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(Left) Giga-pixel camera concept (Right) Assembly of the camera prototype (via Duke University)   A collaboration of electrical engineers from Duke University, University of Arizona, University of California (San Diego) and the Distant Focus Corp have recently designed a super HD 50 gigapixel camera. That’s an astounding 50,000 megapixels of clarity (compared to 8 to 40 of most consumer devices), 5 times better than 20/20 vision for humans! A team of engineers designed the camera, dub ...
(Left) Back To The Future time machine settings (Right) Ford Traffic Jam Assist sensor diagram   So, Marty McFly arrived to the future just a couple of days ago. And although I have not seen any hovercrafts of flying cars around, it is assuring to know that the Ford Motor Company, along with others, is striving to produce a car that will drive itself during the worst time of any drivers life: traffic.     Automation of the car has happened in steps, from the automatic transmis ...
Last week I was in Houston launching the newest branch of BlueStamp Engineering (BSE) and in addition to checking out Houston's famous running club and heading down to Galveston, I HAD to see what the makers in Houston are up to.   As early as Tuesday my BSE students had been tackling their projects faster than anticipated, so I had to head out for extra parts.  A staff member suggested I check out Electronic Parts Outlet,or EPO for short.  I must say, it was impressive.  E ...
Speech-to-speech translation concept (via U-STAR)     While it is not exactly Star Trek’s universal translator, U-STAR’s soon-to-be-released translator app looks to be pretty impressive. Developed by the Universal Speech Translation Advanced Research Consortium, the Speech to Speech Translation app (called VoiceTra4U-M) uses the ITU-T standardization protocols F.745 and H.625 that lets users speak to others in a multitude of languages such as English, Japanese and Hindi. Ac ...
Phase-change non-volatile memory structure concept (via University of Cambridge)   Chemical engineers from the University of Cambridge recently released a paper detailing a significant increase in speed for phase-change non-volatile memory (PCRAM). Phase-change memory has a distinct advantage over flash memory, it can write bits faster without the need to erase huge chunks of data beforehand. Degradation (or cell damage) is also a factor for both mediums over time; however phase-change memo ...
Gate-tuning of graphene plasmons, concept and experimental images (via University of California & Nature)   Graphene is back on the scene once again. Researchers from the University of California have found that they could use the super-material to turn electron waves both on and off by using a simple circuit. The team, led by Professor Dimitri Basov, made the discovery by stripping a 1-atom thick single layer of graphene from graphite. They then rubbed the material onto silicon-oxide c ...
  Students from various Universities’ around the nation (US) are invited by the US Air Force to design a way for soldiers to climb tall obstacles without the use of grappling hooks. The teams designed some pretty compelling contraptions, some of which involved the use of robots to secure a rope at the top of a 90ft wall for soldiers to ascend. However, one team in particular chose a different route all together by equipping vacuum technology to the soldiers themselves to secure a line ...
Chip in a pill prototype by ZetrOZ (via ZetrOZ)   Ultrasound is a cornerstone of medical applications. It's in use inside and outside of the human body today. Though this is the case for decades, it is with the shrinking technology that is allowing for innovative uses never thought possible. One such innovation may soon change the daily routines of millions of patients that require daily injections.     Previously, medicines that must take effect quickly, such as insulin, could ...
  Sega has released their London 2012 Olympic Games video game for PS3, Xbox 360, Wii and PC for all those who strive to be Olympic athletes. The latest edition takes players off the couch and performing the actual events thanks to Microsoft's Kinect. This marks the second game to feature the 2012 Olympics with Mario & Sonic at the London 2012 Olympic Games being the first. The events featured in Sega’s new release include Archery, Swimming, Gymnastics, Shooting, Track & Field ...
Two metal gates providing dual transistors on a single nanowire (via IEEE)   Moore's law rears its validity once more. Xiang Li and a team of researchers from A*STAR have created a vertical transistor using nanowires. Although 3D transistors is not a new idea, through the use of a nanowire as a center mount for two wrap around gates, a transistor has been designed that will reduce the transistor size by a factor of two. Reducing the area will allow silicon designs to be much more compact a ...
