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Tag: electronics

Oct 31, 2011

Water Flow: A Picture’s Worth More Than A Thousand Words

 Sometimes a picture can save time and money — and that’s worth more than a thousand words.   From mitigating flood damage to managing water resources during a drought, tracking water flow is important. But tough budget times make maintaining data collection systems more difficult than ever. Researchers may have found a way to ease… 

Jul 19, 2011

Jell-O Memory

Researchers have come up with memory technology that feels like Jell-O. It’s made of water-based gels and liquid metal, and it works just fine when it is completely underwater. The device could be the first step towards developing a new generation of biocompatible electronics – such as medical sensors – because of its pliability, its… 

Jun 16, 2011

A Clever Solution: Sensors That Repair Themselves

I love it when someone comes up with an ingenious solution to a problem, like the self-healing sensor discussed in a paper that came out this month. I won’t go into the entire sensor, but want to explain the “self-healing” part, since that’s what I think is so clever. (The paper itself is here and… 

Jun 7, 2011

T-Shirt Transistors?

The touch, the feel … the conductivity … of cotton. Researchers at NC State hope to make that a reality by applying conductive nanocoatings to common textile materials in order to improve current and future electronic devices. Normally, conductive nanocoatings are applied to inorganic materials like silicon. But researchers believe nanotechnology can be used to create… 

Apr 4, 2011

Crash-Test Dummy For High-Performance Computing

When you’re trying to solve large-scale problems, sometimes you’ve got to experiment with changes to the fundamental building blocks of whatever is involved. That means things can break. And when you’re talking about the fastest computers in the world, that would be very expensive. Solution? Build your own high-performance computing (HPC) system – then you… 

Feb 1, 2011

Raw Power: Buffers Boost GaN Device Capacity

Gallium nitride (GaN) devices are supposed to be the next big thing in power electronics (think electric cars or smart grid). Or they would be, if they didn’t keep breaking when exposed to high voltages. New research may have solved that problem by implanting buffers made of argon that allow the devices to handle ten… 

Jan 26, 2011

Into The Void: Boosting LED Energy Efficiency

LEDs are already vaunted as an energy-efficient technology for lighting, but new research shows that their efficiency can be increased by a factor of two. A paper describing the work shows that the secret is to decrease the number of defects in the gallium nitride (GaN) films used to create LEDs by incorporating cleverly placed… 

Dec 1, 2010

Why You Would Put A Radar In Your Shoe

When I was a kid, I thought it was pretty cool that Maxwell Smart had a phone in his shoe. That’s old hat these days, but researchers have now developed more advanced podiatric technology: the shoe radar. And, yes, there’s a practical reason for it. Why would you put a radar in your shoe? To…