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Spray-on liquid glass is about to revolutionize almost everything

February 2, 2010

Turkish scientists have developed spray-on liquid glass that is transparent, non-toxic, and can protect virtually any surface against almost any damage from hazards such as water, UV radiation, dirt, heat, and bacterial infections, making cleaning products unnecessary. The invisible coating is also flexible and breathable, which makes it suitable for use on an enormous array of products.

The liquid glass spray consists of almost pure silicon dioxide (silica, the… read more

Spray-on solar sensors for random surfaces

December 8, 2014

Kramer built his sprayLD device using parts that are readily available and rather affordable—he sourced a spray nozzle used in steel mills to cool steel with a fine mist of water, and a few regular air brushes from an art store. (Credit: UofT)

Canadian researchers have invented a fast, low-cost way to spray solar cells onto flexible surfaces using light-sensitive materials known as colloidal quantum dots (CQDs).

“My dream is that one day you’ll have two technicians with Ghostbusters backpacks come to your house and spray your roof,” said Illan Kramer, a post-doctoral fellow with The Edward S. Rogers Sr. Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering at the University of Toronto and IBM Canada’s… read more

Spreading the load

December 12, 2007

A new wave of science projects on the web is harnessing volunteers’ computers in novel ways — and their brains, too.

Spring-loaded nanotubes could be used in microcircuits

June 13, 2003

Multiwalled nanotubes can act like telescoping spring-loaded shock absorbers, opening the possibility of use in silicon circuits and optoelectronic devices, according to an article in Nature Materials Update, June 12, 2003.

In experiments at Vanderbilt University, it was found that if the inner tubes are partially pulled out and then released, they spring back inside their sheath, oscillating back and forth at a frequency of around 1 gigahertz until… read more

Springs built from nanotubes could provide big power storage potential

September 22, 2009

Carbon nanotubes could be formed into tiny springs capable of storing as much energy, pound for pound, as state-of-the-art lithium-ion batteries (potentially more durably and reliably), with 1000 times more energy for their weight than steel springs.

Sprouting ideas in 3D with a novel ‘blended reality’ device

October 30, 2014

Sprout (credit: HP)

What happens when you combine a scanner, depth sensor, high-resolution camera, projector, Windows 8.1 desktop computer with Intel i7 processor and 1TB of storage, and two touch screens, all squeezed into a single device?

HP calls it “Sprout,” part of a new immersive “Blended Reality” ecosystem that is “designed to break down the barriers between the digital and physical worlds.”

A friendly maker tool

HP pitches… read more

Spy Fears: Twitter Terrorists, Cell Phone Jihadists

October 27, 2008

A draft Army intelligence report warns that Twitter, mobile phone cameras, and GPS utilities could be used in combination as effective tools for coordinating terrorist attacks.

Spy planes to recharge by clinging to power lines

December 20, 2007

The US Air Force Research Lab is developing an electric motor-powered micro air vehicle that can “harvest” energy when needed by attaching itself to a power line, even temporarily changing its shape to look more like innocuous piece of trash hanging from the cable.

Much of the “morphing” technology to perform this has already been developed by DARPA, the Pentagon’s research division. Technologies developed in that program include carbon… read more

Spy-camera robot penguins infiltrate bird colonies

February 13, 2013


A BBC documentary team unleashed 50 spycams into penguin colonies, including cameras that served as eyes for robotic penguins, to capture stunning close-up footage of the unusual birds, CNET reports.

“Penguins: Spy in the Huddle” documents nearly a year hanging out with penguins through the surrogate eyes of 50 different spycams. Some of the spycams were disguised as chunks of snow or small boulders, but… read more

Spying an intelligent search engine

August 21, 2006

While most would agree that Google has set the current standard for Web search, some technologists say even better tools are on the horizon thanks to advances in artificial intelligence.

Square launches iPad point-of-sale service

May 24, 2011

Card Case

Mobile commerce company Square has launched Square Register iPad app, which allows merchants to use an iPad instead of a cash register or credit card terminal. Now available to download, the app facilitates retail checkout, sales tracking, and customer communication.

Square also launched Card Case, a consumer app for both iPhone and Android users that complements the Square Register merchant app. Card Case stores virtual merchant-branded… read more

Squeezed light breaks quantum barrier

August 22, 2003

Physicists have made a new type of ultra-precise laser pointer by “squeezing” a beam in two directions. They are able to position the beam with a precision of 1.6 Angstroms, almost 1.5 times better than the theoretical limit for a conventional laser.

The team now hopes to exploit the technique in atomic force microscopy, measurements of refractive index and studies of molecules in living cells.

News tip: Walter… read more

Squid and zebrafish cells inspire camouflaging smart materials

May 2, 2012


Researchers from the University of Bristol announced May 2 they have created artificial muscles that can be transformed at the flick of a switch to mimic the remarkable camouflaging abilities of organisms such as squid and zebrafish.

They demonstrate two individual transforming mechanisms that they believe could be used in “smart clothing” to trigger camouflaging tricks similar to those seen in nature.

The soft, stretchy, artificial muscles are based on… read more

Squid May Inspire New Nanolights

January 13, 2004

A Hawaiian squid has a built-in flashlight made up of a previously unknown type of protein that could help researchers design novel nanoreflectors.

Glowing bacteria provide the light source, which is surrounded by stacks of reflective plates. The team notes that the reflectins are “a marked example of natural nanofabrication of photonic structures” and should inspire bottom-up synthesis of new spectroscopic and optic devices.

Squirrel and bird deception techniques inspire military-robot design

December 5, 2012

Deceptive Robots (credit: Arkin et al./Georgia Institute of Technology)

Using deceptive behavioral patterns of squirrels and birds, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology have developed robots that are able to deceive each other.

The research is led by Professor Ronald Arkin, a Regents Professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Interactive Computing, who suggests the applications could be implemented by the military in the future.

Animal deception tactics

Squirrels gather… read more

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