Elon Musk Wants to Power the World with New Battery System

Tesla recently unveiled its Tesla Energy system that will initially feature two products: the Powerwall, designed to power homes, and the Powerpack, for businesses and possibly public utilities. The Powerwall rechargeable lithium-ion battery will be available in 7 kWh and 10 kWh models, while the Powerpack will come in 100 kWh battery blocks with a reach of 10 Mwh and higher. Powerwalls have already been available to select customers, and Powerpacks will become available once Tesla’s Gigafactory goes online. Continue reading Elon Musk Wants to Power the World with New Battery System

ChargerLeash Demos Line of Smart Charging Cable at CES

ChargerLeash showed its smart charging cables at CES that sound off when you unplug your phone or tablet to remind you not to forget your charging device. They support a wide range of phones and tablets by measuring the specific high and low current states and alarm when they see the power use cease. Equipped with a sleep button for times that you want to leave the cable attached, it is easily possible to turn off the alarm with a simple touch. The company was promoting its Gen 2 Pro Series line. Continue reading ChargerLeash Demos Line of Smart Charging Cable at CES

Sensors/MEMS Session: Biometric Information for Wearables

Developers of health and fitness wearables — currently the industry’s biggest segment — are challenged with providing accurate and reliable biometric information. If the consumer cannot be convinced that calories burned, steps taken, and blood pressure numbers do not reflect reality, then health and fitness wearables will never gain the traction they need to become mass market. Enter Valencell, a core technology provider for biometric information to silicon providers and OEMs. Continue reading Sensors/MEMS Session: Biometric Information for Wearables

Longer-Lasting Solid-State Batteries May Power New Wearables

Solid-state batteries, which have been used for wireless sensors but are typically considered too expensive for most devices, can now be manufactured much cheaper, according to Applied Materials. The company, which supplies equipment for semiconductor and display industries, says that these longer lasting batteries can be used in anything from smartwatches to electric cars. The company plans its first commercial use of the batteries in wearable devices, where size is a limitation.  Continue reading Longer-Lasting Solid-State Batteries May Power New Wearables

IBM’s SyNAPSE Chip Mimics the Workings of a Human Brain

IBM recently unveiled the second generation of a new type of computer chip that consumes less power and performs faster than traditional chips based on Von Neumann architecture. The SyNAPSE chip, which is still in development, was designed to function like the human brain, using more than a million “neurons” communicating through electrical spikes. This new technology requires a new type of programming language as well, but the performance gains are massive. Continue reading IBM’s SyNAPSE Chip Mimics the Workings of a Human Brain

Nitero WiGig Chip Brings Multi-Gigabit Speeds to Smartphones

Last week, wireless startup Nitero unveiled its first WiGig radio silicon. The low-power WiGig chip is targeted at smartphones, tablets and TVs, specifically to transfer large files in a short range at extremely fast speeds. For example, the WiGig chip can stream 4K video from a TV to a smartphone using high frequency 60GHz waves. Nitero’s 28-nanometer WiGig chip reportedly consumes 10 times less power than competing chips from Wilocity. Continue reading Nitero WiGig Chip Brings Multi-Gigabit Speeds to Smartphones

Intel’s PC-Tablet Hybrid is Powered by New Innovative Chips

At the Computex trade show in Taiwan, Intel is showing prototypes of convertible, “2-in-1” devices that have elements of both tablets and PCs. One design is an extremely thin PC-tablet with a 12.5-inch display that works both with or without a keyboard. The 7.2-millimeter thick device runs on Windows 8.1 software, and it is expected to go to market in time for this year’s holiday season. The compact design of the ultrathin PC-tablet is made possible by the small circuits in Intel’s Broadwell processing chips. Continue reading Intel’s PC-Tablet Hybrid is Powered by New Innovative Chips

Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Energous and Witricity have developed new ways to charge smartphones, tablets and other small devices without needing wires to plug them into an outlet. Energous’ WattUp technology allows users to recharge phones in special cases or receivers that can pick up signals from a transmitter that is plugged in more than 10 feet away. Toyota and TDK are already planning to utilize Witricity’s wireless charging technology in upcoming hybrid and electric cars, and car batteries. Continue reading Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Organic Battery Could Lead to More Affordable Electric Cars

Power Japan Plus has developed an organic battery using cotton’s carbon fiber, which the startup claims will generate more power than a lithium-ion battery and can charge up to 20 times faster. The company also says that its battery can be charged thousands of times without losing energy capacity (unlike lithium-ion batteries). Power Japan Plus envisions the technology enabling more affordable, long-range electric vehicles that can be charged in minutes and travel hundreds of miles. Continue reading Organic Battery Could Lead to More Affordable Electric Cars

Google Releases Developer Kit for Project Ara Modular Phone

Google is working towards creating a build-it-yourself modular smartphone, one that will allow users to build the perfect smartphone based on their individual needs. The device is being developed through Project Ara, part of the Advanced Technology and Projects group at Google. The group is developing a smartphone that features an open-source hardware platform. Customers would start with a base hardware piece called Endo, and then add features through plug-and-play modules. Continue reading Google Releases Developer Kit for Project Ara Modular Phone

Consortium Seeks Engineering Standards for Internet of Things

The Industrial Internet Consortium — which includes AT&T, Cisco, General Electric, IBM and Intel — said last week that it plans to develop engineering standards for the connection of objects, sensors and computing systems in large industrial assets, such as oil refineries, factories and harbors. The consortium aims to establish standards for how machines will share information and move data. The group also plans to publish case studies, conduct forums and cooperate on security practices. Continue reading Consortium Seeks Engineering Standards for Internet of Things

Wireless Power: Experiments in Charging Future Mobile Devices

Scientists and engineers are working towards making wireless power possible by harvesting and transforming existing energy from the world around us. Models they have looked at include nanoscale pillars that turn waste heat into electricity and a spongey smartphone case that generates electricity from sitting on a vibrating surface. One source of energy is thermoelectricity, which works by creating electricity from the current created by electrons moving from hot to cold, an approach that may be ideal for humans. Continue reading Wireless Power: Experiments in Charging Future Mobile Devices

Google Buys Green Throttle’s Atlas Controller and Arena App

Google has acquired Green Throttle Games’ Atlas controller and Arena app-maker in a move that could point to new gaming features for its long rumored set-top box. Green Throttle’s Bluetooth Atlas controller and Android Arena app essentially allow users to transform tablets or smartphones into game consoles. As part of the deal, two of the three co-founders, Matt Crowley and Karl Townsend, will be joining Google. The third co-founder, Charles Huang (“Guitar Hero”) is reportedly keeping the rights to the Green Throttle business. Continue reading Google Buys Green Throttle’s Atlas Controller and Arena App

CE Manufacturers Concerned Over Lack of Global 4K Standards

Journalist and ETCentric community member Adrian Pennington published a story last week regarding the need for global UHD standards, which included comments by Pixel Power CTO Nick Wright. “The staggered introduction of Ultra HD 4K production, distribution and display equipment risks fragmenting the market, adding unnecessary cost and yet again ending any chance of fielding a single, worldwide television standard,” writes Adrian. “The issue is causing concern among many manufacturers.” Continue reading CE Manufacturers Concerned Over Lack of Global 4K Standards

Chip Makers Race to Deliver Tech for Faster Mobile Networks

Intel, Broadcom and other chip makers are working to develop the next major advance in cellular network technology, a topic of discussion this week at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Spurred by market leader Qualcomm and rivals that hope to reduce its dominance, companies are demonstrating extensions of the tech presently used in the fastest networks. One new service, LTE Advanced, is expected to offer download rates of 300 megabits per second, four to six times faster than current LTE. Continue reading Chip Makers Race to Deliver Tech for Faster Mobile Networks

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