With touch-panel technology, Visteon is doing away with buttons and knobs in car dashboards. These new dashboards, on display at CES 2009, look like opaque, blank panels, but when you put your hand near the surface, a proximity sensor lights up button areas. Visteon has mapped standard car controls onto its touch panel, such as climate control and audio. The panels use haptic technology so you can feel it click. The company had a few other innovations on display, including a 3D navigation display and a driver alertness monitor.
Before I begin, let me say this one more time: The 802.11n wireless specification (or Wireless-N, which is currently still in draft state and therefore is also known as Draft N) is a wireless networking standard that offers speeds up to 300Mbps. That is a lot faster than the previous and popular specification 802.11g (or Wireless-G) that caps out at 54Mbps. Wireless-N is backward compatible with Wireless-G devices, meaning they can be connected to Wireless-N networks at 802.11g speed.
Now that, though confusing, is all common knowledge. What's not commonly known is that wireless vendors are … Read more
Imagine dropping your cell phone and MP3 player into a special pocket in the console of your car, and having them automatically charge up. Leggett and Platt, an automotive parts supplier, is using technology from Fulton Innovation that makes this scenario a reality. Fulton's ECouple technology lets devices charge up wirelessly, just by setting them down on a special charging surface. At CES, Leggett and Platt is showing various applications of this technology, including a car console with special pockets to recharge a BlackBerry and a flashlight. The company also has a Bosch power toolbox that automatically charges a … Read more
There's little doubt that as we inch closer to the technological singularity, video-enabled glasses will play a part. Unfortunately, manufacturers have yet to produce a pair that don't make you look like a complete idiot, and bionic eye camera implants still seem a ways off.
Luckily, the folks at Vuzix must have grown tired of all the Geordi La Forge jokes, as their latest pair of video glasses look astonishingly normal. While there's no guarantee that the Vuzix Wrap 920AV won't induce muffled laughter from everyone around you, they do promise to combine virtual reality capabilities … Read more
Correction on Wednesday at 11:27 a.m. PST: A press release on which this story was partially based misidentified which NASA mission the technology will be used for. This post was updated with correct information. The energy-harvesting sensors are part of research for forthcoming Mars Scout Missions.
Engineers at Kansas State University have developed a radio with sensors and microprocessors that can transmit data and is self-sufficient when it comes to power.
The device, called by the engineers an "energy-harvesting radio," is essentially a wireless sensor with microprocessor and radio that can transfer a flash of data … Read more
There are a ton of rumors flying around right now saying that Microsoft just might introduce a Zune-ified competitor to the iPhone at CES next month. There are also those who call that a ridiculous notion. I happen, to a degree, to agree with both sides.
You won't see it at CES, but new a mobile phone initiative is brewing at Microsoft right now, and the Zune team is involved.
I live in Seattle. I run with the Microsoft/Amazon/Real/Whatever circle of geeks in the area. Sadly, because I'm a technology journalist, this means that when I run into them at parties they often have to clam up. I was, though, fortunate enough to have a sneak peek at a prototype Zune more than two years ago before anyone knew what it would look like or do. I was also lucky enough to snap a shot of it with my Treo. This became the first public photo of the device. It was black and white and wrapped in its own headphones, you might remember it. You could say I broke the Zune. I thus love the Zune. I pay close attention to what the Zune teams are doing. I listen to the Zune rumors. I have my ear to the Zune ground.
And I can tell you this: There will be a cellular communications device with Zune-like features in the near future. … Read more
More scientists and engineers are about to join the international race to the moon sponsored by Google and the X Prize Foundation.
The foundation announced Thursday it will introduce two new Google Lunar X Prize teams to its already weighty roster of 14 competitors. The announcement will be made Tuesday via a teleconference from Google headquarters. Although the X Prize Foundation organizes a number of innovation competitions, the Google Lunar X Prize is sponsored in conjunction with Google.
Team LunaTrex will also have an announcement to make at that time, according to the foundation.
Then on Wednesday, Google and the … Read more
MTI Micro, a subsidiary of Mechanical Technology Incoporated, unveiled a portable charger on Wednesday that uses replaceable fuel cartridges.
MTI Micro is not the first, and hopefully won't be the last, company to go to the fuel cell for portable convenient power. (People refer to these new tries as "fuel cell gadget chargers," though to me that seems like it refers to a charger for powering fuel cell gadgets.)
As many of the comments on a post I wrote on Friday point out, I can at times be shortsighted to potential applications of new technology. When it comes to flexible display technology, however, I practically have telescopic vision. Well at least as far as Hollywood has shown me.
On Monday, Hewlett-Packard and the Flexible Display Center (FDC) at Arizona State University announced the purported first prototype of what they call affordable, unbreakable flexible electronic displays.
For the uninitiated, a flexible display is a paperlike computer display that's made almost entirely out of plastic. According to HP, these displays … Read more
But what could it do better? According to Apple, taking the "touch" out of multitouch would be a good first step.
According to an article on AppleInsider, Apple has issued a 30-page patent that touches on the implementation of proximity sensors into its multitouch technology on devices larger than the iPhone.
The multitouch sensors combined with proximity sensors would let users interact with the given interface without actually having to touch the screen. Now, this seems a tad ridiculous to me, and is anyone really too lazy to move their finger an extra inch? Yeah they are, but that doesn't make it a good idea.
Apple sees some different applications for the technology. According to the company, users would have the capability to turn off the entire touch-screen panel, or just portions of it. In addition, users would able to power down one or more of the computer's systems by dimming or brightening the screen as they see fit.
Awesome, huh?! Alas, no. OK, I may be missing something, but why would you need a proximity sensor to do this? You could just move your finger another inch and accomplish the same thing. The only unique feature Apple cited from the filing was the idea that you could highlight virtual buttons on a display without touching them. This could prepare the button for actually being pushed. Again, how is this useful?… Read more