The Raspberry Pi took the tech world by storm when it first launched two years ago – after all, what self-respecting gadget lover wouldn’t want a teeny, super-affordable and almost infinitely customisable computer? Imagine if it had more power though; perhaps it could be the ideal pocket-sized gaming machine! Good news: such a super-gadget exists, in the form of the aptly-named Banana Pi.
As the fruity name suggests, the Banana Pi offers a similar concept to the Raspberry Pi. It’s an incredibly small, bare-bones PC, packing in the essentials and not a lot else. It means you’ll be able to customise to your heart’s content – coding specific programmes to carry out functions for your home entertainment systems, or adding different features like cameras – but it also means you’ll need to know what you’re doing if you want to get the best out of either the Raspberry or the brand new Banana Pi.
Banana Pi: The £35 mini PC twice as powerful as a Raspberry Pi revealed - [Link]
A startup Japanese company called Power Japan Plus have announced a new type of rechargeable battery which they claim is a significant improvement compared to LiIon batteries. The battery was developed at the department of applied chemistry at the Kyushu University in Japan.
The press release suggests that vehicles equipped with the battery would have a 300 mile range, indicating a better energy density than LiIon batteries. They also claim that the battery can be recharged twenty times faster than LiIon and can be cycled more than 3000 times without loss of capacity.
If that doesn’t tick enough boxes they also go on to say that the battery does not produce any significant temperature rise during operation so there is no need for additional cooling and no risk of thermal runaway. Details of the design are sketchy but they state that the only active material used in the battery is carbon, making it cheap to manufacture. The battery is described as using an organic electrolyte where positively charged lithium ions flow to the anode and negatively charged anions flow to the cathode, which would suggest other elements are also at play. The design is said to be 100 % recyclable. Power Japan Plus are currently focussing their research on a new type of carbon-complex battery made entirely from organic carbon.
Is Dual Carbon the Way Forward? - [Link]
Crystal clear VR gaming & viewing experience. Universal transformable controller. Plug-and-play. Compatible with all games & movies!
The headset is equipped with Full HD display (1920×1080, 1.03 megapixel per eye). The sharp picture is projected onto your retina through the aspherical lens without distorting the image, allowing every pixel to remain in sharp focus. While wearing the headset, you’re surrounded by the largest 4:3 standard screen in the world, which gives you a 100° diagonal field of view. This gives users an IMAX-like experience in the comfort of their own homes.
Thanks to the internal 9-axis IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit) for head rotation and movement tracking, the headset is ready to immerse you in a gaming experience like nothing you’ve experienced before.
ANTVR KIT: All-IN-ONE Universal Virtual Reality Kit on kickstarter.com - [Link]
by Michael Dunn:
Sometimes, we forget the implications of Moore’s Law, and just how amazing our IC technology is compared to yesteryear’s. Pack-rat that I am, it’s no trouble for me to peruse what used to pass for high-tech – and now, you can have a look at it too!
IC packages used to be prettier, I think. Lots more gold and white ceramic happening. Packages that look as though they could go to outer space without breaking a sweat.
Remembrance of chips past - [Link]
pcDuino3 is a high performance, cost effective single board computer. It runs operation systems such as Ubuntu Linux and Android. pcDuino3 has HDMI interface to output its graphic desktop screen. It could support multi-format 1080p 60fps video decoder and 1080p 30fps H.264 and MPEG4 video encoder with its built-in hardware video processing engine. It targets specially the fast growing demands from the open source community. pcDuino3 provides easy-to-use tool chains and is compatible with the popular Arduino ecosystem such as Arduino Shields.
pcDuino3 – High performance, cost effective single board computer - [Link]
by Cabe Atwell:
Law enforcement and federal agencies have been using polygraph machines to detect lies since Cesare Lombroso introduced his blood pressure device back in 1895. Before that? Torture was used as the best method to detect fibs (still is to some extent). Just ask any witch that was present at the Salem Trials and they could probably tell it didn’t work that well. Some analysts will tell you that the eyes are the gateway in detecting if someone is telling the truth or not. They claim the rate a person blinks is a telltale sign of lying as well as not making eye contact or even looking up and to the left or right may be an indication of false pretenses. Some of the early pioneers of computerized polygraph have banded together to form a company, known as Converus, which is developing a new platform that tracks eye movement to detect deception.
Eye tracking system looks deep into your eyes – can tell if you’re lying - [Link]
by Hanne Degans:
Holst Centre and IMEC have unveiled a prototype flexible health patch weighing just 10g – half the weight of current products. The patch uses real-time electrocardiogram (ECG), tissue-contact impedance and accelerometer information to accurately monitor physical activity. Thanks to advanced system in package (SiP) technology from ShinkoElectric Industries, the electronics module measures less than two by two centimeters. The high accuracy algorithms, low power consumption, and small size and weight make it ideal for consumer applications.
Small, light health patch with enhanced accuracy - [Link]
Yonggang Huang who together with Professor John Rogers led the project explained “We designed this device to monitor human health 24/7, but without interfering with a person’s daily activity, what’s important about this device is it is wirelessly powered and can send high quality data about the human body to a computer, in real time”. In a side by side comparison with conventional EKG and EEG monitor skin probes they found the wireless patch performed equally well but was significantly more comfortable and less invasive for patients. In addition to monitoring health and fitness data the sensors could also prove useful in identifying body movements characteristic of the early stages of neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s.
“The application of stretchable electronics to medicine has a lot of potential,” Huang said. “If we can continuously monitor our health with a comfortable, small device that attaches to our skin, it could be possible to catch health conditions before experiencing pain, discomfort and illness.”
Photo by John A. Rogers
Smart Band-Aid Wirelessly Monitors Health - [Link]
The electrolyte is also modified with bio-organic nanodots made from peptide molecules. The new battery technology came about as a result of crossover research into Alzheimer’s disease at Tel Aviv University. The work identified organic peptides (amino acids) which are now being used in StoreDot’s bio-organic battery. The nanodots are made from a range of naturally occurring environmentally-friendly bio-organic raw materials and employ a basic biological mechanism of self-assembly, making them cheap to manufacture.
A conventional micro USB connector would not be able to handle the 180 A necessary for a 30 second recharge of a typical cell phone battery. These sort of charge times would remove a significant hurdle in the development of electric vehicles if the technology is transferable. The design is still at its prototype phase; the developers anticipate the final design of the battery and its charger unit will see a significant reduction in size.
Bio-Battery Recharges in 30 Seconds - [Link]
Researchers at Caltech have developed a novel device which uses an integrated optical phased array (OPA) structure to project images electronically, using a single laser diode as the light source with no mechanical moving parts or lenses. From the description it seems to operate in much the same way that phased-array radars steer a radar beam by adjusting the signal phase to each antenna element in the array.
The Caltech device works at optical wavelengths, the lead researcher Ali Hajimiri and his colleagues found out they did not need traditional optics to bend light but could achieve the same result by altering the coherence of light. When two light waves are in phase in the direction of propagation they combine to give twice the amplitude and four times the energy. By changing the relative wave timing they were able to change the direction of the beam.
“Because the direction of the light beam is controlled electronically and not mechanically, it can create a sort of line very quickly,” said Hajimiri. “Since the light draws many times per second, the eye sees the process as a single image instead of a moving light beam.” Researchers said that “In the future, this can be incorporated into a cell phone. Since there is no need for a lens, you can have a phone that acts as a projector all by itself.”
New Solid-State Projector Device - [Link]