Credit Card Has Touchpad, Three Year Battery Life

November 11 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2010   Rating: 5 Hot

Visa Europe is working hard for your money, and in doing so they have come up with a credit card capable of switching around your security code everytime you enter your PIN on its touchpad. “An alpha-numeric display and keypad is built directly into the card. When making a transaction online, customers type their PIN into the card, which creates a one-time security code.” Visa is working with four major banks, including Bank of America in the UK, to develop this card. Videos of how it works can be found here and here.

This is quite amazing. Having a touchpad on your credit card ensures that the code on the back of your card (that little number, usually three digits, on the back) could never be compromised without a thief knowing your PIN number. I wonder though if the numbers you press would look worn, making it easy for the thief to determine what you PIN is.

Although it’s kind of unnerving to think that your credit card has a battery life, the fact that it can run for three years could help boost confidence. You could possibly even charge it at your local bank every year on a simple flat tray. Of course, someone hacking into it within a few days is possible but by then hopefully you’d have canceled it. All we need now is a credit card that can take your fingerprint.

Check out more at ITPRO

via Gizmodo

Tiny piezoelectric devices convert motion into electricity

November 10 2008 / by Garry Golden / In association with Future Blogger.net
Category: Technology   Year: Beyond   Rating: 3

What happened?
Researchers at Georgia Tech University have developed a new type of small-scale electric power generator able to produce alternating current (AC) through the repeated stretching and releasing of zinc oxide wires held with in a flexible plastic substrate that can be incorporated into almost any material.

This new type of piezoelectric generator can produce up to 45 millivolts by converting nearly seven percent of the mechanical energy applied directly to the zinc oxide wires into electricity. A complex array of these devices could be used to charge sensors or low power embedded MEMS devices.

Why is this important to the future?
Micro and nano-scale power systems are going to be in high demand in a future increasingly dependent on sensors and microelectronics. Piezoelectric generators could become a low cost, more durable alternative to miniaturized batteries and fuel cells used to power the billions of sensors, smart tags, and MEMS devices expected to hit the marketplace over the next two decades.

“The flexible charge pump offers yet another option for converting mechanical energy into electrical energy,” said Professor Zhong Lin Wang of the Center for Nanostructure Characterization at the Georgia Institute of Technology. “This adds to our family of very small-scale generators able to power devices used in medical sensing, environmental monitoring, defense technology and personal electronics.”

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New Bionic Hand Gives Us Glimpses of Star Wars, Bionic Bodies

November 07 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 9 Hot

Touch Bionics, a “leading developer of advanced upper-limb prosthetics” has just made Time’s list of Top 50 inventions of 2008 (coming it at #14).

What’s so amazing about this invention?

For starters, each finger is powered by its own motor. This allows the wearer to individually move their fingers for more accurate manipulation of objects. It’s made of a high-strength plastic resulting in a prosthetic that is lightweight as well as appealing to the eyes. Maintenance of the hand is also very simple. “The modular construction of the i-LIMB Hand means that each individually powered finger can be quickly removed by simply removing one screw. This means that a prosthetist can easily swap out fingers that require servicing and patients can return to their everyday lives after a short clinic visit.” This way you can still have use of the hand while part of it is getting repaired.

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Dean Kamen Unveils Stirling Engine Powered Hybrid Car, Stuns Us All

November 10 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Environment   Year: 2012   Rating: 3 Hot

Dean Kamen has jolted the world yet again with his latest contraption — A Stirling engine hybrid car.

The Stirling engine, for those in the dark, is an engine which derives its power from an external heat source. The amazing thing about it is that the heat source can be just about anything, even your own body. Kamen’s car, dubbed “REVOLT,” can run on any conventional fuel, from biodiesel to natural gas.

Despite the practicality of such an engine, development of the Stirling engine in the world has been trying at best. Weird to think that an engine, which runs on heat and was invented in 1816, could fall to the side all these years. But we’re starting to see the Stirling engine pop up more and more these days, especially in large solar arrays.

So when are we going to see this in production?

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3DIcon Develops True 3D Imaging with Dual Infrared Lasers

November 05 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2018   Rating: 12 Hot

Tulsa, Oklahoma company 3DIcon has made an astonishing 3D imaging breakthrough with their prototype CSpace.

“CSpace creates a virtual moving screen display that contains a variety of particles suspended within its volumetric image space. When these particles are excited by two different infrared lasers, they illuminate to generate a 3D image.”

The two infrared lasers combine to form an image in a “volumetric image space” (something like a clear cube). The breakthrough made is in the technology as well as the display quality. Not only can the 3D image be viewed from any angle, but it also displays an incredibly high resolution. On top of this, the whole prototype requires no moving parts. So far they’ve only been able to create green 3D objects, but the hope is to eventually create full-color 3D images.

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Ericsson Expects Cellphones With HD Video Capability by 2012

November 07 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2012   Rating: 6 Hot

Ericsson, one of the largest companies in Sweden, unveiled their plans for a revolutionary new cellphone capable of 20 Megapixel photos and true HD video recording capability.

