Researchers from MIT's Microsystems Technologies Laboratories have built a new power supply system designed specifically for powering electronic sensors, wireless radios and other small devices that will eventually connect the Internet of Things. While most power converters deliver a constant stream of voltage to a device, MIT's new scheme allows low-power devices to cut their resting power consumption by up to 50 percent. The MIT system was announced at International Solid-State Circuits Conference earlier this month and maintains its efficiency at a very broad range of currents from 500 picoamps to 1 milliamp. "Typically, converters have a quiescent power, which is the power that they consume even when they're not providing any current to the load," Arun Paidimarri, one of the postdocs who worked on the project said. "So, for example, if the quiescent power is a microamp, then even if the load pulls only a nanoamp, it's still going to consume a microamp of current.
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Thefts of automobile catalytic converters are rising in the U.S., and California drivers are the top victims. Thefts of the antipollution devices, which reduce harmful emissions in passenger cars, SUVs and trucks, rose substantially between 2008 and 2015, according to new data from the National Insurance Crime Bureau. Mandatory on most vehicles sold in the U.S. since 1975, catalytic converters are installed by automakers and are not meant to be removed. Vehicles from which they have been stolen do not operate properly and cannot pass smog inspections. California had the highest number of victims by far.