  While the majority of London debates whether it will be possible to move around the capital city during the Olympics - and if they're even willing to try - technology experts have confirmed that their systems will be working during the Games.   According to a report by Tech Republic, the teams in charge of the IT infrastructure that will play an important role in this year's Games have been practising for worst-case scenarios. In fact, 750 of them. This includes power failures and ...
Swiss watchmaker OMEGA has revealed new timekeeping technologies that will be introduced at the London Olympics, which begin next month, keeping with the tradition of every Games being a showcase for new features.   This year we have four to look forward to as OMEGA debuts the tools it has been working on for the last few years.   Firstly, the Quantum Timer will provide resolution of up to one millionth of a second in what the company calls a "new generation" of OMEGA Timing products ...
Microsoft has joined the tablet market by launching Surface, its own range of Windows-run devices that it claims will provide its operating system with the "ultimate stage". The technology firm kept details about last week's event secret until the last moment - even its location - but has unveiled to the world the tablet it believes can challenge Apple's iPad.   So what can people expect? Firstly, Microsoft says that software takes centre stage with a full-sized USB port and a 16:9 aspect ...
  The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is set to launch a UK first, giving its online viewers the ability to rewind live television. Through its iPlayer platform, viewers will be able to restart a program from the beginning and immediately catch up on what they have missed. Furthermore, they will also be able to go back two hours to ensure they have access to as much programming as possible.   Previously, viewers would have to wait up to 24 hours - and sometimes even longer - f ...
Cabe Atwell

Rise of the Hexapods

Posted by Cabe Atwell Jun 26, 2012
Engineers and hobbyist alike are bringing us a wide variety of walking robots. Sidestepping balance issues, the latest creations coming to life are Stompy and Hexy, two unique hexapod robots walking of six legs. Stompy, an extra large rideable robot, is one of the biggest ever created and allows people to ride upon its large structure. Hexy is a small, but fun, robot that comes in a kit and requires assembly and is cheaper than any other hexapod robot available.     Stompy is th ...
  For a long time, I have thought that the future of fast food is not in overworking low wage employees, defrosted ingredients and questionable hygienic conditions, but an automated process that delivers food fresh and fast. Thanks to inventor Claudio Torghel of Italy, this idea has become reality. There are a few other food vending machines out there, but this seems to be the only one with the Italian seal of approval.     For three years, the company Let’s Pizza has bee ...
Missle defense (via AAP)   The British Parliament is going ‘all-out’ with security at this year’s (2012) Olympic Games being held in London. The government recently stated that they are set to deploy 13,500 military personnel, more than are stationed in all of Afghanistan, as back-up for the 10,000+ police and private security contractors (unknown as to the total number). To give an idea of what security measures are being put in place for this year’s summer games, ...
CyberQ Wifi (via thebbqguru)   Having a BBQ is a lot of fun, but there is a lot of pressure on the chef. The entire gathering depends on the person manning the grill, and if they overcook or under-grill the burgers that could very well dampen the evening. The company BBQ Guru is providing relief to all those unsure or beginner grillers that hold so much responsibility and also providing expert grillers with an invaluable tool that can only help them grill even better.     This ...
Surface Tablet (via Microsoft)   Unlike smartphones, tablets come in two flavors for most people; Apple and Android (unless you’ve modded yours to use another OS). This year (2012) looks to add a third contender to the tablet market with the introduction of Microsoft’s Surface line that features the eighth incarnation of the company’s Windows OS. Currently, Microsoft has only unveiled two of the upcoming tablets with the higher-end Surface Pro (Windows 8 Pro) which featur ...
Deechee and its team (via University of Hertfordshire)   Teaching one's child to speak and hearing their first words are some of the proudest moments for parents all over the world, even if your child is a robot. That’s exactly what researchers from the University of Hertfordshire set out to do with their iCub robot in an effort to show how language-learning evolves at the infant stage (human). The team, Dr. Caroline Lyon, Professor Chrystopher Nehaniv and Dr. Joe Saunders, were look ...
