Category Archives: Electronics

Recent News for Windows Phone
  • Using Your Windows Phone For Media Only
  • Make Your Windows Phone a Gaming Phone

    Of course you could use your phone for gaming as well as other things, but a lot of apps can begin to clutter your phone up, and you only have so much room and memory. Separating your gaming from your normal everyday use can really help organize your phone usage, and your life.

    If you like to play games on your phone, you may want to install your games on your old Windows phone only, especially if you find yourself only gaming on your phone at specific times of the day such as at night before bed or while waiting somewhere during a daily routine.

    windows phone is dead

    Turning diamonds’ defects into long-term 3-D data storage

    With the amount of data storage required for our daily lives growing and growing, and currently available technology being almost saturated, we’re in desperate need of a new method of data storage. The standard magnetic hard disk drive (HDD) – like what’s probably in your laptop computer – has reached its limit, holding a maximum of a few terabytes. Standard optical disk technologies, like compact disc (CD), digital video disc (DVD) and Blu-ray disc, are restricted by their two-dimensional nature – they just store data in one plane – and also by a physical law called the diffraction limit, based on the wavelength of light, that constrains our ability to focus light to a very small volume.

    And then there’s the lifetime of the memory itself to consider. HDDs, as we’ve all experienced in our personal lives, may last only a few years before things start to behave strangely or just fail outright. DVDs and similar media are advertised as having a storage lifetime of hundreds of years. In practice this may be cut down to a few decades, assuming the disk is not rewritable. Rewritable disks degrade on each rewrite.

    Without better solutions, we face financial and technological catastrophes as our current storage media reach their limits. How can we store large amounts of data in a way that’s secure for a long time and can be reused or recycled?

    In our lab, we’re experimenting with a perhaps unexpected memory material you may even be wearing on your ring finger right now: diamond. On the atomic level, these crystals are extremely orderly – but sometimes defects arise. We’re exploiting these defects as a possible way to store information in three dimensions.

    Focusing on tiny defects

    One approach to improving data storage has been to continue in the direction of optical memory, but extend it to multiple dimensions. Instead of writing the data to a surface, write it to a volume; make your bits three-dimensional. The data are still limited by the physical inability to focus light to a very small space, but you now have access to an additional dimension in which to store the data. Some methods also polarize the light, giving you even more dimensions for data storage. However, most of these methods are not rewritable.

    Here’s where the diamonds come in.

    The orderly structure of a diamond, but with a vacancy and a nitrogen replacing two of the carbon atoms.

    A diamond is supposed to be a pure well-ordered array of carbon atoms. Under an electron microscope it usually looks like a neatly arranged three-dimensional lattice. But occasionally there is a break in the order and a carbon atom is missing. This is what is known as a vacancy. Even further tainting the diamond, sometimes a nitrogen atom will take the place of a carbon atom. When a vacancy and a nitrogen atom are next to each other, the composite defect is called a nitrogen vacancy, or NV, center. These types of defects are always present to some degree, even in natural diamonds. In large concentrations, NV centers can impart a characteristic red color to the diamond that contains them.

    This defect is having a huge impact in physics and chemistry right now. Researchers have used it to detect the unique nuclear magnetic resonance signatures of single proteins and are probing it in a variety of cutting-edge quantum mechanical experiments.

    Nitrogen vacancy centers have a tendency to trap electrons, but the electron can also be forced out of the defect by a laser pulse. For many researchers, the defects are interesting only when they’re holding on to electrons. So for them, the fact that the defects can release the electrons, too, is a problem.

    But in our lab, we instead look at these nitrogen vacancy centers as a potential benefit. We think of each one as a nanoscopic “bit.” If the defect has an extra electron, the bit is a one. If it doesn’t have an extra electron, the bit is a zero. This electron yes/no, on/off, one/zero property opens the door for turning the NV center’s charge state into the basis for using diamonds as a long-term storage medium.

    Starting from a blank ensemble of NV centers in a diamond (1), information can be written (2), erased (3), and rewritten (4).
    Siddharth Dhomkar and Carlos A. Meriles, CC BY-ND

    Turning the defect into a benefit

    Previous experiments with this defect have demonstrated some properties that make diamond a good candidate for a memory platform.

    First, researchers can selectively change the charge state of an individual defect so it either holds an electron or not. We’ve used a green laser pulse to assist in trapping an electron and a high-power red laser pulse to eject an electron from the defect. A low-power red laser pulse can help check if an electron is trapped or not. If left completely in the dark, the defects maintain their charged/discharged status virtually forever.

    The NV centers can encode data on various levels.
    Siddharth Dhomkar and Carlos A. Meriles, CC BY-ND

    Our method is still diffraction limited, but is 3-D in the sense that we can charge and discharge the defects at any point inside of the diamond. We also present a sort of fourth dimension. Since the defects are so small and our laser is diffraction limited, we are technically charging and discharging many defects in a single pulse. By varying the duration of the laser pulse in a single region we can control the number of charged NV centers and consequently encode multiple bits of information.

