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— Mobile Technology

One-cent rectenna could enable large-scale adoption of NFC at low cost

By - September 10, 2012
By now, we’ve all become quite used to seeing QR codes on products, price tags and advertisements – just scan the code with your smartphone’s camera, and it’s converted into readable information. Soon, however, those codes could be facing competition from something known as the rectenna. It’s an inexpensive label-like device that transmits data to a near-field communication (NFC)-enabled smartphone, using that phone’s radio waves as its power source. Read More
— Electronics

Cheap, energy-efficient ARM Cortex-M0+ may usher in the Internet of Things

By - May 9, 2012 2 Pictures
The newest entry in ARM's Cortex line, the Cortex-M0+ is claimed to be the world's most energy-efficient processor, delivering 32-bit performance on around one third of the typical energy requirements of an 8- or 16-bit processor. Targeting low-cost sensors and microcontrollers, the M0+ will come with a very modest price tag and could act as a crucuial stepping stone to a world in which everyday objects communicate with each other, sharing data to make smart, coordinated decisions that will improve our quality of life. Read More
— Electronics

Sony develops power outlet that can recognize devices and users

By - March 21, 2012 4 Pictures
Sony has developed a power outlet that can identify devices plugged into it, as well as individuals using the plug. The company says such technology could allow the electricity usage of individual devices to be monitored so non-essential devices could be switched off remotely in the event of limited electricity supply, or for the billing of customers charging their electric vehicles or mobile devices in public places. Read More
— Mobile Technology

U Grok It uses your phone to find your misplaced things

By - March 13, 2012 3 Pictures
Last year, we told you about a smartphone-based system that can be used to find your missing stuff, known as BiKN. It consists of an electronic case that the phone slides into, which tracks the whereabouts of paired radio frequency tags that the user attaches to their car keys, purse, children – you name it. The phone displays the location of the sought items, or can sound an alarm if one of them gets too far away. Now, it looks like BiKN might have some competition, in the form of the similar-but-different U Grok It. Read More
— Electronics

Antenna-less RFID tags designed to work where others don't – on metal objects

By - February 6, 2012 2 Pictures
Radio frequency identification (RFID) tags are definitely a handy way of tracking shipments. Instead of simply crossing their fingers and hoping for the best, importers and exporters can check the location and condition of shipped items in real time, by remotely accessing the data being transmitted by RFID tags attached to those items. Unfortunately, many such tags don't work on metal objects such as shipping containers or oil drums, as the metal interferes with the functioning of the tags' antennas. A new tag developed at North Dakota State University gets around that limitation, however - it uses the metal object as its antenna. Read More
— Games

South Korea opens a Kinect-powered theme park

By - February 3, 2012 5 Pictures
New media entertainment company, d'strict, is pushing the concept of virtual reality to a new level with the "Live Park 4D World Tour," a new theme park that recently opened in South Korea. The park is comprised of 65 different attractions over a 10,000 sq. foot (929 sq m) space, which houses several large interactive displays as well as some installation art pieces. Visitors wear RFID wristbands that allow the displays to identify them, while Kinect sensors detect their movements, voices, and faces. Many of the attractions center around having users create an avatar of themselves that they can interact with and take on a virtual adventure, which is portrayed using 3D video, holograms, and augmented reality technology. Read More
— Electronics

New paper-based explosives sensor is made with an ink jet printer

By - October 30, 2011 5 Pictures
Detecting explosives is a vital task both on the battlefield and off, but it requires equipment that, if sensitive enough to detect explosives traces in small quantities, is often expensive, delicate and difficult to construct. Researchers at the Georgia Tech Research Institute have developed a method of manufacturing highly sensitive explosives detectors incorporating RF components using Ink-jet printers. This holds the promise of producing large numbers of detectors at lower cost using local resources. Read More
— Automotive

RFID-based cashless car-parking system developed

By - August 2, 2011
Car parks can be a hassle – you have to roll down your car window and reach out to get a ticket from the dispenser on the way in, and then have to reach over and pay the cashier on the way out. The engineers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, however, have come up with something easier. They’ve developed an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag system that allows drivers to pass unimpeded in and out of car parks, with parking fees being automatically deducted from an online account. Read More
— Good Thinking

Cows check in for meals using electronic ear tags

By - July 28, 2011 5 Pictures
With diseases such as Foot and Mouth, TB, and of course Mad Cow still presenting a danger to cattle, it’s of the utmost importance that farmers monitor the health of their animals, and immediately proceed to isolate any that might be showing symptoms. If you have a herd of over 500 cows, however, keeping track of individuals can be rather tricky. That’s why scientists at England’s Newcastle University have developed electronic ears tags, that they’re trying out on a herd of test cattle. Read More