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NIST tests underscore hazards of green laser pointers

March 20, 2013 3:08 pm | News | Comments

Using a low-cost apparatus designed to quickly and accurately measure the properties of handheld laser devices, NIST researchers tested 122 laser pointers and found that nearly 90% of green pointers and about 44% of red pointers tested were out of compliance with federal safety regulations. Often, these pointers emitted more visible power than allowed by law

Wireless sensor diagnoses “stressed” machines remotely

March 20, 2013 10:18 am | News | Comments

Singapore company Hoestar PD Technology is working with that country’s leading research organization, A*STAR, to deploy wireless piezoelectric sensors that will track vibrations and stresses that affect the health of machinery such as motors, pumps and generators. The size of a coin, the sensors increase productivity by saving time, reducing manual checking, and offering precision at detecting defects.

New imaging device is flexible, flat, and transparent

February 20, 2013 12:20 pm | News | Comments

A research team in Austria has developed an entirely new way of capturing images based on a flat, flexible, transparent, and potentially disposable polymer sheet. The new imager, which resembles a flexible plastic film, uses fluorescent particles to capture incoming light and channel a portion of it to an array of sensors framing the sheet. With no electronics or internal components, the imager’s elegant design makes it ideal for a new breed of imaging technologies.

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Intel working on TV set-top box to replace cable

February 13, 2013 8:51 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

There are various boxes today that bring Internet content to TV sets, with popular ones made by Roku and Apple. But Intel Corp. wants to go further and make its box and streaming service a replacement for cable. The company said Tuesday that it will sell a set-top box that brings Internet-delivered movies and shows to a TV set this year, along with a “vastly superior experience” to today’s cable boxes.

MEMS project pushes for technological revolution

February 7, 2013 6:26 pm | News | Comments

In Germany, a project called MEMS2015 is underway which has the ultimate goal of developing the first-ever universal design methodology for microelectromechanical systems, or MEMS. The effort, a joint government and industry project coordinated by the Robert Bosch corporation, will improve sensors and actuators, and plug the gaps between electronics and mechanics design, manufacturing, and subsequent integration into products.

New device electrically steers and focuses terahertz waves

January 29, 2013 7:53 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Japan and Germany have recently demonstrated a device that can focus and steer terahertz beams electrically. Based on an array of metal cantilevers which can be micromechanically actuated by electrostatic forces, the device can create tunable gratings that may be crucial in future terahertz wavelength communication systems.

DARPA funds research for electronics that disappear

January 28, 2013 5:23 pm | News | Comments

Advanced electronics are indispensable in modern warfare, but locating and tracking them all on the field of battle is almost impossible. To prevent valuable and strategic technology from falling into enemy hands, DARPA has announced the Vanishing Programmable Resources program, which has the aim of improving “transient” electronics, or electronics capable of dissolving into the environment around them.        

World’s most complex 2D laser beamsteering array demonstrated

January 17, 2013 5:09 pm | News | Comments

Existing optical beamsteering assemblies for technologies like LADAR, which scans a field of view with a laser to determine distance, are typically mechnical, bulky, slow, and inaccurate. In an effort to design a better, scalable technology, DARPA researchers have recently demonstrated the most complex optical phased array ever built onto a 2D chip.

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New effort to create green electronics, workforce

January 15, 2013 10:18 am | by Emil Venere, Purdue University | News | Comments

The world's love affair with gadgets—many of which contain hazardous materials—is generating millions of tons of electronic waste annually. Now, Purdue and Tuskegee universities are leading an international effort to replace conventional electronics with more sustainable technologies and train a workforce of specialists to make the transition possible.

'Smart' potty or dumb idea? Wacky gadgets at CES

January 9, 2013 6:49 pm | by Barbara Ortutay and Ryan Nakashima, The Associated Press | News | Comments

Not everything there is “high-tech”, but the annual Consumer Electronics Show is a great place to see the newest and most fanciful products to reach the market each year. From the iPotty for toddlers to the 1,600-pound (725-kg) mechanical spider and the host of glitch-ridden "smart" TVs, the International CES show is a forum for gadget makers to take big—and bizarre—chances.

Data Acquisition System

December 11, 2012 10:57 am | Product Releases | Comments

VPG's new System 8000 StrainSmart data acquisition system features eight software-configurable input channels with RJ-45 connectors. It can accept signals from strain gages or strain-gage-based transducers, thermocouples, or high-level voltage sensors.

Device helps children with disabilities access tablets

December 11, 2012 10:11 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Georgia Institute of Technology are trying to open the world of tablets to children whose limited mobility makes it difficult for them to perform the common pinch and swipe gestures required to control the devices. In their Access4Kids wireless input device, a sensor system to translate physical movements into fine-motor gestures to control a tablet.

New fluorescent lighting won’t flicker, shatter, or burn out

December 3, 2012 8:49 am | News | Comments

A team at Wake Forest University has used a nano-engineered polymer matrix to convert electrical charge charge into light, creating an entirely new bulb based on field-induced polymer electroluminescent technology. Unlike conventional fluorescent bulbs, these new lights will not flicker, hum, or shatter, and they offer a soft, white light.

