Scientists have created the world’s smallest pixels, by trapping particles of light under tiny rocks of gold, that could be used for new types of large-scale flexible displays, big enough to cover entire buildings.
The colour pixels, developed by scientists from the University of Cambridge in the UK, are compatible with roll-to-roll fabrication on flexible plastic films, dramatically reducing their production cost.
It has been a long-held dream to mimic the colour-changing skin of octopus or squid, allowing people or objects to disappear into the natural background.
However, making large-area flexible display screens is still prohibitively expensive because they are constructed from highly precise multiple layers.
According to the research developed in the journal Science Advances, at the centre of the pixels is a tiny particle of gold a few billionths of a metre across.
The grain sits on top of a reflective surface, trapping light in the gap in between. Surrounding each grain is a thin sticky coating which changes chemically when electrically switched, causing the pixel to change colour across the spectrum.
“These are not the normal tools of nanotechnology, but this sort of radical approach is needed to make sustainable technologies feasible,” said Jeremy J Baumberg, a professor at University of Cambridge, who led the research.
“The strange physics of light on the nanoscale allows it to be switched, even if less than a tenth of the film is coated with our active pixels,” Baumberg said in a statement.
“That’s because the apparent size of each pixel for light is many times larger than their physical area when using these resonant gold architectures,” he said.
The pixels could enable a host of new application possibilities such as building-sized display screens, architecture which can switch off solar heat load, active camouflage clothing and coatings, as well as tiny indicators for coming internet-of-things devices.
The team of scientists, from different disciplines including physics, chemistry and manufacturing, made the pixels by coating vats of golden grains with an active polymer called polyaniline and then spraying them onto flexible mirror-coated plastic, to dramatically drive down production cost.
The pixels are the smallest yet created, a million times smaller than typical smartphone pixels. They can be seen in bright sunlight and because they do not need constant power to keep their set colour, have an energy performance that make large areas feasible and sustainable.
“We started by washing them over aluminised food packets, but then found aerosol spraying is faster,” said Hyeon-Ho Jeong from Cambridge.
The team is currently working at improving the colour range and are looking for partners to develop the technology further.
Windows 10 May Soon Allow Amazon Alexa to Activate on the Lock Screen
Amid transforming Cortana and making it complementary to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, Microsoft has started testing a new Windows 10 build that will enable third-party digital assistants to voice activate on the lock screen. The new change, which is currently available through Windows 10 Insider Preview Build version 18362.10005, is supposedly set to expand Alexa on the latest Windows platform. The new Windows 10 build also includes a fix to reduce the inking latency on Windows 10 machines. The Redmond, Washington-based company is also testing a key-rolling or key rotation feature through the new Windows 10 Insider Preview Build.
Microsoft in a blog post highlighted that the newest Windows 10 preview, codenamed 19H2, enables third-party digital assistants to voice activate on the lock screen.
The blog post notably doesn’t specify which third-party digital assistants will work with the new change. However, considering the strong relationship between Amazon and Microsoft, Alexa should be the first one to get deeper integration into Windows 10.
Back in August 2017, Amazon and Microsoft announced their partnership to closely integrate Alexa and Cortana. Various Windows 10 PCs from companies such as Acer, HP, and Lenovo in January last year were launched with pre-installed Alexa voice assistant.
Similarly, a native Amazon Alexa app debuted on Microsoft Store last November. The app, which was initially available in markets such as the US, UK, and Germany brought a hands-free Alexa experience to Windows 10 PCs.
In late June, a Cortana beta app was also spotted on the Microsoft Store that hinted at the separation of the digital assistant from Windows 10. The change was well suggested by CEO Satya Nadella in January where he mentioned that the company would no longer attempt to compete with Alexa and Google Assistant using Cortana.
All that set the pitch for an extensive Alexa experience on Windows 10 that would debut through the fresh Windows build.
The new Windows 10 preview is also designed to improve the inking latency based on hardware and includes the key-rolling or key rotation feature to enable secure rolling of Recovery passwords and help prevent accidental recovery password disclosure that comes through manual BitLocker drive unlocking process. There are also five fixes to address issues related to Windows containers.