Georgia Tech road repair in action   Repairing America’s roads is extremely time consuming and makes those of us not repairing them seethe with anger as roads are usually partially blocked off which backs up traffic making us late for work and ruins the rest of our day. In an effort to remove these bad feelings researchers from the Georgia Tech Research Institute, headed by Jonathan Holmes, have designed an automated crack detection and sealing system that repairs the road on-the-go. ...
Ferrofluid based heart pump (screen-capture via suprocktech.com)   Imagine, someone's life may be saved by swapping in a "liquid heart." Science fiction to reality in a year?   An engineering team, led by Christopher Suprock, from Suprock Technologies has designed an artificial heart that has no moving parts that could change the way future implants function. The design utilizes an electromagnet base that uses ferrofluid encased in a flexible membrane to simulate a heartbeat. Once the ...
Bed Hadwen with the lab-on-a-chip device (via University of Southampton)   The hospital waiting room could turn into the place one waits for all their results. A team of researchers from Sharp Labs Europe in collaboration with the University of Southampton has recently announced their combined effort in developing a pocket sized device that analyzes blood in a matter of minutes rather than days. The team, led by Sharp’s Ben Hadwen, developed the lab-on-a-chip using what’s known ...
Working on the seesaw. This is as close as we will get to seeing what exactly in inside the piece. (via ENESS)   I always enjoy when engineers transform old-fashioned toys and games into modern pieces of interactive technology. This time, the award-winning art & design group ENESS, which does many futuristic luminous displays, has transformed one of the oldest pieces to modern playgrounds: the seesaw.     They have equipped this classic playground structure with 33 rows of c ...
Mali core concept (via ARM)   As mobile devices increase in popularity, demand for silicon-based processing power rises. This includes GPUs, without which we could not game, watch HD movies and alter photography. All of which are extremely necessary in this day and age of social-site based communications with others (that’s technical jargon for hooking up with friends on Facebook, Twitter, etc), retaining high-score positions on Angry Birds and sharing recent pic’s with location ...
Squid in action (via Northeastern University)   Sure there is a multitude of ways to monitor your workout progress such as using heart-rate monitors or pedometers, but none has the in-depth real-time information feedback as that of Northeastern University’s ‘Squid’ shirt. Designed by a team of engineers the shirt features a series of strategically place EMG (Electromyography) sensors (13 in total) that monitor muscle activity in three key areas. These include the deltoid, ...
  The world of air traffic controlling is set to improve after a communications company announced a new method of tracking planes in an attempt to improve routing. Iridium Communications will be installing Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) receivers to follow planes anywhere in the world, with an expected launch date of between 2015 and 2017.   These receivers will be built into each of the company's 66 Iridium NEXT satellites and this will mean airplanes can be trac ...
Sparkfun Electronics (SFE) held their 2012 Autonomous Vehicle competition last weekend. Hobbyists and engineers from all over the country came to send their terrestrial and aerial charges, guided only by their programming and sensors, around the Sparkfun building.  To make it more interesting, the winner is decided by the fastest time, upping the speeds at which the robots collided with the course obstacles!   The full day of racing was well organized with everything you would want, w ...
"I always feel like somebody's watching me" - Kennedy "Rockwell" Gordy     Every year computers become more adept at interaction with their human users. Whether it is to help around the house or while shopping, computers are with us at most moments during the day to help us out. Soon, they will even know us by face, track our emotions and help us find the things we always seem to misplace.   (Left) Facial tracking (Right) Avatar control (via Keio University)   At Keio U ...
(Left) Samsung Galaxy S III offer (Right) BBS Sport app   Just in time for the summer Olympics, BBC-sports has announced live European sporting events will  r stream to mobile phones and tablets. A partnership between Samsung and Eurosport will be bringing the lucky Samsung Galaxy S3 owners the option to try out  the new Eurosport player app for free. The newly available options will allow sports fans to catch every moment of the most important sporting events.     Wi ...
TecTiles logo (via Samsung)   NFC (Near Field Communication) can trace its roots all the way back to 1983 when Charles Walton patented his ‘Portable Radio Frequency Emitting Identifier,' the first to use the acronym RFID, which is considered the predecessor to NFC. Arguably, you can trace NFC’s roots all the way back to 1945 when a Soviet scientist created a covert listening device which retransmitted ‘incident’ radio waves which were augmented with audio information ...
