky watch) includes a 2-channel oscilloscope, frequency analyzer, arbitrary function generator, and a protocol sniffer. The price? An amazing US$125. Oh yes ... it also tells time.  Read More

Human Speaker

Nic Wallenberg's The Human Speaker is a curious electrical collar that allows you to vocalize electronic sounds without using your voicebox.  Read More

A silicon circuit coated with a protective layer and immersed in fluid that mimics human b...

If physicians have a sufficiently-early warning that a patient’s body is rejecting a transplanted organ, then there’s a good chance that they can stop the process via medication. Implanted electronic sensors could serve to provide that warning as early as possible, and thanks to new research, they’re coming a step closer to practical use.  Read More

A statuette of the Stanford bunny made with the resin, before and after being carbonized

Other than putting it in a tiny art gallery, what could you do with a rabbit sculpture that sits just a few micrometers tall? Perhaps not much, although it’s a remarkable example of the level of detail that can be achieved using a new electrically-conductive shapable resin. That same resin could find use in custom-formed electrodes for things like fuel cells, batteries, or even biosensor interfaces used to treat brain disorders.  Read More

Designed as an educational development kit for experienced hobbyists, the 10-inch tall one...

Educational electronics kits like the one from Minty Geek are a great introduction to the world of circuit building and electronic tinkering, but are perhaps a little too basic for more advanced hobbyists. Three MIT students are currently enjoying enormous success on the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform with a DIY Tesla coil kit called oneTesla that can make artificial lightning sing ... well, erm, play music from a MIDI source. Now where did I put that polyphonic version of This Town Ain't Big Enough For Both Of Us by Sparks?  Read More

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