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Heidi Hoopes

Heidi Hoopes

Heidi measures her life with the motley things she's done in the name of scientific exploration. While formally educated in biology and chemistry, informally she learns from adventures and hobbies with her family. Her simple pleasures in life are finding turtles while jogging and obsessively winnowing through her genetic data.

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— Space

First ISS to Earth "handshake" demonstrates space-to-ground remote control

By - June 4, 2015 3 Pictures

NASA astronaut Terry Virts, aboard the International Space Station (ISS), and ESA telerobotics specialist André Schiele, in the Netherlands, made space history this week with the first telerobotic "handshake" between space and Earth. Using special force feedback joysticks that acquire force data and create the sensation of pressure, Virts and Schiele brought the agencies closer to allowing astronauts in remote locations to naturally and safely control robotic devices and perform potentially dangerous or otherwise impossible tasks.

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— Science

Almost universal SERS sensor could change how we sniff out small things

By - June 3, 2015 1 Picture

Identifying fraudulent paintings based on electrochemical data, highlighting cancerous cells in a sea of healthy ones, and identifying different strains of bacteria in samples of food are all examples of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS), a sensor system that has only become more in-demand as our desire for precise, instantaneous information has increased. However, the technology has largely failed commercialization because the chips used are difficult and expensive to create, have limited uses for a particular known substance, and are consumed upon use. Researchers led by a team from the University of Buffalo (UB) aim to change nanoscale sensors with an almost-universal substrate that's also low-cost, opening up more opportunities for powerful analysis of our environment.

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— Electronics

Better Re battery pack gives new life to old phone batteries

By - May 12, 2015 9 Pictures

If you're like a lot of phone junkies and replace your phone as soon as the latest thing comes along, you'll know that often the hardware in the old phone is perfectly fine, even the battery. But fancier new screens and more powerful processors mean that battery life usually remains a problem, making battery packs a popular accessory. Enlighten's Better Re lets you get some more use out of your old phone's battery, by allowing it to slot into an adjustable external battery charger for your new phone.

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— Computers

The $9 CHIP is real computing in a tiny form

By - May 12, 2015 8 Pictures

From the company that brought us Otto, the gif-capturing camera, comes CHIP, the US$9 computer. Its endowments of 1 gig processing, 4 gig storage, and 512 MB of RAM would only be average, were it not for the price, and the fact that it's ready-to-go despite its svelte stature – small enough to fit on a Post-It note. As with Otto, the company is seeking funding on Kickstarter and is also offering PocketCHIP, an enclosure to turn CHIP into an affordable smart device with touchscreen and keyboard.

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— Sports

GogglePal adds a heads-up display of stats and games to any ski goggles

By - April 29, 2015 6 Pictures
Goggle Pal marries wearable technology with the smooth exhilarating feeling of flying down a snow-covered mountain on a board or skis by placing a unobtrusive augmented reality HUD on any pair of goggles. Three levels of models add fitness and ride data, AR games, and social communication and tracking to an otherwise normal run. You can now pledge for the model of your choice on Kickstarter, where GogglePal is seeking funding. Read More
— Science

The Hunger Pains: Mice genetically engineered to not feel them

By - April 28, 2015 1 Picture
Hunger pains are the bane of any dieter's existence, kicking in even when skipping a single meal and goading the sufferer to indulge their desire for food. Controlling hunger is now better understood as neuroscientists tease apart why we (well, our model mouse cousins) feel hunger. Mind-bendingly, the same researchers have used genetic therapies to create feelings of satiety where none would otherwise exist. Read More
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