  The world has a new fastest computer after a team from technology giant IBM managed to create a new system to top the list. Sequoia achieved speeds of 16.32 petaflops per second in recent tests, therefore beating Fujitsu's K Computer which held the previous record with 10.51 petaflops per second.   According to BBC News, the petaflops scoring system is known as the Linpack Benchmark and this calculates the number of quadrillion floating-point operations per second a computer can do. ...
  Although the large displays on new smart phones look great, some still miss the feel of physical buttons. The California company, Tactus, has developed the first dynamically deformable touch screen that could change our device interface forever.     Earlier in June, the company demonstrated their new touch screen technology at the Society for Information Display conference in Boston. Tactus has created a “microfluidic” screen, which flows a special type of oil thro ...
DepthSense (via SoftKinetic)   SoftKinetic is changing the way we interact with the digital world by bringing us innovative new 3D vision and gesture recognition technology. They are going a few steps further than Microsoft's Kinect. In January, they announced their first 3D recognition camera at the Consumer Electronics show.  The sensor used a patented time-of-flight technology to provide us with end-to-end 3D gesture recognition. Recently, they have announced the DepthSense 325 off ...
British schools will be able to focus their technology lessons on computer science in the coming years after an exam board announced plans to introduce a paper on the subject.   Until now, students have been taught Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in schools, but this has received criticism for bearing little to no relevance on future technology careers.   It is hoped that by introducing a computer programming paper, education establishments will be able to vary what t ...
The inexact processor, more-or-less gets the job done (via Rice University)   Correctness is the definition of computer function. It is what programmers strive to attain. So, it might come as a surprise that a new counterintuitive computer chip is taking advantage of making mistakes.     A huge team that includes researchers from Rice University, Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University, Switzerland’s Center for Electronics and Microtechnology and UC Berkeley ha ...
ATLAS bimanual-rehabilitation glove (via  Northeastern University)   Having a stroke is no joke and it affects about 700,000 people per year in the United States alone. Out of those who have had a stroke 85% of them require special care and rehabilitation to get their fine motor skills back which can be very costly (estimated at $28 billion US annually). To help people recover the motor skills in their hands, a team of researchers from Northeastern University have designed a pair of sp ...
Glucose fuel cell on a silicon wafer, 64x64mm (via MIT & Sarpeshkar Lab)   Fuel cell technology has been used in everything from cars to phone charging, and it is progressing on to provide its unique power-generating capabilities in future brain-machine interfaces. What sets this fuel cell apart from the others is that it runs off of the human body’s own glucose (sugar) stores found in cerebrospinal fluid. However, this isn’t a new idea. Scientists from the 70s designed a gl ...
Fading - A phenomenon I encountered when I first began experimenting with radios in the 80s.  It occurs when a radio’s signal strength varies with small movements.  Walk around with a handheld radio or listen to a car radio; the received signal strength will vary greatly.  Sometimes the fluctuations are random and other times peaks and troughs occur every half wavelength travelled.    While living in Beaty Towers dorm at the University of Florida in Gainesville, ...
Sensum system (via Shimmer)   When you are watching a movie or playing a game, your engagement and appreciation are most easily observable by the sound you make or body movement. In reality, there are many more ways to measure the emotional investment that go unnoticed. The company Sensum is launching a product that works to personally detail the level of emotional engagement by measuring changes in heart rate and perspiration.     The device that measures these changes is call ...
Good-old Wall Street (via stock photography)   In an effort to shave milliseconds off communications time, stock traders are turning to microwaves to transmit their information instead of currently used fiber optic cables. Apparently, every millisecond is valuable in the stock market trading. Therefore, several companies have submitted applications to the Federal Communications Commission to build microwave relay towers between New York and Chicago.     Both microwaves and infr ...
"What is he thinking?" The brain wave meter in action at Keio University (via Keio U)   A team of researchers from Keio University have developed a brain scanner that’s able to measure (in real-time) whether the user has interest, desire, stress, tiredness or concentration at any given time. The team, led by Professor Yasue Mitsukura, designed the simple (over EEG) brain wave meter to take readings from only one area of the brain known as ‘FP1’ (position on the head where ...
