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A Tablecloth that Knows what you are Serving

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At Dartmouth College, a team of researchers i developing a new smart textile that is capable of distinguishing between objects.

We already have smart fabrics that detect objects through user touch, but a new textile, Capacitivo can sense nonmetallic objects even without them moving.

Conductive fabric is made into Diamond-shaped electrodes attached to the cotton sheet.

The cloth dubbed ‘capacitivo’ uses these electrodes to detect objects by detecting slight changes in their capacitance.

Nonmetallic objects experience electronic displacements whenever they come in contact with the electrodes. These electronic displacements are different for every object, depending on its permittivity.

The electronic displacement causes a shift in the electronic charge stored within electrodes and changes its capacitance.

The capacitivo, therefore, uses a system that recognizes objects by this shift in capacitance. The system is trained to distinguish these patterns and associate them with specific objects.

Senior researcher Professor Xing-Dong Yang says that the new development could transform how people interact with fabric objects by way of computing.

The system was more successful at recognizing objects like fruit, but not so good at identifying items like credit cards that did not sit on it firmly.

Scientists tested the system with 20 everyday objects, including fruit, lipstick, potted plants, and cheese. It registered an accuracy of 94.5%.

The researchers also found that the object was particularly accurate at differentiating between water, fizzy drinks, milk, cider, and other liquids.

PhD candidate Te-Yen Wu who was the lead author said that the scientific breakthrough could bring about major changes by for example, by reminding people to water plants, for example.

The range of possible applications for this new technology is wide, including locating misplaced items, communicating with other smart systems, suggesting recipes, and giving instructions for food preparation.

Gadgets

Amazon Echo Link Amp Vs Sonos Amp: Which should you Invest in?

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While choosing between the Echo Amp and the Sonos Amp, you need to estimate both device specifications and features. Both of them are popular and premium options for home installation of wireless listening options. However, Sonos Amp outshines Echo Link Amp in connectivity and audio quality from a one-liner review, but its price is relatively higher.

Looks: Amazon Echo Link Amp Vs Sonos Amp

Both devices are black and rectangular. The Echo Link Amp is one inch taller and broader than the Sonos Amp, making the latter a bit sleeker in appearance and would be the best fit for an entertainment centre.

Both devices have limited front audio controls. In terms of volume, Echo Amp has on the front one volume knob while Sonos Amp got two buttons on each side and a play/pause button.

The HDMI-ARC port for Sonos Amp allows the transmission of audio from the television devices via HDMI to the speaker. The Echo Link Amp has input and output ports, while Sonos Amp offers an output through an adapter plugging in an HDMI port.

Sonos Vs Echo Link Amp

The Echo Link Amp and Sonos Amp produce 2:1 stereo sounds. The Sonos Amp could extend to 4.1 surround sound if wireless Sonos speakers were added, while the Echo Link Amp strictly remains at the stereo output. The Echo Link Amp produces a power of 60 watts to each speaker. On the other hand, Sonos Amp supplies 125 watts to every speaker providing too quality sound to the speakers.

Both devices are great in multi-room audio features. The Echo Link Amp can be grouped with various Echo supported devices while the Sonos Amp does the same, but exceeds Echo Link Amp by streaming audio for the whole home and using any device.

Echo Link Amp does not support Bluetooth devices and line-in casting to multi-rooms. Still, the Sonos supports audio to multi rooms through multiple Sonos Amps connections with a similar network.

Streaming Features: Sonos Amp Vs Amazon Echo Link Amp

The Amazon Echo Link Amp directly supports audio streaming across nine-play services: Spotify, TuneIn, iHeartRadio, Pandora, SiriusXM, Tidal, Deezer, Apple Music, and Amazon Music. Sonos Amp, on the other hand, supports 130 music streaming platforms via the Sonos S2 app. Both of them support Amazon’s Alexa Voice Assistant with their smart assistant capabilities. The Echo Link Amp supports the Bluetooth feature of streaming music from a music device.

The most favored device and the undoubted winner is Sonos Amp. The Sonos Amp outshines the Echo Link Amp with streaming music’s capability via any device as it has wireless expansion capabilities, but in terms of pricing, there’s an edge with Echo Link Amp.

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Gadgets

Wearable Devices to be Fitted with Tiny Micro Supercapacitor

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A tiny micro supercapacitor (MSC) has been developed with a small width as that of a person’s fingerprint that can directly be integrated with an electronic chip. It has attracted great attention like a novel technology leading the Internet of Things (IoT) era as it can be independently driven if applied to separate electronic components.

Professor Sang-Young Lee, In the study and his School of Energy and Chemical Engineering research team at UNIST, has revealed a new class of ultrahigh areal number density solid-state MSCs (UHD SS-MSCs) on a chip through electrohydrodynamic (EHD) jet printing. From the research team, it’s the first study in MSCs to utilize EHD jet printing.

A supercapacitor (SC), referred to as ultracapacitor, could store far more energy than ordinary capacitors. The merits of supercapacitors include longer cycle life and high power delivery compared to lithium-based secondary batteries. It could be particularly produced as tiny as your fingerprint’s width through the semiconductor process. Thus it can be applied for the Internet of Things (IoT) and wearables devices.

