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A people’s view of Mars (images)

April 2, 2010


NASA has released some of the shots that resulted when it handed over command of the HiRise camera aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter and let the general public choose its Martian targets.

A Periodic Table Of Nanoparticles

August 22, 2006

By mixing and matching pairs of semiconducting, metallic, and magnetic nanoparticles, researchers have made many versions of what they call “binary nanoparticle superlattices.”

Their theoretical analyses, modeling work, and experimental data indicate that the factors that determine exactly what binary superlattice will form include relatively long-range electrostatic forces between the nanoparticles, close-proximity effects such as dipole interactions and van der Waals forces, size effects, and the relative concentrations of… read more

A personalized robot companion

August 20, 2013


A consortium of European researchers has developed a customizable robot companion for people with memory or mobility problems.

The robot, a mobile wheeled semi-humanoid figure equipped with cameras, sensors, audio and a touch screen interface, can remind users to take their medicine, suggest they have their favorite drink or prompt them to go for a walk or visit friends if they haven’t been out for a while,… read more

A Picowatt Processor

July 8, 2008

University of Michigan have made a processor (the Phoenix) that measures just one millimeter square with a power consumption so low (2.8 picojoules of energy per computing cycle) that emerging thin-film batteries of the same size could power it for 10 years or more.

At this scale, it could be feasible to build the chip into a thick contact lens and use it to monitor pressure in the eye,… read more

A planet made of diamond

August 29, 2011

Pulsar Planet

A once-massive star has been transformed into a small planet made of diamond, researchers led by Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne have found.

The researchers first detected a pulsar using the Parkes radio telescope of the Australian Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO).

The newly discovered pulsar, known as PSR J1719–1438, produced pulses that were systematically modulated. The astronomers concluded that this… read more

A planetary mood ring

March 15, 2010

Planetary Moodring by Emily Kasriel

What if there was a central place for all of humanity to text, tweet, email, blog and click in the essence of their mood in the moment — a gigantic feelings aggregator that would provide an emotional pulse check on the planet?

That’s a concept that Digital Space CEO Bruce Damer suggested Sunday on BBC World Service program “The Forum.”… read more

A Planetary System That Looks Familiar

November 8, 2007

Astronomers reported Tuesday that there were at least five planets circling a star 41 light-years from here in the constellation Cancer, known as 55 Cancri, where only four had been known before.

This makes it the most extensive planetary system yet found outside our own. It is also the one that most resembles our solar system, with a giant planet orbiting far out from the star and four smaller… read more

A Plastic That Chills

August 12, 2008

Thin films of a new polymer developed at Penn State change temperature in response to changing electric fields (the electrocaloric effect).

This could lead to new technologies for cooling computer chips and environmentally friendly refrigerators.

A Plastic Wrapper Today Could Be Fuel Tomorrow

April 9, 2007

A “fuel-latent plastic,” designed for conversion, can be used like ordinary plastic, but when it is waste, the “bioplastic” can easily be turned into a substitute diesel fuel.

A Portable DNA Detector

September 24, 2008
(University of California, Berkeley)

University of California, Berkeley researchers have developed a portable DNA analyzer that performs real-time analysis of blood samples left at the scene of a crime in six hours or less, packing microfluidics, electronics, optics, and chemical detection technology into a single briefcase-sized unit.

A portable paper-smartphone device that analyzes trace pesticides

A fast, low-cost device for home use
October 20, 2015

The prototype smartphone-based detection system – courtesy of Professor Mei et al., the images first appeared in the paper in Biosensors and Bioelectronics. (credit: Elsevier)

A new system that may allow people to detect pesticides cheaply and rapidly, combining a paper sensor and an Android program on a smartphone, has been developed by researchers in China and Singapore, according to a new study published in Biosensors and Bioelectronics.

As the potential effects of pesticides on health become clearer, it is increasingly important to be able to detect them in the environment… read more

A Portable Refinery Powered by Garbage

February 14, 2007

Researchers at Purdue University have led development of a portable “tactical” biorefinery for the U.S. Army that turns a variety of waste streams into a mixture of ethanol and methane gas, which are burned in a modified diesel engine to produce electricity.

A possible solution to a critical barrier to producing fusion energy

April 24, 2012

The Alcator C-Mod tokamak experiment at the MIT Plasma Science and Fusion Center. Overview showing the device itself (under concrete shielding) and diagnostics in surrounding bay. (Credit:  Wikimedia Commons)

Princeton physicists have discovered a possible solution to a mystery that has long baffled researchers working to harness fusion as a source of power.

If confirmed by experiment, the finding could help scientists eliminate a major impediment to the development of fusion as a clean and abundant source of energy for producing electric power.

An in-depth analysis by scientists from the U.S. Department of… read more

A potential breakthrough in using electrical pulses to treat deadly glioblastoma brain tumors

February 20, 2015

Irreversible electroporesis  destroys a cerebral lesion while leaving nearby important vessels and organs unharmed (credit: URMC)

Based on successful results in an experiment with a Labrador retriever using a novel treatment for glioblastoma brain cancer, the National Cancer Institute yesterday (Feb. 19) awarded  Scott Verbridge, an assistant professor of biomedical engineering and mechanics at Virginia Tech , a $386,149 research grant to take a related medical procedure a step closer to using on humans.

The team’s findings from the experiment… read more

A powerful lens technology inspired by the human eye

November 15, 2012

These light-gathering polymer lenses are 3.5 times more powerful than glass, and are the first commercial nanolayered product to come out of many years of R&D at Case Western Reserve University. To create the lenses, a 4,000-layer film is coextruded, and then 200 layers of film are stacked to create an 800,000-nanolayer sheet. (Credit: Michael Ponting/PolymerPlus)

Drawing heavily upon nature for inspiration, a team of researchers has created a new artificial lens made up of thousands of nanoscale polymer layers that is nearly identical to the natural lens of the human eye.

The lens may one day provide more natural performance in implantable lenses to replace damaged or diseased human eye lenses, as well as consumer vision products; it also may lead to… read more

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