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Science

Medical

Robot betters expert surgeons at soft tissue stitching

In the 2012 film Prometheus, archaeologist Elizabeth Shaw seals herself in a medical pod and undergoes a robotic surgical procedure to remove an alien growing in her abdomen. While people not involved in a sci-fi universe shouldn't ever need such a procedure, robotic surgery certainly has its benefits. Working with the body's soft tissue has proved difficult, however, because of how much it can squish and change during surgery. A new machine called the Smart Tissue Automation Robot (STAR) at Johns Hopkins University has overcome this obstacle and proven its ability by operating on pigs.Read More

Physics

"World’s smallest engine" to power microscopic robots

It is often said that size matters. At the nano-scale level, where a lot of current research is being done, this adage also holds true, and several scientific teams have laid claim to creating the "world's smallest engine" built from particles of ever-shrinking dimensions. The latest, a nano-scale engine made from tiny charged particles of gold and developed by researchers at the University of Cambridge, is claimed to be the smallest of them all.Read More

Electronics

Disposable laser produced with inkjet printing tech

Most of the lasers used in items such as DVD players or optical mice are inorganic. They last much longer than organic lasers (which utilize carbon-based materials to amplify light), but they're also comparatively expensive and complex to make, plus their range of wavelengths is limited. Developing more durable organic lasers would be one way of addressing the situation, but a European research team has come up with another – just make them really cheap and easily-replaceable.Read More

Space

Two technologies that could be invaluable to the search for life

NASA and its partners are in the process of developing two cutting-edge technologies with the potential to significantly advance the hunt for extraterrestrial life on distant Earth-like planets. The ambitious designs currently under development could allow astronomers to cut through the intense disturbance caused by an exoplanet's parent star, allowing them to image the remote worlds directly, and make detailed observations.Read More

Medical

Add-ons let iPhones perform anterior and retinal eye exams

Visual impairment and blindness is an extremely widespread issue that affects an estimated 285 million people across the globe, with nine of out of 10 cases occurring in developing regions. oDocs Eye Care is hoping to put a dent in those numbers, producing low-cost, portable eye examination accessories designed to harness the power of the iPhone.Read More

Journey toward Milky Way's dark heart in new Hubble video

Do you have 37 seconds of time to spare today? If so, you can zip towards the very center of our galaxy thanks to a new video put out by the Hubble Space Telescope team. The video is really just a long zoom into an image released last month, but it definitely provides the sensation of heading through our galactic core to the black hole that lies at its center.Read More

Space

Mouthy sea urchin inspires engineers to take a bite out of other planets

The sea urchin may be a restaurant delicacy, but it's also well equipped to satisfy its own appetite. The spiny invertebrate has a rock-crushing mouth so powerful that a herd of them can destroy a kelp forest or devastate a coral reef. Now its dinner manglers have inspired a team of engineers and marine biologists at the University of California, San Diego, to create a claw-like manipulator for robotic rovers tasked with collecting soil samples on other planets.Read More

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