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— Aircraft

Drone flight powered by lightweight hydrogen-producing pellets

At first glance, hydrogen fuel cells sound like a great power source for fixed-wing drones making long flights – they have much longer run times than batteries, and they emit no emissions other than water vapor. Unfortunately, the hydrogen typically has to be stored in large heavy pressurized tanks. Last month, however, a Raptor E1 electric drone made a successful test flight running on a unique new system that's actually lighter than the lithium-ion battery it replaced.

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— Medical

Laser-based blood glucose monitor promises a less prickly way to keep diabetes in check

For a number of years now, various research groups have been examining the potential for lasers applied to the skin to measure blood-glucose levels in an effort to put an end to the daily finger-pricks and meticulous blood sampling performed by diabetics. Japanese scientists have now developed one such system that differs from previous techniques by relying on far infrared light, which the researchers say is harmless and offers unprecedented levels of accuracy.

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— Electronics

"Unhackable" RFID chip to keep your credit cards safe

Radio frequency identification (RFID) chips have made cashless payments commonplace and opened the way to automatic inventory control. However, they've also made it possible for credit card details and other private information to be stolen wirelessly. To make things a bit more secure, MIT and Texas Instruments are developing an "unhackable" RFID chip that's designed to fend off information-stealing attacks.

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— Energy

Battery anodes made from pollen are nothing to sneeze at

As our dependence on mobile devices grows and we continue the shift to electric vehicles, there is a need to not only develop better performing batteries but find more accessible and sustainable materials with which to build them. To this end, researchers have now developed an anode for lithium-ion batteries using something those with allergies certainly wouldn't miss: pollen from bees and cattails.

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