Silicon Valley Bank has just opened its banking and loans services to the UK tech industry. The US hi-tech bank hopes that its considerable capital will help to stimulate the technology industry on the other side of the Atlantic.   The news has been warmly welcomed by George Osborne, the Chancellor, who said that the arrival of the bank is tangible proof that "the UK is fast becoming the technology centre of Europe". The bank, for its part, has stated that it has specific sectors that it w ...
CPU wafers in process (via stock photography)   Next year, 2013, looks to be the year Samsung gives Intel a run for its money in shrinking processor die’s for smaller faster chips. While Intel’s Ivy Bridge line is certainly impressive at 22nm, Samsung has stated that their looking to reduce mobile chip designs down to an astounding 14nm for the next generation of mobile devices coming next year. The Korean chip manufacturer is investing 1.9 billion US (2.25 trillion Korean won) ...
(Left) Sphero and control app (Right) 3D controller/ augmented reality app (via Orbotix)   At this years (2012) E3 Expo Orbotix was on-hand to reintroduce their robotic ball Sphero with all new app that transforms the ball into an interesting type of controller for gaming. For those of you who don’t know what Sphero is; it’s a robotic polycarbonate ball that houses a multi-axis gyro with an accelerometer that’s powered by lithium polymer batteries (inductively charged) th ...
(Left) Fire Scout (Right) Fleet Readiness Center East, Civilian maintenance and assessments. (via US NAvy & Wiki commons)   The US Department of Defense has announced the awarding of a $27,883,883(US) contract to Raytheon Intelligence and Information Systems to ‘transition’ over to Linux for the Navy’s tactical control systems software for vertical take-off unmanned air vehicle (VTOL) ground control stations. Yes, that’s almost 30 million US taxpayer funded dolla ...
Controlling robots with electromagnetism is nothing new, but controlling a living organic organism is still in the realm of science fiction. Here, on Element14, we have seen attempts to use optogenetics to influence the behavior of a living organism. Now researchers the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo are pushing one step further by modifying nematode worms to control their movement at the flip of a switch.     A team of biophysicists from SUNY has been conducting exper ...
DICE+ (via GIC)   If GIC has their way, board games will be brought into the technology age. This is the concept behind their design of DICE+, which was shown at this year’s (2012) E3 Expo (Electronic Entertainment Expo) held in Los Angeles. DICE+ is a digitally enhanced version of traditional die that allows you to interact with ‘powered’ board games on any digital screen, such as smartphones, tablets and TV’s without damaging them. Essentially, DICE+ gives the play ...
Edinburgh's Olympic rings by the Tyne Bridge in Newcastle. Weighs approximately 3,100kg (6,834 lbs)   The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has stated in a recent press release that it will stream the Olympic Games to 64 territories in Asia and Africa live over their YouTube channel beginning on July 27th and ending on August 12th. That’s 2,200 hours of digitally live-streamed Olympic programming for people in countries where the digital broadcast rights haven’t been collect ...
(via Vista Medical)   For some time now medical professionals have been searching for a reliable way to distribute and reduce pressure on patients bodies to prevent costly and elusive medical conditions, such as pressure ulcers (bedsores). Vista Medical's pressure mapping system appears to end that search. With an easy to use pressure mat, interface module, and display, medical users can quickly analyze and locate areas of high pressure on a patient's body.     Stretchable fabr ...
CEO Vision technology integration concept (Via Keytree)   Augmented reality is transitioning from video conferencing and gaming to business offices with Keytree’s CEO Vision. Sure pie-charts and PowerPoint presentations are effective but augmented reality is much more fun. CEO Vision was designed using a pair of Vuzix (what version Keytree used is unknown) virtual reality glasses along with 2 HD cameras and a Microsoft Kinect to access company data in an augmented reality environment. ...
