Wonder gadgets actually are ruling the century. And when it comes to mundane necessities like a phone or a laptop, the importance gets skyrocketed. A cell-signal booster tested by Sandia National laboratories, got a recent boost in news headlines due to its high functionality. The lab confirmed that this lightweight portable device, named ORC Tech (Optical Radio Communications Technology), can increase the phone reception network by 20%. Licensed its technology from the NASA Johnson Space Center, ORC Tech device is influenced by the collapsible and portable wireless NASA tool, which the astronauts use to improve communications in space.
ORC Tech LLC is a New Mexico-based startup, which took the help of Sandia lab this summer, to test different prototypes for its device through the New Mexico Small Business Assistance Program. This program allows the national laboratory to provide needed technical support to small businesses. With the test results in hand, now the ORC Tech is ready to manufacture the first batch of the signal-boosting device up to 300 numbers. According to founder member of the New Mexico Startup Factory John Chavez, the company is going to market the device next year with a soft launch of a small batch of 200-300 units.
The Sandia lab engineers tested different prototypes of the device over the summer. They used different types of geometric designs, fabric, and conductive thread to decide the best possible combination for augmenting cell signals. The research finally showed that a circular design, with an inner and outer radius made by two rings of conductive thread, can boost the reception by nearly 15 decibels. As the project’s lead engineer Stephen Neidigk explains, the boosting is equivalent to almost two extra signal bars on a cell phone. If a third ring is added, even better performance can be achieved. The collaborative work of ORC Tech and Sandia is most likely to continue next year for further improvement of the device’s design.
While much of the emphasis at CES 2021 was strongly placed on autonomy, bigger-picture tech, and artificial intelligence, there were still plenty of little devices on virtual display that promises brighter driving tomorrow. Gadgets that solve problems like why your phone sometimes does not charge properly with a Qi wireless charger and how a WiFi camera can help monitor precious trailer cargo were displayed. Here are some of the gizmos from this year.
Sweet-Spot Qi Wireless Charger
Sometimes, people can notice that when they put their phones on the Qi wireless chargers on their vehicles, it may not charge. This is often because the smartphone has the ideal spot for picking up inductive charging that may have not been aligned ideally with the coil on the pad. Panasonic has the solution to this problem. They have found a way to locate the sweet spot of every phone and commence charging at the most efficient location generating the least amount of waste heat possible.
True Wireless Wi-Fi Camera
If people want to keep an eye on the horses inside of their trailers or help when reversing their double-ax fifth-wheel campers, then they should check out Panasonic’s new True Wireless Wi-Fi Camera. It can beam a crisp 1080p picture at 60 frames per second. The camera also has a low latency right to the screen of the user. It is powered by a battery that can be trickle-charged by wiring from the vehicle or trailer, or recharged via USB. The camera mounts via a mechanical mount or a suction cup, and it’s dust-tight and waterproof for 30 minutes.
Vape/Smoke/Chemical Weapons Detector at CES
Gentex, who is a Zeeland, Michigan-based supplier started in the smoke detector business. They recently acquired Utah-based startup Vaporsens to double down on the area of expertise. They plan to implement a new nanofiber technology that’s developed by Vaporsens that uses a mesh net made of nanofibers about 1/1,000th the size of a human hair. The device that was shown on this year’s CES can be incorporated into an HVAC system or in overhead console sensors, and it could narc on individuals who smoke or vape in a vehicle or potentially sense more dangerous substances that are left behind or brought in a vehicle.