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Ben Coxworth

Science

Vector-based video could mean no more pixels

Unlike traditional bitmap graphics, which are made up of an array of pixels, vector graphics consist of lines, curves and shapes that are based on geometric formulas. Not only do they take up far less memory than bitmaps, but sections of them can also be enlarged without any loss of resolution. Currently, however, vector graphics aren’t well-suited to photorealistic applications, such as video. That may be about to change, though, as researchers from the UK’s University of Bath have developed a new program that is said to overcome such limitations – the scientists believe that the technology could make pixels obsolete within five years.Read More

Elvis-evoking Cat-Ears reduce wind noise while you cycle

Sometimes when you’re cycling, especially if you’re out on the open road, the constant wind noise in your ears can get rather annoying. It can also be potentially dangerous, as it may mask traffic noises. Well, if you’re OK with sporting what at first glance looks like a pair of dark sideburns, Cat-Ears might be the answer.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

"Smart stethoscope" keeps an ear on kidney stones

When kidney stones can’t be dissolved using medication, the next step is usually a procedure known as shock wave lithotripsy. This involves focusing a series of high-intensity acoustic pulses onto the stones, until they break apart to the point that they can be passed in urine or dissolved by drugs. Using current monitoring techniques, however, it can be difficult to tell when and if that point has been reached. A new device known as the Smart stethoscope lets clinicians know, by listening.Read More

Air Cork keeps your wine fresh – using a balloon

When it comes to resealing an opened bottle of wine, most people either use the cork that the bottle came with, or a hand-pumped vacuum stopper. Now, however, there’s another option – it’s called the Air Cork, although we also kind of like its previous name, the Wine Balloon. Read More

Science

Blind cave fish inspires sensing system for autonomous underwater vehicles

Ever wonder how fish can find their way around so easily in murky water? Well, most of them use something called their lateral line – a row of hair cells down either side of their body that detect changes in water pressure caused by movement, or by water flowing around objects. Now, scientists from Singapore’s Nanyang Technological University and MIT have copied the lateral lines of the blind cave fish, in a man-made system designed to allow autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs) to navigate more accurately and efficiently.Read More

Science

Indium gallium arsenide transistor could boost microchip performance

As there is a finite number of transistors that can be effectively packed onto a silicon chip, researchers have been searching for an alternative to silicon that would allow integrated circuit development to continue to keep pace with Moore's Law. Researchers at MIT have recently used indium gallium arsenide to create the smallest transistor ever built from a material other than silicon. The new transistor, which is said to “work well,” is just 22 nanometers long and is a metal-oxide semiconductor field-effect transistor (MOSFET), which is the kind typically used in microprocessors. Read More

Science

Cheap, compact chip could expand T-ray scanning potential

Terahertz technology (or T-Ray, for short), sounds like something out of a science fiction movie. It utilizes high-frequency terahertz waves – which are located between microwaves and far-infrared radiation on the electromagnetic spectrum – to see through solid matter without the harmful ionizing radiation of X-rays. Although T-Ray devices have yet to become compact and affordable, that could soon change thanks to new silicon microchips developed at the California Institute of Technology.Read More

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