Electronic Components
Developing a Sonar-Assisted Device for the Blind
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Medical, Patient Monitoring, Wireless, News, MDB on Thursday, 11 December 2014
At Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC, a biology professor researching echolocation in bats teamed up with an associate professor of computer science and an interdisciplinary team of students to develop a device that can help the visually impaired navigate better. Their research focused on developing a device that could be worn like a watch by a visually-impaired person as a supplement to other aids like a cane or guide dog.
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Researchers Develop a Way to Control Material with Voltage
Posted in Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Power Management, Materials, Metals, Semiconductors & ICs, News on Thursday, 04 December 2014
A new way of switching the magnetic properties of a material using just a small applied voltage, developed by researchers at MIT and collaborators elsewhere, could signal the beginning of a new family of materials with a variety of switchable properties. The technique could ultimately be used to control properties other than magnetism, including reflectivity or thermal conductivity. The first application of the new finding is likely to be a new kind of memory chip that requires no power to maintain data once it’s written, drastically lowering its overall power needs. This could be especially useful for mobile devices, where battery life is often a major limitation.
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Garnet Ceramics Could Be the Key to High-Energy Lithium Batteries
Posted in Batteries, Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Power Management, Materials, Ceramics, Energy Efficiency, Energy, Semiconductors & ICs, News on Thursday, 04 December 2014
Scientists at the Department of Energy’s Oak Ridge National Laboratory have discovered exceptional properties in a garnet material that could enable development of higher-energy battery designs. The ORNL-led team used scanning transmission electron microscopy to take an atomic-level look at a cubic garnet material called LLZO. The researchers found the material to be highly stable in a range of aqueous environments, making the compound a promising component in new battery configurations.
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Harvesting Energy for Medical Implants
Posted in Electronic Components, Power Supplies, Implants & Prosthetics, Medical, News, MDB on Monday, 01 December 2014
Scientists at the VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland have demonstrated a new technique for harvesting energy from mechanical vibrations of the environment and converting it into electricity. They explain that energy harvesters are needed, for example, in wireless self-powered sensors and medical implants, such as pacemakers, where they could ultimately replace batteries.
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New System Could Prolong Power in Mobile Devices
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Power Management, PCs/Portable Computers, Semiconductors & ICs, News on Monday, 27 October 2014
Researchers from The University of Texas at Dallas have created technology that could be the first step toward wearable computers with self-contained power sources or, more immediately, a smartphone that doesn’t die after a few hours of heavy use. The technology taps into the power of a single electron to control energy consumption inside transistors, which are at the core of most modern electronic systems.
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Researchers Develop Thinnest Electric Generator
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Electronics, Power Management, Materials, Metals, Sensors, Semiconductors & ICs, News on Friday, 17 October 2014
Researchers from Columbia Engineering and the Georgia Institute of Technology made the first experimental observation of piezoelectricity and the piezotronic effect in an atomically thin material, molybdenum disulfide (MoS2), resulting in a unique electric generator and mechanosensation devices that are optically transparent, extremely light, and very bendable and stretchable.

“This material—just a single layer of atoms—could be made as a wearable device, perhaps integrated into clothing, to convert energy from your body movement to electricity and power wearable sensors or medical devices, or perhaps supply enough energy to charge your cell phone in your pocket,” says James Hone, professor of mechanical engineering at Columbia and co-leader of the research.

Hone’s team placed thin flakes of MoS2 on flexible plastic substrates and determined how their crystal lattices were oriented using optical techniques. They then patterned metal electrodes onto the flakes. In research done at Georgia Tech, a group led by Zhong Lin Wang, Regents’ Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Materials Science and Engineering, installed measurement electrodes on the samples provided by Hone’s group, then measured current flows as the samples were mechanically deformed. They monitored the conversion of mechanical to electrical energy, and observed voltage and current outputs.

Ultimately, Zhong Lin Wang notes, the research could lead to complete atomic-thick nanosystems that are self-powered by harvesting mechanical energy from the environment. This study also reveals the piezotronic effect in two-dimensional materials for the first time, which greatly expands the application of layered materials for human-machine interfacing, robotics, MEMS, and active flexible electronics.

Source Also: Learn more about a Piezoelectric Energy Harvesting Transducer System.
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Ferroelectric Materials Could Revolutionize Data-Driven Devices
Posted in Electronics & Computers, Electronic Components, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics, Power Management, Computers, Materials, Metals, Test & Measurement, Measuring Instruments, News on Friday, 17 October 2014
Electronic devices with unprecedented efficiency and data storage may someday run on ferroelectrics — remarkable materials that use built-in electric polarizations to read and write digital information, outperforming the magnets that are inside most popular data-driven technology. But ferroelectrics must first overcome a few key stumbling blocks, including a curious habit of "forgetting" stored data. Now, however, scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Brookhaven National Laboratory have discovered nanoscale asymmetries and charge preferences hidden within ferroelectrics that may explain their operational limits.
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