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— Science

Praying mantises outfitted with tiny 3D glasses

Although us humans take 3D vision for granted, it's not a standard feature throughout the animal kingdom. In fact, praying mantises are the only invertebrates known to possess it – a fact which makes them excellent hunters. Scientists at Britain's Newcastle University are now studying the insects' ability to see in 3D, to determine if it could be copied in human technologies such as robot vision systems. As part of that study, they're equipping mantises with the smallest pairs of 3D glasses ever made. Read More
— Science

Added DNA could be used to authenticate premium olive oil

When most people think of counterfeit goods, they probably picture things like handbags or watches. In fact, there's also a huge market for knock-off high-end food products, such as extra-virgin olive oil. Scientists from Switzerland's ETH Zurich research group, however, have come up with a possible method of thwarting the makers of that bogus oil – just add synthetic DNA particles to the real thing. And yes, consumers would proceed to swallow those particles. Read More
— Science

How do you make a 1-cent microscope lens? Just bake a batch in the oven

Microscope lenses are typically made either by grinding and polishing glass discs, or pouring polymers into molds – both techniques can be quite involved, which is reflected in the price of the finished product. Now, however, a scientist from Australian National University has devised a new lens-making process, in which drops of silicone are simply baked in an oven. The resulting lenses can be used for a variety of applications, yet are worth less than one cent each. Read More
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Punching mantis shrimp inspires super-tough composites

A new lightweight, super strong material has been discovered thanks to one of nature’s most violent sociopaths. The peacock mantis shrimp may look like a colorful, reasonably mild-mannered aquarium dweller, but its claws have the punch of a .22 bullet. A team of researchers led by University of California, Riverside, has developed a carbon composite that imitates the claw’s structure. The result is a promising new material that may one day be used to build cars and airplanes. Read More
— Science

Crystal-forming microparticles could lead to color-changing tanks and planes

Military vehicles that change color to be dark at night, and camo-green in the daylight ... could such a thing be possible? Well, it's certainly closer to reality, thanks to research being conducted at the University of Michigan. Scientists there have created a solution that changes color when exposed to light, then changes back when the light is removed. If incorporated into a thin film coating, the result could be chameleon-like surfaces. Read More
— Science Feature

Will superhuman powers give us superhuman problems?

Any mention of cyborgs or superpowers evokes fantastical images from the realms of science fiction and comic books. Our visions of humans with enhanced capabilities are borne of our imaginations and the stories we tell. In reality, though, enhanced humans already exist ... and they don't look like Marvel characters. As different human enhancement technologies advance at different rates, they bleed into society gradually and without fanfare. What's more, they will increasingly necessitate discussion about areas that are often overlooked – what are the logistics and ethics of being superhuman? Gizmag spoke to a number of experts to find out. Read More
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