NIST engineers are working with scientists from the University of Arizona (Tucson) and Boeing Research & Technology (Seattle, Wash.) to design antennas incorporating metamaterials — materials engineered with novel, often microscopic, structures to produce unusual properties. The new antennas radiate as much as 95 percent of an input radio signal and yet defy normal design parameters. Standard antennas need to be at least half the size of the signal wavelength to operate efficiently; at 300 MHz, for instance, an antenna would need to be half a meter long. The experimental antennas are as small as one-fiftieth of a wavelength and could shrink further. [via]
Remarkably small antennas – [Link]
The exponential growth of LED lighting has ushered in a vast selection of integrated circuit devices to provide controlled power to LEDs. This article describes some basic LED theory and several techniques used to provide dimming control to switched-mode LED drivers. Read more on the link below
Dimming Techniques for Switched-Mode LED drivers – [Link]
LTC3108 is a highly integrated step-up DC/DC converter designed to start-up and run from extremely low input voltage sources such as thermoelectric generators (TEGs), thermopiles and small solar cells. Its self-resonant topology steps up from input voltages as low as 20mV. View LTC3108 presentation
LTC310 – Ultralow Voltage Step-Up Converter – [Link]
Inspired by Jeff Keyzer, Gary Dion decided to build his own WiFi radio. He constructed it using an Asus WL-520gu wireless router, an old USB audio headset, and a bunch of spare parts from his junk pile. After following Jeff’s directions to get the basic radio working, he added some extra niceties such as an infrared remote! [via]
Nice WiFi radio build – [Link]
Robert Hart posted a test run of his Cosmic Ray Muon Detector which uses three parallel Geiger–Müller Tubes. Simultaneous readings on all three tube sensors indicates the momentary presence of cosmic radiation. Robert built this device to assist in testing a similar unit which uses common fluorescent tubes for detection. [via]
“A hydrogen station in every home” is a futuristic vision that is about to become reality this week as Horizon Fuel Cell Technologies unveils what could be its biggest breakthrough to date: a small home hydrogen refueling and storage solution that could begin our transition to a hydrogen-based economy.
Named HYDROFILL(TM) unveiled at the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The small desktop device simply plugs into the AC, a solar panel or a small wind turbine, automatically extracts hydrogen from its water tank and stores it in a solid form in small refillable cartridges. The cartridges contain metallic alloys that absorb hydrogen into their crystalline structure, and release it back at low pressures, removing concerns about storing hydrogen at high pressure. This storage method also creates the highest volumetric energy density of any form of hydrogen storage, even higher than liquid hydrogen. Unlike conventional batteries, these cartridges carry more energy capacity, are cheaper, and do not contain any environmentally-harmful heavy metals.
World’s first personal hydrogen station – [Link]
Compatible with Arduino software environment (thanks to the Sanguino board, from which it was inspired), Duino644 offers more capabilities than a regular, ATmega328-based Arduino, in the same price range.
Duino644 was originally designed to be used in an advanced new version of Wise Clock. It features the same combo RTC + EEPROM as Wiseduino, and also an SD card socket and connectors for the 24×16 LED matrix display from Sure Electronics.
Duino644: Arduino clone powered by ATmega644 – [Link]
Back in July 2009, we reviewed Protostack’s ATMEGA8 development kit. The heart of the kit was Protostack’s 28 pin AVR board. This week Protostack released a new version of that board and it includes a whole bunch of improvements. You can read the original review here.
This release is the 3rd one to date and includes the following improvements over the one we previously looked at.
- Addition of power supply block
- ISP-6 interface is now 2×3 pin instead of 1×6 pin
- Addition of a section for double row headers and IDC connectors
- Clearer labeling of power busses