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Laser-based system promises to take the "ouch" out of injections

By - September 14, 2012 3 Pictures
Nobody likes getting their shots, but whether childhood immunization, annual flu vaccination, or whatever else, we're required to undergo the uncomfortable sensation of needle piercing skin multiple times throughout our lives. However, a new laser-based system promises to take the “ouch” out of injections by delivering shots as painlessly as being struck by a puff of air. Read More

Chorus: The digital assistant powered by people, not computers

Computer scientists are looking to improve on the performance of artificially intelligent personal assistants by devising a way to use the power of a human crowd to chat you instead. The system, known as Chorus, was designed by researchers at the University of Rochester to allow a number of users to act as a single agent that converses with a single end user in real time. Read More
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Superhydrophobic coating allows water to boil without bubbles

By - September 14, 2012 1 Picture
You know that thing that water does when it boils? The thing with the bubbles? Turns out, it doesn't really need to do that at all, with scientists finding a way to make boiling water a completely bubble-free zone. Researchers from Northwestern University, King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia and Melbourne University in Australia teamed up to prevent water from bubbling when it boils by using tiny spheres coated with a hydrophobic material. Read More
— Science

Ancient Egyptian faience may be key to printing 3D ceramics

By - September 12, 2012 2 Pictures
We like to think of technology as always being forward looking. It’s supposed to be about nanoparticles and the Cloud, not steam engines and the telephone exchange. But every now and again the past reaches out, taps the 21st century on the shoulder and says, “Have a look at this.” That’s what happened to Professor Stephen Hoskins, Director of the University of West England, Bristol's Centre for Fine Print Research. He is currently working on a way of printing 3D ceramics that are self-glazing, thanks to a 7,000-year old technology from ancient Egypt. Read More

New software turns sleep patterns into music

A group of computer scientists based at the University of Helsinki, Finland, have developed new software which creates automatically composed music from data concerning a person's sleep measurements. The software makes use of figures gleaned from an internet-equipped Beddit sensor, which is placed beneath a subject's mattress in order to record the stages of their sleep, their movements, heart rate and breathing. Read More
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Synthetic materials set new world record for greatest amount of surface area

By - September 11, 2012 1 Picture
Researchers at Northwestern University, Illinois, have broken a world record in the creation of two synthetic materials, named NU-109 and NU-110, which have the greatest amount of surface areas of any material to date. To put this into perspective: if one were able to take a crystal of NU-110 the size of a grain of salt, and somehow unfold it, the surface area would cover a desktop. Additionally, the internal surface area of just one gram of the new material would cover one-and-a-half football fields. Read More
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Smart fabric designed to detect intruders

By - September 10, 2012 1 Picture
If you’re a burglar, and all that separates you from your quarry is what appears to be a simple sheet of fabric, you might not want to cut it. That’s because it could be a new smart fabric, that will set off an alarm if it’s breached. Created by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration, the fabric incorporates a web of silver-coated conductive threads that are connected to a microcontroller. If that controller detects a break in the weak electric current that travels through the fibers, it’ll be sure to let the right people know. Read More
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Vibrating armband used to help athletes develop muscle memory

By - September 6, 2012 1 Picture
“Muscle memory” is the process in which a certain motor task is repeated to such an extent that it can eventually be performed without conscious effort. It comes in handy for all sorts of activities, but is particularly important to athletes – a tennis player can hardly concentrate on the game, for instance, if they’re constantly thinking about how to move their arm every time they return the ball. Now, engineers from Imperial College London have created an armband device known as Ghost, designed to assist athletes in forming optimum muscle memories. Read More
— Science

Scientists develop remote control system for cockroaches

By - September 5, 2012 3 Pictures
Much to the annoyance of home-owners everywhere, cockroaches are amazingly tough, and they’re able to squeeze into remarkably small spaces. These are some of the same qualities that researchers would like to see in tiny reconnaissance robots that could perform tasks such as searching earthquake-damaged buildings for survivors. Such adaptable, robust mini-robots would be quite challenging to create, however. A team of scientists from North Carolina State University are working on an alternative – sensor-equipped real cockroaches that are remotely controlled by human operators. Read More
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