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Nick Lavars

Wearables

Self-charging battery stretches over skin to power wearables

While we've seen promising prototypes of computers that conform to the contours of human wrists and forearms, the technology isn't quite ready for mainstream adoption yet. But this hasn't stopped one forward-thinking team of researchers from coming up with a new way to power these wearable electronics, developing a soft, millimeter-scale battery that can be stretched over the skin like a band-aid.Read More

Drones

Fire-starting conservation drone lights things up in national park

Mixing drones with fire sure sounds like a dangerous idea, but under close control this unlikely pairing could have a beneficial environmental impact. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) have been developing a drone that ignites controlled burns from the air, and the team has now carried out real-world testing of the technology with a view to minimizing risks to conservation crews and avoiding out of control wildfires. Read More

Electronics

IBM breakthrough gives blistering phase-change memory new practicality

Data storage is one of those things where too much is never enough. And as the amount of data generated increases exponentially, the search is on for new memory technologies that tick all the boxes in terms of speed, endurance, non-volatility and endurance. Phase-change memory (PCM) has emerged as a promising candidate, and now IBM Research has worked out how to triple the amount of data bits each cell can hold, edging the technology closer to a cost-effective, blistering fast data storage solution.Read More

Materials

Researchers shine a light through transparent wood

Wood already has plenty to offer conventional construction methods as an inexpensive and bountiful resource, but it may soon have a new trick up its sleeve. Scientists have come up with a way to turn a block of linden wood transparent, winding up with a material that could find use in everything from cars to advanced light-based electronics systems.Read More

Materials

Ever-taut spider webs inspire self-spooling liquid wire

Among spider silk's many remarkable properties is its ability to be stretched 40 percent beyond its original length without breaking. Staying in one piece is impressive, sure, but how does a spider's web remain taut after being warped out of shape by winds and intrusive insects? Scientists have now unraveled this little mystery and used it as the basis of a self-spooling liquid wire they say could be used to build small, stretchable structures.Read More

Medical

Stanford's whiz-bang idea to bring gold-standard urine testing to the home

A urine test can be an invaluable way of detecting a number of medical conditions, a list which can include infections, diseases, and even certain types of cancer. Looking to improve access to this diagnostics tool, Stanford University engineers have designed a smartphone-based urine test for the home that relies on the same approach used in the doctor's office, claiming it could offer equally accurate results.Read More

Environment

Coffee grounds recycled as sustainable road material

Melbourne folk do love their coffee, and one day the beverage mightn't be just pepping them up for a day's work but paving the way for their trip into the office. Swinburne University researchers have scoured the campus' cafes for coffee grounds and used them as part of the mix for a more sustainable road construction material.Read More

Drones

Rwanda's blood-delivering drones to service 20 hospitals this summer

It is said that constraint can breed innovation, and when it comes to delivering medical cargo by land in Rwanda, also known as the "Land of Thousand Hills," there are some serious limitations at play. To overcome the nation's challenging topography, the local government and US startup Zipline are launching a drone delivery service that will start dropping much-needed blood bags to 20 remote hospitals in the coming months.Read More

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