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Google begins launching Internet-beaming balloons

June 17, 2013 2:54 pm | by Martha Mendoza and Nick Perry, Associated Press | News | Comments

Eighteen months in the works, the top-secret project was announced Saturday in New Zealand, where up to 50 volunteer households are already beginning to receive the Internet briefly on their home computers via translucent helium balloons that sail by on the wind 12 miles above Earth. Google is launching these Internet-beaming antennas into the stratosphere aboard giant, jellyfish-shaped balloons.

Can you feel me now?

June 14, 2013 7:31 am | by Jennifer Chu, MIT News Office | News | Comments

In the near future, a buzz in your belt or a pulse from your jacket may give you instructions on how to navigate your surroundings. Think of it as tactile Morse code: vibrations from a wearable, GPS-linked device that tell you to turn right or left, or stop, depending on the pattern of pulses you feel.

Researchers reveal next-generation emergency response technology

June 13, 2013 5:07 pm | News | Comments

Americans are accustomed to calling 9-1-1 to get help in an emergency. A research team lead by Ram Dantu of the University of North Texas sees the growth of cell phone and smartphone usage as an opportunity to improve 9-1-1 response. His team has designed several innovative smart phone apps that virtually place 9-1-1 operators at the scene of an emergency, allowing faster response.

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Electronic nose nanosensor in development for food safety

June 13, 2013 3:47 pm | News | Comments

The "electronic nose" sensor developed by a Univ. of California, Riverside engineering professor, and being commercialized by Innovation Economy Crowd (ieCrowd), will be further refined to detect deadly pathogens including toxic pesticides in the global food supply chain, according to a recently signed product development and distribution agreement.

Neuroscience to benefit from hybrid supercomputer memory

June 13, 2013 11:11 am | News | Comments

To handle large amounts of data from detailed brain models, IBM, EPFL, and ETH Zürich are collaborating on a new hybrid memory strategy for supercomputers. They are exploring how to combine different types of memory—DRAM, which is standard for computer memory, and flash memory that is akin to USB sticks—for less expensive supercomputing performance to help advance the Human Brain Project.

Cheetah's acceleration power key to their success

June 13, 2013 10:35 am | by Seth Borenstein, AP Science Writer | News | Comments

Researchers have recently determined that cheetahs can run twice as fast as Olympian Usain Bolt on a straightaway. Then they measured the energy a cheetah muscle produces compared to body size and calculated the same for Bolt, the sprinter. They found the cheetah had four times the crucial kick power of the Olympian. That power to rapidly accelerate—not just speed alone—is the key to the cheetah's hunting success.

Nanothermometer enables first atomic-scale heat dissipation measurements

June 13, 2013 7:27 am | News | Comments

In findings that could help overcome a major technological hurdle in the road toward smaller and more powerful electronics, an international research team involving Univ. of Michigan engineering researchers, has shown the unique ways in which heat dissipates at the tiniest scales.

Imec and Holst Centre unveil fully organic imager

June 12, 2013 9:37 am | News | Comments

At this week’s International Image Sensor Workshop in Utah, Belgium’s imec and Holst Centre, in collaboration with Philips Research, will present a large-area fully-organic photodetector array fabricated on a flexible substrate. The imager is sensitive in the wavelength range suitable for x-ray imaging applications.

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Air bubbles could be the secret to artificial skin

June 11, 2013 2:01 pm | by Sarah Perrin, EPFL | News | Comments

Using foam substrates, researchers in Switzerland have made a flexible electronic circuit board. In experiments using various deformable materials, the team discovered a new kind of platform upon which to build circuits: elastomeric foams. These foams, used in packaging materials, serve as a substrate for metallic materials and can be stretched without disrupting electrical conductivity. The breakthrough could progress on electronic skin.

Researchers move closer to low-cost, implantable electronics

June 10, 2013 1:37 pm | News | Comments

New technology under development at Ohio State Univ. is paving the way for low-cost electronic devices that work in direct contact with living tissue inside the body. The first planned use of the technology is a sensor that will detect the very early stages of organ transplant rejection.

Study suggests second life for possible spintronic materials

June 6, 2013 11:01 am | News | Comments

Ten years ago, scientists were convinced that a combination of manganese and gallium nitride could be a key material to create spintronics, the next generation of electronic devices that operate on properties found at the nanoscale. But researchers grew discouraged when experiments indicated that the two materials were as harmonious as oil and water. A new study suggests that scientists should take another look at this materials duo.

Firefighting robot paints 3-D thermal imaging picture for rescuers

June 6, 2013 8:58 am | News | Comments

Engineers in California have developed new image processing techniques for rapid exploration and characterization of structural fires by small Segway-like robotic vehicles. Thermal data recorded by the robot’s small infrared camera is maps it onto a 3-D scene created by a pair of stereo cameras, producing a virtual reality picture that can be used by first responders as the robot navigates a building.