However, the manufacturing process produces heat that could deteriorate the supercapacitor’s electrical characteristics. It’s therefore been hard to connect them to electronic components directly. The fabrication method combining supercapacitors with electronic components through inkjet printing techniques may, besides, have disadvantages of low precision.

Researchers addressed the issue using EHD jet printing, a great-resolution patterning technique in microelectronics. EHD jet printing operates using electrolyte and electrode to print the same as those of conventional inkjet printing. It can however control printed liquid using an electric field.

‘’We were able to produce up to 54.9 unit cells per square centimeter (square cm) via electro-hydrodynamic jet printing technique, and thus the output of 65.9 volts (V) was achieved in the same area,’’ says Kwonhyung Lee (Combined M. S/Ph.D. of Energy and Chemical Engineering, UNIST), the initial author of the study.

The team also succeeded in fabricating on a chip 36 unit cells (area = 8.0 mm * 8.2 mm, 54.9 cells square cm) and an operating voltage (65.9 V square cm) that lie away beyond the previously reported MSCs under printing techniques fabrication. More so, when exposed to high temperature (80 degrees C), the cells retained normal cyclic voltammetry (CV) profiles. This proves that it can withstand excessive heat produced during actual electronic component operation. Additionally, the batteries could offer customized power supplies since they could be connected in parallel or series.

“In this study, we have demonstrated on-chip UHD SS-MSCs fabricated via EHD jet printing,’’ says Professor Lee. ‘’The on-chip UHD SS-MSCs presented here hold great promise as a new platform technology for miniaturized monolithic power sources with customized design and tunable electrochemical properties.”

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Automation

Smart Home Gadgets That Are Worth Investing In

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As the years go by, even homes are now getting smarter.  A smart home is a dwelling place that uses electronic devices that are connected to the internet allowing it to be controlled and monitored remotely. This innovation has greatly improved the home owner’s life because, with the ability to take control of everything with lesser physical interaction, the owner can do worthwhile things while having the control system right in front of him.

If you own a home and you would want to consider installing some of these gadgets, here is a list of the most useful devices you can invest in for your home.

Smart Doorbell

Upon entering your home, you can start introducing a smart doorbell to take care of those visitors coming to your home. Can you imagine being disturbed by a visitor or a delivery man while you are enjoying watching a movie? A smart doorbell can actually make you undisturbed. You can opt to install video doorbells that have a built-in camera, speaker, and microphone so you can see from your phone or a monitor who is outside and you can directly speak to that person without opening the door. Being able to respond to your visitor remotely can be very convenient. It also allows you to keep a record of their faces, imagine if it was a suspicious visitor at your doorstep.

Smart Lock

This can be best paired with a video doorbell. If you wish to let a visitor enter your house, you can open your door with just a click from your phone, or the other way around, if it’s a stranger you see from the monitor, then you can activate all your security locks and make a call and report to the authorities. 

Smart Light Bulbs and Lighting Control

One common thing that you want to automate is your light system, it should be able to switch out, brighten or dim itself as you move inside your home. You can easily control it using your voice, a Bluetooth device, or a mobile application that you can easily download on your phone. Installing a smart light bulb is easy, they can replace conventional light bulbs that you may have installed initially or you can just install it like any other ordinary light bulb in a newly built home. Then you just have to connect it to your home Wifi through a smart hub. A smart hub can be purchased when you get the smart bulb. Just keep in mind that you need to read the instructions and follow each step when syncing your lighting system.

Smart Thermostat

Smart temperature controllers can give your home the perfect temperature setting depending on the time of day and the number of occupants inside a room. It allows you to set the time you desire when cooling or heating the rooms in your home. Thus, offering a convenient and efficient way of controlling your heating and cooling system and giving you a reasonable cost on energy consumption.

Smart Cooker

If you love to cook, this smart cooker is a piece of must-have equipment in your kitchen. It is a programmable multi-cooker and it can be controlled using your mobile phone. You can use your phone to set the cooking duration time, adjust heat settings, and monitor what you are cooking. You do not need to stand and check the status of the food, instead, you will just receive notifications from your phone. There are also smart pots that give you pre-installed recipes that even those who are not gifted to cook can learn using this smart cooker. 

Smart TV

Smart TVs have been very popular since streaming became a trend. With your smart TV, you can enjoy watching movies, series, and music videos, too. The fast growth of models has enabled gaming also accessible as well as social media access using a smart TV. Many of these TVs are now integrated with the smart lighting system and smart locks. Using your TV to monitor and control is now available because of these upgrades. 

There are several benefits we can get when we invest in these Smart gadgets for our homes. One of which is the ability and convenience of controlling your devices with an app that may be on your phone, tablet, or a voice-controlled assistant. Smart devices can also provide you with real-time data, for example with security information and energy consumption. These investments may not yet take away all your chores but one thing is for sure now, they can make you save time and money. 

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