Japanese scientists invent floating ‘firefly’ light

Researchers have already made a prototype “micro-size reading light,” which roams above a book. (Courtesy University of Tokyo)
Updated 23 February 2018
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Japanese scientists invent floating ‘firefly’ light

TOKYO: Japanese engineering researchers say they have created a tiny electronic light the size of a firefly which rides waves of ultrasound, and could eventually figure in applications ranging from moving displays to projection mapping.
Named Luciola for its resemblance to the firefly, the featherweight levitating particle weighs 16.2 mg, has a diameter of 3.5 mm (0.14 inch), and emits a red glimmer that can just about illuminate text.
But its minuscule size belies the power of the 285 microspeakers emitting ultrasonic waves that hold up the light, and have a frequency inaudible to the human ear, allowing Luciola to operate in apparent total silence.
It took two years for Luciola to get this far, said circuit design specialist Makoto Takamiya, a member of the Kawahara Universal Information Network Project that developed the device.
“Ultimately, my hope is that such tiny objects will have smartphone capabilities and be built to float about helping us in our everyday lives in smarter ways,” said the University of Tokyo professor, who hopes it will be commercially viable in five to 10 years.
The developers expect Luciola to find applications in the so-called Internet of Things, in which regular objects, such as cars, or domestic appliances such as air-conditioners, are connected to networks to send and receive data.
Equipped with movement or temperature sensors, Luciola could fly to such objects to deliver a message or help to make moving displays with multiple lights that can detect the presence of humans, or participate in futuristic projection mapping events.
The Kawahara Universal Information Network Project is a government-funded program that is part of the Japan Science and Technology Agency and explores advances in information and communication technology.


AppWatch: A Saudi app that caters to all

Updated 22 June 2018
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AppWatch: A Saudi app that caters to all

We all get consumed by the Eid-shopping monster telling us to buy everything in sight. The trick is to not let it.

This Ramadan, my Eid shopping companion was Noon, a Saudi app catering to all your shopping needs. It has a wide selection of products, including clothes, makeup, electronics and perfumes. 

Since not every Saudi has a credit card, the online store makes shopping much easier by implementing a “pay in cash upon delivery” service.

Making use of mind-blowing offers, I made sure to restock on all my favorite perfumes before Eid.

A major upside to the app is how affordable everything is, and I was delighted to find some makeup brands that are not available at shopping centers in Jeddah, such as SIGMA and e.l.f.

What I love most about Noon is that there is always a daily deal or sale going on, so make sure you check these out.