Electronic Gadgets

"Gadget" is a catch-all word these days for nifty devices. We've covered the basics, such as clocks & watches, plus delved into the world of present-day and future high-tech gadgets, such as digital jewelry and restaurant pagers.

Topics to Explore

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How Surge Protectors Work

When you put together a computer system, one piece of standard equipment you'll probably use is a surge protector. They safeguard your computer and electronic devices from power surges in your electrical system.

How Holographic Environments Will Work

Holographic environments make the virtual world truly tangible. Find out about the development of real-life, interactive "holodecks"!

How Breathalyzers Work

Drivers who can pass roadside sobriety tests -- by touching their noses or walking a straight line -- may still be over the legal limit for blood alcohol and be a hazard on the road. Breathalyzers help police find out who's really driving drunk.

How Electronic Ink Works

Electronic ink promises to be an amazing, breakthrough technology that we will all be using in five years -- it will completely change books and newspapers. Learn all about it.

How do radio-controlled clocks set themselves to the atomic clock in Colorado?

Many radio-controlled clocks automatically sync their time with the atomic clock in Boulder, Colorado. How do they do it?

What causes that howling sound in PA systems?

We all know it, and it always makes us cringe -- it's that terrible howling of a PA system. Everyone calls it feedback -- what's "feedback"?

How does a self-winding watch work?

Curious about how a self-winding watch works? Take a look at the mechanics inside a self-winding watch.

How does an Indiglo watch work?

Indiglo watches convert electricity directly into light through the very efficient process of electroluminescence. Find out how it works!

10 Types of Microphones

Like most other electronics, microphones have evolved over time. The most modern versions convert waves of air pressure into electric signals, but different models do it in very different ways.

How Tape Recorders Work

Magnetic recording is the backbone of the electronics revolution. Learn how this analog technology lets you store and erase data!

How Pendulum Clocks Work

Have you ever looked inside a grandfather clock or a small mechanical alarm clock? Pendulum clocks are fairly complicated, but they rely on simple forces. Find out how pendulum clocks keep accurate time.

How Digital Clocks Work

When you need to know the time, there's about a 50-50 chance you'll turn to some LEDs to find out. Have you ever wondered what goes on inside a digital clock or watch?

Inside a Wind-up Alarm Clock

Wind-up alarm clocks have been around a long time, but they are still fun to explore. See what's inside this classic ticker!

How Quartz Watches Work

Quartz watches actually use quartz crystals to keep time. How can they be so accurate? Find out why quartz makes such a great time keeper.

How UPC Bar Codes Work

Nearly every item that you purchase from a grocery store, department store or mass merchandiser has a UPC bar code on it somewhere. Ever wondered why?


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