Zotac Unveils the World’s First Mini PC with AirJet Cooling


The Zotac Zbox PI430AJ is a mini PC which claims to be the first consumer product to use Frore’s AirJet solid state cooling chips instead of fans or passive heatsinks. As we covered at the beginning of the year when they were announced, AirJet active cooling chips with no moving parts, are silent and outperform fans.

Every chip has a cavity filled with vibrating membranes. This vibration creates back pressure which pulls air through holes in the top of the chip at 200km/h, which in turn hits a copper heat spreader and cools the processor.

PCWorld created an informative video review of the mini PC, saying that it reduces thermal throttling compared to Zotac’s previous model which doesn’t used the technology, though this early version seems to draw a decent amount of power in comparison. If power efficiency continues to be improved, this technology could be a game-changer for things like SBCs, laptops, cameras, LEDs, VR headsets. I wonder if this could be a way to make silent 3D printers too?


Neuralink Announces FDA Approval for Human Clinical Trials


From Neuralink Twitter post:

“We are excited to share that we have received the FDA’s approval to launch our first-in-human clinical study!

This is the result of incredible work by the Neuralink team in close collaboration with the FDA and represents an important first step that will one day allow our technology to help many people.

Recruitment is not yet open for our clinical trial. We’ll announce more information on this soon!”


New Samsung OLED Display Senses Anywhere on Screen

Samsung Display

This week the electronics giant showed off their new Sensor OLED Display at a recent electronics expo.

They say the type of sensors like the ones used in smartphones are currently added to displays via a separate module, whereas this one is integrated directly into the screen, allowing for sensing anywhere on the panel, with multi finger tracking for things like blood pressure measurements, heart monitors, and fingerprint sensing.


Preview Video of Humane’s Screenless AI-Powered Device

Humane / TED

At a recent TED talk, former Apple designer and co-founder of Humane, Imran Chaudhri gave an overview for the vision of the companies AI-powered device.

He says that it has been designed from the ground-up to work with artificial intelligence, and works as a standalone device, not requiring a phone to pair with. It sits inside a shirt or jacket pocket, which is an interesting choice, and has a mini projector instead of a screen.

The idea is that the user can seamlessly interact with the AI more naturally, asking it questions directly, to instantly translate speech for example, or showing it things through the camera, kind of like the device from the movie ‘Her’.

It’s a little thin on the details, so it could be vaperware, but it could be worth keeping an eye on just in case.


Looking Inside a Pair of Ray-Ban Stories Smart Glasses

Becky Stern

Becky Stern put out an interesting teardown video the other day, taking apart a pair of Ray-Ban Stories smart glasses to see what electronics are inside.

She enlisted the help of electrical engineer David Cranor to try and figure out what all the main components are, explaining what everything does. Check it out if you’re curious about the little tricks and tips engineers use to make these kind of electronics as small and light as possible.

Becky also put up a detailed page on her blog for those interested.


Newly Published Samsung Patent for Shapeshifting Smartphones


The eagle-eyed Cool Patents account on twitter recently noticed a newly published patent by Samsung, showing a concept for a shapeshifting smartphone, complete with rollable display that changes shape depending on how you’re using it.

In one of the accompanying drawings it shows how the phone can change between 4 different states, from a super thin ‘band’ style, to normal phone size, to phablet, and finally to the largest tablet size.


Custom 3D Printed 35mm Analog Film Movie Camera

Blaž Semprimožnik

Blaž Semprimožnik has designed and built his own 35mm analog film movie camera, and I must say, features-wise it is great. He explains:

“I’ve designed and built a 3D-printed 35mm film camera that can shoot movies, photos, and time-lapses and also serves as a developed film scanner.

Its custom frame size enables longer shooting time, making it a cheap and easy way to shoot and scan 35mm film movies at about 51€ per 10min at 18fps.

Fully automatic film wind/rewind system whit auto lense track positioning, a built-in light meter, support for C-mount lenses, an OLED display interface, and a rechargeable battery.”


Flexible Keyboards and Touchpads with New Fabric Armband

Ruidong Xu et al

Researchers from China have developed a prototype flexible armband that works as a programmable input device, like a touchpad or keyboard.

To achieve this they sandwiched a pressure-sensitive hydrogel between layers of knit silk, with the top piece being coated in graphene nanosheets to make the fabric electrically conductive.

This could potentially be an interesting way to interact with systems, especially in virtual or augmented reality. Imagine mixing this with the shapeshifting tactile system I covered earlier and you could have dynamically changeable interfaces for different applications.


Adding Shapeshifting Tacticle Feedback to Flat Panel Displays

Future Interfaces Group

Many attempts have been made at creating shapeshifting tactile displays, and most of them have ended up being very bulky due to the use of individual actuators and similar components.

A team with the Future Interfaces Group at Carnegie Mellon University attempted to solve this problem with their own approach which incorporates miniaturized hydraulic pumps into a thin display panel.

In their demonstration they showed the concept working with a flexible OLED display, similar to those found on smartphones. They showed how you could animate buttons and icons to inflate or deflate depending on the applcation, adding extra physical feedback to interactions.