Ivy Bridge in the raw (via Intel)   Intel has recently released their new batch of Ivy Bridge processors using their new 22nm process for ultrabooks, mobile devices and desktops. These include the core i5 and i7 CPU line with the i3, Pentium and Celeron lines coming later this year (2012). All of the chips feature lower power-usage, which translates to longer battery life for the ultrabook/mobile device platforms which include the i5-3317U (clocked at 1.7GHz @ 17w), i5-3427U (clocked at 1.8 ...
  An increasing number of restaurants in the US are relying on technology to speed-up and simplify the process of ordering. At diners such as Chili's Grill & Bar, for example, customers are now using a small, interactive computer screen to place their order.   One obvious advantage of this is that it means firms can reduce their overheads by employing fewer staff. But from a customer's viewpoint, there is also the added advantage of being able to preview the meal they want before ...
  A simple idea many of us have probably tried doing before has led to a fantastic little invention. I have found myself a few times using my phone to take a picture of a document to send to a friend. However,  shaky hands make it difficult and trying to find the perfect distance is more of a guessing game.  Phil Bosua from Melbourne Australia has created a box optimized to scan documents using a smart phone. The “Scanbox” may just make scanners a thing of the past. ...
The Team: Ryan LaVoie, James Barron, Pedro Lopes, Nick Aquino, Basel Magfory, Mohammed Kante and advisor electrical and computer engineering professor Waleed Meleis (via Mary Knox Merrill & Northeastern University)   The disabled, as well as their caregivers, know that the simple act of trying to eat can be a daunting task in itself. People eat at different rates (speed) that caregivers have a difficult time trying to match those individual speeds so a team of engineers from Northeaster ...
Kang Xu, one of the people behind the innovation (US Army)   Researchers from the US Army Research Laboratory (ARL) have recently announced that they are able to generate more power from batteries through new design processes and materials. This small group of researchers are tasked with providing soldiers with power solutions that are both lightweight and energy efficient. Soldiers are being increasingly burdened with more technology everyday (communications, laser designators, NVG’s ...
A passage on innovation in a recent article questioning STEM education funding caught my attention. While everyone generally agrees that “innovation” is critical to U.S. economic and social progress, there aren’t good definitions of what the term means let alone how to measure innovation.   This reminded me of an article I saw last week from Harvard Business Review titled, “Please Can We All Just Stop Innovating,” which argues that the word innovation has bec ...
  Everybody (I’m fielding a guess here) at one point or another has built with Legos. Imagination brought those constructs  to life. Those were some pretty fun days, but long ago. However, we may be able to relive some of those Lego fantasies once again with Wonder Years BrainBricks. Being developed by Bas van de Poel and Daan van Dam (from Amsterdam), BrainBricks uses Legos that have wireless sensors housed inside them which are able to sense how they’re configured. Once t ...
I had the pleasure to visit the Sensor Expo & Conference earlier this week in Chicago.  For the last two years, ESC Chicago had occurred alongside the Sensors Expo & Conference, but this year ESC didn't come to Chicago.  However, the Sensor Expo on its own did not disappoint.   One of the first booths I visited was North Pole Engineering where they were displaying their WiFi-IT! technology which simplifies integrating Wi-Fi control into projects.  WiFi-IT! modules ar ...
Soldier planting a T-UGS system, original version (via NorthropGrumman)   The military, as well as Border Control, have been using ground-based sensors and sensor nets for quite some time now. It’s even been speculated that famed Area 51 has employed them since the late 50’s. These sensors detect people or vehicles with a variety of technology including seismic, acoustic and infrared imagers. However, the current generation of sensors have a limited lifespan; meaning they only w ...
(via Marvell)   Marvell Technology Group Ltd is a leading developer in storage, communications, and consumer silicon solutions. Their latest creation, the Avastar 88W8897, will be keeping them on top for some time. The chip is designed to integrate smoothly into ultrabooks, smart TVs, gaming systems, and tablets with an advanced power management system.     The Avastar is one of the first chips that will increase bandwidth as needed by using the IEEE 802.11ac wireless communica ...
