Tag Archive | gadgets

Smartphone of the Future – Graphene the New Superstar?

Being a little clumsy and at the same time an absolute smartphone addict, it regularly happens to me that my mobile phone slips out of my hands and lands, mostly, on its screen first on the floor. The time between realizing I dropped my phone and picking it up to check whether the screen is still in one piece usually lets my heartbeat increase drastically.

And this not only happens to me. According to a survey conducted by case manufacturer Tech21 as many as 90% of users drop their phone at least once a month (Blandford, 2013). Although this number should be regarded at with caution since Tech21’s main interest consists in selling as many phone cases as possible, it surely gives us a hint that with the rapid growth of the mobile device market phone dropping and the associated repair costs have become an issue.

However, there is good news for all the phone droppers on this planet! Soon we might not only be able to drop our phones without having to fear any consequences but we might even be able to bend them as much as we like. This can be achieved through a new superlight and superstrong material called graphene, a one atom thick layer of graphite making it both transparent and bendable. In addition to the before-mentioned characteristics, graphene also conducts heat and electricity better than anything else, making it an optimal ingredient for future LED screens (De la Fuente, 2014).

Although the technology integrating graphene into smartphone LED screens is still in its infancy and we might therefore not yet see any transparent and bendable smartphone screens in the very near future, both researchers and the mobile phone industry have launched projects exploring the possible applications for graphene (Hamill, 2014).

For those who might now be interested in graphene and its capabilities, I recommend to have a look at the following TED talk from Mikael Fogelstrom which provides some great explanations.

So what do you think? Is graphene really the new super material researchers like to promote it as? Will our future mobile devices be made of graphene? Do you see any further uses of graphene apart from the one discussed in this article?

Sources:

Blandford, 2013.‘90% of people drop their phone at least once a month’, http://allaboutwindowsphone.com/, last visited: 20 September 2015.

De la Fuente, 2014.‘Graphene uses and applications’, http://www.graphenea.com/, last visited: 20 September 2015.

Hamill, 2014. ‘Smartphones Of The Future Will Use Graphene Touchscreens’, http://www.forbes.com/, last visited: 20 September 2015.

Displays everywhere?!

Rotterdam – The impossible made possible. Nu.nl has just recently announced that researchers linked to the University of California have managed to make elastic screens[1,3]. This screens would not shatter when you drop them, crash when they are stretched and break when you would fold them. What more could a consumer wish for?

For now it seems the age of broken and shattered windows on your mobile phone is coming to an end. But just replacing these screens with the more flexible screens you aren’t using all of the capabilities of these screens. For example, researchers mention these examples as potential applications [2,3]:

• curtains that light up the room

• smartphones that can be enlarged up to two times their original size

• electronics in clothing

Potentials uses of these screens are amazing. Personally, I am very interested in the business side of the potential use. I could imagine for example that people would wear clothes with enormous changing advertisements on them as they go to work using the subway. In that way the reach of conventional advertisement is enlarged, a new opportunity for businesses arises!

Another really interesting use would be the screens that could be enlarged multiple times. For now, the screen has a resolution of 5×5 pixels, but it is expected that the resolution will increase exponentially in the near future. Hopefully screens are also able to be extended even up to 10, 20 or maybe a 100 times. In that way you do not buy a television, tablet, mobile phone and laptop separately, but you will always have your screen with you which you connect with the device you want. You just expand your screen to watch a soccer match and afterwards you let it shrimp, fold it and take it with you upstairs to watch the written summary of the game on your screen you now use as a tablet.

 

References to used sources:

[1] http://www.nu.nl/tech/3583732/elastisch-scherm-kan-worden-gevouwen-en-gerekt.html, 24 september 2013

[2] http://nutech.nl/gadgets/3583729/onderzoekers-maken-elastisch-scherm.html, 24 september 2013

[3] http://www.nature.com/nphoton/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nphoton.2013.242.html#access, 24 september 2013

 

Take your pc case with you!

The need for mobility was one of the basic drivers in technology the last years. One of the first product, that would allow a user to have a personal computer available at any time was laptops, available to the market from early 80s.

The next step came with the evolution of laptops to notebooks and as the technology evolved and microchips became smaller and smaller we arrived to the era where everyone is carrying a pad or a smartphones. That transition wouldn’t be that fast, if it wasn’t of the wide acceptance of Google’s OS Android.

As 2013 approaching, it is time to welcome a new category of products that are going to give another meaning to mobility and maybe  in the end succeed on changing our whole perception on what a personal computer looks like, putting us in the dilemma of what we should do with our big desktops that take so much space on our houses and offices. The product is called “Android mini PC”, and is a new category of a computers with a size slightly bigger from a normal usb-stick, as shown on the picture at the beginning of the post.

The only thing needed in order to work on this new device is a screen compatible to HDMI, a mouse and keyboard and you are ready to go. On the software side,” Android mini PC” comes with an Android version installed on it, usually the release 4.0.x the one also called “Ice Cream Sandwich” that can support the usage of a mouse.

Working with a “mini PC” you can do all the basic tasks that you would do, with a regular PC. You can write and edit docs, you can browse your files and you can even connect to the internet through a WiFi connection.

There are a number of companies that offer a different version of a mini PC with prices that even start from 40$ a piece and although all of them have an internal storage capacity by using a Solid State Drive (SSD)  some of them, offer the option to increase your storage with the usage of a micro-SD.

Even if you are not in a need for another desktop, you can use a mini PC as your home media player as it can be very easily connected to a TV that supports HDMI. Icing on the cake, some of the products can even play a video on Full-HD.

To sum up I think is a very good solution, for people that have to travel a lot and they don’t want carry a lot of stuff with them. an example could be, flying with low fare airlines, or for all of the people that have an older HDMI compatible TV and they want to give it a boost and upgrading it to a product with access to the internet and thousands of application through Google Play.

A mini demonstration follows on the next video, enjoy!

Collect you love for tweets one a tiny piece of paper with Adafruit’s Internet of Things Printer!

Love staying connected and using excess paper? Adafruit’s got your back with its latest project. The Internet of Things (IoT) printer goes online via an Ethernet jack, printing up data on 2.5 inch wide receipt paper.

You can print things like Twitter feeds, news briefs or sports scores using its open source software. Putting the box together requires some soldering and an Arduino, but once you’re done, you’ll finally be able to live out your fantasies of becoming an old time stock broker.

Watch the video below to see a sweet demonstration of the little machine.

Adafruit’s IoT printer from adafruit industries on Vimeo.