New Infrared Lenses Could Make Driving Safer

Posted In Living in Tech
cheaper infrared lense
Driving at night in bad weather, or in the dark, or both can be a dangerous thing. But there’s good news ahead for drivers everywhere. A group of German researchers has created a production process that may significantly cut the cost for forward looking infrared (FLIR) lenses for use in cars. FLIR can make driving at night safer, but the cost has been an enormous barrier. So, the technology remains an aftermarket add-on to a few luxury vehicles. Thanks to… continue…

Scientists Fake Touch; Fantasies Intensify in Second Life

Posted In Living in Tech
A team of researchers at the University of Illinois is developing devices that allow users to experience the sensation of touch, without actually touching anything. The team calls their devices “electrotactile stimulators.” They work by turning electrical signals into sensation. A flexible circuit is installed onto a pliable, finger-shaped tube which, when it comes into contact with the wearer’s skin, tricks the brain into into thinking they’re touching something. Though tactile feedback devices are nothing new, this product takes it… continue…

The Swiss Army Knife Approach to Software Engineering

Swiss Army Knife
The Swiss Army knife is a popular tool. Since its origin in the Swiss Army — yes, really — in the late 19th century, they’ve become so popular that they’ve also turned into a colloquialism for adaptability and usefulness. There’s only one problem with that: The Swiss Army Knife is not the greatest knife. It’s also not the greatest can opener. Nor is it an awesome screwdriver, or a stellar saw. So why the appeal? Because it’s better than not… continue…

New 60 GHz Wireless Chips Blast Past Today’s Wi-Fi Performance

Posted In Living in Tech
The next big thing in wireless? New 60 GHz chips and four players that are  introducing them to the marketplace. Qualcomm Atheros and Wilocity (along with Marvell Technology) have announced production of the first tri-band, Wi-Fi chipset that can support in-room performance of 2.4 GHz, 5GHz and 60 GHz bands. Called AR9004TB, it can deliver speeds 10 times faster than current Wi-Fi performance, and is fully standard-compliant and interoperable. In the next six to nine  months, startups Beam Networks and Peraso… continue…

This Robotic Trash Can Catches What You Throw Away

Posted In Living in Tech
This robotic trash can, which automatically catches trash as you’ll see in the video, might look like a clever bit of fakery designed to sell Frisk mints. But the video shows us a design process that goes a long way toward proving it’s real. It’s called the Smart Trashbox, and it’s the perfect “just because” project – the sort of thing that can only come together when you get a person with a high level of engineering expertise and access… continue…

Siemens Wind Turbine Is Almost Too Big to be Believed

Posted In Living in Tech
Siemens Turbine Blade
Siemens has released a series of images to show off its new B75 wind turbine rotor blades, and you really need to see them if you want to believe how big is big, at least when it comes to wind turbines. Each of the three blades, which measure a staggering 246 feet in length, is a single component made from epoxy resin and balsa reinforced with glass fiber. Compare that to an Airbus A380′s wings, which measure approximately 253 feet… continue…

Intel’s Betting a Lot on the Spread of Ultrabooks

Posted In Living in Tech
If the push toward netbooks didn’t excite many people, the trend toward ultrabooks might. At least Intel thinks so. During the company’s most recent earnings call, CEO Paul Otellini talked about the success of its ultrabook-optimized Ivy Bridge processor. Intel, he said, is tracking more than 140 Ivy Bridge-based models in the design and production pipeline. More than 40 of them will be touch-enabled and at least 12 will be convertibles, with screens that pivot around and down to turn… continue…

Ritchey Mulhollem, Programmer [Featured Geek]

Posted In Living in Tech
Dice Featured Geek
Ritchey Mulhollem doesn’t simply work with technology. He surrounds himself with it. He immerses himself in it. He rolls in it. His front gate is automated with two relays and is connected to an off the shelf network power switch. For his hot tub, he developed a crude controller board using salvaged power relays off eBay, screwed them onto a 2×8, and plugged it directly into the network power switch. Dangerous setup, but it proved the concept. Now he’s built… continue…

Double-Sided Solar Cells Boost Energy Output

Posted In Living in Tech
Israeli startup bSolar has announced the creation of double-sided solar cells, which aim to produce up to 50 percent more electricity than traditional one-sided panels. The company’s photovoltaic cells get a boost in their efficiency by taking the unusual step of using boron instead of an aluminum backing, the company’s co-founder and CEO Yossi Kofman tells GigaOM. By using the boron’s black surface field, bSolar created an open rear face. That allows sunlight to be reflected back onto the front of the… continue…

MIT’s Novel Solar Cell Holds Efficiency Promise

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MIT researchers led by Professor Michael Strano have developed a novel photovoltaic cell that could make existing solar systems more efficient. The new cell captures energy from the near-infrared region of the spectrum and is built entirely out of carbon nanotubes. The possibility of incorporating this technology into existing solar systems is what sets it apart and makes it rather interesting. Being able to add even a few percentage points to a standard system would amount to a significant boost… continue…