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Artist's concept of a servicing satellite (Image: NASA)

Geostationary satellites cost a fortune and, despite their sophistication, they break down or eventually run out of propellant to keep them oriented. This is unfortunate when the nearest garage is back on Earth, so NASA wants to remedy this with an orbital version of roadside service. The space agency is developing a service robot that can visit ailing satellites and refuel or even repair them on the spot.  Read More

Researchers at Stanford University have successfully alleviated PTSD in sleeping mice (Pho...

Though often associated with exposure to war, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), is a severe anxiety disorder which can arise following exposure to any event which has caused psychological trauma. Those who suffer from PTSD are often subjected to re-living the source of their despair through nightmares and flashbacks, and current treatment results in only occasional success. However, researchers at Stanford University appear to have alleviated PTSD in mice while the rodents slept, by using a new technique which may prove applicable for humans in the future.  Read More

Schematic of titanium pipes being formed

Titanium is a tremendously useful metal and very abundant, yet only 186,000 tonnes (205,030 tons) of it are produced a year and it’s not used very much outside of the aerospace field because it’s so expensive and difficult to forge. To correct this, a team led by André Albert at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering in partnership with Thin Films (IST) in Braunschweig, Germany have developed a new process for hydroforming titanium at high temperatures in a single step that promises to make titanium more of an everyday material.  Read More

The ribbon-like material being wound onto a spool, while being sprayed with polymer and st...

When people need a material that’s strong yet lightweight, they usually look to carbon fiber. In the near future, however, they may instead choose to go with composite materials made from stretched carbon nanotubes. These materials could theoretically offer the same strength as carbon fiber at one-tenth the weight, or the same weight at ten times the strength. Researchers from North Carolina State University have recently succeeded in creating such a composite.  Read More

The GeS 'nanoflowers' have petals only 20-30 nanometers thick, and provide a large surface...

Researchers have already turned to the humble sunflower for inspiration to design more efficient Concentrating Solar Power (CSP) plant layouts, and now a team from North Carolina State University has developed a “nanoflower” structure out of germanium sulfide (GeS) that shows great promise for use in energy-storage devices and more efficient solar cells. The secret is the material's ultrathin petals that provide a large surface area in only a small amount of space.  Read More

The AquatiCo ROV prototype

“People will protect what they love, and they love what they know,” says robotics engineer Eduardo Labarca, paraphrasing Jacques Cousteau. That’s why he and his team at Mountain View, California-based 9th Sense Robotics want to start up an online marine exploration project known as AcquatiCo. If it reaches fruition, it will allow computer users anywhere in the world to control an actual ocean-based submarine, while watching a real-time feed from its onboard video camera.  Read More

A consumer laser pointer has been used to create a small, inexpensive Raman spectrometer (...

Hand-held laser pointers can now be used for something else besides doing presentations, projecting images of microorganisms, and disabling satellites. Next week, a group of scientists from Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev will be presenting a compact device that they created, which uses a garden-variety green laser pointer to detect dangerous substances such as explosives.  Read More

The Great Work of the Metal Lover forces extremophilic bacteria to metabolize high concent...

For centuries, the world's great thinkers were consumed by the search for the mythical Philosopher's Stone. Franciscan friar Roger Bacon is said to have penned a formula for its creation in the 13th century, legend would have us believe that German friar Albertus Magnus actually found a substance capable of transmuting base metals into gold or silver, and English scientist and mathematician Isaac Newton was a known devotee of the magnum opus. Researchers at Michigan State University (MSU) have put a microbial spin on the ancient quest by creating a bioreactor that forces bacteria to transform a toxic liquid that, as team member Kazem Kashefi says, "has no value into a solid, precious metal that’s valuable."  Read More

The extended multitouch system can turn any flat surface into a multi-touch interface

The world may not be your oyster, but thanks to technology being developed at Indiana’s Purdue University, it may soon be your multi-touch screen. Researchers at that institution have created an “extended multitouch” system, that consists of a computer, video projector, and Kinect camera – the technology allows any surface to be transformed into a touchscreen interface, that can track multiple hands simultaneously.  Read More

MIT has developed pencil 'leads' that can be used to draw gas sensors onto paper

We’ve already seen a pen with silver-based ink, that lets its user draw electrical circuits on ordinary paper. Now, scientists from MIT have brought similar “hands on” technology to the humble pencil – they’ve compressed carbon nanotubes together to form a pencil lead substitute, that has been used to draw gas sensors onto regular paper imprinted with gold electrodes.  Read More

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