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Science

Space

Mars drone tech sniffs out methane leaks on Earth

Natural gas pipelines stretch for thousands of miles across entire continents and inspecting them for potentially dangerous leaks is a full-time, never-ending job. To take some of the pressure off, NASA is testing a quadcopter equipped with a miniature methane gas sensor originally designed for testing the Martian atmosphere. The space agency says that the exceptional sensitivity of the equipment makes it possible to monitor many miles of pipeline at a time from the air.Read More

Medical

Nanoparticle shows if cancer treatment is working, ASAP

Knowing whether a therapy is working effectively is extremely important when treating cancer. That information can have a big impact, potentially prompting a change in treatment and improving its outcome. Right now, we don't have a method of detecting whether a tumor is reacting to medication until numerous cycles of therapy have been completed, but research by scientists at Brigham and Women's Hospital (BWH) could change that, with a new nanoparticle treatment providing the information in as little as eight hours.Read More

Science

Researchers turn to tick spit to shut down our immune systems

When ticks bite humans, they inject us with a substance that keeps them disguised from our immune systems. This lets them hang on to us and feed for up to 10 days without getting attacked by our bodies' defences. While this strategy certainly serves the tick — and not the humans — very well, researchers may soon be turning the tables and employing a substance in tick saliva to help people battle damaging, and potentially deadly, autoimmune diseases.Read More

Materials

Multiple bends won't crack this lightweight, paper-like, flexible ceramic

Materials to make hard-wearing, bendable non-conducting substrates for wearables and other flexible electronics are essential for the next generation of integrated devices. In this vein, researchers at the University of Twente have reformulated ceramic materials so that they have the flexibility of paper and the lightness of a polymer, but still retain exceptional high-temperature resistance. The new material has been dubbed flexiramics.Read More

Medical

Microneedle patch drip feeds cancer drugs directly into melanomas

The emerging field of immunotherapy has uncovered some powerful new weapons in the fight against cancer, but tumor cells can be quite crafty in the way they go undetected by our immune system. In an advance that could play a part in neutralizing these stealthy attributes, researchers have developed a microneedle patch that can be worn on the skin to more effectively deliver immunotherapy drugs directly to the site of a melanoma.Read More

Electronics

Smartphone and laser attachment form cheap rangefinder

A team of researchers at the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) led by Li-Shiuan Peh has come up with a new infrared depth-sensing system. The new system, which works outdoors as well as in, was built by attaching a US$10 laser to a smartphone, with MIT saying the inexpensive approach could be used to convert conventional personal vehicles, such as wheelchairs and golf carts, into autonomous ones.Read More

Science

Electronic eggs aid vulture rescue efforts

There's an old saying that goes: "If you want to know the vulture, be like one of his eggs." OK, that's not even remotely an old saying, but it is at least part of the thinking of a new initiative that will see a batch of artificial electronic eggs called "EggDuinos" getting plopped in the nests of vultures in order to study their habitats.Read More

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