August 28, 2012 23:01 by Jeremy
In what's possibly the largest piece of tech news these days, consumers and developers alike have been reeling back at the results of the Apple vs. Samsung trial. The jury's verdict claims that Samsung, "...should have known or did know they were infringing," and Samsung must now pay over a billion dollars in damages. The patents in question alleged that Samsung copied the Apple iPhone's physical design and user interface.
The trial isn't exactly over yet, though. The jurors made their decision quite fast (a little too fast, even for legal experts) - for them to gloss over 100-pages of rules as to what they should be judging, only to come out hours later with a verdict, seemed a little sketchy. The jurors are defending their verdict, but some people have even pointed out flaws in their logic as far as calculating the damages owed. Samsung will likely use this in their appeal of the decision.
While Apple floats on cloud nine, with CEO Tim Cook issuing an internal memo regarding Samsung's thieving ways, the rest of the world has been left wondering what the next stage is. The courts will continue the case of Apple vs. Samsung, but where does this place other manufacturers such as HTC and Nokia? Large companies such as Google and Microsoft have even chimed in, with the former stating that, "Most of these [patent claims] don't relate to the core Android operating system, and several are being re-examined by the US Patent Office."
If you were planning on buying any Samsung cell phones in the near future, you might want to do it sooner rather than later - Apple is already trying to figure out which of the infringed products they'd liked banned.
Sources: latimes, mashable, theverge (1), theverge (2)
August 21, 2012 01:10 by Ty
Development of a new type of battery using the world’s thinnest material could power our future devices with fast charge and discharge rates. Currently, we are using today’s lithium ion (Li-Ion) battery technology to power our laptops, tablets, cell phones, digital cameras, camcorders, and other portable electronic devices. Current Li-Ion batteries mark today’s industry standards. R&D engineering researchers at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute are taking Li-ion battery technology to the next level. Intentionally blemished graphene paper is used to create quick-charging Lithium-ion batteries with a high power density.
Graphene is an allotrope of carbon, which is structurally modified by bonding atoms together from the element in a different manner. Conventional Li-ion battery cells use carbon, metal oxide, and a lithium salt electrolyte in an organic solvent. Graphite is the most popular electrode material in batteries. The graphite is replaced with graphene paper, which has been photo-flashed and zapped with lasers to increase blemishes, countless cracks, pores, and other imperfections. This will transform the graphene paper and new battery design with high-rate capable anodes for lithium-ion batteries.
With the success of a high power density graphene Li-ion battery pack, holding large quantities of power, quickly holding charge and releasing this energy would bring a huge solution. Complex paring of Li-ion batteries and the use of super capacitors wouldn’t need to be extensively used in electric cars. A new graphene Li-ion battery pack with large power densities and energy densities would allow very fast charge and discharge rates. Imagine fast charging hybrid cars, all-electric cars, and solar powered vehicles becoming a reality. Quick charging laptops, tablets, cell phones, cameras and mobile devices wouldn’t need to be recharged overnight. The world would be a very mobile place, without the need of an electrical outlet every few hours.
Batteries Made From World’s Thinnest Material Could Power Tomorrow’s Electric Cars
Photothermally Reduced Graphene as High-Power Anodes for Lithium-Ion Batteries
August 15, 2012 01:27 by Jeremy
Nowadays, batteries mean more than ever to the common consumer. Our laptops, smartphones and cameras are becoming ever-so-powerful while our battery technology isn't flying as fast. That said, many have resorted to either carrying a charger with them, or spare batteries. This is especially true for cell phones, which are becoming so powerful that they've essentially become really tiny laptops.
Enter the Exogear Exovolt Plus. While external power sources aren't quite new to the market, stackable ones aren't exactly common. The Exovolt Plus is unique in this aspect, since you can take as many as you want and pile them on top of each other. And while piling other external batteries on top of each other isn't exactly out of the question regardless, Exogear just makes it look pretty.
