A Harvard University-led team of researchers has created a new type of nanoscale device that converts an optical signal into waves that travel along a metal surface. Significantly, the device can recognize specific kinds of polarized light and accordingly send the signal in one direction or another.
What use is a hand without nerves, that can't tell what it's holding? What use is a hand that lifts a can of soda to your lips, but inadvertently tips or crushes it in the process? Researchers at the Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences have developed a very inexpensive tactile sensor for robotic hands that is sensitive enough to turn a brute machine into a dextrous manipulator.
Like spreading a thin layer of butter on toast, Cornell University scientists have helped develop a novel process of spreading extremely thin organic transistors, and used synchrotron X-rays to watch how the films crystallize. The coating procedure, called solution shearing, is like the buttering of a slice of toast.
A research team in Europe has created a new keyboard called KALQ that enables faster thumb-typing on touchscreen devices. They used computational optimization techniques in conjunction with a model of thumb movement to search among millions of potential layouts to find the best one. A study confirmed that users could type 34% faster than they could with a QWERTY layout.
Taiwanese companies have long viewed tech giant Samsung as a major threat and the battle has recently appeared to tilt in favor of the South Korean rival as Taiwan's smartphone, memory chip, and display panel makers suffered sagging exports.
Researchers are developing a new type of semiconductor technology for future computers and electronics based on "2D nanocrystals" layered in sheets less than a nanometer thick that could replace today's transistors. The layered structure is made of a material called molybdenum disulfide, which belongs to a new class of semiconductors—metal di-chalogenides—emerging as potential candidates to replace today's CMOS technology.
Nanotechnologists at the University of Twente have developed a tiny chip that makes it easy to create micrometer-scale gradients. Gradients are gradual transitions in specific properties, such as acidity. This newly developed system can be used to efficiently measure the reaction kinetics of various chemical or biological reactions.
Researchers at the U.S. Department of Energy’s Ames Laboratory, Iowa State University, and the University of Crete in Greece have found a new way to switch magnetism that is at least 1000 times faster than currently used in magnetic memory technologies. Magnetic switching is used to encode information in hard drives, magnetic random access memory, and other computing devices.
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology have won a Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) contract to develop 3D chip-cooling technology able to handle heat loads as much as ten times greater than systems commonly used today. In addition to higher overall chip heat dissipation demands, the new approach will also have to handle on-chip hot-spots that dissipate considerably more power per unit area than the remainder of the device. Such cooling demands may be needed for future generations of high-performance integrated circuits embedded in a wide range of military equipment.
Radar systems today depend increasingly on phased-array antennas, an advanced design in which extensive grids of solid-state components direct signal beams electronically. Phased-array technology is replacing traditional electromechanical radar antennas because stationary solid-state electronics are faster, more precise, and more reliable than moving mechanical parts. Yet phased-array antennas, which require bulky supporting electronics, can be as large as older systems. To address this issue, a research team from the Georgia Institute of Technology has developed a novel device.
To increase the neutron detection efficiency of bulk-micromegas (MICRO-MEsh GAseous Structure) neutron detectors, researchers from China and the University of Tennessee-Knoxville have proposed three new types of thin-film converters: micro-channel, parallel micro-pillar, and oblique micro-pillar 2D array. When validated using Monte Carlo simulations, the latter design showed a threefold increase in neutron detection efficiencies.
As a possible method for accelerating transmission of large data, researchers are studying the adoption of gigabits per second (Gbps) wireless communications operating over the 60 GHz radio frequency (RF) band. But mobile applications have not been developed yet because the 60 GHz RF circuit consumes hundreds of milliwatts of DC power. A new chip developed at KAIST in Korea, however, consumes as little 67 mW of power thanks to newly developed components.
A specially-adapted “tactile helmet”, developed by researchers at the University of Sheffield, could provide fire-fighters operating in challenging conditions with vital clues about their surroundings. The helmet is fitted with a number of ultrasound sensors that are used to detect the distances between the helmet and nearby walls or other obstacles. These signals are transmitted to vibration pads that are attached to the inside of the helmet, touching the wearer's forehead.
Engineers have recently developed a portable mapping system—carried in a backpack—that can be used to automatically create annotated physical maps of locations where GPS is not available, such as in underground areas and on ships. The system improves upon algorithms once developed for robots—which are not practical for all environments—and has a built-in allowance for normal human movement, like walking.
Semiconducting polymers are an unruly bunch, but University of Michigan engineers have developed a new method for getting them in line that could pave the way for cheaper, greener, "paint-on" plastic electronics.
Tessera Technologies Inc. said Thursday that it is restructuring its DigitalOptics business, which makes camera parts for smartphones, to cut costs. Tessera, which also provides chip technology for small electronic devices, said it expects the moves to reduce DigitalOptics' yearly costs by $78 million, or 45%, compared with 2012.
Researchers at Hewlett-Packard Co. have developed a way to put glasses-free 3D video on mobile devices with a viewing angle so wide that viewers can see an object more fully just by tilting the screen. Glasses-free 3D is not unique. Nintendo Co. Ltd.'s 3DS handheld allows video game play in 3D without glasses, but it requires players to look straight into the screen with their noses centered.
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.
Two years ago, a research team in Switzerland revealed the promising electronic properties of molybdenite, a mineral that is abundant in nature. Several months later, they demonstrated the possibility of building an efficient molybdenite chip. Today, they've combined two materials with advantageous electronic properties—graphene and molybdenite—into a promising flash memory prototype.
A compact, self-contained sensor recorded and transmitted brain activity data wirelessly for more than a year in early stage animal tests, according to a recent study funded by the National Institutes of Health. In addition to allowing for more natural studies of brain activity in moving subjects, this implantable device represents a potential major step toward cord-free control of advanced prosthetics that move with the power of thought
Phototransistors are a kind of transistors in which the incident light intensity can modulate the charge-carrier density in the channel. To date, research on organic phototransistors (OPT) has mostly focused on thin-film variants. Now, researchers in South Korea have developed high-performance OPTs that are engineered with nanoscale single-crystalline wires. The breakthrough could enable other types of device miniaturization.
Imagine that the chips in your smartphone or computer could repair and defend themselves on the fly, recovering in microseconds from problems ranging from less-than-ideal battery power to total transistor failure. It might sound like the stuff of science fiction, but a team of engineers at the California Institute of Technology, for the first time ever, has developed just such self-healing integrated chips.
NIST is changing the way it broadcasts time signals that synchronize radio-controlled "atomic" clocks and watches to official U.S. time. This new time broadcast protocol will not only improve the performance of new radio-controlled clocks and watches, but will encourage the development of new timekeeping products that were not practical with the old broadcast system because of local interference.
Trapped atomic ions are a promising architecture that satisfies many of the critical requirements for constructing a quantum computer. Scientists who hope to push the capabilities of ion traps even further using cryogenics have recently published a report in Science that speculates on ion trap technology as a scalable option for quantum information processing.
While thousands of earthquakes around the globe are recorded by seismometers in these stations—part of the permanent Global Seismographic Network (GSN) and EarthScope's temporary Transportable Array (TA)—signals from large meteor impacts are far less common. The meteor explosion near Chelyabinsk on Feb. 15, 2013, generated ground motions and air pressure waves in the atmosphere. The stations picked up the signals with seismometers and air pressure sensors, and recorded the pressures waves as they cross the United States.