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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.

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.

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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.

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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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Columbia engineers make world's smallest FM radio transmitter

November 18, 2013 9:29 am | News | Comments

A team of scientists have demonstrated new application of graphene using positive feedback. Using graphene’s electrical conduction, Columbia Univ. engineers have created a nano-mechanical system that can create FM signals. It is, in effect, the world's smallest FM radio transmitter.

South Africa cemeteries to microchip tombstones

November 15, 2013 11:13 am | by Carley Petesch, Associated Press | News | Comments

Amid a rash of tombstone thefts from cemeteries in Johannesburg, a company will be offering relatives of the deceased a high-tech solution: microchips that can be inserted into the memorial that will sound an alarm and send a text message to their cell phones if it is disturbed.

Completing the circuit

November 14, 2013 8:34 am | News | Comments

It may sound like chasing rainbows: Detecting flashes of light and energy that are invisible to the human eye and last only for a trillionth of an eye-blink. These flashes hold clues to the nature of exotic subatomic particles, important biological proteins and massive space objects alike.To reveal new details about science at these extremes, a team of scientists is designing intricate signal-processing chips known as ASICs.

Study: Your brain sees things you don’t

November 14, 2013 7:28 am | by Shelley Littin, Univ. of Arizona | News | Comments

A new study by Univ. of Arizona doctoral student Jay Sanguinetti indicates that our brains perceive objects in everyday life of which we may never be aware. The finding challenges currently accepted models about how the brain processes visual information.

New way to dissolve semiconductors holds promise for electronics industry

November 13, 2013 10:26 am | News | Comments

Semiconductors, the foundation of modern electronics used in flatscreen televisions and fighter jets, could become even more versatile as researchers make headway on a novel, inexpensive way to turn them into thin films. Their report on a new liquid that can quickly dissolve nine types of key semiconductors appears in the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Riding an electron wave into the future of microchip fabrication

November 12, 2013 7:11 pm | News | Comments

A recently developed plasma-based chip fabrication technique affords chip makers unprecedented control of plasma thanks to a population of suprathermal electrons. This is critical to modern microchip fabrication, but how the beam electrons transform themselves into this suprathermal population has been a puzzle. New computer simulations reveal how intense plasma waves generate suprathermal electrons.

Georgia Tech launches new robotics institute

November 8, 2013 7:00 am | News | Comments

The Georgia Institute of Technology has announced the launch of its Institute for Robotics and Intelligent Machines (IRM), the newest of Georgia Tech’s 10 Interdisciplinary Research Institutes. IRIM brings together robotics researchers from across campus—spanning colleges, departments and individual labs—to support and connect research initiatives, enhance educational programs and foster advances for the National Robotics Initiative.

Self-correcting crystal may unleash next generation of advanced communications

November 6, 2013 11:17 am | News | Comments

Researchers from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have joined with an international team to engineer and measure a potentially important new class of nanostructured materials for microwave and advanced communication devices.

Driver monitoring systems extend beyond luxury nameplates

November 5, 2013 4:01 pm | News | Comments

A new market study forecasts that the global market for driver monitoring systems will reach 64.8 million units by the end of 2020 with the majority of shipments being accounted for in vehicles sold in the Asia-Pacific region. A major 2013 is that these systems are migrating from the luxury brands like Volvo and Mercedes-Benz to more mass market models.

Synaptic transistor learns while it computes

November 4, 2013 2:07 pm | News | Comments

Our brains have upwards of 86 billion neurons, connected by synapses that not only complete myriad logic circuits; they continuously adapt to stimuli, strengthening some connections while weakening others. Materials scientists have now created a new type of transistor that mimics the behavior of a synapse. The novel device simultaneously modulates the flow of information in a circuit and physically adapts to changing signals.

Acoustic diode may lead to brighter, clearer ultrasound images

November 1, 2013 11:47 am | News | Comments

Most people know about ultrasound through its role in prenatal imaging: those grainy, grey outlines of junior constructed from reflected sound waves. A new technology called an "acoustic diode” that would transmit sound in one direction may dramatically improve future ultrasound images by changing the way sound waves are transmitted.

Smartwatches abound. But who really wants one?

October 30, 2013 9:00 am | by Anick Jesdanun, AP Technology Writer | News | Comments

If consumer electronics companies are to be believed, someone on your holiday shopping list is just dying for a wristwatch that displays message alerts and weather updates. Samsung and Sony have them, Google and Apple are rumored to be developing them. But some experts say it's a product in search of a market, and an expensive one at that.

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