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Science

New compound from sponge blasts bacterial biofilm into submission

Biofilms are the tough gangs of the bacterial world. Formed when bacteria group together in a kind of gooey raft that adheres to surfaces, biofilms are responsible for up to 80 percent of all infections, according to microbiologist Lindsey N. Shaw from the University of Southern Florida (USF). They're also exceedingly difficult to kill. But Shaw and a team of USF researchers have recently uncovered a compound from a sea sponge found in Antarctica that can get the job done.Read More

Electronics

IBM breakthrough gives blistering phase-change memory new practicality

Data storage is one of those things where too much is never enough. And as the amount of data generated increases exponentially, the search is on for new memory technologies that tick all the boxes in terms of speed, endurance, non-volatility and endurance. Phase-change memory (PCM) has emerged as a promising candidate, and now IBM Research has worked out how to triple the amount of data bits each cell can hold, edging the technology closer to a cost-effective, blistering fast data storage solution.Read More

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

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