That being said, the latest blog post confirms that the changes provided within the Windows 10 preview are disabled by default, and these will be enabled for select Windows Insiders initially. This means the company will consider the feedback of the testers to bring fresh features for the masses.
Microsoft is expected to release Windows 10 19H2 build for the public in September. Until then, only some Windows Insiders will get the chance to experience the latest series of changes.
Xiaomi Mi Rechargeable LED Lamp With Five Days Battery Life Announced
Xiaomi has been introducing a slew of products to celebrate its 5 year anniversary in India, and the latest to be announced is the Mi Rechargeable LED Lamp. The new product will be up on the company’s crowdfunding site this week, and its pricing hasn’t been revealed as of yet. This comes right on the heels of the launch of Mi Super Bass Wireless Headphones in India. The headphones are priced at Rs. 1,799, are available in two colour options – black-and-red and black-and-gold – and can be purchased via Amazon and Mi India online store.
The Mi Rechargeable LED Lamp will be up on Mi.com for crowdfunding from July 18 at 12pm (noon) IST. The company will reveal its pricing details, and the goal it needs to achieve for getting into production on Thursday. The lamp comes in a singular White colour option, has a round base stand, a long slim pole, and a cylindrical lamp at the top that holds the bulb. Xiaomi Global VP Manu Kumar Jain took to Twitter to make this announcement and even shared a video detailing all of the lamp’s features.
Xiaomi says that the Mi Rechargeable LED Lamp has three brightness levels – white, warm white, and yellow – suiting to users’ needs. It is touted to last up to 5 days on a single charge, and is lightweight and portable as well. The lamp is claimed to be a perfect solution for emergency light, and in areas around the country where power cut is an everyday affair, the consumers may find it very useful.
The Mi Turns 5 page also reveals that the Mi Water TDS Tester will be up for crowdfunding on July 23. This tester will help in checking the health of your drinking water, and it can detect TDS of up to 9990 in a few seconds.
As part of its 5th anniversary celebrations, Xiaomi has already launched Mi Beard Trimmer in India, and is available to buy on Amazon.in and Mi.com. The Mi Truck Builder toy for kids was also listed on its crowdfunding site with an introductory price of Rs. 1,199. The toy managed to surpass its 1,500 units goal, and has attracted 4,387 supporters in total.
It’s truly an honour to be part of Army of the Dead: Huma Qureshi
Huma Qureshi will be soon seen in zombie heist thriller Army of the Dead. Directed by Zack Snyder, the Netflix movie also stars Dave Bautista, Ella Purnell, Ana De La Reguera and Theo Rossi among others.
Talking about Army of the Dead, Qureshi admits that she is surprised at how swiftly things progressed during her chance visit to Los Angeles in May.
Huma Qureshi said, “Well, I was in Los Angeles and I was here for other work. I was asked to go for this audition. I said why not, and I went for it. This was on a Friday and they told me this is a film which is amazing. It has Zack Snyder and it’s something different. This happened on Friday and I came back to India the next day. On Tuesday, they called and offered me the film. That is how it really happened. I am excited about this film and but I cannot reveal much about it as it is too early to talk about it. We haven’t started shooting yet. I just want to shoot and give it my best shot.”
The actor added, “It is a great opportunity for me to explore such varied genres. The idea of working with Zack is amazing considering his films in the past. This genre is vastly unexplored in India, and right now is the time for successful experimentation. As an actor, I am constantly trying to do something different, something that is never done before, and it is extremely gratifying. The team behind the film needs no introduction and it’s truly an honour for me to be part of Army of the Dead.”
Huma Qureshi was last seen in Deepa Mehta’s Netflix show Leila. She has also been a part of some south Indian movies like White and Kaala.
When asked how she balances such varied projects, the actor said, “I have always believed in growing and essaying characters which are totally out of my comfort zone. These experiences at the end of the day make you a better artiste. It is a great time and opportunity for me to explore as many varied genres as I can.”
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