Observation of spin Hall effect in quantum gas is step toward "atomtronics"

June 6, 2013 8:20 am | News | Comments

Researchers at NIST have reported the first observation of the spin Hall effect in a Bose-Einstein condensate, a cloud of ultracold atoms acting as a single quantum object. As one consequence, they made the atoms, which spin like a child's top, skew to one side or the other, by an amount dependent on the spin direction. The phenomenon is a step toward applications in "atomtronics".

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Researchers control flying robot with only the mind

June 6, 2013 7:30 am | News | Comments

Engineers at the University of Minnesota’s College of Science and Engineering have developed a new noninvasive system that allows people to control a flying robot using only their mind. The first-of-its-kind noninvasive system has the potential to help people with disabilities.

Researchers add eyes, brains to occupancy detection

June 5, 2013 8:36 am | News | Comments

It's a gnawing frustration of modern office life. You're sitting quietly—too quietly—in an office or carrel, and suddenly the lights go off. The U.S. Dept. of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory has developed and made available for license the Image Processing Occupancy Sensor, which combines an inexpensive camera and computer vision algorithms that can recognize the presence of human occupants.

Spintronics approach enables new quantum technologies

June 4, 2013 4:12 pm | News | Comments

A team of researchers, including members of the Univ. of Chicago, highlight the power of emerging quantum technologies in two recently published papers. These technologies exploit quantum mechanics, the physics that dominates the atomic world, to perform disparate tasks such as nanoscale temperature measurement and processing quantum information with lasers.

Laser with "rainbow" buffer could allow subpicosecond pulses

June 4, 2013 8:46 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Munich, Germany, have recently published work that describes experiments in which inexpensive semiconductor lasers have produced high-energy light pulses as short as 60 picoseconds without the drawbacks of previous approaches in terms of power consumption and device size. They say the new technique, based on the use of a new Fourier domain mode-locked laser, could open the door to subpicosecond pulses.

Three veteran storm chasers killed by Oklahoma tornado

June 3, 2013 2:36 pm | by Kelly P. Kissel and Thomas Peipert, Associated Press | News | Comments

Tim Samaras, his son Paul, and colleague Carl Young died Friday night when an EF3 tornado with winds up to 165 mph turned on them near El Reno, Okla. Respected tornado researchers who used scientific equipment to help gather storm data, and shared their dramatic videos with television viewers and weather researchers, the three men died chasing a storm that killed 13 in Oklahoma City and its suburbs.

Chasing Tornadoes for Science

June 3, 2013 2:15 pm | Videos | Comments

In this video, Tim Samaras from the National Geographic Channel Storm Chasers talks about his passion for chasing and studying storm systems. He explains how he used National Instruments’ (NI) LabVIEW and CompactDAQ in a new instrument that is deployed on the ground in front of a tornado. After the storm he uses another NI application, DIAdem, to view the data that was collected.

Invention allows clear photos in dim light

May 30, 2013 8:06 am | News | Comments

Cameras fitted with a new sensor will soon be able to take clear and sharp photos in dim conditions, thanks to a new image sensor invented at Nanyang Technological University. The new sensor made from graphene, is believed to be the first to be able to detect broad spectrum light, from the visible to mid-infrared, with high photoresponse or sensitivity.

Pigeons peck for computerized treat

May 29, 2013 1:08 pm | News | Comments

Go to about any public square, and you see pigeons pecking at the ground, always in search of crumbs dropped by a passerby. While the pigeons’ scavenging may seem random, new research by psychologists at the University of Iowa suggest the birds are capable of making highly intelligent choices, sometimes with problem-solving skills to match.

NSF and SRC to fund research to create failure-resistant circuits

May 24, 2013 5:00 am | News | Comments

Leaders of the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC), the world's leading university-research consortium for semiconductors and related technologies, this week announced 18 new projects funded through a joint initiative to address research challenges in the design of failure-resistant circuits and systems.

Cradle turns smartphone into handheld biosensor

May 23, 2013 10:49 pm | by Liz Ahlberg, University of Illinois | News | Comments

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign researchers have developed a cradle and app for the iPhone that uses the phone’s built-in camera and processing power as a biosensor to detect toxins, proteins, bacteria, viruses and other molecules. Having such sensitive biosensing capabilities in the field could enable on-the-spot tracking of groundwater contamination, or provide immediate and inexpensive medical diagnostic tests.

Cell phone technology helps horses recover from surgery

May 23, 2013 12:30 pm | News | Comments

Technology that’s used in smartphones and other electronic devices also is being used by veterinarians at the University of Illinois to help horses recover safely from anesthesia. The technology, known as accelerometers, are portable data recorders that capture information on motion, vibration, and impact

Innovation could bring flexible solar cells, transistors

May 23, 2013 8:07 am | News | Comments

Researchers have created a new type of transparent electrode that might find uses in solar cells, flexible displays for computers and consumer electronics, and future "optoelectronic" circuits for sensors and information processing. The electrode is made of silver nanowires covered with a material called graphene, an extremely thin layer of carbon.

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