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Ben Coxworth

By applying electrical pulses to the new nanomaterial, a sea of small negatively charged i...

By now, we’re all fairly used to electronic devices such as smartphones, which can act as a mobile phone, computer, camera and navigation unit all at once. These devices, while multi-functional, still use different hard-wired electrical circuits for their different functions. Thanks to research being carried out at Chicago’s Northwestern University, however, all those functions may one day be able to utilize the same physical piece of electronic material – the electrical current would simply be “steered” through it differently, depending on what was needed. This means that a single section of the material could act as a resistor, rectifier, diode or transistor, as instructed by a computer.  Read More

The T3 Non-Lethal Response Vehicle is an EV designed for police use in riots and violent p...

When people are looking into buying an electric vehicle, they typically ask questions like “What sort of range does it get?”, “How big is its battery?” or “How long does it take to charge?”. They don't usually ask “How many guns does it have?”. In the case of T3 Motion’s new T3 Non-Lethal Response Vehicle (NLRV), however, that would be a legitimate inquiry. The three-wheeled stand-up EV is designed for police use in riots or violent protests, and it in fact has two semi-automatic launchers, capable of shooting non-lethal ammo at a rate of 700 rounds per minute.  Read More

Motorola is bringing back the RAZR, as an incredibly thin smartphone

The Motorola RAZR is back, only this time it's a smartphone – and a very slim one, at that. Motorola Mobility and Verizon Wireless unveiled the new 7.1 mm-thick DROID RAZR yesterday, with the promise that it should be in stores early next month. Not only is the device said to be the skinniest smartphone in existence, but it is reportedly also the first to be able to stream video from Netflix at HD resolution.  Read More

Cyclist Jim Artis' Catrike 700 recumbent tricycle, aka Silk

If you're a cyclist who wants to turn a few heads on the road, you should ride a recumbent tricycle ... people can't help but notice something that appears to be a low-riding lawn chair on wheels. If you want to get noticed by other recumbent trike riders, you might look into getting a Catrike 700. With its 700C wheels and relatively light weight of just 33 pounds (15 kg), it's said to be one of the fastest production trikes that money can buy. However, how do you get noticed by other Catrike riders? Well, you could try equipping your trike with just about every accessory imaginable, all of them in black. That's what Fayetteville, North Carolina native Jim Artis did with his. The result - which he named "Silk" - looks like something designed for dispatching evil-doers by dark of night, before tearing off in a swirl of dry ice vapor.  Read More

Prof. Ki Chon and doctoral student Chris Scully, who is working on Chon's app (Photo: WPI)...

Users of the Pulse Phone app may be justifiably impressed at the way in which it lets them measure their heart rate, simply by placing their finger over their iPhone's camera lens. Well, a biomedical engineer at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) in Massachusetts has taken that concept several steps farther. Inspired by Pulse Phone, Prof. Ki Chon developed an Android app that measures not only heart rate, but also heart rhythm, respiration rate and blood oxygen saturation - all through a finger against the lens. Measurements made by the app are said to be as accurate as those obtained using standard medical monitors.  Read More

Each nanochannel electroporation device incorporates two reservoirs joined by a nanoscale ...

One of the key processes in gene therapy involves taking cells from the patient, injecting a therapeutic genetic material into them, then reintroducing them to the patient’s body and letting them go to work. Unfortunately, getting that material into the cells can be tricky. While larger cells can actually be punctured with a fine needle, most human cells are too small for that approach to be possible. There are also methods of inserting random amounts of material into bulk quantities of cells, but these are inexact. Now, however, scientists at Ohio State University are reporting success with a process known as “nanochannel electroporation” (NEP), in which therapeutic biomolecules are electrically shot into cells.  Read More

Amateur astronomers wanting to observe celestial bodies soon won’t be limited to just their own personal telescopes, or visits to the local public observatory. Starting next year, the first in a worldwide network of robotic telescopes will be going online, which users from any location on the planet will be able to operate for free via the internet. Known as Gloria (GLObal Robotic telescopes Intelligent Array for e-Science), the three-year European project will ultimately include 17 telescopes on four continents, run by 13 partner groups from Russia, Chile, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Italy, the Czech Republic, Poland and Spain. Not only will users be able to control the telescopes from their computers, but they will also have access to the astronomical databases of Gloria and other organizations.  Read More

Le Chal is a navigational device for the blind, that guides them to their destination via ...

Within just the past few years, scientists have developed an impressive number of experimental systems designed to help the blind navigate city streets. These have included devices that mount on the wrist, are incorporated into glasses, are worn as a vest, and that augment a traditional white cane. A young researcher at Hewlett-Packard Labs in Bangalore, India, however, has come up with something else - a navigational device for the blind that's built into a shoe.  Read More

Scientists are using artificial vision technology to detect rotten oranges, and sort citru...

There’s a reason that the oranges you see in the store usually aren’t rotten – someone at a sorting facility has already looked over all the oranges coming in from the fields, and taken out the spoiled ones. This is typically done with the help of ultraviolet light, which illuminates the essential oils in the rinds of rotten oranges. Such an approach is subject to human error, however, plus workers can only remain in the vicinity of the harmful UV light for limited periods of time. Now, scientists from Spain’s Valencian Institute of Agrarian Research (IVIA) have created a machine that does the same job automatically. While they were at it, they also came up with one that sorts oranges according to aesthetic appeal, and one that sorts mandarin segments.  Read More

A microformulator, designed to allow ABE to perform experiments without human intervention...

While some people may have been impressed (or intimidated) by the recent development of a system that automatically raises and analyzes cell cultures, it turns out that another facet of the biological research process may also be going to the machines. An interdisciplinary team of researchers recently demonstrated a computer system that is able to take in raw scientific data from a biological system, and output mathematical equations describing how that system operates - it is reportedly one of the most complex scientific modeling problems that a computer has solved entirely from scratch. While the system is known affectionately as "ABE," it is also being referred to as a robotic biologist.  Read More

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