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Carnegie scientists use airborne observatory to map the chemistry of the Amazon

By - May 26, 2015 3 Pictures

Researchers have used data collected by the Carnegie Airborne Observatory (CAO) to uncover chemical variation in plant life across the lowland Peruvian Amazon. Quite apart from giving rise to some of the most stunning scientific imagery we've seen of the region, the study provides key information for understanding the rainforest, and assessing our future impact on it.

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Hyperlens significantly boosts image resolution of microscopic objects

By - May 25, 2015

Using visible light magnified through a compound series of lenses to image small objects, standard optical microscopes have been with us for many centuries. Whilst continually being improved, the result of these many advances of optics and image-capturing techniques means that many high-end optical microscopes have now reached the limit of magnification possible as they push the resolution properties of light itself. In an attempt to resolve this issue, scientists at the University of Buffalo (UB) have created a prototype visible light "hyperlens" that may help image objects once only clearly viewable through electron microscopes.

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New process prints electroluminescent layers directly onto three-dimensional objects

By - May 25, 2015

Electroluminescent (EL) panels are found in many electronics applications, particularly as backlighting for LCD displays, keypads, watches, and other areas requiring uniform, low-power illumination. While relatively flexible, when EL panels made from plastic are bent too sharply, fractures and a severely diminished output usually result. As a result, EL panels have generally been restricted to flat or slightly curved surfaces. However, researchers from Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Franz Binder GmbH & Co have now developed a new manufacturing process to print EL panels directly onto the surface of almost any convex and concave shape. Even, apparently, onto spheres.

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Scientists create world's first fully-artificial molecular pump

By - May 23, 2015 4 Pictures

All living organisms – human, animal, or otherwise – continuously move molecules around their cells. It's a crucial mechanism of life, vital for feeding cells the proteins they need to function. And now scientists at Northwestern University have created a machine that mimics this pumping mechanism. Their molecular pump is the world's first such machine developed entirely through chemical engineering in the laboratory, and it could one day power artificial muscles and other molecular machines.

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Thought-controlled robotic arm reacts faster and more smoothly than its predecessors

By - May 22, 2015

Although we've definitely seen a number of thought-controlled prosthetic arms before, most of those have been activated by implants in the user's motor cortex, which is the brain's movement-control center. The arms' resulting movements have been somewhat jerky, plus there's typically been a delay between the user thinking about moving the arm, and the actual movement taking place. Now, however, a team of researchers has announced the results of an experiment in which those limitations were greatly reduced.

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New class of "non-Joulian magnets" have potential to revolutionize electronics

By - May 21, 2015

Magnets are at the heart of much of our technology, and their properties are exploited in a myriad ways across a vast range of devices, from simple relays to enormously complex particle accelerators. A new class of magnets discovered by scientists at the University of Maryland (UMD) and Temple University may lead to other types of magnets that expand in different ways, with multiple, cellular magnetic fields, and possibly give rise to a host of new devices. The team also believes that these new magnets could replace expensive, rare-earth magnets with ones made of abundant metal alloys.

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Horseshoe bat-inspired sonar system could outperform current tech

By - May 21, 2015 2 Pictures

While just about everyone knows that bats locate prey in the dark using echolocation, one thing that many people may not realize is the fact that horseshoe bats are particularly good at it. With this in mind, engineers at Virginia Tech are now developing a sonar system that emulates the system used by those bats. Once perfected, it could be a much more compact and efficient alternative to traditional manmade sonar arrays.

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