The product itself is a 5200mAh Lithium Polymer battery which can charge any of your USB-devices. This is great for cell phones, digital cameras, camcorders and even tablets; but laptops will have to sit this one out.
With a thin, square design, consumers could actually easily fit this into their pocket, possibly even two. The real question, however, is whether they can fit FOUR in their pocket - then they're guaranteed to never run out of battery life throughout the day.
August 8, 2012 01:49 by Ty
The Mars Curiosity Rover is powered by plutonium, which is a nuclear power source to charge its batteries and fuel its onboard systems throughout its planned two-year mission on Mars. The battery packs are made up of two separate battery systems, charged by the nuclear power source. These battery packs are 2 Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries to meet peak demands of rover activities when the demand temporarily exceeds the generator's steady electrical output levels. The Power Source unit produces enough electricity to power all Mars rover activities.
If you look at the tail section of the Curiosity Mars rover, you will notice a cylindrical unit sticking up at a 45 degree angle. This unit is the Power Source that runs everything on Curiosity. Below are detailed technical specifications off of the JPL NASA Web site.
Curiosity Technical Specifications – Mars Rover Power Source:
- Main Function: Provide power to the rover.
- Location: Aft side of the rover.
- Size: 25 inches (64 centimeters) in diameter by 26 inches (66 centimeters) long.
- Weight: about 99 pounds (45 kilograms).
- Power Source: Uses 10.6 pounds (4.8 kilograms) of plutonium dioxide as the source of the steady supply of heat.
- Electrical power produced: slightly over 100 watts.
- Batteries: 2 lithium ion rechargeable batteries to meet peak demands of rover activities when the demand temporarily exceeds the generator's steady electrical output levels.
- Reliability: NASA has used this power source reliably for decades, including the Apollo missions to the moon, the Viking missions to Mars, and the Pioneer, Voyager, Ulysses, Galileo, Cassini, and New Horizons missions.
- Safety: Built with several layers of protective material to contain its fuel in a wide range of potential launch accidents, verified through impact testing. Manufactured in a ceramic form, is not a significant health hazard unless broken into very fine pieces or vaporized and then inhaled or swallowed. In the unlikely event of a launch accident, those who might be exposed would receive an average does of 5 to 10 millirem. The average American receives 360 millirem of radiation each year from natural sources, such as radon and cosmic rays.
The Mars Rover Curiosity is projected to last two years off of its nuclear power source and battery pack combination. Curiosity’s power source could last as long as six to twelve years. This would keep the operation running longer, as seen in previous Mars rovers, such as Spirit and Opportunity. For more information on the Curiosity Mars rover, check out the following sources.
How does the Curiosity Rover Nuclear Battery work?
Mars Rover Lifespan
Curiosity Mars Rover
August 7, 2012 23:09 by Jeremy
A good rule of thumb is "the bigger the better". This hasn't necessarily applied to notebooks though, especially with the emergence of the Ultrabook category, where everything seems to be getting thinner and more sleek. Toshiba, however, seems to want to change things up: in a bold move, they've released the Satellite U845W Ultrabook, which has an extra-wide screen with a 21:9 aspect ratio.
Weighing in at 4 pounds, the 14.4" ultrabook sports a 1792x768 panel, making it excellent for viewing windows side-by-side. One would think that the screen size offers a distinct advantage when watching movies as well, but since most media isn't filmed in this aspect ratio, you'll usually just wind up with black blocks on the left and right sides of the screen. That isn't to say that the screen itself and the images it projects are bad: in fact, it's quite the contrary, and the ultrabook provides everything you'd expect.
As far as battery-life is concerned, the Satellite U845W lasted just a little over 5 hours when run through Engadget's tests. The tech site also confirms, "That's on par with other 14-inch Ultrabooks, such as the Series 5, which lasted five hours and nine minutes."
For a more in-depth look at this wide-screened behemoth, check out Engadget's full review.