Power/Performance Bits: April 23


Tiny spectrometer Engineers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Sandia National Laboratories, and Huazhong University of Science and Technology developed a miniature spectrometer small enough to integrate with the camera on a typical cellphone without sacrificing accuracy. This miniature sensor is CMOS compatible. "This is a compact, single-shot spectrometer that offers high resolution ... » read more

Week in Review: IoT, Security, Auto


Internet of Things A dairy barn without any people working in it. An automated greenhouse for produce. Coming soon, little robots that will weed crop fields and look for diseased plants. This is Rivendale Farms, in the countryside west of Pittsburgh, which is 175 acres serving as a beta site for agricultural Internet of Things technology. The small farm has about 150 Jersey cows, each of which... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Jan. 14


Optical memory Researchers at the University of Oxford, University of Exeter, and University of Münster propose an all-optical memory cell that can store more optical data, 5 bits, in a smaller space than was previously possible on-chip. The optical memory cell uses light to encode information in the phase change material Ge2Sb2Te5. A laser causes the material to change between ordered and... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: Aug. 7


DNA ROMs The National Science Foundation (NSF) and the Semiconductor Research Corp. (SRC) are investing $12 million to develop a new class of memories and other technologies, such as DNA-based read-only memory (ROM), nucleic acid memory (NAM) and neural networks based on yeast cells. The effort is called the Semiconductor Synthetic Biology for Information Processing and Storage Technologies... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Aug. 7


Optical neural network Researchers at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) have made a silicon chip that distributes optical signals precisely across a miniature brain-like grid, showcasing a potential new design for neural networks. Using light would eliminate interference due to electrical charge and the signals would travel faster and farther, said the researchers. "... » read more

How To Test Autonomous Vehicles


By Kevin Fogarty and Ed Sperling The race is on to develop ways of testing autonomous vehicles to prove they are safe under most road conditions, but this has turned out to be much more difficult than initially thought. The autonomous vehicle technology itself is still in various stages of development, with carmakers struggling to fine-tune AI algorithms that can guide robots on wheels th... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 22


Sensing without battery power Engineers at the National University of Singapore developed an IoT-focused sensor chip that can continue operating when its battery runs out of energy. The chip, BATLESS, uses a power management technique that allows it to self-start and continue to function under dim light without any battery assistance. The chip can operate in two different modes: minimum-ene... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: May 1


Low power video streaming Engineers at the University of Washington developed a method for streaming HD video from a lightweight, wearable camera. The researchers used backscatter to send pixel data to a more powerful device, such as a smartphone or laptop, for power-hungry tasks like video processing and compression that have made a lightweight streaming camera out of reach. The pixels in ... » read more

Manufacturing Bits: April 24


Super electron guns The Department of Energy’s SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory is developing a new type of electron gun based on superconducting technology. The new superconducting electron gun recently produced its first beam of electrons, according to SLAC. The technology is being developed for future high-energy X-ray lasers and ultra-fast electron microscopes. Electron guns a... » read more

Power/Performance Bits: Mar. 13


Wireless charging Engineers at the University of Washington developed a method to safely charge a smartphone wirelessly using a laser, potentially as quickly as a standard USB cable. Safety features of the system include a reflector-based mechanism to shut off the laser and heatsinks. The charging beam is generated by a laser emitter that the team configured to produce a focused beam in the... » read more

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