Bilayer graphene concept (via Loretta Kuo and Michelle Groce, University of Maryland)     Graphene is becoming the main ingredient in innovation. Since its discovery scientists have used its unique properties to create many useful devices with extraordinary properties, if only to make our vodka stronger. The latest creation to come from graphene is a photo detector able to detect a very wide range of wave frequencies. Acting as a photo detector, it has the potential to have a very wid ...
A mere 19 percent of UK graduates gave serious consideration to their long-term career prospects before starting their university course. That is according to the Milkround Student and Graduate Career Confidence Report, which polled 1,730 students. The study concluded that while the majority did not consider their lives post-education at the outset, a year into their course this had dramatically changed, suggesting that the course had opened their eyes.     Some 79 percent of first ye ...
  The Freescale Technology Forum (FTF) Americas returns to San Antonio this year! Join our squad on these four geeky days to learn about the newest embedded technologies: devices to elevate your designs, tools to make your job easier, and upcoming trends that are driving our future.   FTF Americas brings together the embedded design community on several hands-on and classroom trainings, impressive solution demonstrations from the embedded ecosystem, visionary keynote presentations f ...
  YEI (Yost Engineering Inc.) has recently shown their line of 3-Space sensors at this year’s Sensor Expo held in Chicago. The sensor line was developed using high precision AHRS (Altitude and Heading Reference Systems) with IMU’s (Inertial Measurement Units) which include a triaxial gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer and compass sensors. Processing is accomplished on-board with filtering algorithms that provides extremely accurate heading and attitude information in either abs ...
  So what do you do when you can’t get your hands on Google’s Project Glass ‘Wingman’ AR glasses? You build your own, like software developer William Powell.   Coincidentally called ‘Project Glass’ (not sure if the name was trademarked), William designed his version using a pair of Vuzix AR (Augmented Reality) glasses as the platform for his project. As his details of what specific technology was used is almost nonexistent, he appears to use Vuzix&# ...
I attended Ann Arbor Mini Maker Faire last weekend and was quite impressed by Ford's OpenXC project: "an API to your car".  I'd read about project earlier this year but talking to the Ford engineers helped me understand the potential: The current prototype uses a PIC32-based chipKit MAX32 board with the Network shield to provide a full solution for listening to the CAN bus in the vehicle via the ODB-II port.  The real power of OpenXC comes when an Android device is connected via USB. ...
(via Duke University & ACS Publications)   The uses of digital screens on hand held devices are rapidly expanding. An elemental part of this industry is its use of indium tin oxide (ITO), which is part of the transparent coating to create the displays we use on our cell phones, iPads and devices alike. But there is a draw back to using ITO in millions of devices. ITO is obtained from a slow expensive process which gives it a cost of $600-$800 per kilogram.     However, the ...
  Small Unmanned Aerial Vehicles(UAVs) are fun to build, watch, and operate. Innovations with the current design of mini-UAVs may have them charging electronic devices soon. Researchers at University of Nebraska-Lincoln's NIMBUS labs have used a quad rotor helicopter to charge electronic devices wirelessly.     The method used for wireless transmission of energy is called strongly coupled magnetic resonances. It works using two coils of wire, one attached to the UAV and one atta ...
OpenROV (via OpenROV)   Exploring the sea or other bodies of water is usually limited to either SCUBA diving, piloting a small sub or using ROV’s. All three can be costly and limited for the average explorer; however a team of engineers has designed an open-source project that will change all that with submersible they call ‘OpenROV’. Led by NASA engineer Eric Stackpole, the team developed the mini-sub for amateurs and teachers who have an interest in underwater exploratio ...
Google has thrown its weight behind plans to improve information computer technology (ICT) teaching in English schools, revealing that it is to fund the salaries of dozens of teachers specialising in computer science. Eric Schmidt, the Chairman of Google, explained that the funding would go towards "teaching aids, such as Raspberry Pi's or Arduino starter kits".   Explaining the move, Mr Schmidt said that a significant level of investment is needed to ensure that the UK does not squander t ...
Middle picture shows the prototype cell, millimeter scale (via Sharp)   Sure it may be small, but it’s what’s inside that counts; Sharp recently announced their record conversion efficiency rating of 43.5% for their new compound solar-cell. Known as the ‘triple-junction compound solar-cell’, the little photovoltaic cell will be used in Sharp’s lens-based concentrator system which acts as a funnel to capture the sun’s rays.   To achieve the record ra ...
