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Wearables

Alcohol-monitoring bracelet pings your phone when it's time to ease up

Tracking your blood alcohol level is never a bad idea, but huffing, puffing and whipping out a breathlyzer isn't always an option. Looking to unearth a more inconspicuous way of keeping an eye on things, the National Health Institute's Wearable Alcohol Biosensor Challenge put the call out for non-invasive solutions to this problem, and has now selected its winner. The wrist-worn BACtrack Skyn pairs with an app to offer real-time monitoring of alcohol levels, even alerting the user's phone when they are drinking too hard.Read More

Materials

Reversible adhesive can be turned on and off as required

Reversible, temporary adhesives may not sound all that exciting to some, but to a manufacturer that needs to rapidly move small, difficult-to-handle components or a robot-builder creating a machine that can climb any surface, such products are the thing of dreams. Now researchers at the Max Planck Institute have created a reversible adhesive from the metal gallium that displays reversible glue-like properties that could have applications in everything from industrial electronics pick-and-place processes, short-term silicon wafer bonding, to switchable adhesive feet for climbing robots.Read More

Energy

One of world's largest solar plants to be used to produce ... oil

In a real case of strange bedfellows, one of the largest solar plants in the world is being built in Oman to boil water for use in oil production rather than to generate electricity. The plant, dubbed Miraah and created by GlassPoint for Petroleum Development Oman, will eventually produce the equivalent of 1 GW of power and will replace a less energy efficient natural gas method currently in use.Read More

Materials

Novel smart materials change color and opacity when stretched

Marine animals such as squid, cuttlefish, and octopus can display incredible patterns of colors by selectively contracting individual muscles to activate pigment-containing cells below their skin. Inspired by this novel capability, researchers from the University of Connecticut have created color and transparency changing materials that alter their properties in response to mechanical force. Known collectively as mechanocromics, these materials might be used to create everything from smart windows to physical encryption devices.Read More

Outdoors

Hand-held microwave takes home convenience into the wild

Flicking on a gas burner or cobbling together a fire might be the most common way of cooking in the great outdoors, but another option is on the way. The Wayv Adventurer is a battery-operated radio frequency cooking appliance that's small enough to fit in a backpack. In other words, it's a hand-held microwave.Read More

Aircraft

Solar Impulse 2 lands in Ohio

Solar Impulse 2 has touched down in Dayton, Ohio, on the latest leg of its global circumnavigation flight. With André Borschberg at the controls, the single-seater solar-powered aircraft landed at Dayton International Airport at 9:56 pm EDT after 16 hours and 34 minutes in the air. This is the fourth flight of the Solar 2 this year and the 12th leg of its round-the-world mission that began in Abu Dhabi in 2015.Read More

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