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— Environment

Cheaper, longer-lasting perovskite solar cells could be on the way

Perovskite solar cells are one of the most exciting green energy technologies to emerge in recent years, combining low cost with high energy conversion rates. Now, researchers at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) have found a way to cut their cost even further by developing a charge-carrying material that is much cheaper, highly efficient, and could even help address the technology's current major weakness by significantly lengthening the lifespan of the panels.

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GE turns out the lights on CFLs

Compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) that could fit into standard light sockets only hit the market in the 1980s, but the signs are their days may be numbered. GE has announced it will cease production of CFLs this year and instead switch its focus to producing LEDs.

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— Robotics

Soft robotic gripper gets a grasp on fragile objects using electroadhesion

Building machines that replicate the delicate touch of a human hand is a complex undertaking that has seen the development of all kinds of soft robotic grippers, from squishy green blobs to boa constrictor-inspired claws. Scientists are now claiming an important advance in this area, demonstrating a robotic device that can better grasp fragile objects through the help of electroadhesion, the very same phenomenon that sees balloons cling to ceilings after being rubbed on your hair.

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— Science

Sorry Spider-Man, but geckos are the largest wall crawlers

Having faced off the Green Goblin and Mysterio, Spider-Man has been defeated by his greatest enemy; maths. According to a team of scientists from Cambridge University, for the webslinger to stick to a wall, he'd need hands and feet equal to 40 percent of his entire body surface area. Though this may dismay web head's fans, it may shed insights into how to improve gecko-like adhesives.

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— Drones

Dutch police train drone-hunting eagles

Drones are certainly getting smarter and more capable, but can they outwit one of nature's most menacing airborne predators? The Dutch National Police is banking on a bird of prey to come up trumps in a dogfight between new and old inhabitants of the sky, so it is training a fleet of eagles to help quell the risk of dangerous unmanned aircraft.

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— Automotive

Land Rover ends production of the Defender

The end of Land Rover Defender production was initially scheduled for 2015, but the model got a stay of execution – for about a month. Land Rover rolled the very last Defender off production lines on Friday, putting an end to 68 years of Series/Defender production. It's not all bad news for Defender lovers, though; Land Rover's celebration of the event includes a new Defender Heritage program and a very thorough tour of great Defenders of the past. Plus, a Defender replacement is in the works.

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— Outdoors

Fuel cell lantern ditches batteries for salt water

For many people, camping/emergency lanterns are one of those things that may sit for months without being used, only to have dead batteries when they're finally needed again. While solar-powered lanterns are one alternative, they do still need to sit in the sunlight for a few hours in order to charge. That's where Hydra-Light's PL-500 comes in. It's a fuel cell-powered lantern that's ready to shine as soon as it receives some salt water.

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— Medical

Improved DNA tech could replace antibodies in detecting and treating diseases

A team of researchers from the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR) has worked to develop an efficient technology that uses DNA to detect and treat infectious diseases. Improving upon an existing method, the research makes use of single-stranded DNA molecules called aptamers, and it could be used to treat cancer.

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