    Though one could use natural diamonds for these applications, we use artificially lab-grown diamonds. That way we can efficiently control the concentration of nitrogen vacancy centers in the diamond.

    All these improvements add up to about 100 times enhancement in terms of bit density relative to the current DVD technology. That means we can encode all the information from a DVD into a diamond that takes up about one percent of the space.

    Past just charge, to spin as well

    If we could get beyond the diffraction limit of light, we could improve storage capacities even further. We have one novel proposal on this front.

    A human cell, imaged on the right with super-resolution microscope.
    Dr. Muthugapatti Kandasamy, CC BY-NC-ND

    Nitrogen vacancy centers have also been used in the execution of what is called super-resolution microscopy to image things that are much smaller than the wavelength of light. However, since the super-resolution technique works on the same principles of charging and discharging the defect, it will cause unintentional alteration in the pattern that one wants to encode. Therefore, we won’t be able to use it as it is for memory storage application and we’d need to back up the already written data somehow during a read or write step.

    Here we propose the idea of what we call charge-to-spin conversion; we temporarily encode the charge state of the defect in the spin state of the defect’s host nitrogen nucleus. Spin is a fundamental property of any elementary particle; it’s similar to its charge, and can be imagined as having a very tiny magnet permanently attached it.

    While the charges are being adjusted to read/write the information as desired, the previously written information is well protected in the nitrogen spin state. Once the charges have encoded, the information can be back converted from the nitrogen spin to the charge state through another mechanism which we call spin-to-charge conversion.

    With these advanced protocols, the storage capacity of a diamond would surpass what existing technologies can achieve. This is just a beginning, but these initial results provide us a potential way of storing huge amount of data in a brand new way. We’re looking forward to transform this beautiful quirk of physics into a vastly useful technology.

    The Conversation

    Siddharth Dhomkar, Postdoctoral Associate in Physics, City College of New York and Jacob Henshaw, Teaching Assistant in Physics, City College of New York

    Are our smartphones afflicting us all with symptoms of ADHD?

    When was the last time you opened your laptop midconversation or brought your desktop computer to the dinner table? Ridiculous, right? But if you are like a large number of Americans, you have done both with your smartphone.

    Less than a decade after the introduction of the first iPhone, more people reach for their smartphones first thing in the morning than reach for coffee, a toothbrush or even the partner lying next to them in bed. During the day, with a smartphone in our pocket, we can check our email while spending time with our children just as easily as we can text a friend while at work. And regardless of what we are doing, many of us are bombarded by notifications of new messages, social media posts, breaking news, app updates and more.

    Anecdotal evidence suggests that this pervasiveness of smartphones is making us increasingly distracted and hyperactive. These presumed symptoms of constant digital stimulation also happen to characterize a well-known neurodevelopmental disorder: Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, or ADHD. Could the pinging and dinging of our smartphones be afflicting even those of us not suffering from ADHD with some of that condition’s symptoms? As a behavioral scientist, I set out to test this idea in a well-controlled experiment.

    Studying digital interruption

    My colleagues and I recruited 221 millennials – students at the University of British Columbia – to participate in a two-week study. Importantly, these participants were recruited from the university’s general participant pool, rather than from a population of students diagnosed with ADHD.

    During the first week, we asked half the participants to minimize phone interruptions by activating the “do-not-disturb” settings and keeping their phones out of sight and far from reach. We instructed the other half to keep their phone alerts on and their phones nearby whenever possible.

    In the second week, we reversed the instructions: Participants who had used their phones’ “do-not-disturb” settings switched on phone alerts, and vice versa. The order in which we gave the instructions to each participant was randomly determined by a flip of a coin. This study design ensured that everything was kept constant, except for how frequently people were interrupted by their phones. We confirmed that people felt more interrupted by their phones when they had their phone alerts on, as opposed to having them off.

    Measuring inattentiveness and hyperactivity

    We measured inattentiveness and hyperactivity by asking participants to identify how frequently they had experienced 18 symptoms of ADHD over each of the two weeks. These items were based on the criteria for diagnosing ADHD in adults as specified by the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-V).

    The inattentiveness questions covered a wide range of potential problems, such as making careless mistakes, forgetting to pay a bill and having difficulty sustaining attention or listening to others. The hyperactivity questions were similarly broad, assessing things like fidgeting, feeling restless, excessive talking and interrupting others.

    The results were clear: more frequent phone interruptions made people less attentive and more hyperactive.

    Because ADHD is a neurodevelopmental disorder with complex neurological and developmental causes, these findings in no way suggest that smartphones can cause ADHD. And our research certainly does not show that reducing phone interruptions can treat ADHD. But our findings do have implications for all of us who feel interrupted by our phones.

