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Google builds a “Nest” for future of smart homes

January 15, 2014 8:30 am | by Michael Liedtke, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

When our Internet-connected gadgets and home appliances all learn to talk to each other, Google wants to be at the center of the conversation. This imagined future is still a few years away, but the search giant is already preparing with its $3.2 billion acquisition of high-tech thermostat and smoke-detector maker Nest Labs.

Technology uses micro-windmills to recharge cell phones

January 13, 2014 9:06 am | News | Comments

Researchers in Texas have designed a micro-windmill that generates wind energy and may become an innovative solution to cell phone batteries constantly in need of recharging. A single grain of rice could hold about 10 of these tiny windmills, and hundreds of them could be embedded in a sleeve for a cell phone.

Engineers make world’s fastest organic transistor

January 9, 2014 7:23 am | News | Comments

For years engineers the world over have been trying to use inexpensive, carbon-rich molecules and plastics to create organic semiconductors. Two university research teams have worked together to produce the world’s fastest thin-film organic transistors, proving that this experimental technology has the potential to achieve the performance needed for high-resolution television screens and similar electronic devices.

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Few "wearables" balance fashion and function

January 8, 2014 4:25 pm | by PETER SVENSSON - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Gadget lovers are slipping on fitness bands that track movement and buckling on smartwatches that let them check phone messages. Some brave souls are even donning Google's geeky-looking Glass eyewear. For the technology industry, this is exciting time, but also a risky one. No one really knows whether the average consumer can be enticed to make gadgets part of their everyday attire.

Eye-catching electronics

January 8, 2014 2:03 pm | by Peter Rüegg, ETH Zürich | News | Comments

Researchers in Switzerland are developing electronic components that are thinner and more flexible than before. They can even be wrapped around a single hair without damaging the electronics. This opens up new possibilities for ultra-thin, transparent sensors that are literally easy on the eye.

Metal ink could ease the way toward flexible electronic books, displays

January 8, 2014 9:02 am | News | Comments

Scientists are reporting the development of a novel metal ink made of small sheets of copper that can be used to write a functioning, flexible electric circuit on regular printer paper. Their report on the conductive ink, which could pave the way for a wide range of new bendable gadgets, such as electronic books that look and feel more like traditional paperbacks, appears in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces.

Intel says its processors are now "conflict-free"

January 7, 2014 2:08 am | by PETER SVENSSON - AP Technology Writer - Associated Press | News | Comments

Intel Corp., the world's largest maker of computer processors, says its processors are now free of minerals from mines held by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It's the first major U.S. technology company to make such a claim about its products.

Nvidia promotes new chip with crop circle

January 6, 2014 8:24 am | by Peter Svensson, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

A 310-foot "crop circle" in a California barley field that mystified locals this week was explained Sunday: it was a publicity stunt by Nvidia Corp., a maker of chips for PCs and smartphones. The company has announced the Tegra K1, a new chip for tablets and smartphones that contains 192 computing "cores," or mini-computers, for graphics applications.

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New approach to vertex connectivity could maximize networks’ bandwidth

December 30, 2013 1:21 pm | by Helen Knight, MIT News correspondent | News | Comments

A fundamental concept in graph theory is connectivity, which describes how many lines or nodes would have to be removed from a given graph to disconnect it. Progress has been made in “edge connectivity”, or the connections between nodes or vertices. But “vertex connectivity”, which looks at the nodes themselves, is less understood. It has been reexamined recently and the findings could help coax as much bandwidth as possible from networks.

Samsung sells 110-inch ultra-HD TV for $150,000

December 30, 2013 9:46 am | by Youkyung Lee, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

Last year, Samsung and rival LG Electronics, the world's top two TV makers, touted organic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs) as the future of TV. OLED screens are ultrathin and can display images with enhanced clarity and deeper color saturation. Now, Samsung has launched a giant 110-in television that reflects global TV makers' move toward ultra HD TVs, as manufacturing bigger TVs using OLED proves too costly.

Kinect-based virtual reality training promotes brain reorganization after stroke

December 27, 2013 1:11 pm | News | Comments

Recently, a study team from the First Affiliated Hospital, Sun Yat-sen Univ. in China has verified that virtual reality training using the Kinect system from the Xbox 360 could promote the recovery of upper limb motor function in subacute stroke patients, and brain reorganization by Kinect-based virtual reality training may be linked to the contralateral sensorimotor cortex.

RIKEN selected to develop exascale supercomputer

December 27, 2013 10:51 am | News | Comments

The Advanced Institute for Computational Science at RIKEN has been selected by the Japanese government to develop a new exascale supercomputer. The new supercomputer, which is scheduled to begin working in 2020, will compute on the "exaflop" scale and will be about 100 times faster than the K computer which was the world’s fastest in 2011.

Pilot alertness aboard the Solar Impulse

December 23, 2013 10:59 am | News | Comments

Solar Impulse pilot Bertrand Piccard put his mental and physiological limits to the test during a 72-hour simulated flight across the Atlantic Ocean which ended Friday. Scientists from the Swiss Federal Polytechnic Institute in Lausanne monitored his mental states and cardiac rhythm throughout the flight to test his mental and physiological boundaries during strenuous flight conditions.