Grill controller, one-half of the system (via Aisen Caro Chacin)   ‘Grills’ (no not barbeque); you’ve seen them before, usually worn by rappers with loads of money. They’re actually pieces of jewelry, which are typically made from gold or platinum, that line the teeth giving the wearer ultimate street-cred (this is what I’ve heard anyway). It’s in that respect that a student from Parsons The New School for Design has taken the extremely expensive teeth pr ...
  Technology today is increasing faster than ever. With this increase electrically powered devices, there should be a linear increase in battery technology powering these devices. It appears that battery tech is not keeping pace with device innovation. Although there have been many breakthroughs in battery research, advancements in batteries are very slow to hit the market. Energy density in batteries improve every year by about 7% where as it should and is capable of increasing around 15% ...
Navy SEAL training (via US Navy)   When it’s time to bring the fight to the enemy the US SOF community uses the best gear they can get their hands on to gain an edge. This summer the men being deployed in the US Navy SEALs will be outfitted with $2,000,000 US worth of brand new high-tech gear that will not only give them the upper-hand in a combat environment but will also be friendly to the planet. No it’s not a new SDV (SEAL Delivery Vehicle) sub, assault rifles or invisibilit ...
  It turns out seeing people in the movies controlling computers with hand gestures was a good CGI trick, but the company San Francisco company Leap Motion says it has now made it reality. The Leap is tiny-device the size of a stick of gum, but it will completely change the way you are used to interacting with your computer.     The Leap offers exactly what a flat surface cannot, a third dimension. With in a volume of four cubic feet, the Leap sensor bar will detect hand gesture ...
FBI Los Angeles branch (via FBI)   As if federal agencies like the FBI or Homeland Security didn’t have their noses in our private matters enough, the FBI is announced the formation of yet another “surveillance” organization. This new group called the National Domestic Communications Assistance Center (NDCAC or DCAC) will be one designated towards ensuring the Feds have access to information passed via Internet, wireless communications and VoIP.     Little else ...
The latest edition of IEEE Spectrum focuses on the electronic alternatives to money as we know it.  I was amazed to learn that the costs of the printing, recycling, guarding, and transporting cash in the US amount to over $100 billion per year.  This one fact cries out for an electronic alternative to money.    One huge advantage to physical cash, however, is it’s less abstract to the mind than electronic alternatives.  Money itself is an abstraction of value. ...
  Walking down the street can one day help power our electronic gadgets. The idea may come true with a twist on the concept coming from a common virus. With a virus's unique traits and conservation of energy principles, researchers at Berkeley Labs have created the world's first organic piezoelectric material. A harmless virus is used to create electrical energy from mechanical energy and may one day be embedded into the sole of our shoes to charge our electric devices.     The ...
  Now-a-days it's tough for the playground to compete with video games, TV and computers. The company Octavia wants to level the playing field a little by introducing a computerized game to the old-fashioned swing set.   This toy is called the Son-X Octavia. It is a solar powered device that easily attaches to any swing rope or chain. Equipped with accelerometers and speakers, the Son-X Octavia is used while swinging to play different games, like swinging to new heights or at beats. ...
(Upper left) Red image showing the 3D structure of the CsSnI3 panel, absorption is at 1.3eV (via Nature)   As seen on element 14, there are a wide array of solar cells providing different ideas for solar energy harvesting. The Gratzel cell, first developed by Michael Gratzel and Brian O’Regan, was unique in that it used an organic liquid as an electrolyte that evenly covered the entire area of the solar cell. This would provide a lot of surface area for photovoltaic reactions, but fu ...
  Jonathan Ive, the man credited with developing some of the most important consumer electronic products of the last 15 years, has been handed a Knighthood by the Queen, thereby making him Sir Jonathan Ive. The honour was bestowed on the Brit in recognition of his services to design and enterprise, in particular during the last two decades at Apple, where he has been a key figure behind products like the iPod and iPhone.   In an interview with BBC Radio Four’s Today programme, ...

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