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Science

Electronics

Cubimorph prototype changes the shape of touchscreen devices

A shape-shifting touchscreen prototype called the Cubimorph is being presented at a robotics forum this week in Stockholm, Sweden, potentially making another step towards consumer devices that physically change shape depending on the task at hand. The Cubimorph is made up of a chain of cubes with touchscreen faces, that lock together in various configurations.Read More

Materials

Researchers shine a light through transparent wood

Wood already has plenty to offer conventional construction methods as an inexpensive and bountiful resource, but it may soon have a new trick up its sleeve. Scientists have come up with a way to turn a block of linden wood transparent, winding up with a material that could find use in everything from cars to advanced light-based electronics systems.Read More

Environment

New world record set for converting sunlight to electricity

An Australian team has set a new record for squeezing as much electricity as possible out of direct, unfocused sunlight via a new solar cell configuration. Engineers at the University of New South Wales (UNSW) achieved 34.5 percent sunlight-to-electricity conversion efficiency, a new mark that also comes closer than ever to the theoretical limits of such a system.Read More

Science

Scientists put window in fruit fly skull to watch its brain

How do you see what's going on in a fruit fly's mind? Why you build a window to its brain, of course. While that might sound like a bad joke, it's exactly what scientists at the University of California San Diego (UCSD) have just done. Their goal was to understand exactly what happens in the tiny creature's brain as it goes about courting a mate, unencumbered by wires or other attachments usually used to monitor its neural activity. The system they created is called "Flyception" and is amazingly complex and precise.Read More

Space

Evidence of gargantuan asteroid strike unearthed in Australia

All it takes is a quick look up at the moon to understand what a violent place the early solar system was. All those craters are the results of asteroids smashing into the lunar surface. The Earth was likewise battered all those billions of years ago, but the evidence of many asteroid strikes has long been erased through topography changes. Researchers at Australian National University (ANU) though, have found clues to a massive asteroid that impacted our planet about 3.5 billion years ago, when the Earth was less than a quarter as old as it is now.Read More

Electronics

Electronic material self-heals and functions even after being cut in half

If you've ever bent a piece of wire or plastic back and forth until it broke, you understand one of the problems inherent in flexible electronics. The more circuits and connectors flex, the higher the likelihood they'll break. While we've seen self-healing chips, gels and microcapsules before, a new material out of Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) brings auto-repair to dielectrics – the materials that insulate electric currents.Read More

Materials

Ever-taut spider webs inspire self-spooling liquid wire

Among spider silk's many remarkable properties is its ability to be stretched 40 percent beyond its original length without breaking. Staying in one piece is impressive, sure, but how does a spider's web remain taut after being warped out of shape by winds and intrusive insects? Scientists have now unraveled this little mystery and used it as the basis of a self-spooling liquid wire they say could be used to build small, stretchable structures.Read More

Medical

Stanford's whiz-bang idea to bring gold-standard urine testing to the home

A urine test can be an invaluable way of detecting a number of medical conditions, a list which can include infections, diseases, and even certain types of cancer. Looking to improve access to this diagnostics tool, Stanford University engineers have designed a smartphone-based urine test for the home that relies on the same approach used in the doctor's office, claiming it could offer equally accurate results.Read More

Medical

Rapid finger-prick test to tackle tuberculosis

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), in 2014 over 9 million people contracted tuberculosis (TB), with 1.5 million dying from the disease. Over 95 percent of these deaths occur in developing countries, which is exacerbated by difficulties in diagnosing the disease based on signs and symptoms. A new point-of-care test aimed at use in areas of limited resources could help speed up the diagnosis and spread of TB.Read More

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