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Home theater gets a boost from “Virtual Sound Ball”

November 6, 2012 11:28 am | News | Comments

A research team in Korea developed a powerful audio rendering technology that reproduces a desired sound field more clearly and accurately. The system, which they call a “Virtual Sound Ball”, establishes a virtual array of loudspeakers and a virtual sound source within that system. Application of acoustical mathematics and a “spatial equalizer” allows the user to more accurately reproduce 3D sound effects with an existing speaker setup.

Acidification recorder recovered from icy Antarctic waters

October 19, 2012 10:23 am | News | Comments

A research team from the University of California, Santa Barbara and Portland State University has retrieved a sensor containing previously unavailable data about changes in chemistry or acidification in the remote waters of McMurdo Sound in Antarctica. The device collected data through June, when the battery expired in the harsh polar sea.

Developing the next generation of microsensors

October 18, 2012 8:01 am | by Kimm Fesenmaier | News | Comments

Thanks to an ultrasensitive accelerometer—a type of motion detector—developed by researchers at the California Institute of Technology and the University of Rochester, a new class of microsensors is a step closer to reality. Instead of using an electrical circuit to gauge movements, this accelerometer uses laser light and is so sensitive it could be used to navigate shoppers through a grocery aisle or even stabilize fighter jets.

Google opens window into secretive data centers

October 17, 2012 3:40 pm | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Through a new website unveiled Wednesday, Google is opening a virtual window into the secretive data centers where an intricate maze of computers process Internet search requests, show YouTube video clips, and distribute email for millions of people. The photographic access to Google's data centers coincides with the publication of a Wired magazine article about how the company builds and operates them.

Interactive system detects touch and gestures on any surface

October 9, 2012 3:25 pm | News | Comments

People can let their fingers—and hands—do the talking with a new touch-activated system that projects onto walls and other surfaces and allows users to interact with their environment and each other. Developed at Purdue University, the "extended multitouch" system allows more than one person to use a surface at the same time and also enables people to use both hands, distinguishing between the right and left hand.

Innovative new defibrillator offers alternative for regulating heartbeat

October 3, 2012 4:42 am | News | Comments

Conventional defibrillators, known as transvenous defibrillators, are implanted with wires, called the leads, that snake through veins into the heart. Not all patients are suitable for a conventional defibrillator, and complex and invasive surgery is often involved when they are. What makes a new device at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute special is that it is entirely subcutaneous. No part of it actually touches the heart.

Visionary transparent memory a step closer to reality

October 3, 2012 4:31 am | News | Comments

Researchers at Rice University are designing transparent, two-terminal, 3D computer memories on flexible sheets that show promise for electronics and sophisticated heads-up displays. The technique is based on the switching properties of silicon oxide.

Module sends wireless data at much higher speeds

October 1, 2012 5:34 am | News | Comments

Digital cameras and camcorders deliver high resolution film sequences that are several gigabytes in size. These can take several minutes to transfer wirelessly to your home computer via Bluetooth. A researcher in Germany has come up with a speedier alternative: a “multi-gigabit communication module” that is six times faster than a USB cable.

'Transient electronics' dissolve in body, environment

September 27, 2012 11:01 am | News | Comments

Tiny, fully biocompatible electronic devices that are able to dissolve harmlessly into their surroundings after functioning for a precise amount of time have been created by a research team led by biomedical engineers. Dubbed "transient electronics," the new class of silk-silicon devices promises a generation of medical implants that never need surgical removal, as well as environmental monitors and consumer electronics that can become compost rather than trash.

Automatic building mapping could help emergency responders

September 24, 2012 2:47 pm | by Larry Hardesty, MIT News Office | News | Comments

A prototype sensor array built by Massachusetts Institute of Technology engineers can be worn on the chest and automatically maps the wearer’s environment, recognizing movement between floors. The prototype system is envisioned as a tool to help emergency responders coordinate disaster response.

Tiny electronic tags monitor birds’ social networks

September 21, 2012 5:42 am | by Hannah Hickey | News | Comments

It’s a bit like Twitter, only instead of 140 words or less, the electronic tags needed by ornithologists researching the behavior of small birds had to 1 gram or less. This type of miniaturization for a rugged, mobile tag was previously unavailable until a biologist teamed up with an electrical engineer at Scotland’s University of St. Andrews.

Imec demonstrates electronics that flex and stretch like skin

September 18, 2012 6:12 am | News | Comments

Belgium-based semiconductor manufacturing firm imec announced Tuesday that it has integrated an ultra-thin, flexible chip with bendable and stretchable interconnects into a package that adapts dynamically to curving and bending surfaces. The resulting circuitry can be embedded in medical and lifestyle applications where user comfort and unobtrusiveness is key, such as wearable health monitors or smart clothing.

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