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Ben Coxworth

Outdoors

A computerized fishing rod – sure, why not?

Imagine that you’re an angler who has several lines in the water at once. How will you know if a fish strikes on one of your unmanned rods? Well, you could attach a bell to each rod, or just listen for its reel to start running. In these days of electronic everything, however, another alternative is now in the works – the computerized POLETAP SMARTROD.Read More

Medical

Inexpensive card-sized device runs 50 blood tests in seconds

Ordinarily, when medical clinicians are conducting blood tests, it’s a somewhat elaborate affair. A full vial of blood must be drawn, individual portions of which are then loaded into large, expensive machines such as mass spectrometers. The results are usually quite accurate, but they’re not instantaneous, and require the services of trained personnel in a well-equipped lab. That may be about to change, however. Scientists from Houston’s Methodist Hospital Research Institute and MD Anderson Cancer Center have created a credit card-sized gadget, that can instantly check a single drop of blood for up to 50 different substances – and it costs about US$10.Read More

Science

New microscopy technique lets scientists see live viruses in their natural habitat

Traditionally, in order to view tiny biological structures such as viruses, they must first be removed from their natural habitats and frozen. While this certainly keeps them still for the microscope, it greatly limits what we can learn about them – it’s comparable to an ichthyologist only being able to study dead fish in a lab, instead of observing live ones in the ocean. Now, however, researchers at the Virginia Tech Carilion Research Institute have devised a technique for observing live viruses in a liquid environment. It could have huge implications for the development of treatments for viral infections.Read More

Automotive

All new U.S. cars may require a "black box" by 2014

Flight data recorders, commonly known as “black boxes,” have been a standard feature in airliners since the early 1960s. More recently, various companies have started offering apps and dedicated devices that essentially serve as black boxes for cars, keeping a record of the vehicle’s parameters and location when involved in an accident. Now, the U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is proposing that similar devices become mandatory in all new light passenger vehicles sold in the U.S. by September 1st, 2014.Read More

Science

Stanford University researchers create peel-and-stick solar cells

Traditionally, thin-film solar cells are made with rigid glass substrates, limiting their potential applications. Flexible versions do exist, although they require special production techniques and/or materials. Now, however, scientists from Stanford University have created thin, flexible solar cells that are made from standard materials – and they can applied to just about any surface, like a sticker.Read More

Science

Sonic "invisible scalpel" could be used for non-invasive surgery

First of all, how can non-invasive surgery even be possible? After all, even in the case of minimally-invasive laparoscopic surgery, small incisions are still made in the skin. Nonetheless, that’s just what scientists from the University of Michigan are proposing. They believe that it could be achieved by using a beam of sound, which would be emitted through the skin to a highly-focused point within the body – and they’ve already created such a beam and used it. Read More

Environment

Paper waste used to make "green" bricks

Paper waste has already been used to create things like foam and batteries – now, a team of researchers from Spain’s University of Jaen are making bricks out of the stuff. Although the finished products still need a little tweaking before they're ready for prime time, they could ultimately give traditional bricks a run for their money. Read More

Science

Backpack carries books and stops bullets

In the wake of last week’s horrific shootings in Connecticut, we’re sure to be seeing a lot more products like this cropping up. Made by Salt Lake City-based body armor company Amendment II, it’s called the Ballistic Backpack, and it’s designed to protect its wearer from bullets.Read More

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