Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Infrared

The evoMouse turns a flat surface into a virtual trackpad

With the plethora of mouse alternatives available or in development you'd be forgiven for thinking the humble computer mouse was some kind of torturous device inflicted upon computer users. But despite challengers such as the trackball, the WOW-PEN Joy, the ErgoSlider Plus, the Orbita Mouse and the AirMouse – just to name a few – the mouse has maintained its dominance while remaining largely unchanged since its unveiling in 1968. Now there's another alternative cursor relocation device set to hit the market called the evoMouse that turns just about any flat surface into a virtual trackpad with your finger as the pointer.  Read More

Scientists have created a new type of fiber optic cable with a zinc selenide core, that is...

Fiber optic cables can transmit over a terabyte of information per second – but that doesn’t mean there still isn’t room for improvement. One of those improvements, which was officially announced today, involves replacing the silica glass core of fiber optic strands with semiconductive zinc selenide. This new class of fiber optics, invented and created at Penn State University, is said to “allow for a more effective and liberal manipulation of light.” The technology could have applications in the fields of medicine, defense, and environmental monitoring.  Read More

The enzyme that allows fireflies to glow could be used to monitor the effectiveness of an ...

Millions of people around the world are medicated with heparin, a blood thinner used for the treatment and prevention of blood clots. One of the ways in which doctors monitor the effectiveness of heparin is to look for a blood protein known as factor Xa in a patient’s bloodstream – the less factor Xa activity that is occurring, the better. Now, thanks to an enzyme obtained from fireflies, that protein may be easier than ever to detect.  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

The Canon XA10 - canon's smallest ever pro-level camcorder

Canon has announced its smallest-ever professional grade handicam. The XA10 weighs a paltry 820g (1.8lbs) fully loaded, and shoots 1080p HD video in H.264 and the more edit-friendly AVCHD format. Canon is pitching it somewhere between the prosumer market and as a ultra-portable rig for outdoor, action sports, live news and tight-spot shooting at the pro level. But at an estimated retail of US$1999, it's well within reach of the hobbyist that just wants to shoot high-quality home movies.  Read More

CQD graduate student Paritosh Manurkar taken with the world's first LWIR FPA based on Type...

Researchers at Northwestern University have developed a new infrared imaging system that delivers a 16-fold increase in resolution over long wavelength infrared radiation (LWIR) cameras currently used in industrial, security and nighttime surveillance applications. Based on a type of semiconductor called a Type-II InAs/GaSb superlattice, the IR camera is mercury-free, more robust, cheaper to produce and can collect 78 percent of the light showing temperature differences as small as 0.02° C.  Read More

DoDAMM's Super aEgis 2: South Korea's autonomous robot gun turret

If there's one place you don't want to be caught wandering around right now, it's the demilitarized zone that separates North and South Korea. Especially since South Korean military hardware manufacturer DoDAMM used the recent Korea Robot World 2010 expo to display its new Super aEgis 2, an automated gun turret that can detect and lock onto human targets from kilometers away, day or night and in any weather conditions, and deliver some heavy firepower.  Read More

NASA's SOFIA airborne observatory has just completed the first of three science flights (A...

NASA has announced that its Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) airborne observatory has just completed its maiden science flight. The flight was undertaken to demonstrate the aircraft's potential to make discoveries about the infrared universe. It's anticipated that the aircraft will allow researchers to extend investigations of discoveries already made by existing space telescopes, as well as make important breakthroughs of its own.  Read More

BendDesk renders the horizontal desktop and vertical display screen into one multi-touch s...

Researchers from Aachen University's Media Computing Group have created a computer workstation where the desk and screen are transformed into one multi-touch display. The display is curved at the middle and uses infrared emitters and cameras to track user movement over the whole of the surface, which has its graphical user interface beamed onto it by a couple of short throw projectors hidden within its wooden frame.  Read More

Researchers from the Nokia Research Center in Tampere, Finland have turned a wall of ice i...

Researchers from the Nokia Research Center in Tampere, Finland, have turned a wall of ice into a huge interactive touchscreen display. Using infrared emitters and detectors to determine hand location and movement, the team projected images onto the blocks of ice so that users could see flames behind their hands. Happily, users didn't need to worry about catching a chill from icy fingers as the setup managed to keep track of gloved as well as ungloved hands.  Read More

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