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Maybe not sci-fi, but robots readied for big tests

December 16, 2013 2:55 pm | by Geoff Mulvihill and Kevin Begos, Associated Press | News | Comments

The real world has not caught up yet with "Star Wars" and its talking, thinking robots, but some of the most sophisticated units that exist are heading to Florida this week for a Defense Department-sponsored competition. Seventeen humanoid robots will be evaluated Friday and Saturday for how well they can complete tasks including driving an all-terrain vehicle and opening doors.

Can smartphones snap out of technological stupor?

December 13, 2013 3:05 pm | by Michael Liedtke and Youkyung Lee, AP Technology Writers | News | Comments

Although high-definition displays on smartphones have gotten bigger and their cameras have gotten better, the pace of gee-whiz innovation has dawdled. Smartphone and software makers are working on ways to snap out of this technological lull, although it probably will be at least another year or two before breakthroughs revolutionize the design and function of mobile computing devices.

High-frequency, low-power tunneling transistor could power high-performance devices

December 12, 2013 5:22 pm | News | Comments

Researchers have proved the feasibility of a new type of transistor that could enable fast and low-power computing devices for energy-constrained applications such as smart sensor networks and implantable medical electronics. Called a near broken-gap tunnel field effect transistor, the new device uses the quantum mechanical tunneling of electrons through an ultra-thin energy barrier to provide high current at low voltage.

A Clear View from Any Angle

December 10, 2013 3:06 pm | by Paul Livingstone | Articles | Comments

The first LCD television was invented in 1972 at Westinghouse in Pennsylvania. Like many important inventions, it didn’t become a common sight in the average home for several decades. It took the combined efforts of many researchers and several corporations to create a display of acceptable quality in the late 1990s. In the early 2000s, another innovation helped set the stage for the proliferation of LCD displays: Multilayer Optical Film.

Students' robotic arm can make you stronger

December 10, 2013 8:43 am | by Kathy Matheson, Associated Press | News | Comments

The Titan Arm, a robotic device invented by Univ. of Pennsylvania engineering students, looks and sounds like part of a superhero's costume. But its creators say it's designed for ordinary people—those who need either physical rehabilitation or a little extra muscle for their job. The arm can help its wearer carry an additional 40 pounds.

Industry Breakout - Information & Communications Technologies

December 9, 2013 6:08 am | by R&D Magazine/Battelle | Articles | Comments

The information and communications technologies (ICT) industry, and the significant level of R&D that supports it, is driven by constant change in consumer preferences, market demand and technological evolution. The ICT industry is the largest private-sector R&D investor in the U.S., performing nearly one-third of the total.

Squeezing transistors really hard generates energy savings

December 6, 2013 9:47 am | News | Comments

Transistors, the workhorses of the electronics world, are plagued by leakage current. This results in unnecessary energy losses, which is why smartphones and laptops, for example, have to be recharged so often. Researchers have recently shown that this leakage current can be radically reduced by “squeezing” the transistor with a piezoelectric material. Using this approach, they have surpassed the theoretical limit for leakage current.

Ultrathin “diagnostic skin” allows continuous patient monitoring

December 5, 2013 9:10 am | News | Comments

An international multidisciplinary team including researchers at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign and the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering has developed  a sophisticated ”electronic skin” that adheres non-invasively to human skin, conforms well to contours, and provides a detailed temperature map of any surface of the body.

Fifty meters of optical fiber shrunk to size of microchip

December 3, 2013 2:19 pm | News | Comments

DARPA-funded researchers have recently developed new methods to integrate long 50-m coils of waveguides with low signal loss onto microchips. This new class of photonic waveguides, with losses approaching that of optical fiber, is smaller and more precise than any previous light delay device.

Dim traffic sensors dull how “smart” freeways are

November 25, 2013 8:46 am | by Justin Pritchard, Associated Press | News | Comments

Buried under thousands of miles of pavement in California are 27,000 traffic sensors that are supposed to help troubleshoot both daily commutes and long-term maintenance needs on some of the nation's most heavily used and congested roadways. About 9,000 of them do not work, despite their critical role in an "intelligent transportation" system designed to do things like detect the congestion that quickly builds after an accident.

Will 2-D tin be the next super material?

November 22, 2013 8:09 am | News | Comments

A single layer of tin atoms could be the world’s first material to conduct electricity with 100% efficiency at the temperatures that computer chips operate, according to a team of theoretical physicists led by researchers from SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory and Stanford Univ.

Researchers integrate single-crystal BFO onto silicon chip

November 20, 2013 8:31 am | News | Comments

Researchers from North Carolina State Univ. have, for the first time, integrated a material called bismuth ferrite (BFO) as a single crystal onto a silicon chip, opening the door to a new generation of multifunctional, smart devices. Integrating the BFO into the silicon substrate as a single crystal makes the BFO more efficient by limiting the amount of electric charge that “leaks” out of the BFO into the substrate.

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