    Smartphone ubiquity poses risks

    These findings should concern us. Smartphones are the fastest-selling electronic gadget in history – in the 22 seconds it took to type this sentence, 1,000 smartphones were shipped to their new owners. Even if one of those 1,000 users became more likely to make a careless mistake, ignore a friend in the middle of a conversation or space out during a meeting, smartphones could be harming the productivity, relationships and well-being of millions.

    As with all disorders, symptoms of ADHD form a continuum from the normal to the pathological. Our findings suggest that our incessant digital stimulation is contributing to an increasingly problematic deficit of attention in modern society. So consider silencing your phone – even when you are not in the movie theater. Your brain will thank you.

    The Conversation

    Kostadin Kushlev, Research Associate in Psychology, University of Virginia

    This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

    12 Amazing New Technologies To Check Out This Year

    It seems that every year there are new technologies coming out that are even more amazing than what the previous year held. From self-driving cars to robots entering daily lives, the world is changing at an incredibly fast rate. Click the ‘Next’ button below to see 12 new technologies on the scene in 2016!

    Fast navigate:

    1. This 3D-Printing Pothole Repairing Robot
    2. This Hoverboard Actually Hovers
    3. Self-Driving Cars Are Coming To A Highway Near You
    4. Turning Segways Into Robots
    5. This Passenger Drone Takes You For A Ride
    6. This Shirt Is A Biometric Wearable Computer
    7. This Spoon Tells You When To Stop Eating
    8. This Refrigerator Can Also Help You With Your Diet
    9. Into Mountain Biking? Then This May Be A Godsend
    10. This Basketball Trains You To Be A Better Player
    11. Snoring Just Got A Whole Lot Quieter
    12. These Contact Lenses Eliminate The Need For Bifocals
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    This Hoverboard Actually Hovers

    Virtually all of the popular hands-free motorized scooters on the market today actually have wheels and don’t actually hover. It’s almost false advertising, when you think about it. There are even some that use fans to create giant flying boxes, but are much more like drones than “hoverboards”. This board, however, actually does.

    From manufacturer Hendo, this hoverboard uses magnetic levitation, much the same way that some trains do nowadays. What’s better about this system, however, is that it can be used freely in a designated area instead of only on a track. We are yet another step closer to Back To The Future 2 technology!

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    This Spoon Tells You When To Stop Eating

    Hailed at CES 2016 as the “diet spoon”, this is one invention sure to help Americans lose their fast-food weight a lot quicker than guessing how much they ate today. By taking a picture, it identifies the food on your plate before you start eating. This information can then be compared to a database of pictures to figure out an estimate of how many calories you are eating. It also uses gesture recognition to tell you how many bites you’ve taken. It comes with interchangeable utensil head attachments, as well, such as forks and spoons. Once you have one of these, you officially have no excuse for overeating!

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    This Basketball Trains You To Be A Better Player

    While it’s a couple hundred bucks, this new invention puts all other basketballs to shame. Embedded with sensors which measure spin and acceleration of the ball, this ball sends data to your phone. Running on an internal battery which lasts eight hours and can be recharged wirelessly, the ball allows players to understand how they’re handling the ball and where their faults are. Patrick Lefler, the president of Social Elite Sports, makers of the ball, told Popular Science that the invention helps to track a player’s shooting and ball-handling skills. “After using it for three weeks, we’ve seen a 25 percent improvement,” Lefler says.

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    Aduro Universal Bike Mount Is A Must Have

    This article is part of a series:
    12 Awesome New Gadgets On The Market Today

    2. Aduro U-GRIP PLUS Bike Mount – Universal Bike, Motorcycle, Handlebar, Roll Bar Mount for Smart Phones

    Probably one of the greatest things about a smartphone is that you can use it anytime and anywhere. But you need two hands for your bike…. well, stress no more! Welcome to the universal bike mount for your iphone or droid!

    Simply attach this mount to your handlebars and use your smartphone for making phone calls, looking up directions, even surf the web while you ride. With a headset, you could control the entire thing with your voice as well!

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    Zipper Cord Earbuds Put An End To Tangled Headphones

    This article is part of a series:
    12 Awesome New Gadgets On The Market Today

    6. Zipper Cord Earbuds

    We all love music, but the most annoying thing is when you pull your phone out of your pocket only to mess with detangling your headphones for 15 minutes before you finally get to listen to your favorite song. Enter the zipper cord earbuds — No more tangling! Zip your earbud cords to any length you want before you put them on or away.

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    Recharge These AA Batteries Via USB

    This article is part of a series:
    12 Awesome New Gadgets On The Market Today

    7. Rechargable USB AA Batteries

    When rechargable batteries were introduced to me in the late 80s, there were special rechargers we had to buy. It was great because we could keep our batteries instead of throwing them out. Recycling became commonplace, but carrying loads of batteries wasn’t practical.

    The USB rechargeable battery is nothing short of amazing. You can use it for whatever device you need AAs for, but then recharge the batteries with your computer or portable phone charger (such as the solar powered or bike powered gadgets). I needed batteries for my flashlight and this came in handy. What would YOU use it for?

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