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Miniaturisation

Kopin’s tiny CyberDisplay VGA display compared to the size of a U.S. dime

While most of the focus is on bigger and bigger displays, microdisplay manufacturer, Kopin, has gone in the opposite direction, producing the world’s smallest 600 x 480 resolution VGA color-filter LCD. The tiny display, which measures just 0.27-inches diagonally, was made possible by shrinking the color dots down to a mere 2.9 x 8.7µm (microns) - to put that in perspective a strand of human hair is about 100 microns wide.  Read More

The DelFly Micro

July 28, 2008 How often have you thought, “I’d like to be a fly on the wall in that room”. Well, a team at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands is hard at work trying to make that desire a reality by developing a Micro Air Vehicle (MAV), which they claim is the smallest flying, camera carrying ornithopter in the world. The DelFly Micro weighs just 3 grams and measures 10 cm from wing tip to wing tip. It has a range of 50 meters and is powered by a 30 mAh lithium polymer battery, which provides enough power for three minutes of fight time. To keep the weight of the unit down the wings are made from Mylar foil, while the body and frame is made up from carbon and balsawood.  Read More

It may have taken a while to get traction, but GPS appears to be the next technology destined for ubiquity. A new research report from Parks Associates indicates that by 2012, more than one in ten humans will buy a GPS-enabled mobile device each year.  Read More

A notional representation of what a future micro autonomous robot may look like
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April 29, 2008 From fire fighting to termite eradication and exploring the Martian surface, the role of robots in performing tasks that are too dangerous for humans is already well established. Like many emerging technologies, the key driving force behind the development of these systems comes from military applications where robots are now regularly employed for tasks such as battlefield reconnaissance, communications and neutralizing the threat of explosive devices. In the latest news in this rapidly evolving field, BAE Systems has signed a $38 million agreement with the U.S. Army Research Laboratory to spearhead development of the next-generation intelligence-gathering military robots with a focus on versatile, miniature platforms suited to use urban environments and inaccessible terrain.  Read More

Filter & differential amplifier type A/D converter

February 11, 2008 Toshiba Corporation has announced the development of a physical random-number generation circuit that generates random numbers at a data rate of 2.0 megabits a second. The newly developed random-number generator (RNG) has a circuit size of only 1,200 square micrometers but achieves the level of performance and reliability essential for integration into IC cards and mobile equipment.  Read More

Back view of image sensor using through-hole technology

November 9, 2007 Oki has developed a new manufacturing technique that makes it possible to further miniaturize camera modules for mobile phones. The company announced it has started a contract assembly service for W-CSP (Wafer level Chip Sized Package) semiconductors using through-hole technology - a process which can halve the size of conventional camera modules.  Read More

TOMY Corporation's i-SOBOT

October 31, 2007 TOMY Toy Corporation's i-SOBOT, has been certified as the “smallest humanoid robot in production” by Guinness World Records. Despite its diminutive 6.5 inches stature, the fully articulating and bipedal robot is endowed with 17 custom developed servo-motors, 19 integrated circuit chips, a built in gyro-sensor, 2 LEDs and a voice command recognition chip that can recognize 10 voice commands. i-SOBOT, which has just hit shelves in the US, can also speak over 200 words and phrases, features hundreds of preprogrammed actions including walking, dancing, martial arts, push-ups, soccer - even air guitar, plus over 90 kinds of sound effects and the ability to play five songs.  Read More

Misumi claims its MO-R803 is the world's smallest camera, at 4.4mm x 15mm.

August 20, 2007 Having already successfully built covert spy cameras into sunglasses, earphones, clothes buttons and screw heads, Taiwanese electronics corporation Misumi has just released what it claims is the smallest camera ever, a tiny cylinder measuring only 4.4mm in diameter and 15mm in length, capable of 320x240 pixel QVGA capture.  Read More

Electrical energy from vibration

July 6, 2007 Researchers at the University of Southampton have developed a kinetic energy generator which derives electrical energy from the vibrations and movements that occur within its environment. Developed by Dr Steve Beeby and his team at the University's School of Electronics & Computer Science (ECS), the tiny generator (less than 1 cubic cm in size) is 10 times more powerful than anything yet developed in the field and could form the basis of technology for self-powered pace makers and other embedded applications that require periodic replacement of batteries.  Read More

Tessera's OptiML camera technology: smaller, cheaper, better.

June 13, 2007 A key part of the accelerating convergence of mobile technologies is the constant struggle to miniaturize functional units while constantly improving their quality and reducing cost of manufacture. Tessera has scored big on all three points with their OptiML wafer level camera manufacture technology - their new modules are half the size of current mobile phone camera units, 30% cheaper to manufacture, and capable of supporting the high resolutions we expect from digital cameras. The company has also made some impressive aquisitions to sort out the traditional focus and zoom issues we've had on camera phones.  Read More

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