At the press conference, Ericsson representative Jonas Lundstedt said they see the cellphone of the future as more of a “mobile terminal” than just a cellphone. With the capability to replace objects in our lives with just one great device, Ericsson is following the way of some of the other major players in the cellphone industry by combining services and devices into one simple object.

The day is coming where the cellphone could possibly no longer be called a cellphone, but a terminal like Lundstedt mentioned. When the cellphone can function as a phone, camera, video camera, map, credit card, etc, can we even call it a cellphone anymore? With AT&T recently approving the tethering of the iPhone to other devices such as televisions and other household appliances this forecast isn’t too far off. The all-in-one device may only be a few short years away. Maybe call it a Universal Remote?

via TechOn!

Portable Food-In-A-Pill Helps Soldiers and Civilians in Emergencies, Will Metabolize Your Own Fat

November 06 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2020   Rating: 4 Hot

For those emergency situations where food might be scarce (or even destroyed by enemy fire) comes the Meal Ready to Take (MRT), a device loaded with enough food pills to sustain life for a week. Depress the top button for a full-sized meal.

Although we are told it time and again, not very many of us prepare for disasters. Likewise, soldiers in the field trust that they’ll have enough food in their backpack or vehicle to last them the duration of the mission. So how many water bottles do you have in your place in case of emergency? A half gallon at best? And food? It’s for this reason the MRT is essential to any disaster preparedness kit and in the field of battle.

Inside each pill is enough vitamins and nutrients to constitute about half a meal for a person on a 2,000 Calories a day diet. While it may not feel like you’re eating a meal due to the size (your stomach will still gnaw at itself), you’ll still notice a difference in your energy levels. Your stomach may be empty but your body is still getting the sustenance it needs to survive.

Where does the rest of the meal come from?

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Mintpass Promises to Give The Nano a Run For Its Money

November 05 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2009   Rating: 4 Hot

While you were pounding a few beers back last night, a Korean company unleashed a product into the world that may give the iPod Nano a run for its money. Dubbed the Mintpass, this little guy (only the size of your palm and weighing only 3.2 ounces) has Wi-Fi capabilities, plays music, can chat, blog, function as a post-it and even surf the internet. Did I mention it has a 1.3M camera? Or a speaker and microphone? How about video capability and 4GB of space (on top of an 8GB microSD slot). Think of it as a Nano on steroids. Demo video here.

Will we be seeing it anytime soon?

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FCC Frees Up White Spaces, Signals a Wireless Revolution (Google is Very Happy)

November 05 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2011   Rating: 2

On the eve of the election, the FCC approved the use of the wireless spectrum left void by the national switch to digital television (commonly referred to as “white space”) for tech company use.

“The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today adopted a Second Report and Order (Second R&O) that establishes rules to allow new, sophisticated wireless devices to operate in broadcast television spectrum on a secondary basis at locations where that spectrum is open. (This unused TV spectrum is now commonly referred to as television “white spaces”). The rules adopted today will allow for the use of these new and innovative types of unlicensed devices in the unused spectrum to provide broadband data and other services for consumers and businesses.” – FCC Website

Google, a long proponent of developing the strong white space spectrum for wireless internet, is ecstatic. Having lead the fight to free up the white space spectrum with other partners such as Dell, Microsoft and HP, Google must be feeling like they’re on top of the world.

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Nanobama made of carbon nanotubes

November 04 2008 / by Garry Golden
Category: Government   Year: 2009   Rating: 3

Nanowerk has reported on University of Michigan Professor John Hart’s Nanobama site featuring nanoscale designed faces of Barack Obama. The carbon nanotube faces consist of millions of aligned nanotubes, and shown via a scanning electron microscope.

World's First Fully Artificial Heart Could Set You Back a Bit

November 04 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2010   Rating: 1

French scientists unveiled the world’s first fully functional artificial heart at the cost of about $192,000 a unit. The heart, which gets some of its design from modern aerospace research, consists of two pumps which help regulate flow.

The reason this is called the first fully functional artificial heart is that, unlike other hearts currently made, it comes equipped with sensors which can increase or decrease blood flow depending on the persons level of activity. “The same tiny sensors that measure air pressure and altitude in an airplane or satellite are also in the artificial heart. This should allow the device to respond immediately if the patient needs more or less blood.”(CNN) Current models require an outside regulator to adjust blood flow to the body (and only consist of one pump).

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Virtual Skylight Makes It Easier to Live In Cramped Cities

November 04 2008 / by John Heylin
Category: Gadgets   Year: 2008   Rating: 5 Hot

Some great science fiction movies have depicted the protagonist sitting in front of a beautiful landscape with chirping birds and incredible gardens (Aliens, Total Recall, etc). Spooky Science Fiction has yet again struck close to reality.

Called the SkyCeiling, it uses high resolution imagery on embedded image tiles to give the looker a true 3D experience. Some of the technology they use in developing the SkyCeiling is used currently to treat seasonal depression. It provides “daylight-balanced light (the same light used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder) for rich color rendition and recognition as ‘natural’ daylight.” The hope is that the product would help sooth and calm people in hospitals who are unnerved by the white and sterile environment.

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