Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Optical

Researcgers have created multi-core fibers which allow for increased data transmission spe...

Researchers at the Eindhoven University of Technology and the University of Central Florida have developed a new fiber optics cable capable of transmitting the contents of over 5,000 DVDs in a single second – a speed six times greater than the previous record. The advance could help us reach petabit-per-second speeds over the next few years, which will be crucial for keeping up with growing bandwidth demands.  Read More

The RAZAR riflescope allows shooters to change focus without distraction

In combat, seconds count and a moment’s hesitation or distraction can mean the difference between life and death. So it's no small problem that modern riflescopes often require soldiers to look away from their targets or take their hands off their rifles in order to change magnification. Sandia National Laboratories’ Rapid Adaptive Zoom for Assault Rifles (RAZAR) riflescope is capable of switching between high and low zoom magnifications at the touch of a button, allowing soldiers to concentrate on the battle rather than their scopes.  Read More

The prize-winning techniques have removed the theoretical limits of optical microscopes (P...

Ever since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek turned his simple microscope on a bit of pond water in the 17th century, optical microscopes have been a key tool for biologists. Unfortunately, they’re rather limited as to the smallness of what they can see – or at least, they were. This year's winners of the Nobel Laureates in Chemistry, Eric Betzig, Stefan W. Hell and William E. Moerner, changed all that. Their discovery of two methods to bypass the physical limits of optical microscopes led to the creation of the field of nanomicroscopy.  Read More

University of Rochester researchers have developed a simple four-lens cloaking system that...

Two scientists at the University of Rochester have taken invisibility cloaking back to basics. Their novel arrangement of four standard, off-the-shelf lenses keeps an object hidden (and the background undisturbed) as the viewer moves up to several degrees away from the optimal viewing angle.  Read More

Researchers at UC Berkeley claim to have created a vision-correcting matrix for display sc...

In an age where reading something from a screen on a phone or a computer is a normal part of our daily lives, the wearing of glasses or contact lenses often makes doing so a chore with eye-strain problems and the necessity to carry around spectacles or lenses wherever you go. In this vein, researchers at the University of California at Berkeley have created a prototype vision-correcting, printed pinhole matrix that they claim fits directly to a screen and negates the need for eyeglasses or remedial lenses and may one day offer improved visual acuity to those with eye problems much worse than simple farsightedness.  Read More

A team from Mexico has achieved transfer rates of 10 Gbps using a visible light Li-Fi syst...

Light might be the preferred option for transmitting data over long distances via cables, but when it comes to short range wireless, radio waves rule in the form of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Now Mexican company Sisoft, working with researchers from the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico (ITAM), has developed a wireless technology that transmits data in visible light emitted from LED lamps, while lighting the room at the same time.  Read More

An image captured using the new lens

Night-vision security cameras could be getting a lot less costly, thanks to the discovery that their lenses can be made from silicon. Ordinarily, thermal infrared camera lenses are made from materials such as germanium and chalcogenide, which are much more expensive.  Read More

Terahertz-frequency radiation is being used to check the integrity of automotive paint job...

Although all steel-bodied cars rust eventually, premature rusting may soon be less of a problem thanks to technology developed by father-and-son team Anis and Aunik Rahman. Their system non-destructively analyzes automobiles' paint jobs, making sure that the layers of paint have been applied properly. It could reportedly also find use diagnosing the early stages of skin cancer.  Read More

The Mobile Authentication via Retina Scanner (MARS) prototype is compact and portable (Pho...

Retinal scans have a lot going for them as a form of identification. You can’t forget your retinas, they're unique, they’re a lot harder to steal than passwords, and Captain Kirk uses them. The problem is, the technology needed to run a reliable retinal scan is often bulky, expensive, and hard to use. Scientists at the Dresden-based Fraunhofer Institute for Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) have shrunk down retinal scanning technology in the hopes of making retinal scans a more widespread identification technology.  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

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